Weeping Pussy Willow – Pruning

Q: I have a weeping pussy willow and want to know when and how to prune it. I have it in a pot indoors right now.

A: Your weeping pussy willow is actually two forms of the same plant. The straight trunk is goat willow, Salix caprea. Many years ago, an observant gardener noticed a very limber mutant stem coming from his goat willow. He decided to propagate it. The rooted cutting formed a tangled, unruly mound several feet wide.

In an “Ah Ha!” moment, the gardener tried grafting a few pliable branches to a short trunk of vertically growing goat willow. Wow! With the thin stems lifted off the ground, an attractive weeping form was created. Although unkind gardeners say it looks like Cousin Itt from “The Addams Family” TV show, a weeping pussy willow can be very nice in the right area.

Plant your willow outdoors in a moist spot, shorten the thin limbs if they get too long and enjoy it until leaf rust and stem cankers eventually kill it.