April 24, 2009

The magic of Salix

Pussy willow trees are native to wetlands of Canada and the eastern United States and like other willows, they are part of the genus, Salix. I love pussy willows with their fuzzy catkins. They make wonderful cut arrangements and are true harbingers of spring. Pussy willows grow extremely well in swampy areas and on my farm, they share the wetlands with my weeping willows.

If you have a pussy willow growing and would like to grow more trees, it's actually a very easy thing to do by propagating cuttings. Salix plants contain salicylic acid, which is a natural rooting hormone. Make cuttings about 12-inches long and place the bottom ends in water. After several days, roots will begin to grow, at which point, they can be planted outdoors when all danger of frost is past. You can also propagate cuttings during summer months without rooting them first in water. Simply push the bottom ends of new cuttings right into the soil where you would like them to grow.

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Here are six vases of pussy willow cuttings in various stages of rooting.