In late March/early April, Pussywillows push out silky gray-white catkins on mahogany colored branches. Pussywillows are a type of willow (Salix), all of which grow fast and have separate male & female trees.
The Pussywillow does not have a typical flower; the silvery hairs insulate the female part (pistil) and the male part (stamen) against the cold spring air. And the first Pussywillow “flower” is probably from a male tree, since the female trees are always late bloomers.1
Pussywillows are a good plant to have in your yard because they provide nectar, pollen, and food for native butterflies and bees. Early spring pollinators (such as Mason and bumble bees) feast on Pussywillow’s little furry flowers because of their nectar’s high sugar content.2
Mark (my husband) recently planted a Pussywillow in our front yard for me. I have always loved the furry flowers that resemble a little rabbit’s nose or kitten’s paw. He mixed VITAL Blend soil amendment in with the backfill while planting the shrub-like tree. VITAL Blend is a combination of activated BioChar and freshwater-sourced Humate that has been shown to help newly planted trees withstand transplant shock better. The humate kickstarts the growth of soil microbes around the roots and the biochar helps provide stable living spaces for the growing microbe communities. Soil microbes found in the rhizosphere (root area) promote plant growth by making nutrients available to the plant and inhibit fungal pathogens.
Effective at Preventing Erosion
A resourceful site for planting native Willow trees and their relatives would be on a hill or along a stream bank. Willows, including Pussywillows, have deep spreading roots that hold soil in place and are effective at preventing erosion.3 The activated biochar in our VITAL Blend soil amendment is also very good at reducing soil erosion. Biochar improves erosion control because it changes the soil’s characteristics (aggregates) and increases its microbial activity.4
For healthier soil and healthier plants – start with our VITAL Blend because the Beauty Above comes from the Science Below. Please Call or email us for more information regarding our soil amendments today.
#pussywillow #masonbees #erosioncontrol #biochar
- Blog from Gardening Know How, “Pussy Willow Catkins: How To Get Catkins On Pussy Willows,” https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/pussy-willow/get-catkins-on-pussy-willows.htm
- Blog from HoneyBeeSuite, “Honey bee forage: pussy willow,” 2/4/11, https://honeybeesuite.com/honey-bee-forage-pussy-willow/
- Blog by Tricia Edgar, “Willow Roots: Ecological Answer to Erosion,” 1/24/13, https://www.decodedscience.org/willow-root-erosion-ecology/24395
- Effects of biochar on soil properties and erosion potential in a highly weathered soil. Jien, Shih-Hao & Wang, Chien-Sheng. (2013). CATENA. 110. 225–233. 10.1016/j.catena.2013.06.021.