Kathleen M
Kathleen M
  • Hometalker
  • Manahawkin, NJ
Asked on Jun 12, 2012

Do Pussy Willows get old and die?

Kathleen MSharron WDouglas Hunt
+4

Answered

When I moved into my house 12 yrs ago I planted a pussy willow because I was nostalgic for my Rhode Island roots . It flourished until 2 years ago, reaching a height of about 15 feet. Then there was an all out infestation of aphids, I called Rutgers University and a master gardener told me how to safely get rid of the aphids ( and all the bees and wasps they were attracting ) . She was recovering nicely and then last fall the north side of her just started to die, very little leaf growth, few kittens. This year at least 1/2 of the tree was non preforming. I wondered if the previous stress and Hurricane Irene last year ~~even though she wasn't much for us but a big blow really could have just done the Pussy Willow in? I came home the other day to find it had been removed from the yard and mulched by a tree guy at my husbands behest~ I was heart broken. Would have liked a cutting to try and root but nothing left:( unfortunately I have no photos of how she looked. Really wish I had found this site first!
Anyone have a clue what might have ailed my tree??
7 answers
  • Walter Reeves
    on Jun 12, 2012

    Willows get bacterial twig blight, crown gall, leaf blight, black canker, cytospora canker, anthracnose, scab, leaf spots, powdery mildew, rust, tar spot, aphids, imported willow leaf beetle, basket willow gall, mottled willow borer, scale and nematodes. Yours probably had a combination of the above. You're not alone: many gardeners lose willows.

  • Kathleen M
    on Jun 12, 2012

    Thanks Walter for responding! Glad to hear I am not the only one :) Any idea how to get rid of the stump now? It's already shooting up suckers. Digging isn't an option because it is too close to my bulkhead~ I live on man made lagoon so whatever method I use needs to be healthy for the Barnegat Bay

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 14, 2012

    Cut off the suckers and then paint with a foam brush dipped in full-strength glyphosate.

  • Kathleen M
    on Jun 14, 2012

    Thank you Douglas, I guess I now need to come up w/ a way to keep my dog away from it for a while :) Thanks again!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 15, 2012

    That part I leave up to you, Kathleen! Good luck.

  • Sharron W
    on Aug 13, 2012

    If it's putting up suckers can't you use one of them to start a new one?

  • Kathleen M
    on Aug 28, 2012

    Sharon, I did as was suggested and there are no more suckers. I had a friend try from the suckers but she says you need to have a branched stem to get healthy enough plant. Still trying to figure out how to deal with the big naked hole in my little yard ~~~ I am thinking about a bottle tree :)

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