Salix caprea 1-12-14Today’s Special is our Goat Willow, Salix caprea.  These are growing in 2.5 inch containers for $5.32 each.  Grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun. Thrives in moist soils, but tolerates somewhat drier soils better than most other willows. Prune as needed in late winter to early spring. Plants may be cut to the ground every 3-5 years to maintain a smaller shrub shape.  Native to Europe and Asia, pussy willow or goat willow is a large shrub or small tree that typically grows to 12-25′ tall and to 15′ wide. It also may be trained as a smaller hedge. It has escaped cultivation and naturalized in parts of Eastern North America. This is a dioecious species (male and female catkins appearing on separate trees) that many consider to be the best of the “pussy willows”. Before the foliage emerges in late winter, male trees produce a showy display of catkins (1-2″ long) that are pinkish gray and woolly. These catkins are larger than the pearl gray male catkins that appear on the American native plant most commonly called pussy willow (Salix discolor). Female trees produce smaller greenish catkins. Broad elliptic to oblong leaves (to 6″ long) are dark green above and gray-hairy beneath. Variable fall color is usually an undistinguished greenish-yellow. Specific epithet comes from the Latin word meaning goat. Zones 4 to 8.