Willow kilmarnock springThis dwarf pussy willow has year round interest with its beautiful weeping habit and fuzzy catkins. The male clone has the large (1½ to 2 inch) attractive catkins that appear silvery white at first and then appear golden yellow as the anthers develop later in spring before the leaves emerge. The foliage is dark green with gray-green underside in summer. The female clone is called ‘Weeping Sally’ and is not as showy as the male. The shoots of both clones are stiffly weeping and form a dense head. Pendulous branches are usually grafted on the erect stems of other willows so the height of the tree is determined by the height of the graft. Plants grown on their own roots form a 24” tall bush and grow along the ground. This is an ideal tree for a small garden, does well in containers, can be used for bonsai and branches can add a special touch to flower arrangements.

Type: Weeping deciduous tree.

Outstanding Feature: Weeping habit; catkins.

Form: Rounded mound.

Growth Rate: Moderate to rapid.

Bloom: Male catkins in spring, white at first becoming golden.

Size: 6’ T x 4 ½’ W.

Light: Full sun to dappled shade.

Soil: Moist, well drained; pH 4.5-8.

Fertilizer: Incorporate well rotted compost into the soil when planting.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8.

Care: Low maintenaince; remove broken, diseased, or crossing branches (and all shoots or branches from the central stem since they will not be weeping) in autumn or winter; since catkins are produced on young growth cut back heavily every 4-5 years.

Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to scale insects, rust, leaf spot, caterpillars and aphids.

Propagation: Grafted.

Comments: Tolerant of deer, pollution, rabbits, and seashore.

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By Karen

8 thoughts on “Plant Profile: Kilmarnock Willow (Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock’)”
  1. I have a Kilmarnock Willow which looks very healthy, but it has no pussy willows and is going straight to leaves. Could you give me any advice? Thanks,

    Janice Black

    1. Janice,
      Has your Kilmarnock Willow EVER produced pussy willows? If not, perhaps the tree was mislabeled and you don’t really have what you think you do. Light is another factor that can cause a plant to decrease flower production.

  2. we have a lovely kilmarnock willow which we planted this spring. it is growing very well despite a` golden powder that is present on the underside on a large number of the leaves. we have another tree in the garden(sorry i don’t know the species as we inhereted it when we bought the house!)which had this “golden powder last year and once again has it this year.Help????

    1. Kirstin,
      Golden powder could be pollen or fungal spores. If nothing else seems to happen I would assume pollen and forget about it. If damage results then a fungicide spray is probably your best alternative. Willows like moisture so keeping the soil from drying out will help the tree resist disease so I would try good cultivation techniques to avoid the problem in the future. Good luck.


  3. I have Kilmarnock Willow which i bought about 3 months ago, but recently some of lower leaves have got a rusty/orange spots on the underside.
    Any help would be much oblidged.
    Regards David

    1. David,
      Rusty orange spots sound like a fungus called “rust”. A general fungicide will kill it; follow the directions and be especially diligent in repeating the application as directed. I would also remove the infected leaves and any debris around the plant because fungus spores can live in dead leaves and infect the plant when splashed upward by rain.
      Good luck.


  4. I have a Kilmarnock Willow in my garden that was there when I bought the house but it is planted just 4 feet from my wall. Should I be concerned about the roots? I have heard that these trees can have invasive roots.
    Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  5. i have a kilmarnock willow that has been in a pot for about two months from when i bought it, the leaves have started to curl and are dying its well watered so i have now put it in the garden thinking it is pot bound which it wasnt, will it get over this leaf curl as the tree is a very good shape and i dont want to loose it. many thanks yvette

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