Grey Willow

Also known as:
Pussy Willow, Shrub Willow, Sallow
Europe, West Asia, North Africa

General description

Deciduous shrub or small tree <7m tall but usually 2m tall. Bark is rather smooth. Stems grey or greenish-grey & hairy, or reddish to dark purple and are not brittle. Leaves shiny on upper side and covered with fine grey hairs underneath, not bitter. Flowers (Sept-Oct) appear as separate male and female cylindrical catkins (no petals). Fruit may contain many seeds.

Swamps, riverbanks, wet areas behind coastal dunes and nearby drier places.

Unlike crack willow it spreads by seed (wind dispersal).

Blocks waterways & modifies wetlands.

Site management

Early detection and eradication important with this willow. Begin control at top of catchment, treat every stem. Prevent grazing and other disturbance. Interplanting can follow if non-spray follow-up control options used. Discourage use & replace with native species.

Recommended approaches

1. Cut or drill hole every 100mm around trunk diameter and fill each cut or hole (10ml glyphosate or 10 ml metsulfuron at 20g/1L) summer - autumn.
2. Frill (make feather cuts in bark) summer - autumn and paint (100ml glyphosate/1L or 5g metsulfuron/1L with penetrant).
3. Cut stump application (Vigilant gel or 5g metsulfuron/1L with penetrant).
4. At full leaf stage spray (125ml glyphosate + 20ml penetrant/10L). Ensure full coverage.

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

crack willow
Salix fragilis

Crack willow is a much taller tree and has longer and thinner leaves, paler below, shining on top, with the older leaves hairless. Crack willow buds are yellow, pale green or brown whereas the grey willow has dark red-brown buds.

Search tags

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
grey willow - Main species image