Grey willows are a small deciduous tree (sometimes considered a shrub) with long slender branches covered in many elongated leaves that weigh down the branches. The trees have impressive root systems, and roots will grow readily from airborne parts of the plants (eg, hanging branches). It spreads widely and aggressively to meet the plant’s large water needs. This can be problematic for other plants in the area, as they may experience a shortage of water. Anything under the willow’s span of dense leaf cover will likely be shaded out and will die. Flowers appear as catkins in early spring, often before the tree has its leaves.
Because of their water needs, these plants are often located in wetlands, marshes or along stream sides. The best removal method is to manually remove the plants. It is best if their roots can be taken too, but persistent cutting of the shoots will eventually kill the plant. They can be replaced with any native wetland shrubs or trees.