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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - July 01, 2005

From: Sugar Camp,Rhinelander, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Trees
Title: Willows native to Wisconsin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a small garden center in the far northern reaches of Wisconsin....and I specialize in native varieties for up here. I also help folks with lake shore restoration and preservation. There was a local grower that was propagating native Bog Willow for me to use to hold shoreline erosion. He is now only growing the cousin Arctic Blue which is not native to this area. Can you please suggest another option for me or possibly a place where I might purchase bog willow starts so I can grow my own? thanks

ANSWER:

There are several other willows that are native to Wisconsin. For instance, Pussy willow (Salix discolor) and Shining willow (Salix lucida). You can find other willows plus other shrubs and small trees that do well in wet areas in Michigan by doing a search in the Native Plants Database. Select Combination Search at the bottom of the page. This will allow you to make choices in several different categories; e.g., "Bloom Characteristics", "Growth Form", "Growing Conditions", and "U.S. Distribution". By choosing 'Shrub' under "Growth Form", 'Wet' soil moisture under "Growing Conditions", and 'Wisconsin' from "U.S. Distribution", you will get a list with thumbnail photographs of shrubs that grow under these conditions.

To find a supplier in your area, visit the National Suppliers Directory on the Wildflower Center web page. You can search by state or region for nurseries. In a quick search in the Midwest Region, I found one nursery Prairie Moon Nursery in Winona, Minnesota, which has the two willows named above for sale online.

 

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