Salix caprea is a deciduous shrub or small tree also commonly known as European pussy willow or goat's willow. According to North Carolina State University, it can tolerate and will quickly rebound from severe pruning to control the shape, size or fullness of the plant but it does not require annual pruning for healthy growth. Prune Salix caprea in spring or summer during or just after the flowering period, advises Purdue University.
Harvest fresh salix branches when the buds have swollen are are just about to unfurl or they are beginning to bloom for use in cut flower arrangements or for drying and preserving. Sever the stems down at the base of the shrub and pull each branch carefully and cleanly from the canopy.
Increase fullness and amount of green foliage in your salix by renewal pruning every few years, as needed. Cut away up to one-third of the oldest branches all the way to the crown of the shrub, just above the ground, and discard them. This will ensure new flowering and seeded shoots to develop, refreshing the shrub and making it look fuller.
Cut back broken or dead branches, disease-ravaged foliage or branches laying on the ground as you see them throughout the year. Cut back to the point of healthy tissue 1/4 inch above a leaf node or bud to simply remove the branch down to the crown of the plant.