Salix nigra, 2-3 ft tall at sale, native to VT, sourced from New York.
This is the only willow native to Vermont that grows into a full, beautiful tree—though there are many shrub-willow species. Like other willows, black willow is fast-growing and readily re-sprouts if it is munched by deer or beavers. It loves to grow in wet spots. Willow trees and shrubs are some of the most powerful habitat-creators. They host 415 species of caterpillars, more than any other in VT, which in turn attracts birds to eat the caterpillars. If planted next to a stream or pond, insects and caterpillars also drop off the tree into the water to feed trout and other fish. And, being among the first trees to bloom in the spring, they are a crucial early-season source of pollen and nectar for bees and other pollinators. Birds also eat the catkins (seeds), and beaver, deer and even livestock enjoy the leaves, bark or twigs. As an ornamental it makes a beautiful fine-textured shade tree, but it sheds branches easily in storms. All willows are excellent soil-binders - their shallow, fibrous roots help prevent the soil of streambanks from being washed away. These same roots can get into drainage systems and sewers, so avoid planting near underground infrastructure. It does best in a persistent wet spot or near water and lives 40-100 years.