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How to Propagate Willow Trees

We have several of willows and would like to know if you can cut a branch and use that branch to start a new tree?

Willow trees are some of the easiest plants to root. In fact, you can actually grow a new tree by simply taking a stem and sticking it in moist soil. It’s the hormones in willows that cause such rapid rooting. So rapid in fact, that a rooting solution for other plants can be made by boiling willow stems in water. Our ancestors called it willow water.

To mix up a batch of willow water simply cut a few willow branches that are green and supple and about the size of pencil. Then cut the branches into 1-inch pieces and smash them with a hammer. Next, bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the willow stems into the water and remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to steep, stirring occasionally. Once cooled, it is ready to use.

In addition to using willow water for rooting cuttings, you can also pour it around young transplants to help accelerate their root development.

You can propagate willows by cutting branches any time of the year. Spring may be the best season because of the ample rain and the new tree will have the entire summer to become established before winter.

Take a cutting that is about 10-inches long and the diameter of a pencil. Next place the cutting in water. In time roots will begin to form and you can plant your new tree outdoors.

In areas where the soil stays moist such as beside a pond or river bank, you can just stick the cutting in the ground. Push it down fairly deep so that about 2-inches rises above the soil surface.

When planting your new willow tree it is important to choose a location that is about 100 feet away from buildings and underground pipes. Willow roots are notorious for wandering in search of water and will often cause damage to water or sewer lines and house foundations.

Also, willows must have copious amounts of water. Heat and drought stressed trees are susceptible to a number of diseases. So be sure to plant your willow where it will receive plenty of water.