Rooting Willows

bernergrrl(z5 IL)April 21, 2008

Hi--I collected some cuttings of willows that are native to my area. They are only just flowering--will they root, or should I take some more cuttings when they have leafed out?

I also just stuck them in some water (which has been working for other things that I've rooted--including cleome, and I think verbena bonarenisis is rooting too! I rooted a bunch of salvia too! It's heady stuff getting all of these plants.)


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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

If I were you, I'd leave the ones you have in water and see what happens. If they don't root that way - and I think they will - I'd take some cuttings in the summer when it's hot and humid, stick them in potting soil, put them in shady but well lit place, and keep them moist. I'm sure they'll root that way.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:51AM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Thanks MissSherry--I will do that. My logic (if you can call it that) was that the plants are doing their new growth thing and should therefore root easily. But then, there are no leaves for photosynthesis...big dummie me.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 1:19PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Correction - "shady but well lit place" - duh! I meant, put them in a well lit place that's out of direct sunlight.
It's @#%*! to get old!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 1:56PM
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You can also try rooting hormones, which you can find at a local nursery... They have worked great for, but I have used your way to, in fact I have a White/Paper Birch grafting n water, now, hoping it will root soon.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 8:11PM
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Jillberto(Z9 CA)

Willows are the ultimate rooting HELPER. You can put hard to root plants in with willow cutting to encourage rooting.
No need for rooting hormones. They GET rooting hormones from willows.

Depending on the type, willows will root with no leaves on them. I have started many pussy willows and cork screw willows this way.

I often give bouquets with curly willow in them. And I let the recipient know that if they want their own willow plant they can just leave the willow cutting in the vase water and it will develop roots.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:36PM
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rjj1(Norman OK Zone7)

As a kid fishing in our rivers when it was safe to do so, we rooted many willows on the river banks. We would cut off forked branches from trees to use as rod holders. Our rod holders would root in no time in the warm wet sand along the bank.

As stated before, don't know that I would use a rooting hormone on something that is so easy to start.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:02AM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Thank you for all of the help--that's interesting info about the willows helping other cuttings to root.

I did a little search about native willows to NH, and salix nigra seems to be the only one.

Here is a pic of the flowers and the stems; don't know how possible it is to ID from those, but just in case:


    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 2:26PM
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Don't make the mistake that I did. I ordered some black willow cuttings (there were at least a dozen) from someone on ebay. She/he had the cuttings wrapped in damp newspapers (I assume) and wrapped in plastic. When they got here they looked dead, but I thought I'd give them a chance. I left them in water for probably two months and they didn't do a thing. I emailed the person and explained what happened and never heard back from them. I guess it's not like you get your money back from those people if you get defective goods, so I don't know what I thought I'd accomplish by emailing the person. It didn't cost me a fortune, but still, I could have better spent that $13 or $14 (the shipping is what kills a person). Since then, I got a few saplings from a very nice person here on the forum and they are doing great. I don't know how fast they grow, but I'm hoping that I can attract some Viceroys, which I haven't yet seen here. There are several others that I've seen here but I would like to also get to see the cats...those being Eastern Comma, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Mourning Cloak, and Red-spotted Purple.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 6:11PM
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Last year, Linda got some cuttings of Salix nigra from Randy. I believe she just put them in a pot of dirt, kept it well watered, and they rooted just fine. I have one that she rooted, and have had no problems with it at all. Don't know that you even need to use water. Sometimes water makes for weaker roots. You might try both methods and see which one works the best for you.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 6:57PM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Do they look like salix nigra?

Thanks Susan about the weaker roots tip. Didn't even occur to me! I like the gratification of watching the roots. Just don't know if I'm patient enough to wait to do the root tug. I peer and peer, scrutinizing every little bump for a little transluscent root.

I'll do both, so I get to watch the roots and get a stronger plant.

The twigs are now beginning to bud out.

Cathy, If this little experiment does indeed work out, I'd be happy to send some your way!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 8:37PM
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bernergrrl, Wow, that would be great! I have a few but could use some more if you do get them to root. I'm sure I could come up with something to trade for them.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 12:29PM
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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Well, we have roots! I'll pot them up today!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 7:46AM
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Woo-hoo! Generally, willow is very easy to root. Unfortunately, Cathy's didn't have a chance since they were DOA! There are some really good Ebay folks out there, including Randy. But it only takes a few bad ones to scare people off. I ordered seeds from a lady at Ebay and was very pleased with what I got.

If Randy sees this post, could you tell me how to locate you on Ebay?


    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 8:13AM
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