Can I root a large branch of curly willow tree?

michel7(8 AL)June 14, 2012

I purchased a 6' tall curly willow hoping to plant it near an 18 acre pond on some rural acreage. I have not found any help to get it planted. It is still in the same large pot and has put out copious branches. I noticed it has sent quite a large root out of one of the drainage holes into the ground. When I cut this root to move the tree for planting, I know I need to remove some of the top growth. I would love to root these branches to have more trees to plant.

How large a cutting will root from this tree? I know willow is easy to root, but some are 1" to 2-1/2" diameter (maybe more.) I have searched and read for days, incl. at least 50+ pages of posts on the various GW forums, but can not find any info on this particular question. I am hoping the good people here may have experience or run across some info that may help me. Thanks for any suggestions. Michel

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kayjones(Mo6b)

It's best to cut large cuttings into 6-12" pieces and stick them in moist sand and peat moss. Keep it damp - not mucky - at all times and it should do fine. This tree grows FAST.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:29PM
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michel7(8 AL)

If cut into small pcs the tree will not have a straight trunk. I have tried this and it always leaves a 'kink' or stump in the trunk--willow is weak wooded anyway. Also, it does not seem to develop a strong leader, it wants to continually sprout at the cut, even after disbudding all the extra shoots.

If I could root the entire branch, it would be a nice 3-4' tree.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:52PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

When I cut this root to move the tree for planting, I know I need to remove some of the top growth.

===>> that is way old school ... i dont think anyone in the tree forum suggests canopy reduction at planting ....

plant it in dormancy.. when it has no leaves..

and follow EVERYTHING at the link ... as to planting

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 4:17PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

and another thing

50 hours??

hit the link.. first link below the pix.. go there.. second reply .. spot on.. .23 seconds .. unless that is your post.. lol ...

ken

its the site that can not be named.. nor linked.. lol ..

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 4:19PM
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stevelau1911

I've seen a 1+ inch branch of willow tree fallen on the ground end up rooting on its own so I believe they are very easy to propagate.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:49AM
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michel7(8 AL)

Thanks Ken and Steve,
My main concern was if there is a limit to the age/size of branch that will root. Thanks for the links. I can be a little braver about trying to root these branches now. Re canopy, the root that is coming out of the drainage hole is at least 1+" in dia. Now I know why it has put on so much growth! I was thinking when I cut it to move the tree, the roots remaining in the ~15" pot would not be able to support the large branches it has grown. But since I will be removing some of the large ones I guess it will be ok..

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:13PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Willow branches the size of fence posts (i.e. truncheons) can, and often are, rooted with ease.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 2:17PM
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michel7(8 AL)

Brandon--WOW! Do you mean 4"-6" dia.? Can you direct me to more information on this? Are there any special methods, media, or other things I need to be aware of if I am going to try this? What season is best? Do you prepare it like a small cutting? Wounding, auxin? I would really like to know more. Ken sent me to a good forum that mentioned rooting large willow branches, but I doubted I could get more info from contacting them as the thread was from '02 or '05, I think. Thank you so much for any other help you can offer or direct me to.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 3:42PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Michel, you could probably google 'willow truncheon' and find more. Fences made of willow branches commonly sprout and grow. Moist, but well-drained soil should definitely help. No cutting prep is needed (and probably wouldn't help much anyway).

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 12:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I will repeat what ken stated earlier....pruning the top of any plant to compensate for the loss of roots is a practice that is not only unnecessary but counterproductive to the plant.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 3:15PM
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michel7(8 AL)

Thanks Brandon, Rhizo
The truncheon search helped. I had never heard that term before, had to go to wiki! Now I see your response to the gardner wanting to do the same with a fig. Don't think that post was there in the days I combed this forum before posting. After reading pages of search material, even some from the 19th century, I think I've got my head around this. I plan to wait to late fall if I decide to do it in place(in AL) but I may try some in pots now if I can find any of my tree pots left or devise something else deep enough. Instructions say bury 1/2 to 3/4 of its length--seems a little excessive to me, but?

Do you guys think I would be ok to start with 2-3 gal? I do not want to do a lot of potting up as these things grow so fast, or larger? I have many to choose from. I would hope to get these planted out by this fall, but that was also the plan with the willow gone wild mother plant, but you probably also know how gardening plans ...gang aft agley.

I root a LOT of stuff and this should be a pc of cake. I do not know why I am obsessing over this so much, but I have tons of maintenance with all these pots and only ounces of energy left. I never throw away a pruning cut, stick it in a special place in the back yard (no treatment,) and everything roots. Then I really can not bear to throw it out.

Thanks all for your time. Michel

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 2:24PM
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