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NorthernMonkeyGirl

Willow cuttings for re-growing

Using the "stick it in the ground and ignore it" method of propagation, what is the shortest length of willow stem that has a good chance of taking root? Thinking of chopping up a couple of longer branches to get more, shorter, pieces.
Tavascarow

Willow will root from just about anything from one bud upwards to several feet.
The smallest (bud) & largest will need more care keeping down competition & water supply.
Most commercial slips are about a foot long so I assume that is the ideal.
I root shorter slips (100mm) in pots to plant out later but they take longer to establish.
A 10" to 12" cutting pushed so only an inch shows above the ground should root 95%+
Rob R

I tried 10" ones but it wasn't terribly sucessful. The 2/3ft ones produced better establishment, length for length.
dpack

about a foot is usual but shorter bits might take

nearly horizontal with just a couple of buds above ground seems to work well ,iirc some folk bury the whole thing a couple of inches down rather than treating it like a normal cutting
Slim

IIRC a lot of has to do with # of buds and position on the branch it's taken from. The whole thing has the capacity to root, but it'll do best if you take it from around the middle section of the branch and if it has at least a couple buds below ground and a couple buds above ground.
Falstaff

Time of year is paramount.

Coming intoi dormancy you're thinking ""Hardwood cuttings" - but just get some willow (about 1" diameter) - stick it in the right way up ! and dip the bottom end in rooting hormone before doing so.

12" long and leave around 2-3" above ground - set 100 and you'll have plenty for your needs x Very Happy
Tavascarow

Time of year is paramount.

Coming intoi dormancy you're thinking ""Hardwood cuttings" - but just get some willow (about 1" diameter) - stick it in the right way up ! and dip the bottom end in rooting hormone before doing so.

12" long and leave around 2-3" above ground - set 100 and you'll have plenty for your needs x Very Happy
With willow you don't even need to worry about which way up.
& you certainly don't need rooting powder.
Something I've noticed is they are a lot easier if they have no competition. Weed growth can smother them quite easily in the first twelve months when they are getting established.
A temporary planting mulch is advised.
Once they are away there's not a lot other than brambles that can stop them.
Rob R

Time of year is paramount.

Coming intoi dormancy you're thinking ""Hardwood cuttings" - but just get some willow (about 1" diameter) - stick it in the right way up ! and dip the bottom end in rooting hormone before doing so.

12" long and leave around 2-3" above ground - set 100 and you'll have plenty for your needs x Very Happy
With willow you don't even need to worry about which way up.
& you certainly don't need rooting powder.
Something I've noticed is they are a lot easier if they have no competition. Weed growth can smother them quite easily in the first twelve months when they are getting established.
A temporary planting mulch is advised.
Once they are away there's not a lot other than brambles that can stop them.

My best establishment was in the wood pile Laughing
katie

I usually stick them in water to root, then pot up and grow on for when I need them. Yes, I know you can just stick them in but this works too. Falstaff

I usually stick them in water to root, then pot up and grow on for when I need them. Yes, I know you can just stick them in but this works too.

I think that's quite important katie - yes you can stick 'em in upside down with no rooting powder and little water and a few may fight their way through the obstacles you've put in their way and grow - but why not, in the natural scheme of things do your best to get a decent result ?
Rob R

No, not a few, 90%+ Tavascarow

I usually stick them in water to root, then pot up and grow on for when I need them. Yes, I know you can just stick them in but this works too.

I think that's quite important katie - yes you can stick 'em in upside down with no rooting powder and little water and a few may fight their way through the obstacles you've put in their way and grow - but why not, in the natural scheme of things do your best to get a decent result ? Willow will root 95% without rooting powder.
The plant carries it's own rooting hormone under the bark. It doesn't need extra. It's a waste.
I haven't experimented with planting upside down, I always plant mine right way up but I've read (from the webpage of about the best UK willow nursery IMHO) it makes little difference but takes a little longer.
As I said earlier they don't like weed competition. I plant mine through mypex. A longer cutting planted deeper will do better than a shorter one because soil moisture is more consistent farther down. But if you don't mind regularly watering them, shorter cuttings will root as readily as longer.
I spent ten years working in the nursery industry as a propogator & grow basket willows for craft, it's something I know a little bit about.
Tavascarow

From the Windrush Willows propagation factsheet (download on page link in previous post).
Quote:
The easiest way to propagate the plant is to use a 9 stem cutting (Slip) which is taken from the original plant when dormant (1st December to 31st March). Longer tip cuttings can also be used where a single stem is desired. Cuttings are normally despatched in labelled plastic bags and should be planted immediately. If this is not possible store for up to 2 months in a cool refrigerator (retain in plastic bags to avoid desiccation).

The ground into which the cutting is to be planted should be weed free, a hole is made 10% deeper than the cutting is to be planted and 10% wider than the stem diameter at the butt end. With a 9 Slip, plant so that 8 is under ground, with longer stem cutting plant to a depth of 12, the inclusion of organic matter into the soil is always a benefit.
Insert the slip with the lateral buds pointing upwards ^ (although it will grow after planting upside down in most cases). Most willows are pretty tolerant of soil and wind conditions however they do best on heavier soils or where the water table is high. Firm the soil around the cutting very well to exclude air pockets. Caution willow roots travel a long way and will seek out drains and other sources of moisture. They also transpire a large quantity of water and will tend to dry out a heavy clay soil so do not plant near to any building or foundations. We recommend a planting distance of 1.5 times the height you will be allowing the plant to grow too from any structure, building or drain.

If planting a row of willow for annual pollarding or coppiceing then a space of 18 to 24 is recommended between plants. Annual cutting will maintain plant vigour and produce multiple stems, younger stems tend to be more highly coloured. Some coloured bark varieties do not tend to develop their full colour until just before leaf drop.
Commercial basket willows are planted closer, usually about 12" between plants & 18" to 24" between rows if machine harvested.
If hand cutting spacing about 12" square will produce the finest & highest quality rods.
Mistress Rose

I did have some willow fail once, but the land was pretty well all gravel, and dried out before the slips had taken. Otherwise, I don't think you have a problem. Falstaff

I usually stick them in water to root, then pot up and grow on for when I need them. Yes, I know you can just stick them in but this works too.

I think that's quite important katie - yes you can stick 'em in upside down with no rooting powder and little water and a few may fight their way through the obstacles you've put in their way and grow - but why not, in the natural scheme of things do your best to get a decent result ?

TAva - wrote :-
".........I haven't experimented with planting upside down,................"

How odd that I should think you said :

Tava wrote :-
"..........With willow you don't even need to worry about which way up. .............."
Tavascarow

I usually stick them in water to root, then pot up and grow on for when I need them. Yes, I know you can just stick them in but this works too.

I think that's quite important katie - yes you can stick 'em in upside down with no rooting powder and little water and a few may fight their way through the obstacles you've put in their way and grow - but why not, in the natural scheme of things do your best to get a decent result ?

TAva - wrote :-
".........I haven't experimented with planting upside down,................"

How odd that I should think you said :

Tava wrote :-
"..........With willow you don't even need to worry about which way up. .............." I believe what I've read from Windrush willows & elsewhere that it makes little difference.
They know more than you or I about the Salix genus & the best ways to propagate it.
Of the hundreds I've planted I'm sure I will have accidentally planted a few the wrong way up but haven't put it to empirical experimentation .
NorthernMonkeyGirl

They are currently in a bucket of water while I get around to doing something with them, so maybe they'll root anyway Very Happy

They're for a hedge / fedge / living fence thingy so I plan to space them fairly close so the stems can be woven together in time.

Dry soil is not currently a limiting factor Shocked Rolling Eyes
dpack

if you plant them in two rows fairly close (the rows not the cuttings) is should be possible to lay the first shoots to subsequently produce verticals that can be woven which avoids the problem of the odd one failing and messing the pattern(or leaving a thin patch)

i takes an extra year or two but the end result will be far sturdier and pretty

sewing but it works with hedges Wink
cassandra

I have been regularly and optimistically poking sticks in the ground for several years now - I ignore them and so some have failed to take. But i now have a clump of several varieties all growing in one spot (pussy willow, basket willow). I will be taking cuttings from this next year to poke into other spots.

Once in the ground they have been variously subjected to flooding, drought, vigorous competition and other impediments. Once they take off this does not appear to worry them.
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