Planting willow

willow cuttings

willow cuttings

What to do with those willow cuttings? Willows are usually propagated by planting hardwood cuttings directly in the soil. This method works especially well with willows grown for basketry and other garden uses. Dunbar Gardens sells cuttings about 11 inches in length like the bundles in the photo above. On the farm, I usually  find that an 8 inch cutting is adequate.

planting willow cuttings

planting willow cuttings

I till the soil in advance and then simply insert the cutting into the ground with the buds facing up.

new willow planting

new willow planting

These basketry willows are planted in rows that are 32 inches apart and spaced 8 inches in the row. After the photo was taken, I trimmed some of these cuttings back to two or three buds remaining above ground.

planted willows leafing out

planted willows leafing out

Success rate on the willows generally is quite high. I have had some disappointments. For example, Salix purpurea x daphnoides does not seem to root quite as easily and S. purpurea ‘nana’ has very slender wood  which makes rooting in the field more challenging.

second year growth

second year growth

A frequent question is what to do the second spring? I cut back most of our willows to within an inch of the ground level like in the above photo. This pruning will encourage the growth near the base. The stool is going to get a little higher each year that the willow is coppiced; so it is important to start low.

Share

4 thoughts on “Planting willow

    • You are welcome. Thanks for visiting. No I don’t fertilize, but I have added lime before planting since willow prefers a neutral pH. The areas I have planted are good soils that I had previously used for vegetable production. A good mulching of compost would probably be good in poorer soils.

  1. very nice and simple…what are those willow planting shoes?
    how about an entry or two on history or etymology of varietal names? the relationship of place of origin and the like.
    i know get the willow book you mentioned a few weeks back.

    • are you making fun of my Lowas? I’ll try to do something on variety history. One of my favorite varieties is Dicky Meadows which is apparently named after a Richard Meadows who was a grower (I think) in the Lancashire area of England. Salix purpurea was the preferred species in Lancashire.

Comments are closed.