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Starting a Weeping Willow Tree from a Cutting

Category Cuttings
Photo of a large weeping willow tree.
Many trees and shrubs are easy to start from a cutting. This is a guide about starting a weeping willow tree from a cutting.


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August 28, 20123 found this helpful


How do you start new trees from an existing Weeping Willow tree?




Willows contain a plant hormone that promotes rooting so they are easy to propagate. A cut branch can actually be stuck directly into moist soil in the summer and roots will develop after only a few short weeks. To root other times during the year, you can start them in a vase of water and transplant them outside in the spring. Use cuttings that are about 1/2 to 1 inch thick in diameter and about 12 - 16 inches long. You can pound them into the ground with a rubber mallet until only a couple of leaf nodes (1-2 inches of the cutting) remain above the ground. You can also tie bundles of cuttings together (each about as thick as a pencil and about 3 feet in length) and lay them horizontally in shallow trenches. This will create a dense "fence" effect as the cuttings sprout. Remember that willows are invasive and grow massive roots. Keep new cuttings well away from driveways and sidewalks, foundations and septic systems.

Comment Was this helpful? 3
April 1, 20132 found this helpful

Willow trees have a natural rooting hormone. You can take a branch that has fallen off or one you have cut off.

Toward the bottom scrape the bark slightly. This will help the rooting hormone come out. Then put the bottom of the branch in a pot of soil. Make sure the part where you put some scratches or scrapes is well covered in soil. Keep it damp. The branch should root probably in 5 to 6 weeks, possibly sooner. Then you will have a new willow tree.

It is said that you can put pieces of willow in a glass of water. Leave the pieces soaking. Then water your plants to produce good strong roots on your house plants. Willow trees are beautiful but very messy trees.

Good luck with your project.

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August 28, 20124 found this helpful


Can someone please tell me how to take a cutting from a willow tree and how to get the cutting to grow? I live in CT.

GRAYCAT926 from Bolton, CT



Willow cuttings root easily because the tissues contain a natural root-promoting hormone. They can be started any time of the year in pots, or outside in late winter or early spring.

To start a tree from a cutting, select a healthy branch that is approximately 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter, and about 10-15 inches long. If planting outside in the spring, pound the branch into moist soil with a rubber mallet, leaving two or three leaf nodes exposed above ground. The site should receive at least a small amount of shade during the day to allow the roots to develop properly. Roots will start to form within a few weeks, and by fall the cutting can be carefully transplanted to a permanent site-ideally as far away as possible from foundations, water pipes and sewer lines.


To root a cutting indoors, simply stick the branch in a small pot of moist soil and transplant it outside as soon as the danger of frost has passed.

Good luck.


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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 24, 20112 found this helpful

My daughter had to cut down her weeping willow after it was destroyed in a storm. We noticed that the cut logs and branches were starting to sprout. Can a new tree be started from these and, if so, how?

By Kate

Answer Was this helpful? 2
July 29, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can just cut off one of the shoots and put it in water, or plant it, but it must be kept pretty damp till it takes root. It will grow with no problem. We have done this several times, they are pretty easy to get going. Good luck.

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July 25, 20110 found this helpful

I would guess, and I am only guessing, stick the branches in the ground and give them plenty of water. I would do several as some won't survive, but willows are tough.

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July 29, 20110 found this helpful

I've cut branches from a willow and just stuck them in a bucket of water until they rooted. I did this in the spring because of our very cold winters. Hope this helps.

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July 29, 20110 found this helpful

My husbands Grandmother has started willows by cutting a branch and placing it in water until it had good root development. They have always survived once planted.

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April 26, 20150 found this helpful

Just cut clean off broken branches and plenty of regrowth will follow, even if close to ground. Close to ground a "coppice" tree results and when cut higher up a "pollard" results when the new shoots are cut every one or few years. The pollard stem gets wider and wider as time goes on. And every new shoot can be used to made a new tree of as explained.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 12, 2009

How do I start a willow tree?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Carol B. from Pittsburgh, PA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
October 14, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

All you have to do is put the cut end in water and change it every 2 or 3 days, be sure there is room between the twigs so don't crowd them in a glass or jar.

Rinse the stem ends when you change the water but stop rinsing them once you see roots, just carefully flood the jar with warm water until it is clear again, once roots start appearing simply pot them up and try to keep them in a warm area, they grow like crazy so be prepared! Corkscrew willows can be kept in a pot for many years and make beautiful trees.

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October 15, 20090 found this helpful

I don't know how to start one but I DO know the one we had (weeping willow) in our yard in Louisiana interfered with the plumbing! they are very invasive and not good near any plumbing lines. Put it far, far away from the house! It was beautiful and I enjoyed it until it started it's bad ways and I'll never have another!

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October 16, 20090 found this helpful

It doesn't require much effort at all. We have a beautiful curly willow that was damaged by an ice storm in the Spring of 2008. While we were cleaning up the debris, on a whim we stuck several branches into the moist spongy soil. We now have healthy trees growing, and are planning to transplant several next spring.

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February 24, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you for your help. We have two suckers we will be removing and wanted to replant for more trees. You answered all our questions clearly. Again, we Thank you.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 22, 2011

Can I clip a piece of my downed willow and make a new willow?

By Lee

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
June 28, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Willows root pretty easily and you shouldn't even need any rooting hormone (many of these compounds are made from willow anyway). If the tree has been down for a short time, you should have no trouble rooting it as the stems will still be live for a period after it has fallen. If the tree fell due to disease, I would not root cuttings as that could be transfered to the new trees.

Take a cutting from new wood on the willow, about 8" long (new wood is a term for that season's growth). Leave only 2-3 leaves on it at the tip. At the base of the cutting, gently scrape off some bark on two sides of the stem. This will help roots to grow from that area.

Place the stem in a 4"-6" pot with moistened potting soil. I like to use a potting mix that is for seed starting. Cover the pot with a plastic bag to keep the humidity high. Place the covered pot in a partly sunny location (morning sun is best). Check the soil daily to see if it needs watering. Spray the soil with water as needed and put the bag back on the pot.

After 4-8 weeks, roots should begin to grow. You can check the drainage hole on the bottom to see if you see any roots growing or gently pull on the stem to see if you feel any resistance. If you do, then roots have started growing. Once you know roots are growing, removing the bag and continue to grow it in the pot until roots have filled up the pot. Transplant to a larger pot to grow for another year or so, before putting in the ground. I'd suggest taking more than one cutting in case some don't take root.

I also have another method you could try, but not sure if it will work in your situation. You can use a technique called layering. Simply take a stem, nick the stem with a knife and then bury the wound under soil while the stem is still attached to the tree. After 6-8 weeks you can cut the stem from the mother plant and dig up the cutting with new roots attached. You can usually have a larger plant this way as the stem is still getting support from the mother plant as the new tree is growing roots of it's own. Works great for all kinds of bushes too.

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May 10, 20160 found this helpful

I find if you take a heel branch , it will take root

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June 26, 20110 found this helpful

Can I plant a branch from a weeping willow? Should I use root hormone on it?

By Eileen

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 5, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would say definitely on the root hormone. I know that you can root the curly willows in water first. It should not be hard either way. It is almost impossible to kill those darn things!

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May 8, 20110 found this helpful

How do you grow roots on a weeping willow cutting?

By Nick J.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
May 16, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

My friend simply cuts a good sized stem and puts in in the ground while the leaves are still coming out. After that time, I would normally put the stem into a container of water until roots showed up. Willow has a natural affinity to 'root', in fact, you can boil willow plant, and use the cooled water to root other plants, by dipping the stem into the water, then placing in dirt.

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November 8, 20100 found this helpful

I have taken some cuttings from a large weeping willow at the end of our road. They are now well rooted and I was just wondering if these will grow into mature weeping willow trees?

By Steve

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 8, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Yes, so be sure to give them lots of room to grow!

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By 0 found this helpful
April 20, 2017

I recently accquired a log (not a trimming or exsisting trunk) from the family who bought my Poppy's homestead after he passed away. It is about 4ft long and 1ft in diameter and it has 3-4 sprouts. Is there any way to save them? Do I plant the log, seperate the log into pieces, dig out the sprouts? What can I do to save this tree? It would kill me to have it die.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 21, 20171 found this helpful

It sounds like mhawkins has very good advice but you may want to try to start one in a large pot so you can move it if necessary for the best light or just so you can baby it.

i did some research and it seems a lot of sites say it will not make much difference whether you plant in spring or fall.

I hope you have good luck with all of your "cutting".

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April 21, 20171 found this helpful

Just an FYI. You can also start new trees by dipping a part of a branch into rooting hormone and then into peatmoss. I have started several this way.

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April 20, 20170 found this helpful

You can do it, but it is not the right time. It should be late fall or early winter. Here is an article with details: http://homeguid  ranch-41548.html

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April 21, 20170 found this helpful

Judy is correct, it is not the right time to do this. However, you may loose what you have if you take no action. Weeping willows contain a natural rooting hormone which is why your log is sprouting. Judging from your photo, I would probably cut the log into 3 sections, each with one sprout showing. Then, following the guidelines in the web site Judy recommended, plant the log pieces. Between the action of the rooting hormone and the decay of the wood you should produce at least one good tree.

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April 27, 20170 found this helpful

Thank you SO much. I plan on planting it tomorrow. It will receive much love and care and hopefully be as beautiful as the Weeping Willow on my Poppy's property. If all else fails, I'll keep part of the log and have that for the memories! You're advice is so very appreciated!

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By 0 found this helpful
March 13, 2017

These twigs were in a arrangement I received. They are now budding out -growing. Do I need to repot them? How do I care for them?

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March 13, 20170 found this helpful

Are they developing roots? Dip the ends in some rooting hormone then put into some peat moss or good rich potting soil.

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March 13, 20170 found this helpful

I would also put rooting hormone on them and put in a soil-less potting mix. Once the plant takes off, I would repot in potting soil.

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March 14, 20170 found this helpful

These twigs were most likely just for adding some sort of "definition" to this arrangement but now it looks like these "twigs" will soon take over your pot.

I would definitely recommend removing this from your pot and if you like it then just repot in any good potting soil. You will soon be able to tell if you really like it as it looks like a very fast growing plant and may even be a vine.

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March 14, 20170 found this helpful

Willows are large fast growing trees that root and bud very easily. You only need to shove a freshly cut twig into the ground and it will grow of its own accord without any help from rooting powders. However, if you want to grow one in a pot you could look up how to bonsai it. They prefer the outdoors

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June 21, 20170 found this helpful

It looks like a Twisted Willow, a relatively small tree. I was just looking to see if I can use cuttings to propagate. Looks like it!

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May 25, 20131 found this helpful

I have a weeping willow tree in my back yard. I would like to know how to prune and start another tree with my pruning

By David

Answer Was this helpful? 1
May 25, 20130 found this helpful

I found these actually on this site:

http://www.thri  m-a-Cutting.html

I might actually try this myself!

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January 19, 20140 found this helpful

I recently took cuttings from a fallen willow tree and planted some outside, but kept a small cutting to pot inside. The one inside sprouted buds, which have now turned into leaves. I've kept the soil wet and have watered it regularly, but the leaves look sad and droopy now. I can tell it's not very happy. What am I doing wrong? Is it possible to over water it?

It's on a windowsill. It's winter in the UK but it's been quite bright. Do I need to feed it any plant feed? What will make my willow tree cutting happy again.

By Jacqui L.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 17, 20170 found this helpful

Try putting a plastic bag over the upper part so that the water loss is not as dramatic.

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January 28, 20130 found this helpful

I received some weeping willow twigs in the mail. I've already planted them in a small pot. They're about a foot long. They are "not" branches. They are much smaller and thinner than a branch. I've had them for about 2 weeks and the willow buds are starting to sprout leaves. I've noticed that they grow more and more each day. And they seem to grow faster if I water them faster.

My question is, now that they're starting to sprout, will they grow together as one tree? Or will each sprouting twig become its own tree? Also, is it possible to take the willow twigs and entwine them together so when the weeping willow tree grows, the trunk will be braided?

I've tried looking all over online, and I can't find a legitimate answer. The only related searches are about pruning, watering, etc. I know all of this, I just want to know if each twig will be an individual tree.

Thank you so much for your help ((:

By Donna R

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 4, 20130 found this helpful

Each cutting is an individual tree, if planted in 1 clump you will have a clump of willow trees. Please check with your county extension office for more information on growing your willows, if they can be braided and any other questions you may have. I do hope this helps.

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December 1, 20140 found this helpful

Where can I get these stems or seeds?

By Lien

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

February 7, 20140 found this helpful

If a willow branch started leafing after a week of planting, would it still root?

By Agatha

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

July 5, 20120 found this helpful

I'm trying to start a new willow tree. I took cuttings, got them to root in water, but the top lost its leaves and has no new growth. Actually they look quite dead. Will leaves come out eventually? Two cuttings did spout leaves!

By Gail

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November 8, 20100 found this helpful

Is it ok to start a weeping willow cutting in the fall?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

By Debbie from IA

Tree Root Concerns

First, be sure you really, really want a willow tree. Willows are well known for their ability to locate and grow through water pipes, causing no end of problem. Some years ago, my willow tree located the gray water pipes (50+ feet away) and blocked them up. I got Roto-Rooter to come and clean them out. Then they told me their work was guaranteed for only 6 weeks! Any other type of tree would have been guaranteed for 6 months to a year or more, depending on the variety.

When we cut down the willow tree, the trunk was cut into large "slices" about 2 feet high. The slices lay on the ground for a few days before we could get to clean up, but my neighbor took one to use as an accessory table on his cement patio. Within a few days, it had sprouted! There are so many lovely trees that won't interfere with your plumbing. Maybe a maple?

By sarsi

Beware of Maples, Too

Maples will get into the plumbing too, especially the silver maples. Any tree planted close enough is a potential problem. I started 4" cuttings one fall, held them indoors under lights in a cold basement for the winter, and set them out the next year. They are now 12 feet tall a few years later.

By Contester

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September 8, 20100 found this helpful

How do I propagate cuttings of the weeping willow?

Hardiness Zone: 9a

By Betty

It's Easy

I once visited a yard sale with several willows in the yard. While talking with the seller, they said that they just choose a good branch, cut at an angle, and just planted that stem. He said that it would readily root itself if kept watered.

By Your friend

The Easiest Tree to Grow

You can find a piece of new growth on a willow tree, cut or break it off and just put it in a pot of soil or into the ground and it will grow. This is very possibly, the easiest tree to grow. Just be mindful and don't put it too near your house. These trees will invade your septic system and cause major problems with your home.

By Bama_Jypsy1

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January 31, 20080 found this helpful

On Valentine's Day 2007, I received some roses with beautiful greenery! On of the pieces of greenery was a Curly Willow branch which is growing it's leaves. I live in Houston, Texas and would like to know exactly what to do to grow this Curly Willow Tree. The florist said a lot of the greenery they put in their vases comes from out of the country. So I'm not sure if this one will live here. I have it still in the vase with clean water along with other greenery that came in the vase. Also my yard is clay so I need to know what to do! I'd love to have this as a tree in my back yard. Should I put root hormone on the bottom of the stem and put it in a pot with Miracle Grow Soil?

Jo Ann

Plant It

As long as it has roots now. You will have to dig a big enough hole and loosen up the soil around it. Then I would add some sand to all of the clay that has to go around the tree. Keep watering every day for a week then it should be just fine.

By Joyce

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