I have used several methods for starting plants for my own use. I once moved on to property that had no trees. Early the next spring, with the blessing of a neighbor, I clipped very thin branches that where long and straight and more then 3 ft long and had buds barely cracked. I put them in 5 gal pails with warm water to which I add willow starter tea. I then changed the water daily by overflowing the pail (not letting the tree slips out into the air). I continued to watch them and eventually about 30-40% sprouted roots (which is good for free). This method works best with the soft wood trees I found.
It is made by boiling about a quart of water on the stove for about 15 minutes, then adding at least one heaping measuring cup of soft willow branches. The branches are prepared by stripping the leaves and cutting them into about one-inch lengths. The point is to get the branches from the current years' growth that has a thin bark. Also, recommended is to smash them with a hammer. The willow branch clippings are dumped into the boiling water; the heat turned off; stirring occasionally; and left covered to cool overnight. DO NOT BOIL THE WILLOW ITSELF. This steeps out the chemicals that are beneath the bark. When cool (overnight or longer) the woody clippings may be strained off. The solution put into a clean quart jar and capped. It is best if it is used up within three days. This solution is then used for soaking the cutting ends in overnight before planting them in starter medium.
That's a neat way! We here have always had luck starting weeping willows by just clipping a nice 2-3 ft. young (but not too young) branch off of the mama tree and putting it in a vase of water on the porch or in the window sill. Sometimes I'll add a pinch of root-tone or Miracle-gro to the water just to see if that helps but honestly, it works just fine in plain ol'water. I don't have much money at all to spend on plants, so I like to experiment with propagating. I like to go around the entire farm and take clippings of every tree, shrub and flower to see if I can have any luck in multiplying them. Just don't worry about whether or not it's going to work, you never know!
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