How to Root Willow Cuttings

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Cuttings turn one willow tree into several new ones.
Cuttings turn one willow tree into several new ones. (Image: American Images Inc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Willow trees provide both shade and visual interest to a yard. Starting a new tree from an existing tree is done with cuttings. Willow cuttings root readily when planted and cared for correctly. The cutting is taken from a healthy branch in late winter. Once potted, it begins to produce its own root system and within a few months becomes a viable sapling. Willows live for only 30 to 80 years, depending on variety.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Potting soil
  • Shears

Fill an 8-inch-diameter pot with moistened potting soil. Use a soil rich in organic matter that drains well.

Take a cutting at least 8 inches in length from a willow tree branch. Choose a branch with visible swollen leaf buds and make the cut with pruning shears.

Push the cut end of the willow branch into the soil deep enough so that it stands up on its own. Set the pot in a warm, sunny location.

Water the soil when the top 1/2 inch begins to feel dry. Water at the base of the cutting until the excess moisture drains from the bottom of the pot, then empty the collected water from the drip tray.

Transplant the cutting to its permanent outdoor location once it has begun to leaf out and after spring frost danger has passed. Plant the cutting at a depth in the ground equal to that at which it was growing in the pot.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may grow the willow cutting in the pot until the following spring if you prefer it to become more established before transplanting outdoors.
  • Too much sun and heat may damage young cuttings outdoors. Provide afternoon shade to the new tree during the first summer.

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