Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How To Start A Weeping Willow From a Twig!

How to start your own forest
of weeping willows!

This is how I did it last year:

I cut about 20 - 12 inch or so long new branches in early spring. Cut the ends as a diagonal cut about 1/2 inches or so. Be Careful.
Do not use a dull knife. It's true, a dull knife is more likely to get you than a sharp one. Dull knives slip and tear. Keep children (and grown-up kids) at a safe distance away from your working knife!
You could snip off a bunch at the momma tree with a shears. Then cut slips into the ends when you are ready to put them into a sand filled Coffee Can. Use a newly bladed Box Knife or other sharp bladed Knife - NOT a serrated kitchen knife.

When you get them home, strip about half the leaves off from the cut end of the branches, (They should look like long twigs with a few leaves at the top.)

Punch several holes in the bottom of a Coffee Can with an average sized nail (8 Penny nail or Ice pick size - or so ). Fill the Coffee Can full of sand (childrens sand OK). Add enough water to make the sand wet and allow to drain.

Push the cut ends deep into a coffee can of wet sand. Keep the sand damp and put the can of new sprigs into a semi-shaded or partial shaded sheltered area outside to sprout.

If, when you pull on the twigs and they tug back, they are most likely making roots. Give them fresh water every day. Just pour it into the can and let the excess drain out the bottom.

Within a 2 or 3 weeks, nearly all the twigs should have developed roots and started to grow. At this point, you could just put them into a jar of water and add a very dilute mixture of Miracle Grow(R). About 1/4 the recommended mix for potted plants). Let them grow for a week or so.

After the new trees have developed a fine mass of roots, you can then plant them into 6 inch pots for further growth until planting them into regular soil.

The pots should grow fine little trees using a potting mix with a half sand - half soil mixture. Fertilize with 1\2 diluted Miracle Grow(R) or other fertilizer as recommended for potted plants. Gradually harden them off with more and more sunlight. A little more each day for about 10 days until they can stand full sunlight all day long.

Transplant after a few more weeks. Have Fun!
Willow trees like to be watered often. that's why you will aften find them next to rivers, creeks etc. in the wild. Also, a little known fact. Willow trees were the first source for "Aspirin" The Native American Indians first used Willow Bark for headaches and menstrual pain. Etc. Dr. Bayer discovered how to synthisize it in Germany in the late 19th Century and put it into pills.


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