Willow Water and Plant Cuttings
As many of you already know, the willow is an extraordinary family of tree. It is well known for its medicinal properties, as well as its uses in basket weaving and fire starting. However, have you heard about the Willow’s ability to start new plants from cuttings?
It is extremely easy to start new Willow trees from cuttings. In fact, all you have to do is put a ten inch Willow cutting into a bucket of water or push it about 6 inches down into moist soil to start another plant. This is due to the Willow containing high amounts of indolebutyric and salicylic acids. These two chemicals promote rooting in Willows and other plants as well.
Native Americans and early settlers realized the rooting properties of the Willow. In order to harness these properties they created “Willow Water”. Willow Water is a simple, all-natural, decoction that extracts the indolebutyric and salicylic acids and allows you to use them on the plants of your choice. Today, commercial rooting agents use a synthetic form of these acids.
To make Willow Water, start by cutting green, pencil size, Willow branches into one inch sections. In order to allow the acids to seep out freely, smash the branches with a hammer. When ready, drop the stems into enough boiling water to fully submerge them. Remove the pan from the heat source and allow the stems to steep until the liquid cools. Make sure to stir the liquid occasionally.
Now that you have your own batch of Willow Water, you can use it to start your plant cuttings. Willow water can be applied directly to the snipped sections of a plant cutting or added to the soil. The acids in the water will significantly reduce the time it takes for your cuttings to produce roots. Willow Water can also be applied to your garden plants to promote growth.