Saturday, March 20, 2010

Starting Willow Cuttings in Paper Pots

Recently we received this wonderful information and photo from one of our customers. I asked her if I could share it on this blog.
"Last year I received willow starts from you on 4/5, kept them in the refrigerator until 4/16 when I set them up to root in vermiculite. "
"I made paper tubes of newspaper, filled with plain vermiculite, one willow stick in each tube, grouped the tubes into large plastic pots to hold them upright and keep them wet."
"It was June 7 when I was ready to plant the willows. So 7 weeks rooting in vermiculite, about 4 weeks in the house and 3 weeks outdoors in shade. This method is a good way to insure strong root development, especially if you expect a delay in planting and might miss the moist soil of early Spring."
"I usually leave the newspaper tube on when putting the plant into the soil. They're just a couple layers of paper and ready to decompose, falling apart by 7 weeks old as these plants were held a bit long."
This is a picture of a poplar, but the willow cuttings did just as well
"Look at the beautiful plant! Admittedly this was one of the fullest. They are planted to make a coppice for crafting materials. Planted in a spot selected for it's location rather than it's soil quality, we did amend the soil with mushroom compost - I am a mushroom farmer- and applied several inches of mulch in the Fall. All but one plant grew."
"I have planted hundreds of trees and it is my greatest pleasure to see the trees growing and the small creatures that make use of them."

Rebecca Miller

Thanks Rebecca!
Note: We definitely recommend keeping the newspaper on when planting, as the roots are brittle and could easily be broken off when inserting a bare root willow into the planting hole.