How to Root Willow Branches


Willow trees are very hardy, love to be near water and are indigenous to many parts of the world. They are easy to root and require no special talent or equipment. However, before planting outdoors, the area must be able to support the willow's growth. They do best around ponds, streams and waterways, and can be used to anchor the soil on riverbanks and stream edges to limit erosion and land damage.

Step 1

Make a clean cut from a willow tree branch that is approximately 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter, using a sharp knife.

Step 2

Pour potting soil/sand mix into a 1 gallon bucket. Saturate the mix by kneading it in a fresh water source so that it is uniformly wet. Fill planting containers with this mix and always keep it moist.

Step 3

Soak the cutting(s) in fresh water for 1 to 2 days to start the growth process. Do not use rooting hormones, fungicide or fertilizers, although once potted and growth begins a light fertilizer should be mixed in with the soil. Follow the fertilizer's label instructions.

Step 4

Push the cut end of the branch into the soil. Allow only two or three of the buds near the top to show. Press and firm the soil around the branch inside the planting container, and keep the soil moist to allow the roots to grow. Keep these plantings in a light shade/sun environment for best results.

Step 5

Plant the willows directly into the soil as an alternative to container planting. Plant the willows in a known wet area around waterways, and they will do best when the temperature of the soil is 50 degrees F or higher. Cut branches as previously described and at the same diameter. Push the cuttings directly into the wet soil. Firm the soil around the branch, and keep the area moist.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • 1 gallon pots
  • Potting soil with a 50 percent sand mix
  • Fresh water source
  • Thermometer


  • Mt.NRCS.USDA.Gov: Improving the Establishment of Willow Cuttings in Riparian Areas
  • Bluestem.Ca: How to Start Willow Cuttings
Keywords: rooting willow trees, willow tree cuttings, willow branches

About this Author

Dale Y the Maintenance Guy, has been involved with do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance, property management and worked as a consultant with home and industries, while running a successful home repair business for more than 25 years. His written work has appeared in the "Lacrosse Tribune," "Women's Day," "New Home Journal," and on many DIY websites across the Internet.