How to Make a Cutting From a Willow Tree


Willow trees are easy to propagated by rooting a cutting from an existing tree. But getting the right cutting and preparing it to root is an important part of achieving success. Hard wood cuttings can be taken in the winter while soft wood cuttings should be taken in the late spring to early summer. Both methods are work well for propagating willow trees, so pick the season that's right for you and give it a try. Willow trees are pretty forgiving--with a little care and preparation, your cutting will take root quickly and grow into a beautiful new tree.

Hardwood Cutting

Step 1

Cut a 5-inch hardwood branch about the thickness of your thumb. Take the cutting from a willow tree in the winter when the tree is dormant.

Step 2

Fill a bucket with clean sand. Stick the branch upside down into the sand so that it is fully covered.

Step 3

Fill the bucket with water to the level of the sand. Place in an area that will be cool but frost free throughout the winter.

Step 4

Remove the cutting in the spring and plant it right side up into the ground leaving the top 2 inches above the soil line.

Soft Wood Cuttings

Step 1

Select a fresh branch in mid June or early July. The branch should be green and springy.

Step 2

Make a cut at a 45-degree angle 4 to 6 inches from the end of the branch.

Step 3

Wrap the branch in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag.

Step 4

Store the cutting in a cool dark place until you are ready to plant it. The vegetable drawer of the refrigerator or a cool dark basement is ideal.

Step 5

Remove the cutting and roll the bottom 2 inches in hormone rooting powder. Stick the cutting into a pot filled with potting soil or into the ground.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting willow trees near sewer lines or septic tanks--their invasive, water seeking root systems can cause expensive problems in a few short years.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp pruning shears
  • Bucket
  • Sand
  • Plastic bag
  • Paper towel
  • Hormone rooting powder


  • NC State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cutting
  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
Keywords: soft wood cuttings, taking tree cuttings, hard wood cuttings

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.