Weeping Willow Propagation


The weeping willow tree has a majesty and romance all its own. Hardy in USDA planting zones 6a to 9b, the weeping willow is found most often along rivers and lakes. Weeping willow trees are easy to grow from cuttings. They are fast-growing, water-seeking trees that will root quickly in the right environment. It is as simple as taking a cutting, either a green cutting in the spring and summer, or a hard wood cutting in the late fall, and putting it into soil until a branch takes root.

Soft Wood Cutting

Step 1

Cut a 3-fool long green branch from a mature willow tree. Use a sharp pair of pruning sheers to make a 45-degree angle cut.

Step 2

Drive a dowel into the ground to make a 2-foot deep hole that is slightly larger than your willow cutting.

Step 3

Remove all but the top-most leaves and buds using your pruning shears.

Step 4

Slip the cutting into the hole and fill in the soil around it. Keep the area damp. You will notice new shoots on the cutting when it has successfully taken root.

Hard wood cutting

Step 1

Cut a 12-inch hard wood branch in the late fall or early winter when the tree is in its dormancy period.

Step 2

Fill a 5-gallon bucket with clean, coarse sand. Pour water into the bucket until it is wet up to the level of the sand.

Step 3

Turn the cutting upside down and drive it into the sand. Place the bucket in a cool, frost-free area for the duration of the winter.

Step 4

Remove the cutting in the spring. It will have small buds at the base of the stem from which roots will form.

Step 5

Fill an 8-inch planting pot with potting soil. Make a hole 4-inch deep hole in the center that is slightly larger then your cutting.

Step 6

Place the cutting right side up into the hole and fill in the soil around it. Pour water in the pot until it is thoroughly damp and keep it in an area that gets dappled sunlight.

Step 7

When green leaves emerge on the cutting, transplant it outside or into a larger pot.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant weeping willows near sewer or septic lines; the roots eagerly seek moisture and can quickly become a problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Dowel
  • Planting pot
  • Plastic bag (optional)
  • Paper towels (optional)
  • Bucket
  • Sand


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by stem Cutting
  • WSU: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Stems and VInes with Cuttings

Who Can Help

  • National Arboretum-USDA: Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: usda planting zones, soft wood propagation, hard wood propagation

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.