The weeping willow tree is a favorite because of its distinctive rounded appearance and its graceful, drooping branches. Willows can grow just about anywhere but are especially beneficial when planted in soggy areas, where they will absorb excess water. Take a cutting from a healthy willow tree in early June, and in a few years, you’ll have shade from this fast-growing tree.
Water the weeping willow tree the day before you’ll take the cutting. A well-hydrated cutting will have a better chance of rooting successfully. Taking the cutting in the morning will also preserve moisture.
Select a sturdy softwood branch for cutting. Softwood branches should have very small leaves, and should break with a snap when they are bent.
Use a pair of sharp garden shears to cut a section of stem 3 to 6 inches long, with at least three sets of leaves. Make the cut just below a leaf node, which is where a bud or leaf emerges from the stem.
Fill a small planting container with potting soil, and spray the soil until it‘s damp throughout. Any container will work, as long as it has a drainage hole in the bottom. You can plant several cuttings in one container, but space them so the leaves aren’t touching.
Pinch off any leaves from the part of the stem that will be below the soil, and leave only those that will be above the soil. If there are any large leaves, cut them in half width-wise, which will conserve space in the container and reduce moisture requirements.
Dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone, and plant it in the container. Put the container in a clear plastic bag, and put some stakes or chopsticks in the bag to keep the plastic from touching the leaves. The plastic will keep the soil moist, but if it appears dry, remove the bag and spray the soil.
Put the weeping willow cutting in a well-lit, warm place where it will be out of direct sunlight. Check the bottom of the container every 3 to 4 weeks to see if tiny white roots are beginning to emerge. When the willow has taken root, open the top of the bag.
Open the plastic bag a little further each day, and gradually remove the container from the bag, but continue to keep the soil damp. When the willow cuttings are growing without the assistance of the plastic, they are ready to be planted outside.