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Thread: Willow water

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    221

    Willow water

    Hi all-it's been a while since this topic was discussed.

    I've just finished prepping a second batch of clematis cuttings, which I found last year to root significantly better when soaked for a day in willow water before sticking. I'm kind of guessing at the quality of water I'm creating, but it worked well last year so I continue.

    Wondering if anyone else uses the stuff regularly, and how they make and use it.

    My "system" is to chop weeping willow twigs into as small pieces as I can, filling a plastic bucket with maybe 6 in. of these pieces...I leave the leaves on em too coz I'm lazy. Then pour two kettles full of boiling water over the willow bits, and let it cool.

    To use it, I have been creating my cuttings, then sitting them in a big rubbermaid with the willow water in the bottom, plus as much additional water as needed to bring the level up high enough to safely keep the ends of the cuttings submerged. I can close the lids of these rubbermaids, letting the cuttings stay humid in there for about a day before sticking them in the flats ( dipping in gel rooting compound at this point) then its under the mist/over the bottom heat.

    As I say, I'm just guessing this might be a good way to do it, haven't found much definite info on how to make and use this.

    Any other experiences out there?

    Glen in BC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    9,934

    Making 'Willow Tea'

    Glen,

    This article contains the methods used by some antique rose collectors/growers to make 'Willow Tea'.

    American Rose Society, Texas Rose Rustlers - Willow Tea

    There are other methods that have been around for a very long time, but they appear to simply variations of this one.

    Also, I don't think you would have to worry about making a fresh cut of your clematis under the tea or water. This has to do with the structure of the rose stem itself and is the method that florists use to keep rose stems fresh longer.

    Perhaps others have similar favorite links...

    Have FUN!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    221

    Recutting under water

    Ann and all-thanks for that lead, it helps to solidify my understanding of the willow.

    Didn't know for e.g. that the willow water is a bit of a disinfectant, that's helpful. I was thinking of dipping the cut ends in benomyl before sticking, but maybe it won't be necessary. I'll see how these work first.

    The mention of recutting the ends of the cutting under the willow water to avoid air bubbles in the stem just gives me guilt, do you rose cutting folks really do that? It's not that I'm THAT lazy, really. Okay, maybe lazy, but also have this love affair with my Felco pruners which I use to prep all the cuttings.

    Anybody else hate to submerge their good pruners in water? Gotta go now, my Felco is crying for some WD40...

    Glen in BC

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    NW Oregon
    Posts
    30
    I'm playing with willow cuttings myself just now, because I was able to get a couple of tiny snippings of 'Hakuro Nishiki' at (gasp!) the gas station near where I work! I should have had more self control and asked to come back on a cooler day in the morning to cut, but I just lost it and asked for them then and there -- 95 degrees f. at 6:00pm. So the tops are crispy, but the bottoms in water are pushing out those tell-tale little pimples.

    Anyway, I really didn't have anything to add to your willow tea question, except to throw in some enlightenment about latin nomenclature, and how it can open a whole new world. The genus of willow is Salix . If you look at other plant names, you will often find descriptive names referring to the willow. Cotoneaster salicifolia is willow-leafed cotoneaster. Now look at your asperin bottle. Salicylic acid ! That's actually what I was thinking of when I started this ramble. Your willow water has so many amazing properties because it is the source of salicylates. So now I'm wondering if anyone has ever crushed and dissolved an asperin in rooting water -- does it affect auxin utilization in plants, or is it known to be an auxin itself, or am I headed for mars? Susan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
    Posts
    149

    willow ware.

    Glen and all. Whats the perpose of the willow water.

    I never heard of it, so I asked the expert about it. He thinks its some propiganda thing. Hes never heard of it either.

    He thinks theres so much on the internet that a lot of these just dont work. Just a lot of great ideas to just through off the beginner and make it harder to catch the big boys

    Nothing against Rebecca and Ann.B.

    Glen my dad budded roses with the big guys, and none of this was used.
    George.B.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    221

    Snake oil

    George-yup there's so much snake oil being promoted, who knows what to buy and what to pass on.

    The willow water was written up in American Nurseryman or the IPPS, can't remember which. It was definitely found to be useful, and not snake oil in this case.

    The trial I'm thinking of was rooting chionanthus, a very tough one normally. They got excellent rooting using the willow presoak followed by the usual hormone.

    Willow is probably an older system, but is finally being recognized by the big boys with the scientific tests...

    Glen in BC

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
    Posts
    149

    willow water

    Glen- I may try it out, even though its from the American Nursery and landscape association. They usually dont associate with us.

    like you said just a thought/ tryout. George B.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    northeast Tennessee
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    1,703
    Willow water has been around a long time, before hormone dip I'm sure. Have used it and it does work.
    Many old timey ways do still work. Some better than all the new technology. And cost less,too.
    tennessee sue

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    221

    Cheaper but...

    Rooting hormone does get expensive when you're sticking hundreds and thousands of cuttings.

    The willow water is free, but on the other hand it does take some time to make, and then there's the extra step of soaking your cuttings in it overnight. Timewise, this is hard to do unless you're one of those men/women of leisure.

    I only use it on my clematis coz they're notoriously hard to propagate...I wouldn't bother on the majority of items coz they root fine with just the commercial rooting compound. But then, I've actually eliminated all the easy to root items here coz they don't make me enough $ to pay for the time.

    Most 1 gal. shrubs here wholesale for $3-$4, while these evergreen clematis are $9-$10 at the same size. Now if only I "really" knew what the heck I was doing here, I'd start producing them by the thousands and...goodbye day job!

    Oh, so what was this thread discussing again...

    I've compared with and without the willow water, and it did make a significant difference between rooting and not...for me...with these clematis. So I'm continuing with it.

    Glen in BC

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Suburb of Chicago
    Posts
    12
    I never boiled the willow. I always just put lots of willow cuttings in my rain barrel that collects the rain water from the roof. I use the water for my house plants and for watering new cuttings and seedlings. I absolutely know there is a difference. Willow has a high percentage of growth and healing hormones (this is where aspirin orginally came from) and I really believe in it.

    I have no scientific proof here - just anecdotal, but I believe it has power.
    Roberta

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