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willow water and other natural rooting agents

 
pollinator
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I am working in a nursery now and we are producing A LOT of cuttings. In an attempt to be as ecological as possible we have not been using any rooting hormones. This is ultimately proving not to be economical as we are only having around an 80% success rate after 3 weeks when we know from experience that using artificial rooting hormones we could have a 90% success rate in 10-14 days. We are probably going to experiment with some commercially available natural rooting agents in the interim but they are expensive. The farm has lots of willows growing on the banks of the pond so I am going to make some willow water (by soaking cut up willow shoots in a bucket of water) this weekend to experiment with but I am curious to know any other recipes for willow water that might be more concentrated and/or other natural sources of rooting hormones to help cuttings root faster and more reliably.
 
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hugelkultur dog duck
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I have had great success with willow water for both cuttings and seedlings. Then again, I wouldn’t be displeased with an 80% success rate with my quick and dirty methods.
 
s. lowe
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Ben Zumeta wrote:I have had great success with willow water for both cuttings and seedlings. Then again, I wouldn’t be displeased with an 80% success rate with my quick and dirty methods.



Is your willow water just water that had cut up willow shoots soaking in it for a while?

Side question, is there any time limit to how long I can soak willow shoots in water?

Also, I should add that our concern is more about the time than the success rate. If willow water had us at 80% after 10 days instead of 20 we would be stoked. This is a commercial operation and the season for cuttings is passing by quickly so the bigger issue is having cuttings sit for 3 weeks taking up space in the nursery
 
Ben Zumeta
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That makes sense. I just take 12-18” Willow whips, soak them in water that gets changed/used on starts or cuttings, and use them until they have roots several inches long. I then plant them around wetlands for restoration projects.
 
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