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Pioneer Trees and the best way of Propagating Birch and Willow?

 
Richard Yorke
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Was wondering what is the best way of propagating Willow and Birch? Have some Silver Birch and Willow already.

The Birch tends to send out new suckers from the root stock, although they often get cut off by a tractor with a cutter once a week. Is it easier to grow a lot of birch by cuttings or from pieces of root?

What is the best way of planting willow cuttings in a very hard compact clay soil? Just make a hole with a metal rod and drop them in or try starting them off in pots first. Is there a season when they are much less likely to survive?
 
Travis Johnson
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Forty three years ago my parents took a willow cutting and placed it in a mayonnaise jar filled with water over the winter, by Spring it was so overloaded with roots they had to smash the mayonnaise jar to get it root bound-free. They stuck the thing in a hole (in clay soil) and today after many cuttings that overflowed the driveway it is some 50 feet high and over a foot in diameter.

I can't help you on what works for birch, but that was what worked for willow.

 
Charli Wilson
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Location: Derbyshire, UK
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Willow is really easy- chop bits off and place in a jar of water and they'll happily grow roots. I cut 20-cm long pieces of finger-thick branch whilst the plant is dormant and push them into the ground in about March- about 80% of them happily root and sprout.

I've never grown birch but the seedlings grow in my lawn easily enough so I don't think it is difficult to grow from seed.
 
Abbey Battle
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As above, willows strike easily. Birch would probably be successful as well.
I have read that you can strike willows in the summer from the seasons long growth, I was going to try that at some stage soon as I wish to have a decent rabbit / deer proof fence around my orchard, I'll give anything a go.

I know that hawthorn will sucker easily from exposed roots, as will a lot of the prunus family, I wonder if you can do the same with both willow and birch? That might be worth a try if you have existing trees.
 
cesca beamish
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Location: Leicester, UK 8b,
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yes willow is no trouble to propagate, cut a stick and shove it in the ground.
Birch is a pioneer plant so I'd guess easiest by seed if you wanted a few.
 
Linda Secker
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Location: Lancaster, UK
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seed for Birch trees and cuttings for willow. I'd take the willow cuttings in the winter, and wait till your heavy clay is wet before you plant so that the cutting will take straight away. I wouldn't recommend rooting them in water first as those thick white roots are easy to break off. Let it do the job once
 
Rebecca Norman
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I agree with Linda. I've planted and seen planted hundreds of willow cuttings. We usually cut them in late winter before the buds swell, and either soak them for a few days or plant directly. The most important thing is making sure the soil stays moist every day for the first couple of months, until the roots get established. I've also seen them successfully cut and planted in autumn after the leaves fell. Willows and poplars and oleaster are all very successful from cuttings like this, in my experience.
 
Richard Yorke
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Thank you for the replies. Have quite a lot of hawthorn sprouting up everywhere seeded by the bird probably, very tough to cut when mature (used for butcher's blocks from what I've heard). Have some small oak trees growing as well, no idea how they got there though. Was just a wheat field there for 10 years straight no crop rotation, now grass with some trees planted 7 years a go.
 
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