Originally Posted by saxonfig
boots- Interesting you mention the "willow water". I was just doing some recent research on this. Apparently willow trees (any variety) have a natural rooting hormone throughout the tree. From what I've read you can take a cutting from a willow tree up to 5" in diameter, stick it in the ground, keep it sufficiently wet, and it will root and grow. If I recall correctly the chemical responsible for the rooting properties is called "salicin". It was also the willow tree and this chemical that is allegedly resposible for the developement of common asprin. Check out this article: http://www.bluestem.ca/willow-article1.htm
[Edit; the above link contains some good info that I didn't include below.]
I've read about some folks using this willow water or willow tea to root plants & trees with some pretty good results. Hey, it's free too! There are alot of Black Willows (salix nigra) that grow in my area. I just might try this stuff on a couple of the cuttings I may be getting from some of you nice folks. I guess, if I'm feeling organized enough to do so, I may even make a documented experimment out of it and post the results here. That is if it hasn't already been done. I've seen a few different methods used to make willow water. One was this chick in Australia (I think) who was actually using it to root fig cuttings! She simply chopped up some willow leaves, put it in water, and dipped the cuttings in. She made a point of getting some of the chopped leaf material on the cutting before sticking it directly into potting soil. Apparently this was working for her. Another method was one that a Bosai grower used. All he did was cut some thumb size branches and stick them in a bucket of water for about a month. By this time the willows had rooted and the water was kind of slimy. He claimed that after using this slimy water as a rooting hormone his rooting success went way up. The third way I've seen the willow tea made seems to be the most common as well as the most reccommended: -Go get some finger size and smaller branches. -Strip the leaves off. -Cut the branches into about 3 inch segments. -Place them in a large pot and pour boiling water over them. -Let the "tea" set for one day to a week. -Strain out the pieces of willow branches, saving the water for use. -You then soak your cutings in this tea for anywhere from 2-48 hours depending on the type of plant cutting you're soaking. -Proceed with your favorite rooting method from here. Apparently you can also use this tea to water your cuttings no more than a couple of times during the rooting process. Using it to water growing plants/trees may be of benefit as well (?). Sounds intersting to me and I'm going to give it a try to see if it really works.