The offshoot of this is that you can use willow as a root stimulator when taking cuttings. I know I am a little early in the season to be talking about cuttings (Unless you are in Australia!), but I thought it was a good topic to get us all excited for the upcoming spring!
When taking cuttings you generally dip the bottom end of the cutting in a rooting hormone. I am not as wealthy as I would like to be, and always looking for a way to be self-sustaining, this is an inexpensive (free) and self-sustaining way to give my cuttings a head start on life.
Here's what you do:
- Gather some pencil size branches from whatever type of willow you have (live - not dead).
- Cut them into approximately 3-4" pieces. You will need about 2 cups of cuttings for every gallon of water.
- Dump the willow pieces in a container (bucket, pot, etc...) and pour a gallon of boiling water over the top.
- Let the willow tea steep overnight. (The longer it steeps the more IBA will be released)
- You can store the solution in the fridge for up to 2 months.
You then soak your cuttings in the solution before planting. As a bonus the IBA will inhibit bacteria, fungus and viral disease. (You want your blog to go viral - but it's a bad thing for your plants)
Willow also contains salicylic acid (often used as an anti-acne treatment, for people - not plants) that is very beneficial for young plants. If you water your young plants with your tea it will also help inhibit bacteria, fungus and viral disease.
Get your hands dirty!