Upon arrival, the cuttings must remain moist. The top third of the cutting can stay out of the water and surface dry as this is where the buds form. the bottom two thirds should be submerged, or even completely submerged in water for 1-2 days and can be planted immediately after. keep the soil wet, if not saturated soil (drenched). The most critical time to keep them watered is the early stages until the roots get long enough to find their own water deeper in the soil. even though these trees survive the cold and can grow in all 50 states, the first time planted, they will want to grow in only a few short weeks, and the tender new growth cannot handle a freeze or the tender new foliage will die and a very good chance they may end up dead, or have a difficult time starting over. because your location may still freeze at night, the best method is to place the bottom two thirds of the cutting in glasses of water and wait for about two weeks. At about this time you will see white roots form on the part that is in the water. The top third remains surface dry above the water, and will show new buds forming. Once you see this happening, you can plant immediately only if your ten day forecast shows no 32 degree or colder weather forecast. This method works well as you don’t have to deal with long roots that could break off during planting. if your weather still can freeze, just let them grow in the glass of water for as long as three or four weeks (see photo) and plant when the weather is warm enough. if the water gets dirty or fogged, you can change the water as often as you like. this will give you a clear vision of watching the roots grow. If it is going to be a long time, you will want to plant the cuttings in tall drinking cups using soil, or planting pots, etc. it is best to plant in soil with no roots or roots just barely starting to grow. they cannot survive on just water alone as once the cutting uses up all energy stored in the cutting, it will die.
Hybrid Willows are very easy to grow if proper care is taken in the first months. The best method to eliminate weeds and hold moisture in and warm the soil to accelerate growth, is to lay down black plastic (never use clear). Cut a slit in the plastic to place over the cutting. The cuttings are pushed through the plastic 2/3 into the soil. On a 9 inch long cutting you only leave about 3 inches above the soil. The soil should be loosened with a shovel or garden tiller before planting the cuttings. Make sure the cuttings are not placed in the soil upside down. The narrower end is up. Or if any side branches remain, they will point up. I try and package so they arrive up (wet paper towel are is down) If weeds are allowed to grow around the cutting, growth will be drastically reduced. A weed mat or manufacturers products can also be purchased for weed control. Heavy mulch or wood chips is an alternative choice. Wet soil is critical requirement for success. Trickle irrigation is by far the most effective method of watering. And make sure the plastic has a large enough slit in it to allow watering or rain water to get under the black plastic. I would suggest watering every day until trees are established and growing well. It is almost impossible to drown them. Mature trees can withstand dry periods but immature trees must be kept moist. Hybrid Willows can grow to 100’ tall and can have a vigorous and extensive root system. So it can affect drainage pipes or house blocks. So be careful on choosing your site to plant. I will not be held responsible for any liability resulting from damage done by these trees. Use common sense when planting. If using for a wind break or privacy fence, I would advise planting 3’ apart. Or staggering double rows 5’ apart. If trimmed by cutting off the top growth and some side growth, they will grow thick to form a privacy fence or windbreak. I would suggest trimming off 1/3 (one third) of growth in the spring or fall. If planted far apart and trimmed to form a trunk, they will grow like a normal tree. Full sun for best results. Total shade may kill them. Trees are sensitive to artificial fertilizers, and if needed due to poor soil, apply sparingly 1 or 2 months after planting. NOT during planting. Composted organic fertilizers are ideal. And can be used anytime. But water is your best friend. And if you do not have rich soil, I prefer clay over sandy soil as sand allows water to drain through and clay holds the water.
After properly following the above instructions, Give it some time, and new buds will form on the sides of the cuttings. This will be the start of the new growth. The bottom of the cutting will sprout a new root system. At this point the trees will begin accelerating in growth.
Rabbits, etc can destroy the trees. If rabbits are a problem, place a fence around the trees. A rabbit loves the taste of the green bark and if chewed completely around the trunk, the tree has no hope for survival from the damaged area and higher. As the trunk gets large in later years, this should not be much more of a threat than a typical average tree of the same size. Rabbits may leave your trees alone during the summer, but when food is scarce during the winter, they will nibble on the green bark.
I wish you the best of luck. I bought these same type of cuttings (not roots) in 1989 and had excellent luck with them. And they should work the same for you. I back my product and want you to keep in touch. I want to be positive your trees will grow. I am also planting the same cuttings that I just sent you. I am doing this to monitor their growth. If I don’t have any problems, yours should be the same. The cuttings method works well through mid summer. Best to plant after freezing weather is done. Questions are welcome. Thank you very much, and if you need more, please email me.
PS- Any extra cuttings I may send for free, plant them separate for spare fillers in case one or two cuttings do not make it. That way a row run that has a tree die can be replaced without the hassle of sending a replacement tree or two. If I sent two extra cuttings, and two died, you still received exact amount you paid for. For small orders of 10 or 15 trees I usually send one free cutting. Using the free cutting as replacements gives the opportunity to replace a tree in a row run, keeping them all the same size and age. Most of the time every tree grows fine. But like any tree or plant, things can go wrong. Please don’t leave the cuttings laying in the hot dry sun all day while planting. Keep them in a bucket of water while planting. After three months you should have obvious evidence these trees are growing just as promised. I guarantee my trees for replacement for up to three months. After that, you are on your own. If I had a longer guarantee, I would end up selling them for twice as much. To keep customers honest, I need proof the trees did die. Photo or good description of what happened. In extreme cases, I may need original cuttings returned. It is rare or nearly impossible to have them all die. Especially if planted correctly.