Monday, July 22, 2013
Make Your Own Rooting Compound
I've just discovered something that other gardeners have known for centuries. I thought maybe I wasn't the only one in the dark, and you might want to know about it, too. A rooting compound that is available for free and might be growing in your own backyard. Willow!
It turns out that Mother Nature has provided one of the best sources for rooting cuttings in the leaves and branch tips of the willow. It should be pretty obvious when you think of it, because a weeping willow readily roots itself when it's branches touch the ground. Separating the new growth from the mother plant to get a start for a new tree is also a cinch. That's because the willow contains a powerful hormone compound known as rhizocaline.
Here's all you have to do. Take the tenderest twigs and leaves from the newest growth of the tree and cut them into one-inch pieces. Place a few handfuls in a bucket of water and leave it alone for a few weeks. You are now making "willow tea." (not for human consumption.) Then strain the tea water into glass Mason jars and store in the refrigerator until needed. Be sure to mark it well in case someone in the house doesn't know what you are doing! Need some compound quicker than that? Steep the twigs and leaves in a pot of boiling water, soak overnight, and then pour into the jars. You'll produce the same magic formula.
When you are ready to propagate, dip a cutting into the willow water before planting in the your pot, tamp the soil down gently, and then water with remaining willow water. Your cutting is now off to a good start.
This is one of those times when planning ahead for the winter months when you will be more focused on indoor gardening will pay off big time. If you make more than you can use, give away as gifts to gardening friends in pretty containers of decorated Mason jars.
I used to have a beautiful weeping willow at the back of property at my previous house, but as I look around my neighborhood here I don't seem to find any. The above picture is the tree that was at my previous house in the backyard. I loved that tree. Oh well, now I'm off to find a friendly person who will let me trim their tree And maybe I'll make a new friend who wants to know how to make willow tea rooting compound.
You might also like to visit my other blogs: An Herbal Bedfellow, www.anherbalbedfellow.com & Grabbin' A Bite, www.grabbinabite.com