Last summer I started what I hope will grow into a willow fence. My first round of 80 or so were harvested and planted in the spring - not something I will do again.
Most sites will tell you to replant spring or fall but anyone looking to start a willow fence in cold(cold) climates is best served planting very late in the fall. I got lucky with the last round of 80 or so and held off till a few good freezing nights and a day before the fist real good snow. This way the sap is not moving, the leaves are off and the ground is still soft.The spring was too much work in frozen ground for shallow holes to plant cuttings already beginning to leaf. Not a big revelation for most and I should have been able to figure it out but I was eager to get something started.
The cuttings were 3/4-1" in diameter and planted every 2 feet or so in two offset rows. I tried to get an equal amount of the spring-red/orange and more grey ones. There are something like 160 different willow varieties up here apparently but these ones seemed to grow in somewhat similiar locations.
The results for the first row, after one summer, looked ~50% die back/off though I'll know better this summer. I'm sure the last 80 will take much better. I was able to bore out a good 18" with an iron bar and filled the hole with generous amounts of worm dirt. Come spring they should get a better start on the season. Hopefully in 3-4 years I will have something to work with.
My next plan is Caraganna Arborescens(Siberian Pea Shrub). I know they will grow relatively quick and have a good chance of surviving 45 below. The birds and bees will love them in the summer and maybe in 5-10 years they might work as a decent privacy hedge. I'm hoping they will tolerate the spring ground water.
anyway that's my plan - subject to change without notice