My tendency to kill anything that grows (except weeds) prompts me to ask for help.
This week I take down my legendary tree. I've confirmed it is a "dragon claw" or "Chinese corkscrew willow," and local legend says it is rare and came here by way of a missionary in China. I knew of no others closer to here than Albuquerque (I'm in Denver) and pictures of one growing in British Columbia confirms the description of the tree.
Fungus or a disease caused it to shed nearly all its bark, yet it kept greening up until this year. Now the base is rotted at the roots and I can push it over.
When discussing it with my neighbor across the alley, she asked if I had seen the tree across from her house, and is it the same as mine. Sure enough, it is a very mature, huge sample identical to mine, and although it is fully fall here, the tree is fully leafed and green!!! Imagine my incredible joy of finding another so close, and its a beaut!!!
So, my question is how do I start new trees from cuttings? What is the best time of year; how do I go about selecting appropriate cuttings; what's the best soil prep for a new willow; I need to know the whole nine yards.
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Each plant has an optimum rooting period but generally you want to get the previous year's growth, cut at an angle with an exacto knife, don't cut yourself, and buy some rooting hormone, dip in the end, in a mixture of sand and compost. Early spring. Put a plastic bag over it to keep the moisture in. If in leaf strip off the bottom leaves you are putting in the soil and possibly prune back the top to a leaf node. You should have a 5" twig full length, 2 in the soil and 3 out. If that fails try again in the autumn.