Willow trees can be found in marshy areas or near running water, like creeks and streams. The chemical properties noted for increasing strike rate – rooting growth – are, indolebutyric acid (IBA) and Salicylic acid (SA). The salicylic acid is also beneficial in reducing infections in cut plant materials.
- Collect a handful of willow twigs (all Salix species produce natural rooting hormone). The more willow cuttings you have and the longer they soak in the water will yield a stronger willow water brew.
- Cut branches from any of the Salix genus into 2-4 inch pieces and place in a large bowl or bucket.
- There are many different methods for making the tea or infusion.
To Boil: Transfer willow cuttings to a large kettle or pot and fill with water so that all cuttings are covered with water. Put on low heat for 2 hours, covered, until water turns dark brown. Let mixture sit and cool for 12 hours, covered.
Strain out sticks and pour tea into a sealable glass jar or plastic container and store in fridge for up to 2 months. Mixture may be frozen for up to a year.
Or, the infuse the willow with a slow soak method: Soak the willow cuttings in water for up to two months. Strain off cuttings using a sieve or strainer and store in glass jars as noted above.
5. Use the willow tea to soak cuttings in. Place cuttings in a vase or jar and let them soak up liquid for 12-24 hours. You can also water newly started cuttings or transplants to give them a boost.
Remember to label your willow tea jars and note the date when it was made.