The easiest and most predictable way to grow Dapple Willow, Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’, from cuttings is to do them as Hardwood Cuttings in the Winter. They can be done as Softwood Cuttings in the Summer, but that can be a bit tricky. But as hardwood cuttings they are very easy to root.
Plants in the willow family are the only plants that I’ve ever seen rooted with really long cuttings. All other plants are best done with about a 5″ cuttings. But willows root easily and you can do them as really long cuttings. In this photo Roger Higgins is showing off a Dappled Willow that he rooted with a really long cutting, probably 30″ longer or more, then the trained that cutting to grow into a single stem tree.
Training a Flower Shrub to Grow as Tree is actually pretty easy and fun to do.
Dappled Willow has spectacular color in the spring and typically grows as a large shrub that sprays outward then weeps slightly, much like the shape of a forsythia. But in the early spring the color is striking and people come to our nursery asking for them.
Dappled Willow is super easy to grow as a shrub and is hardy in zones 4 through 9. As a tree form they are also easy, but you have to keep picking the new buds off the stem as they appear so they don’t make branches down low.
I took these photos and we shot a very soggy video at Roger’s Backyard Nursery in Cranesville, Pa. Roger is one of our members. A machinest by trade, but Since Joining Our Backyard Growers Group he has become quite the plant propagator and quite the nurseryman. Roger’s yard is only 1/2 acre lot and he has it packed full of plants that are growing, rooting and plants for sale. He does a nice little retail plant business from his home and he sells a lot of plants to other members.
Enjoy the video and turn up your volume a bit, the rain made this challenging and being soaking wet in 37 degrees temperatures should have taken all of the fun out of this but it didn’t. Duston and I had a blast hanging out in the rain with Roger, but we need to go back when it’s warmer.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below and I’ll respond.
I am interested in cloning a white oak tree. Am I able to do this with the sand and if so what would you recommend as the size of the twig?
White Oak are grown from seed. Collect in the fall and plant in the fall just an inch or so deep. Do a bunch so you have good results.
I have 6 softwood cuttings in water I’ve rooted but now leaves are growing on them in the water. It is too hot to plant them now. My question is should I clip them off or just allow them to grow in the jar in the water? I’m afraid they will cause bacterial buildup in the water, until we can plant them in soil.
I’d get them in soil. If they fail, just do more in soil. Water is never a great option.
I have a dappled willow shrub that’s a year old. I would like to turn it into a tree but none of the branches at the bottom are straight for a trunk. Is it too early?
It’s not too early, you need to pick one branch and get it staked straight up. Even if it’s a shorter branch then start removing some of the other branches but not all of them right now.
Karin Palmquist says
Hi Mike, I rooted 6 whips ( 3′) last fall from my variegated willow bush – and they are all sprouting! Thanks for all your info. Question .. How quickly will each whip grow. Also, how far should I space them when planting? I have a perfect spot near a marsh with about 5 hours of morning sun in 5b zone in eastern Ontario. I would like them to mass nicely into a 6′ x 6′ bush. Your suggestions are most appreciated.. Karin
They will grow quite fast. Space them from six to eight feet apart.
Hi there! Any suggestions on transplanting a 7 year old Japanese Willow?
Do it now or early spring when it’s dormant. Do not move it once it leafs out. See this for details https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2015/11/moving-a-large-laceleaf-weeping-japanese-maple-tree/
Mike I love your site! You have the best info for propagating and growing plants. I have even bought your books and loved those too. My problem is that I want to try a million things and I don’t know what grows in my area. I am really stumped with my soil as it is so different than what I have grown on before, I need to figure out what well grows in it. I have thought of joining the backyard growers, but I need 1 or 2 of a bunch of plants to just try..is the backyard growers a way to get a few of a lot of different plants?..I do have a dappled willow, it grows well, so I will try this.
Absolutely! In the members area, http://backyardgrowers.com/join, you can buy all kinds of different plants in really small quantities. If you ask, I’m sure a member would be happy to send you any size assortment that you want. Just tell them in what you live and they will fix you up. They love doing things like that.
I watched lot of your videos and I saw where u braided the golden curlie willow . My question is couldn’t u braid the dappled willow Bush cuttings to form a stronger stem to hold up as a tree form
You could. The big question is how well do braided trees perform over time. As they grow do they strangle one another?
Christi Cell says
I have two of the dappled willow bushes that I had purchased this year they’ve grown a lot a bit leggy which I will cut back next spring but would love to have the dock boat tree form so I was trying to figure out the best way and maybe even the fastest way to get that started
see this; https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2014/04/how-to-grow-train-flowering-hydrangea-shrubs-into-tree-hydrangeas/
Daisy Nicholas says
Hello, my name is Daisy and I am an avid gardener. I am very interested in ordering one of these. Do you sell them? If so, how can I go about getting one?
Thank you 🙂
Greetings from Nova Scotia – zone 6b! I would greatly appreciate your advice after searching in vain for answers on the Internet. I have propagated about 50 dappled willow cuttings successfully – much to my astonishment. I simply put each cutting in soil in its own pot. Within a week I have small leaves growing from the nodes on the cuttings. I fully intend keeping them through the winter in our small greenhouse that we will heat with 2 hurricane lanterns to take the edge off the deep winter cold. I am reluctant to plant these into the ground in Oct or Nov as the few roots I caught sight of seem spindly and frail, I just don’t think they’ll survive hence the greenhouse idea. So my questions are will this work? Do I still allow them to become dormant over the winter? As I mentioned the lanterns are just to help with the minus temperatures so I would imagine these cuttings will still want to “hibernate”. Many thanks in advance!
Will the single trunk on a dappled willow grow strong enough to support the top? All the info I can find on a standard form says they need to be grafted onto a compatible willow trunk. ..
Grafting is the typical way that they are grown, but I’m pretty sure the stem will support the top as long as you keep the top under control. The good thing that it costs nothing to try and you can produce one in a relatively short period of time. If I were to spend time grafting plants I’d do Japanese maples, not Dappled Willow.
Kimberly Baker says
Hi, thanks for the info! Can you propagate dapple willows in water? Thanks again
Doing them in the soil is far better. Just stick the cuttings right in the soil
Stan Herring says
Mike, I bought your book on propagation a few years ago. I haven’t gotten around to starting like I would like to but I am putting up a small (8×12) greenhouse. I am going to try to air prune a lot of the plants. Especially trees. Really interested in your group. How much is it to join. This really gets me going. It feels good to get outside and grow things. I think I make it harder than it is. It’s not simple though, but I can do it.
It’s only $7.00 to test drive our members area, http://backyardgrowers.com/join. Take the test drive. There is no way in the world to fully comprehend what it’s all about until you spend $7.00 on the inside. Opens again on May 5th.