The willows I propagated a couple of days ago seem to be off to a good start. The leaves aren't all shriveling up, so that would seem to say that the shoots aren't drying up. Emboldened, I grabbed my trusty Felco pruners after work today and collected a few more samples from the trees around work. I grabbed a few from a gorgeous, monstrous willow near the entrance to our parking lot. This baby is probably 45' in diameter, and it is the tree that I'm targeting to be the feature tree in our front yard. Then I collected some samples from a blue honeysuckle near where I park my vehicle. This good sized shrub features fruit that ripen in June that taste a bit like a sour blueberry. The fruit sort of looks like a blueberry as well, only it is more oval shaped. I'm not sure how well the blue honeysuckle will propagate: the stem is more woody than the willows. I guess I'll soon find out. Roots are supposed to establish themselves after two to six weeks.
I've constructed a kind of mini-greenhouse to keep the humidity up around the shoots. A planting tray sits in a box lined with a garbage bag to keep the cardboard dry. A bunch of sticks about a foot long are taped all along the outside of the box, and a clear plastic drop-cloth used to keep paint off your carpet is draped over the whole thing. It is working nicely. Just hope it holds up over the next couple months.
A long weekend is coming up and the plan will be to propagate more of the acute willows I will use as my shelter belt. My little planting tray will hold something like 171 shoots, so I have a long way to go before I fill it up. But fill it up, I shall.