DIY Rooting Hormone
Here in Jackson the snow is well on it's way to melting away on the valley floor. We start to analyze our garden and may need to fill in holes or maybe we want to start a raspberry patch using a friend's extra shoots. Before shoving these cuttings with their sparse roots in the soil try a DIY rooting hormone using willow branches. Yes, I mean the native or the Arctic willow varieties and really any willow variety will do. It's best to make this in the spring when the acids are most concentrated. But, you can make it anytime throughout the summer. It won't be quite as potent though.
First locate a willow with fresh new growth. Cut 1 foot length of branches. Strip the leaves. Cut the branches into segments 1-3" long and add them to a mason jar to fill 1/3 of the way with twigs. Top with freshly boiled water and allow to steep for a couple days. Strain and use your rooting hormone (the liquid, discard the sticks) within the month for optimum freshness.
To use the rooting hormone take your cuttings, such as rose canes, raspberry canes, divisions from peonies, etc and soak them in the hormone for the day. Plant them in soil using the liquid to water them in. Keep the soil moist, not soggy, until you start to see new growth.
What makes this an effective rooting hormone is the salicylic acid and indolebutyric acid. These acids help fight off potential fungal and bacterial infections and help stimulate root development.