Most of the failed cuttings leafed and were beginning to grow. Examining the failed cuttings showed that most had roots but the stem in the ProMix BX had rotted.
That’s usually a sign of too much water. When I first started them, I gave them very little water and they did well.
It was only when I gave them more water when they appeared dry that they started to fail. I suspect that while the surface may have been dry, the area down at the roots wasn’t. I think that this was compounded by the fact that I had the rooting bags very tightly packed to fit in the plastic boxes. This compacted the ProMix BX. I’ll see what Frank Gomez thinks.
I have four surviving willow cuttings that I watered along with the rest but haven’t watered since. Yesterday, when I saw that they were showing signs of wilt, I gave them a very small amount of water. We’ll see what happens.
While this is frustrating, it’s not that big a deal because willow and poplars grow like weeds so starting again next year won’t amount to any lost growing time.
And there’s always hardwood propagation this winter.