The true is that my survival rates can be a lot higher if I plant from the shallows of the creek. The capillary fringe is always wet, as long as the water levels flow normal, so this is advantagous to the planter and the plants. Willows do prefer wet ground to get started, so early spring, just after frost out in the ground, you can start your planting program.
The soft soil, wet from the stream's flow, makes it easy to push the rooted cutting into the bank and give it a tamp with your gloved hand to seal the hole from air and allow the roots to continue to grow. Once roots start on a cutting, they can be sheared off, yet they will continue to grow, so there is no shock in this form of planting, if it is done early enough in the new pre-rooted cutting's growth. Just after they start to grow buds, you can start planting.