Plant Propagation Techniques – Hardwood Cuttings

Plant Propagation Techniques

There are several different plant propagation techniques and this article will cover how to propagate plants using hardwood cuttings.


Hardwood cuttings

The simplest way of propagating a large range of popular hardy shrubs and trees is by taking hardwood cuttings in late autumn and early winter. Except for watering in dry spells and weeding, no further attention is needed for one year. The cuttings should then have strong roots, and the young shrubs or trees can be planted in their permanent sites.

Hardwood cuttings are vigorous stems which have just completed their first season’s growth and have become hard and woody. They bear buds all along their length and these will grow into new shoots the following spring.

hardwood cutting Preferably take the cuttings in mid autumn, when they have just stopped growing and are beginning the winter period of dormancy, though some shrubs will grow from hardwood cuttings taken at any time in late autumn or winter.

Cut the stem with secateurs near its base and then trim it to about 25-30cm (10-12in) in length. If the shoot is a long one, two or more cuttings may be made from it. Avoid using the soft thin tip, as it may not root at all.

Sever each cutting cleanly just below a bud or joint at the base, and just above a bud at the top end. Cut evergreens below and above a leaf and remove all the leaves on the lower half.

With large-leaved plants, such as cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), reduce each leaf by half its surface area, using a razor blade or sharp scissors. This reduces water loss until the cutting is rooted satisfactorily.

Cuttings from difficult-to-root shrub species often respond to wounding — the removal of a thin sliver of bark on one or opposite sides near the base of the cutting. You can also encourage rooting by dipping the base of the cutting into a rooting powder, making sure to cover the wounded area. Shake off any excess powder.

hardwood cuttings Before taking the cuttings, choose a site sheltered from north and east winds and dig it thoroughly. If the soil is heavy, work in coarse sand or weathered ashes to help drainage and aeration. Make a narrow slit-like trench by pushing in a spade to its full blade depth and then pulling it forwards for several inches.

Place a layer of coarse sand 2.5-5cm (1-2in) deep in the bottom, and stand the cuttings on the sand so that the lower half or two-thirds is below ground. Plant the cuttings 7.5-10cm (3-4in) apart with 60cm (2ft) between the rows. Push soil into the trench and firm it with your foot.

After severe frosts, cuttings can become loosened. Push each cutting down with your thumb or finger so that the base is again in close contact with the soil or sand.

In early spring, firm the soil again. Hoe regularly during the summer, and water during long, dry spells. One year later, all the easier-rooting cuttings will be ready for lifting and setting in their permanent quarters in the garden. Leave species that are slower to root, or slower to grow, in the ground for a further year.

Other plant propagation techniques include:

Dividing plants

Taking cuttings

Heel cuttings

Layering plants

Root cuttings

22. November 2010 by admin
Categories: Garden Management, Propagating Plants | Tags: , | Comments Off on Plant Propagation Techniques – Hardwood Cuttings


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