Propagation by Root Cuttings

In the case of thorny branches it is necessary first to remove the thorns that would hamper insertion. In the case of shrubs that do not root easily the lower tip of the cutting can be dipped in a hormone rooting preparation. Stimulators and instructions for their use may be normally purchased in any shop selling gardening supplies.

Hardwood cuttings require little care. All that needs to be done is removal of weeds and watering during dry spells. Within three to four weeks a callus (healing tissue) forms on the bottom of the cutting and usually soon after the first roots appear. The roots of most hardwood cuttings are well established by early winter.

For the same reason. it is sometimes recommended to take cuttings with a heel, i.e. with a sliver of the old wood where the shoot arises. This method is used mainly in the case of shrubs that do not root readily for it is possible to make only a limited number of such cuttings.

Summer cuttings are taken from spring shoots when they begin to turn woody at the base. They are shorter than winter cuttings, from 4 to 10 cm in length. The bottom cut is again made just below the bud, where new tissue is produced more readily. All leaves are removed from the bottom part of the cutting that is to be inserted into the rooting medium. If the remaining leaves are more than 8-10 cm long, it is best to shorten them by at least half to limit transpiration. ‘The best rooting medium for cuttings is a mixture of one part gritty river sand and one part peat, on top of which is added a 1-1.5 cm layer of river sand. This is then well watered and lightly tamped down.

The cuttings should be inserted to about 1/3rd of their length in holes made with a dibber slightly thicker than the cuttings and lightly firmed in. The bed or pot should then be well watered and covered with glass.

The first buds appear in about four to five weeks, at which time the boxes are exposed to the light so that the shoots will be short and sturdy. The ensuing care is the same as with plants from stern cuttings.

Wood is probably the most versatile and often the cheapest and easiest material to use in your garden plan if you are building your own garden enclosure.

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