According to the Gardener’s world team this is a good time to be making hardwood cuttings. In general you’re better off working with the tides of nature – soft fruit and soft cuttings are often best done in the spring when the plants are really into growth. However some plants go well at this time of year.
Buying plants in all the time can be pretty expensive so if you can clone some of your plants it can make a big difference.
Propagation is quite straightforward as long as you keep two or three basic principles in mind.
1) Make sure that you have the cutting the right way up – plants notice these things
2) Make sure you cut off at the top just above a bud
3) Make sure you get the cambium layer in contact with the soil or growing medium.
The cambium layer is a layer of cells capable of differentiating – a sort of plant stem cell usually known as meristems. The cambium layer sits between then xylem vessels which carry water in the plant and the phloem cells which carry sugars and other nutrients around the plant. Since these cells can differentiate into root cells, its important to have them in contact with the medium into which you place the cuttings.
The medium does not need to be rich in nutrients, the plants are capable of providing what they need to get started. They will benefit from a dip in some rooting compound or by the application of some Mycorrhiza spores. With hardwood cuttings it’s also advisable to make sure you leave a heel to maximise the exposure of the Cambium layer.It’s also a good idea to reduce the size of the leaves to about 50% to minimize the amount of water loss through transpiration.
And make sure that the medium is thoroughly wet before you put it in.
So here’s a cutting cut just above a bud at the bottom and with the cambium layer well exposed on the heel.
Conditions that promote rooting are
2) Heat – from the bottom to stimulate the root formation process
3) Light to make sure that the plants get away.
Using propagators is helpful for keeping the cuttings humid but you may find that at this time of the year it pays to use a heating mat to encourage the roots. Root!t have supplemented their existing propagation kit range with heating mats with optional thermostats and portable lighting kits which will help bring the plants on.
We have the Root!t range of propagation equipment in stock as well as Stewart Heated propagators, Rootbooster Mycorrhiza and the usual range of soil testing and weather monitoring equipment.