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The LW Treecare Blog

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Tree and plant cuttings

There are two primary methods of taking cuttings, dependant upon the makeup of the plant. Hardwood cuttings are taken from more rigid plants, such as gooseberries, roses, currants, and others. Softwood cuttings are taken from softer plants, including many flowering plants and bushes, such as carnations, delphiniums, chrysanthemums, geraniums, and the like. Should you have any questions about the type of plant that you're going to be taking a cutting from, ask a nursery or florist to help you.

For hardwood cuttings, it's best to do the cutting in early autumn. The plant is preparing for its dormant state, and it less likely to suffer damage from the cutting. Don't wait too late in the season, though, or else frost might damage the plant where it's vulnerable.

You should take your cutting from a mature shoot, which is at least a foot long and is relatively low on the plant. Pull it from the main stem of the plant, leaving the "heel" of the shoot intact... this is the widened area where the shoot connects to the main stem. Remove all leaves and buds from the lower portion of the shoot (about 4 or 5 inches should do it.) Dip the heel in hormone powder (which you should be able to get from your local nursery), and plant the cutting firmly in a pot or in trenched soil. Keep the plant well watered, and protect from frost or sudden temperature changes.

Should you be doing a softwood cutting, the procedure is somewhat different. Take the cutting during the summer, and choose a young shoot higher on the plant that's around 5 or 6 inches long. Cut the shoot off below a leaf joint, leaving the heel attached to the plant.

Methods to follow in next blog.

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