Hardwood Cuttings: An Annual Simple Task

Few things, in the garden, can be more rewarding than propagating your plants, trees and shrubs. There is simply no other way, other than growing things from seed, to increase the plants, shrubs and trees, in your garden than taking cuttings and the following article examines the task of taking hardwood cuttings.

Taking Hardwood Cuttings

The most important thing to remember when taking cuttings, from trees and shrubs, is that not all species are able to be propagated by using this method. Some species are highly suitable for taking cuttings whereas in others there is a strong possibility that you will be extremely lucky to discover a single success after almost a year of waiting. Below is a short selection of plants which are considered highly suited to taking hardwood cuttings;

Blackcurrants
Buddleia
Cornus
Forsythia
Gooseberries
Roses
Willows
Weigela

There are plenty more species but before you proceed in taking your cuttings first take the time to check if your plant is a suitable subject.

Before you start taking your cuttings you will need to ensure that all tools and equipment is thoroughly cleaned and free from anything which may cause an infection to develop. The best time for taking your cuttings is when the leaves drop. You need to take a cutting of about 30cm (12in) from this years growth (this is a general length as some trees and shrubs require you to take shorter hardwood cuttings).

Your cuttings can be planted outside but if you do, and you live in an area with a high chance of frost, you should consider covering them, you should also make sure that the ground used is suitable. The best place to plant your cuttings is in pots, the pots should be deep and narrow similar, or the same as, those used to grow roses. The soil or compost used should be rather gritty. Once you have your hardwood cuttings in their pots simply place them in a cold greenhouse or a coldframe to protect them from any harsh weather. If you want your cutting to have a single stem you should rub out any buds that will be below the compost, otherwise, as your cutting grows, it will throw up shoots from below the soil.

In spring you should notice buds forming and leaves opening out, under no circumstances tip out your cutting to see if roots have formed because, even if they have, you will likely damage them. Instead wait until you know the leaves are there for keeps. Hardwood cuttings have a terrible habit of throwing out leaves and then dropping them, any such cutting that displays this behaviour has failed and should be removed immediately. Only those cuttings which continue to grow, and throw out shoots, have been successful but they should be allowed to continue to grow in their pots until the end of summer when they should be ready for transplanting into the garden.

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