Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Grow for it: New plants from hardwood cuttings

From page B9 | January 30, 2013 | Leave Comment

Sue McDavid


Making new plants from cuttings is one of the most satisfying projects a gardener can do. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a woody, dead-looking stick grow into a mature, beautiful plant.

Right now is the perfect time to begin propagating plants from hardwood cuttings. Propagation success occurs more easily because this type of cutting is usually impervious to damage due to the “mother” plant being dormant.

Before selecting which plant in a landscape to take hardwood cuttings from, be careful to identify whether or not it is a patented plant. If it is, do not try to propagate it — it is illegal to do so, even in one’s own garden. Patented plants can be identified by a plant patent number on the tag or the designation PPAF after its name (plant patent applied for). These plants have extra fees attached to them, which are paid to the specific plant breeder; that is why they are more expensive to buy than non-patented plants.


Be ready

It is best to gather together the necessary materials before starting to take cuttings. These include pruning shears (bypass pruners are best) that have sharp blades, a rooting hormone compound, whatever propagation container that will be used (and already filled with the appropriate growing medium) and some type of labeling material; cut-up vinyl window blinds are ideal and these can often be found in thrift stores. Coarse sand works very well as a growing medium as does a mixture of perlite, vermiculite and compost.

A very few easily propagated plants will even grow when stuck straight into garden soil, but this is not recommended as a general rule because possible soil pathogens could infect the cutting.

Ideally, even hardwood should be placed into the growing medium as soon after cutting as possible.


Healthy cuttings

Choose a healthy stem that has no signs of fungus or insect damage; it should be approximately the diameter of a pencil. Cut just below a node of the past season’s growth.

Even though the plant is dormant, identifying recent growth will still be easy because this part of the stem will be a bit greener than older growth. Depending on the plant, more than one cutting may be possible from one branch, but each cutting should have two nodes stuck below the surface of the growing medium for best success.

Make a straight cut at the bottom below a node and the top cut slanted just above a node; this will help identify which direction to insert the cutting into the growing medium.

Most cuttings are more successful if dipped into rooting hormone first (either liquid or powder; following the mixing directions on the container).

Make holes in the growing medium with a pencil before sticking the cuttings in so the rooting hormone will not be rubbed off, stick the cutting in with two nodes below the surface and water enough so that the growing medium closes around the cutting.

Some plants will root faster if placed on a heating mat, but most hardwood cuttings can be left outside in whatever container is used until spring when growth should begin. Roots will begin to form when the plant normally breaks dormancy and green growth is noticed; when this occurs, tug on the stem gently and if it stays put, roots have formed.

At this point, feed with a dilute mixture of fish emulsion and when a good root system is established (after a few weeks in spring), the new plant can be placed out into the garden. At this point, sit back and enjoy watching the new plant flourish, knowing that it was grown by your own hand and for virtually no cost.


Learn more

Join Master Gardener Steve Savage on Saturday, Feb. 2 for the Weather and Climate class. Savage will present critical climatic factors that affect your garden and dictate suitability of planting in your location; micro-climates and frost dates will also be discussed.

There is no charge for this three-hour event. It starts at 9 a.m. and is held in the Veterans Memorial Building, 130 Placerville Drive in Placerville. Plant propagation will be covered at the following Saturday’s class, Feb. 9.

Master Gardeners are available to answer home gardening questions Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon by calling 530-621-5512. Walk-ins are welcome. The office is located at 311 Fair Lane in Placerville.

For more information about the public education classes and activities go to the Master Gardener Website at Sign up to receive the online notices and e-newsletter at Master Gardeners is also on Facebook.


Discussion | No comments



Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 102 Comments | Gallery

Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3



My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 73 Comments

Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 53 Comments

Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 5 Comments


By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 11 Comments

Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 7 Comments



Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery



4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5



Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2, 1 Comment



Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate



New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8