As a gardener one would want to increase their stock of plants and trees and make the garden richer and better. One of the best, easiest and most economical ways to do so is use cuttings taken from trees that are already in the garden. Cuttings can be taken from both evergreen and deciduous trees.
The two most important factors concerning cuttings is the when and how? The technique and the timing need to be just right to give good quality cuttings that will soon grow into new plants.
Hardwood cuttings are ideal as they are durable and easier to cultivate.
The hardwood cuttings for deciduous plants should be timed around after a good freeze when the parent plant has become dormant.
A single branch can provide multiple hardwood cuttings, depending upon how much the plant has grown in a year.
Each cutting should have 3-4 buds, so the length of the cutting would depend on the spacing between the buds. Buds are the tiny bumps that can be seen on a dormant branch, these are nodes which will give rise to new leaves and branches.
When taking a cutting, remember that the butt end of the cutting should be taken directly below one of the nodes and the top should be around 3/4” above the top most nodes. This will help to identify the butt end from the top end.
Any branch material below a node will naturally die, creating space for disease and pests, so it is better to cut just below. The top should be cut at an angle, to reduce chances of any disease.
The cuttings should be assembled together and tied in a bunch with the butt ends in one direction. Dip the calloused butt ends in rooting compound easily available from the nearby plant nursery.
Look for a sunny spot in the garden and a dig a hole that can easily hold the bundle of cuttings. Place them upside down. The butt ends should be ½ a foot below the surface. Cover completely with soil and mark the place for easy recall.
With the last frost gone, dig out the bundle carefully and plant each of the cuttings in a sunny spot, with well drained rich top soil. Water regularly and wait for them to sprout leaves.
Evergreen hard wood cuttings are taken after a couple of heavy frosts. A frame constructed with 6” boards about 2” high is required to prepare the sand bed for the cuttings. Set the frame in a well drained area, partially in shade. Remove any vegetation in the area under the frame and fill with coarse sand.
Cut a single cutting of 5-6 inches from each branch, as each cutting should have the branch tip. Strip all leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. Use rooting solution or powder on the butt ends and place cuttings an inch apart in the prepared sand box.
A little snowfall will do them a lot of good; in case of warm sunny days, water the cuttings to keep them moist. Excessive water or water logging will harm the cuttings. Water the cuttings regularly with the onset of spring and through summer. The cuttings should be left there till the following spring before planting them in the desired location.