This weekend I went out to the farm and got my hardwood cuttings planted. These will be some of the first major crops to be sold at Great Escape Nursery. Last year I experimented with hardwood cuttings and found that Elderberry and Dappled Willow did great with hardwood cuttings and I had an almost 100% success rate, so I figured I’d use my propagation beds this winter for these plants.
Check out the videos for the visual of what I’m talking about here. The way I plant the Elderberry hardwood cuttings is I trim the original bush back to the level I want. I trim my elderberries every year to keep them at about 8-10-ft in height. From the trimmed cuttings, I make smaller cuttings that are 3 buds in length.
For the dappled willow, the buds are very close together. I use 4-inch cuttings instead of number of buds for dappled willow. The way I cut the dappled willow is by wrapping my hand around a bunch of the branches and cutting the branches as they exit my hand while they are still in the palm of my hand. This measures the willow to be the length of my palm, which is about 4-inches.
After the branches are the correct length, I dip them in rooting hormone. I prefer liquid rooting hormone, but did not have any this time around. I was out and all that Lowes and Home Depot carry is the powdered rooting hormone. For the powdered hormone you have to dip the end of the plant in water first and then dip the plant in the powdered rooting hormone. Make sure you only dip the end of the plant that goes into the ground in the rooting hormone. Also, make sure you keep the direction of the plant correct. The branch end that was in the direction of the root system is the end that goes in the ground. The end of the branch that faces away from the root system goes in the up direction.
In The Ground
After the rooting hormone is applied, simply push the branch into the planting medium. My planting medium is concrete sand. You can also use Pete-moss, vermiculite, or any other medium that will not bind up the roots. Each plant goes into the rooting medium to a certain level. For elderberries, I push them in about two to three inches. The dappled will goes in about 1 to 2 inches. These are the depths I’ve used the last two years and it seems to work well for these plants. If you look at the plant profiles I’ve done in the past, I try to include the depth for rooting cuttings, if I can find them.
For hardwood cuttings you do not need to use a mist irrigation system if it is cold where you are. Hardwood cuttings are usually done when the leaves have fallen off the deciduous trees. You only need to do a mist system if there are leaves on the plants. I have not looked into evergreen plants. I’m not sure if you can do hardwood cuttings or how you go about it. That will be a project for another day.
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That with the first Hardwood Cuttings Planted, I’m ready for spring to come!