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Harvest your own cuttings

John-W-WI

Administrator
Here is an updated version of a Q&A I've posted online before. It isn't an all inclusive guide, but it should be a pretty good start:

1. Which part do you use to make your cutting? Do I use the more "woody" material or the more pliable growth from the previous year?

On species like Hybrids it doesn’t really matter. 1, 2, 3+ year old growth will grow from cuttings just fine. On things like dogwoods and ninebark “newer” wood is preferred. Never anything more than a couple years old is best.

2. Is there a "magic" to using shorter or longer cuttings? Is the number of buds important on the cutting? To many or to few cause an issue?

The absolute minimum is (2) buds. Typically that would make the cutting pretty short. These small cuttings (Typically referred to as 2 bud cuttings) are grown in a controlled environment, not wild out in the field. With species like willows they may only be 3 or 4 inches long. Not big enough to plant in the field and compete with mother nature. These smaller cuttings can be started in containers, and moved out into the field later if you wanted.

As for longer cuttings - the advantage is they are taller the day you plant them. If you planted a 6' cutting 18" deep, it is 4.5' tall the day you plant it. It will be much more prepared to compete with weeds and critters because it is so much taller. (be careful, the bucks will still rub them!). Really big cuttings (think rubbing posts) should be planted several feet deep. We have successfully planted 20+ foot cuttings and had them grow. The bucks WILL rub these, but that is usually why you plant them.

3. What time of year should I make these cuttings?

They need to be harvested during the dormant season, after leaf drop. And before bud swell in the spring. Best case scenario is to harvest them in the spring as soon as the frost leaves the ground but the plants haven’t woke up yet. Plant them the same day if you can.

4. How do I store the cuttings until time to "plant"?

If you can’t plant them the same day, put them in a sealed plastic bag in the coldest part of the fridge for several weeks easily. Keep an eye on them, if they start to wake up they need to go in the ground.

5. When do I "plant"? Any "tricks" to planting?

Typically I try to plant after the last frost, obviously that can’t be done if you are harvesting and planting the same day. The single most useful thing you can do for your cuttings is to plant them through a ground cover layer. Either black plastic or landscape fabric. That will keep the weeds down and the water on.

6. Where do I get this "rooting hormone" and how do I know I am getting the right stuff?

We sell rooting hormone, most big box garden stores do too. Everything we sell requires Hormodin #1 – it’s a weak version for easy to root plants. The Hormodin label tells you which one to use based on what you are planting. Link to Hormodin label HERE. We no longer recommend rooting hormone on hybrids (hybrid willow and hybrid poplar). It simply isn't necessary.

7. Do I do things any different for willow, boxelder, cottonwood as compared to oak, walnut or beech, what about conifers?

Hybrids (hybrid poplar and hybrid willow), all willow shrubs and trees, most dogwoods, arrow wood, ninebark and elderberry grow from cuttings. Oak, walnut, beech and conifers will NOT grow from hardwood cuttings.

8. Is the angle on the bottom of the cutting overly important? Do I want a 45 of something sharper?

I honestly put the angle on the bottom so people know which end goes in the ground. It isn’t necessary.

Hopefully that's a pretty good start, please let me know if you have any questions!

-John
 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
I want to start some cuttings from red mulberry and possibly white mulberry. Any advice?
 

wiscwhip

5 year old buck +
Don't be afraid to try some larger, truncheon cuttings on the edges of your wetter areas. I would guess about 60%-70% of the mulberries seem to be near water/moist soils whenever I see them around here. If you can keep them from drying out, the large cuttings have a lot of energy to get their roots going.
 

younggun1849

5 year old buck +
Will cutting 3-4 feet of branch off of a willow work? Just put it in the ground and call it good? I would imagine larger cutting would work best in swampy areas where RC is prevalent?
 

Bill

Administrator
Native,
Never tried mulberry so I can't help.

Younggun,
Yes that will work. The tough part is getting them in the ground far enough. 2/3 bellow ground. Small willow whips bend and break if you're just trying to push them in that far. I got a bunch of whips from John a few years back and used a 1/2 auger drill bit and an extension with my dewalt battery drill. Worked pretty good.

No rooting hormone needed on willows as John said. It's an extra step that's not needed.
 

John-W-WI

Administrator
Yep, Bill has it right.

Longer cuttings are able to compete with natives better.

On really big stuff (2+ feet) you can get away from the 2/3's below ground if the site is moist (or you use a good ground cover). Never less than 12" in the ground on long cuttings, and more if you can do it.

-John
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
John - Can you post a list of what kinds of plants / shrubs / trees that will grow from cuttings ?? I knew about willows working from cuttings, but I have no knowledge of other things that'll grow. Maybe other guys have limited knowledge as well. Thanks.
 

Barndog56

5 year old buck +
Do the sane rules apply for crabapples or blackberries?
 

Bill

Administrator
Not sure on apples. The fruit tree guys would know. Most hardwoods are a no.
Never tried blackberry but give it a try because of its general make up. I wouldn't go over board without researching if it would work. Typically if you cut a branch and it has a soft center it may take via cuttings.

I experimented with miscanthus grass just because of that feature and it worked.
http://habitat-talk.com/index.php?threads/miscanthus-giaganteus-propagation-from-cuttings.480/

My list won't even be close to full but these grow from cuttings some better than others depending on planting sites and soil.

All willows
All poplars/cottonwood
All dogwoods
Arrowwood
Button bush
Elderberry but they like certain places. Moist shady kinda spots.
Winterberry but it's best to start them in sand and baby them.
Nine bark
Forsythia
Gooseberry
I think Holly.

I'm just scratching the surface here.
 

John-W-WI

Administrator
Bill nailed the list.... The only thing I can add of off the top of my head is button bush.

I can guarantee anything listed here grows from cuttings, because that's how I planted them :emoji_nerd::

http://www.bigrocktrees.com/

Some of the shrubs are more difficult to get to take than the willows/hybrids.

I've tried crab apples / apples with VERY limited success.

I've never tried any blackberry/raspberry... Now you have me thinking!

-John
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
What rooting hormone would be best for red osier dogwood cuttings ?? Would a 0.3% concentration of IBA be better than 0.1 ??
 

Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
Thank-you, John !! ^^^^
 
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TreeDaddy

5 year old buck +
Just discovered this section of the forum

what a great resource !!!

thanks,John


bill
 

Barndog56

5 year old buck +
Pruned my fruit trees earlier this week, and went ahead and gave some dogwood and poplar cuttings a try. We'll see if they do anything.


Sent from my SM-N920R4 using Tapatalk
 

Bill

Administrator
I'd snip those poplars back to just two buds above the dirt.
Don't want them burning up all thier energy on leafs before they get some roots going.
 

John-W-WI

Administrator
I'd snip those poplars back to just two buds above the dirt.
Don't want them burning up all thier energy on leafs before they get some roots going.

Good advise. And the dogwoods too. Cut them back to a single pair of buds (they have opposed buds) above the soil. Dogwoods are SLOW to establish from cuttings compared to poplars.

Those poplars will be taller than you by fall. The dogwoods should get to ~2 feet.

-John
 

Barndog56

5 year old buck +
Will do. Thanks guys.
 

swat1018

5 year old buck +
Does anyone know how to do black raspberries. I want to get a patch started. I tried some transplants I dug.
 

John-W-WI

Administrator
Does anyone know how to do black raspberries. I want to get a patch started. I tried some transplants I dug.

I wish I could help, but I've never planted any on my farm. The birds do a good enough job in open areas I've never needed to add any. But I would be interested in knowing if they could be grown from cuttings?

-John
 
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