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Definition of softwood cutting

Categorized under "General"

Definition as written by dave:

A method of propagating a tree or shrub, using the very newest and extremely flexible growth.

Propagating by softwood cuttings is appropriate for woody trees and shrubs. Throughout the growing season, most trees are constantly putting out new growth. The time to take cuttings is when the new growth is so fresh that it is very easily bendable, and will not snap.

First, prepare your medium. I prefer to use a simple potting mix purchased from a local home improvement store. The mix appears to be about 3/4 peat moss, 1/4 perlite, and 1/4 vermiculite. I use 98 cell plug trays for the container.

Fill the plug trays with the soil, and gently tamp down with a dibble or your finger. Then water thoroughly (yes, you will be watering empty soil).

Then, with a thick nail, poke holes in each cell. The cuttings will populate these holes.

Now take the desired branches of new growth off the stock tree, and bring them inside to be processed. Once you cut the branches off, they should be in the medium within 10 minutes, if possible.

Using sterile shears or scissors, cut the branches into sections, each section containing exactly 2 leaf nodes. Carefully remove the lower set of leaves. If desires, treat the lower end of the cutting with a small amount of rooting hormone, such as Rootone. This lower section will then be placed into the medium. Gently tamp the medium around the cutting. Repeat the process until the tray if filled, and then water once again, to settle the soil comfortable around the cutting.

Place the tray in an area out of direct sunlight, and keep it damp at all times. You may achieve the dampness by keeping it in a sweat box, under an automated misting system, or wrapping the whole thing in a big sheet of plastic. Make sure it stays moist, NEVER drying out.

Most trees and shrubs will root within 3-4 weeks, and will be ready for transplant into 4" pots within 2 months.


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