I often find myself visiting with a client, talking about a problem or something we can fix together, and end up leaving with a cool story and cutting from a neat plant. Gardeners all over the state seem to have unique and interesting stories to tell and often times will give me a piece of the story for myself. This makes my garden more interesting and as we all know variety is the spice of life.
Reproducing our garden offspring is a favorite topic and now is a good time to root many shrubs. I get asked the question of how to propagate and reproduce frequently so here are some tips from the experts at UGA.
There are two kinds of cuttings. Softwood cuttings are taken in the summer while plants are growing. Hardwood cuttings are taken in fall or winter as dormant wood. The kind you use depends on the plant you want to root. Call our office for information on your shrub.
Many shrubs root well as softwood cuttings. Take them from new growth after it has grown past its tender stage. The cutting should not be very limber or too woody. The cutting should be hard enough so that if you bend it in two it will break at about the time the ends meet.
June through September are good months to take these cuttings. Narrow leaf evergreens root best when cuttings are taken after first frost.
Take cuttings from healthy wood, four to six inches long. Cut at a slant with a sharp knife. Cut just below a node (the place where the leaves are).
Remove the leaves from the bottom third to half of the cutting. Stick the cutting one to two inches deep into the rooting medium. Make sure to stick one or two nodes into the soil. Do not remove too many leaves. To hasten rooting you can dust the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone before sticking it in the medium. It is not necessary though.
A good soil medium supports the plant, drains well and is free of diseases. Make a good all purpose medium by mixing equal parts of perlite and peat moss. You could also use ground pine bark, vermiculite or coarse sand. he medium should drain well. Do not use soil from your garden. The container the plants are in must have large, drain holes.
Firm the soil and water well after sticking in the cutting. The soil must be kept moist but not soggy while the shrub roots. High humidity around the leaves helps also.
You can check them several times a day, watering as needed or put them in a miniature greenhouse. This structure can be plastic stretched over a frame. A simpler solution is to put the pot and cutting in a bag and seal it. Put it in the shade to keep it from overheating.
How will your shrub root best? Call us and give us your address and we will send you information on how to reproduce your favorite shrub.
Grow the plant over the winter in a place protected from bitter cold. You can set it out after the roots are large and well formed.
On a final note, I’ll be offering the Georgia Master Naturalist program this fall and if you’re interested in getting more info or being a part of the first class in Bryan County since 2004 give me call. The registration is first come first serve and the cost will be $250. Contact us at the Bryan or Liberty County Extension Service for more details. Our E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org for Bryan and email@example.com for Liberty. Take care!