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Starting from Cuttings

SOFTWOOD    SEMI-HARDWOOD    HARDWOOD   TAKING CUTTINGS

       

WHENEVER WORKING WITH A TREE BEAR IN MIND,
A TREE CAN ONLY GO WITHOUT WATER,
FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN KEEP YOUR HEAD UNDER WATER
.

 

IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU READ
( TREE KNOWLEDGE )
AGAIN BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO DO CUTTINGS.
YOU MUST TRULY UNDERSTAND THE WORKINGS OF A TREE
TO BE ABLE TO SUCCEED WITH CUTTINGS.

Most trees and shrubs can be grown from cuttings. Provided you know when and how to take cuttings.

The following information is based on the past twenty five years of knowledge i have experienced by growing at least twenty thousand trees from cuttings per year for bonsai purposes.

The following information is given as a guide line only, as conditions, temperatures and methods will vary from grower to grower also from area to area.

Growing bonsai from cuttings has many advantages and some disadvantages. As you get familiar with the practice of cuttings,

a large number of different trees in a fairly short period of time can be produced. The waste material that is pruned off the bonsai trees can also become trees thus,

increasing your bonsai collection with the minimum financial outlay.

When you take a cutting from a tree or a shrub that is flowering the cutting will also produce flowers the next season.

Whereas, when planting a seed from the same specimen it normally takes approximately five to six years for the seedling to produce flowers or fruit.

The cutting will reproduce the same characteristic as the parent tree.

Another advantage is that a cutting never develops a taproot , only a vigorous fine hair root system that will promote the same type of growth on the top crown.

REMEMBER THE CHAPTER ON TREE KNOWLEDGE - ROOT SYSTEM ???, WHATEVER HAPPENS BENEATH THE SOIL ALSO HAPPENS ON TOP OF THE SOIL.

The disadvantage of a cutting you grow, will seldom display a nice taper of the stem at the soil surface or have correctly placed surface spreading roots.

THE SOIL MIX YOU USE IS VERY IMPORTANT.

THE TIME OF DAY YOU TAKE YOUR CUTTINGS  IS VITAL .

THE TIME OF THE YEAR AND THE TYPE OF CUTTING TAKEN IS IMPORTANT,

THE AFTER CARE AND FEEDING WILL DETERMINE YOUR SUCCESS RATE.

Although i take various cuttings throughout the year, there are still guidelines to abide by and achieve

a ninety percent striking rate success.

At the bonsai friend growers nursery, at the bonsai intensive care unit, an area has been built specifically for cuttings.

I can take cuttings in the summer which people recommend to be taken in winter and visa versa.

In these conditions i can take Acacia, Wild fig, Fire thorn, Conifer and many more cuttings throughout the year.

ALL CUTTINGS SHOULD ALWAYS BE TAKEN IN EARLY MORNING OR LATE AFTERNOON

WHEN THE SAP FLOW IN THE TREE IS AT IT’S LOWEST .

SELECT A SHADY SPOT TO WORK IN .

 

COARSE WASHED RIVER SAND           FINE WASHED RIVER SAND            SIFTED SEEDLING SOIL

            COARSE WASHED RIVER SAND            FINE WASHED RIVER SAND              SIFTED SEEDLING SOIL                   

 

VERMICULITE MEDIUM          SEEDLING MIX

VERMICULITE MEDIUM                           SEEDLING MIX

 

ROOTS DEVELOP QUICKER AND STRONGER WITH DIP ‘N GROW

 

 DIP AND GROW                                         

 

           DIP AND GROW                                  WITH OUT  DIP  AND  GROW                      WITH  DIP  AND  GROW

                                                                          AFTER  3  MONTHS                                         AFTER  3  MONTHS

 

 

SOFTWOOD CUTTINGS

TAKEN  IN  SPRING

                    

FULL BRANCH                                     STRAIGHT CUT                                  “V” TAPER CUT

 

ROOTING  PERIOD  6  TO  12  WEEKS

 

SOFTWOOD  CUTTING  MIX

 

CHECK  LIST

DIP ‘N GROW ROOTING AGENT

OR NO 1 ROOTING POWDER FOR DECIDUOUS TREES

SOIL MIX : THREE PARTS FINE WASHED RIVER SAND

ONE PART BONSAI FRIEND BONSAI SOIL OR GARDEN SOIL

ONE PART SIFTED SEEDLING SOIL

ONE PART VERMICULITE MEDIUM

 

 

Softwood cuttings are taken in spring during the early part of the growing season

just as the growing sugars and sap flow become active, producing new growth for the current year.

 

The cutting should be taken off the new green growth which has not yet turned woody. The cutting should be of matchstick thickness and approximately 5 cm to 10 cm long,

depending on the inter nodal distance between the leaves. An elm cutting for example, will be shorter than a maple cutting, because of the difference in their growing patterns.

A cutting should always be cut just beneath a node as this is where the new roots will develop. Four to five nodes should be defoliated. 

With two nodes in the soil for the root system and two to three nodes above the soil for the stem and two to three nodes with leaves for developing as the top crown.

The tapering method is the same as a straight cut cutting with the exception that the cutting is re-cut with a sharp knife to have a “ v “ at the bottom of the cutting.

This is to expose more of the cadium layer to the rooting medium used to increase the chances of roots forming.

 

 

 

SEMI - HARDWOOD  CUTTINGS

TAKEN IN MID SUMMER

  

                    
                  

        STRAIGHT CUT                                 “ V ” SHAPED CUT                        HEEL CUT  TIP  CUT  OFF

 

 

ORIGINAL BRANCE WHERE HEEL CUTTING WERE TORN OFF

 

 

 

SEMI  HARDWOOD  CUTTING  MIX

 

CHECK  LIST

DIP ‘ N GROW ROOTING AGENT

OR NO 2 ROOTING POWDER FOR EVERGREENS

ROOTING PERIOD 6 TO 12 WEEKS

SOIL MIX : TWO PARTS WASHED RIVER SAND

THREE PARTS BONSAI FRIEND BONSAI SOIL OR GARDEN SOIL

ONE PART SIFTED SEEDLING SOIL

ONE PART VERMICULITE MEDIUM
 

 

Semi hardwood cuttings are taken in mid summer just as the current years growth begins to mature. It is taken the same way as soft wood cuttings with the exception that the first two nodes that will go into the soil as root growth, should be of the current year’s growth that have turned woody.

The second method used on semi hard wood cuttings is called heel cutting. This cutting we will have a piece of woody growth and a piece of green growth of the current year’s growth. This is performed by tearing off a thin side branch of matchstick thickness of about 5 cm to 10 cm long from a main branch with a piece of bark and hard wood of the main branch.

The heel should be cut back straight and clean for prevention of infection and rot. The heel, with a piece of old wood will send out new roots. On a heel cutting the heel is assumed to be the first node. The second, third and forth node should be defoliated and the fifth, sixth and seventh node will develop as the top crown.

 

 

 

HARDWOOD  CUTTINGS

TAKEN  IN  AUTUMN

                                       

STRAIGHT  CUT                                    “ V ”  SHAPED  TAPERED                                MALLET CUTTING

 

                              

                         HEEL  CUT                                        TYPICAL  AUTUMN  COLOR  CUTTING

 

Dip ‘ n grow rooting agent or no 3 rooting powder
For deciduous and evergreens
Straight cut, “ v ” tapering method , heel cutting and mallet method
rooting period 4 to 10 weeks
Root heating during winter will increase the chances of rooting.

SOIL  MIX :

Three parts washed river sand
Six parts bonsai friend bonsai soil or garden soil
One part sifted seedling soil
Two parts vermiculite medium

HARDWOOD  CUTTING  MIX

 

Hard wood cuttings is taken in autumn, just as the leaves starts to drop.

At this time of the year, the tree will be going into a dormant period as the night temperature drop and it prepares for winter.

In autumn the tree have stored a surplus amount or food for winter and it is this growing sugars we will use to produce new roots during the winter and new top growth in spring.

Straight cut, “v” tapering method and heel cuttings is taken in the same manner as in semi hard wood cuttings.

Mallet cuttings is taken off a branch with a piece of old wood of the branch, filled with food attach to the cutting. .It is a side branch cut off just before and after a notch.

The piece of old wood have more cadium layer exposed and stand a bigger chance to produce roots and have a bigger surface to absorb moisture . 

Defoliate the first three to four nodes and allow two to three nodes with leaves and cut off the rest of the cutting that formed the side branch.

 

CUTTING TAKEN  IN  EARLY  SPRING

Notice the current season’s growth at the top

and the previous years growth at the bottom

 

CHECK  LIST

Dip ‘ n grow rooting agent .

Or no 3 rooting powder for mostly deciduous trees

that do not strike easily in autumn

for straight cut , “ v ” tapering method and heel cutting .

Rooting period 6 to 12 weeks

 

SOIL  MIX 

Three parts washed river sand
Two parts sifted bonsai soil
(or red topsoil or good garden soil )
One part sifted seedling soil
Two parts vermiculite

 

Straight cut, “ V ” tapering method and heel cuttings is taken the same way as previously described above.
Personally i have found that heel cuttings taken this time of the year produce a better chance for a healthier root system than a straight cut cutting.

 

 

 

          TAKING CUTTINGS AND AFTERCARE 

CHECK LIST

CUTTING MIX
SEED TRAY
CHOP STICK
DIP ‘ N GROW ROOTING MEDIUM
WATERING CAN
DAMP CLOTH
BUCKET OF WATER
TERRARIUM

 

The day prior to taking cuttings prepare your check list and fill the seed tray loosely with the cutting mix to the top.

DO NOT COMPRESS THE SOIL

Water the soil in slowly but surely with a fine spray mist from a hose pipe until the water seeps through the bottom.
You will notice that the soil level has slightly sunk in the seed tray after watering. Do not add more soil.

WORK IN A COOL SHADED SPOT

The following morning water the seed tray again. Start to take your cuttings and put them in the bucket of water as soon as possible.
Take the chopstick and make five by five holes, three to five centimeters deep, equally apart in the soil.

For smaller cuttings you can even make seven by seven holes in the soil. Mix the dip ‘n grow accordingly to the strength of the particular type of cutting you are going to take.

Take a cutting out of the water and shake all the excess water off. Dry the tip of the cutting with a damp cloth.

Place the cutting in the dip ‘n grow rooting medium for five to ten seconds then place it in the hole.

Using both hands and the first two fingers of each hand, slightly compress the soil around the cuttinng .

             

 

After the first row has been planted, water it in slowly and well. Complete the next row and repeat the watering until the seed tray is full.

Move the seed tray to a permanent position and water well with a   fine hose pipe spray.

If you are using the terrarium method, close it and do not water for the next week, then open the plastic and water in well again and close it again.

Repeat this exercise weekly until new growth appears.

Once new growth has appeared make a few small holes on the top side of the plastic to harden the cuttings.

Gradually increase the amount of holes as the cuttings progress.

Once the new growth is flourishing remove the plastic completely and water the cuttings from daily, to twice a day depending on the temperature.

If the terrarium method is not used, water the cuttings in well and repeat watering daily to twice a day until they are replanted in bags .

All seedlings should not be replanted until the following spring.

In the meantime perform leaf nipping . At bonsai friend we leave all pruning until the following season when they are replanted.

Foliage feeding can be given with NITROSOL , two months after the cuttings were taken.

From the replanting period apply the same treatment as in seedlings year two.

 

A TERRARIUM CAN BE BUILD TO CONTROL THE MOISTURE LOSS THROUGH THE LEAVES .

CHECK LIST 

SEED TRAY
GRAVEL
FELT PEN
WIRE TO BUILD THE FRAME
U V DEK PLASTIC TO COVER THE FRAME
TAPE TO ATTACH THE FRAME AND THE PLASTIC
USE 2 MM BINDING WIRE AND BUILD A FRAME TO FIT INTO THE SEED TRAY

 

                                       

 

                   

 

TAKE THE U V DEK PLASTIC, PLACE THE WIRE FRAME UPSIDE DOWN ON THE PLASTIC

AND TRACE THE FRAME ON TO THE PLASTIC WITH A FELT PEN .

CUT OUT THE CORNERS , BEND THE FOUR SIDES OF THE PLASTIC ONE BY ONE TO THE MIDDLE AND SECURE THE BENDS

BY PRESSING THEM DOWN INDIVIDUALLY AND FIT THE PLASTIC OVER THE FRAME ,

ADD TWO CENTIMETERS COURSE WASHED RIVER SAND AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEED TRAY BEFORE FILLING THE REST OF THE SEED TRAY WITH SEEDLING SOIL .

COMPRESS THE SOIL SLIGHTLY .

INSERT THE SEEDLINGS IN THE HOLES , WATER IN WELL  AND START TO CLOSE THE PLASTIC SIDES,

FIRST THE BACK THEN THE LEFT AND RIGHT SIDES AND THEN THE FRONT.

PLACE THE TERRARIUM IN A BRIGHT SHADY SPOT