Diploma of the Royal Botanic Society

Taking the Cuttings - How to Put Them in Out of Doors and Under Glass - Roses from Cuttings Making a Well-drained Bed

'"The method of raising trees and shrubs from cuttings is considered a simple and satisfactory-one, and should commend itself to the enterprising worker who wishes to increase the stock of useful or ornamental shrubs in her garden and greenhouse.

It has, in addition, the advantage of perpetuating varieties which cannot with certainty be depended upon to " come true " from seed.

Cuttings of deciduous plants should always be taken, as shown above, with a   heel,  or part of the parent growth

Cuttings of deciduous plants should always be taken, as shown above, with a " heel," or part of the parent growth

Taking the Cuttings

Cuttings of ornamental trees, whether deciduous or evergreen, may be easily rooted in a propagating case with the aid of slight bottom heat. The growths should be firm and short-jointed, taken from wood in a half-ripened state. When growths of the proper length can be had with a "heel " - that is, a piece of the parent growth attached to the stem - so much the better, as it will hasten rooting.

Trimmed cutting of Euonymus Japonicus.

Trimmed cutting of Euonymus Japonicus.

In trimming a cutting care must be taken not to wound the stem

In the case of deciduous cuttings, this can almost always be managed, as the top of the cutting will need to be cut back (above a bud), in order to check further growth until roots are formed. Be careful to remove with a sharp knife any eyes towards the base of the cutting, which would otherwise be covered with the compost on insertion and cause troublesome growth of suckers later on. In the case of deciduous flowering shrubs, the length of the cutting must vary a little with the character of the tree and shrub; it is better, as a rule, not to exceed six or seven inches. Cuttings of the smaller-leaved evergreens, such as euonymus or osmanthus, should not exceed four inches in length, and not more than two pairs of leaves should be left below the shoot. In trimming cuttings, be careful not to wound the stem ; a little matter such as this may make all the difference between success and failure in striking the cutting.

Inserting The Cuttings

Having got ready some clean and well-drained pots, put in the compost, which should be light and sandy, and in a warm, friable condition. Peat will be introduced for subjects which appreciate this medium. The soil should be pressed in rather firmly, the surface being made even and covered with sharp silver-sand. Boxes or deep pans can be used for the smaller cuttings, if preferred. Make roomy holes with a blunt-pointed dibber, and insert the cuttings firmly. They should clear the soil by not more than one quarter of their entire length. Their leaves should not be allowed to touch each other, as this would encourage damping-off. Be especially careful that the cuttings do not hang in the holes, but rest firmly on the bottom, forcallus-ing will be a certain result.

Cuttings under Glass

Where a heated propagating case is available, see that it is rilled with clean cocoa-nut refuse or other suitable material. Plunge the pots in this medium up to their rims, and put on the lights. The close atmosphere thus induced should be kept sweet by uncovering the case for about half an hour daily, and the inner sides of the lights may at the same time be wiped free of superfluous moisture. Sprinkle the cuttings after insertion, and shade the glass from strong sunshine for about a fortnight, when, with favourable conditions, the cuttings will be rooted, and ready for removal from the case. In course of time they will be potted off and gradually prepared for nursery quarters.

Rose cuttings root very readily when prepared and inserted in this way. If required for forcing, these and other flowering subjects should be grown on vigorously for a year or two in order to increase their strength.

Where bottom heat is not available, the cuttings may be struck indoors under hand-lights, or merely placed on a shelf in the greenhouse ; or, again, the pots can be put outside in a cold frame. Such methods, although not rapid, will be found quite successful.

Pot of euonymus cuttings ready for the propagating case. The cuttings should clear the soil by a quarter of their length and the leaves should not touch one another

Pot of euonymus cuttings ready for the propagating case. The cuttings should clear the soil by a quarter of their length and the leaves should not touch one another

Heaths, azaleas, and New Holland plants generally, are ready for propagation in heat in the way described above whenever the wood is in a half-ripened state.

In The Open Ground

Cuttings of hard-wooded plants may be struck successfully in the open ground. Choose a spot in the garden which is sheltered as far as possible from hot sunshine and cold winds, and make up a bed of good light soil, well drained with rubble and a layer of sifted coal-ashes, and slightly raised above the level of the soil around. Free drainage will be further assisted by making up the bed on a decided slope from back to front. After raking level and surfacing with sand, the soil should be trodden firm with boards. Water the bed, if dry, with a fine-rosed can, but in this case do not put in the cuttings while the soil is in a sticky state. The cuttings will be prepared in the usual way, and will then be dibbled in, using a line to keep the rows straight, in alternating lines. Distance apart will vary with the subjects in hand; all cuttings should stand clear of each other's leaves, and if they are going to remain in the same quarters for some length of time after rooting, a larger space between the plants should be allowed. Freshen up the cuttings with a sprinkling of water occasionally, when needed.

Cuttings inserted in raised border out of doors. The spot should be sheltered from sun and wind, and, to assist drainage, the bed should be on a slope from back to front

Cuttings inserted in raised border out of doors. The spot should be sheltered from sun and wind, and, to assist drainage, the bed should be on a slope from back to front