A cutting is an entirely detached portion of a plant, usually a shoot or part of a shoot, having buds or buds and leaves. Cuttings should be taken only from healthy plants and from parts of these which are not in a weakly state, and, further, only from those portions of the plants which have been exposed to full light and air, for, if the shoots or branches of a plant are not in a condition to make growth with a supply of nourishment from roots of the parent plant, they cannot, when made into cuttings, be expected to possess sufficient energy to produce good plants. A good cutting should possess a certain degree of firmness also, for, if the shoot is exceedingly soft and full of sap, it will not root so freely as one which is more mature.
Cuttings of deciduous trees and shrubs should be taken off after the fall of the leaf and before the rise of the sap in Spring. The buds on the underground part of the cutting should be rubbed off. In making a cutting of a soft-wooded plant, the leaf should be cut off close to the stem on the part which is underground when the cutting is set or planted.
In planting a cutting of a deciduous tree or shrub, it is well to plant two-thirds of the cutting underground, one-third only being allowed to remain above the soil.
When making cuttings, a smooth, thin-bladed, very sharp knife should be used, so that the cut is clean and smooth. A blunt or rough-edged knife leaves a rough, bruised surface which rarely gives good results. When the cuttings have been selected and a sharp knife provided, take each cutting in the left hand, remove three or four of the lower leaves close to the stem and cut through the stem in a slightly slanting direction immediately below a bud or joint. The cutting is then ready to be planted, and should, as soon as possible, be placed in the soil in the position where it is to root.
Suckers are underground shoots and should be taken up with all their roots attached. They may be taken up at any time when the parent plant or tree may be safely removed.