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Seeding and Propagation/Holly and Rowan cuttings


I am in ireland and I have already taken holly cuttings from an English holly and I followed instructions on other websites.I planted them directly in my raised bed to leave them root over winter and check for new growth in spring.But there is a beautiful rowan in my neighbours house and I am allowed take a cutting but the errors have been all eaten by birds.

How would I go about planting the cuttings?I am a cheapskate so no rooting hormone.I want to plant then directly in the ground also.How long for the cuttings and how much leaves removed or do I wait for winter for it to drop its leaves?

All help is appreciated,

Hi Eddy,
Thanx for your question.  I don't have much experience not using rooting hormone, however, I have rooted roses and some other shrubs by sticking bare twigs in the soil in the fall.  The best time though, is to start in spring after the last frost and you'll need to strip off all but the last few leaves.  Make your cuttings with green wood.  Slice the cuttings off where they meet a larger branch.  Cuttings should average 6-8 inches, and about the diameter of a pencil or a little less.  If starting indoors, I recommend 6 inch cuttings.  Start indoor cuttings in wet sand or seedstarting mix or you can use sterile potting soil.  I'm attaching alink that shows how to make rooting hormone from willows.  Willows bark has plentiful hormones that can be extracted and used to start cuttings although I have not done this myself.  Indoors, keep cuttings warm and I would seal the container inside a clear plastic bag.  Keep it away from the window but keep it under lights.  Rooting takes 8 weeks or longer.  Some trees and shrubs are very difficult to root.  If you're working outdoors, stick your cuttings in a nursery bed (an area kept clear of weeds) and make sure the soil is always watered but not soggy.  You can use hardwood cuttings 4-6 inches long and put them in the ground in the fall and make sure you keep them watered all winter.  You can also take a low handing whip of a branch, strip it of leaves, scratch away a thin layer of the outer tissue, make a depression in the ground and bend the whip onto the soil, into the depression, cover with soil and place a large rock on top so the whip doesn't come out.  Make sure it remains attached to the mother tree.  This will root by spring and then you can sever from the mother plant and dig it up and move it to the desired location.

I hope this helps.

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Tom Alonzo


I have been growing plants from seeds for at least 20 years. I have grown literally hundreds of different kinds of vegetables, trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, tropicals, some cacti, water plants, iris, rose, lilies, cannas, etc. I enjoy starting from seed.


I've been growing my own seeds for 20 years with indoor propagation equipment I built myself. I am also an Allexperts volunteer on the perennial forum. I have completed the Master Gardener course through the Kansas State University Extension. I have experience with a wide variety of seeds and I have also read through Norm Deno's books on seed germination.

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