Tips on improving cutting success

tnaz71

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I generally have a 5-10% success rate on my cuttings. I usually try elms, junipers, maples, azalea's. I have read numerous articles regarding cuttings & I generally take them at the suggested time of year, keep them misted, keep in part shade, I have tried numerous soil's, hormones. But my success rate is always low.

I recently visited a nursery they had flats of shimpaku cuttings growing in just perlite and said they usually have 80%+ success rate. I asked them their secret and they told me they cut them and stick them in and they grow.. So I guess I am cursed then if they are doing it so easy :mad:

A friend told me to get a heat mat. My only issue is I have no way to power the pad outside without running a extension cord around the house & my wife won't have that. Only way I could do that is to have it indoors which I am unsure if that is feasable. I have a good sunny window but I have never had luck growing indoors.

I also got me a little greenhouse/cold frame this year to try and improve my chances.

It's weird because I usually have a 95% success rate on my air layers but getting cuttings to take is just beyond me I suppose.

Anyways any little tips would be great.

Thanks all
 

Mike423

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Growing/establishing cuttings is fairly easy once you get down a good way to do it. The method I use is not sophisticated in the least and I only do about one or two container full of cutting (8-18 cuttings enclosed in each) at a time. Ive also done it this way since my first attempt and am myself not in the least a pro at doing cuttings. Here what I use...

I usually go and get a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from Jewel, Sam's club, or another store and keep the container after eating the chicken, and after cleaning it use it to grow my cuttings in. I usually use a soil mixture of equal parts sand,vermiculite and normal potting soil. I then place the chicken container on a ordinary heat pad on the lowest setting and place it in my bathroom window(which is on the west side of the house). I then just check on the cutting every night to be sure the soil doesn't dry out and to take off the cover and take off the condensation on it. Other than that I just wait until they show signs of strong new growth and then slowly start to harden them off by removing the lid for longer periods of time every few days.

The window they sit in really gets no real light throughout the day except for maybe an hour or two in the late afternoon. Misting isn't an issue since I have them on a heat pad it keeps things pretty musty inside the dome. I do some times mist them with some seaweed extract now and again to give them a little boost after they've been in there for a few weeks. I usually at most have about 3-4 of the 18 cuttings die or remove them due to being weak. Other than that I basically throw them in there and just wait to have a bunch of new trees in about 5-8 weeks.
 
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bonhe

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Hi Tnaz71,
You're living in Southern Cali. Which part? I'm living in Riverside, CA. I believe the succeed is depending on the humid environment around the cutting area. You mist the the cutting, but how often? I have high succeed rate of cutting for shimpaku, elm, flowering quince, Chinese quince, pomegranate. I use the plastic bag to cover the cutting pot completely. Good luck.
Bonhe
 

jk_lewis

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Unless you live in the desert, I would not recommend misting. That keeps the flat too wet too long.

I've found that the best rooting medium is general purpose builder's sand, kept just barely damp.

And do NOT jiggle or tug on the cuttings to see if they've taken. If they gio brown, they're dead. If they put out a bunch (not one or two) of new leavs they're OK. If somewhere in the middle, let them be. They will or they won't.

But then, I have a rather callous attitude to cuttings. I put them down, then forget about them. And I still have too many plants!
 

tnaz71

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Hi Tnaz71,
You're living in Southern Cali. Which part? I'm living in Riverside, CA.
I don't live far from you, I live in Rancho Cucamonga. As far as misting goes I do it 2-3 times a day but stop before it gets too late to prevent moisture sitting all night.

I went out and got a heat mat & will try that. I have tried the builder's sand before but usually no luck with that either. I do usually start my seedlings in just pure sand with a very high sprout rate so figured I would do the sand with the cuttings.

I have never tried just straight perlite like I saw in that nursery so maybe that will prove positive for me.

As far as the cuttings how long do you usually have them? I have varied mine from a few inches to 6"+, usually I leave only a few leaves on them, maybe I need to leave more?

Never really had someone show me in person the right way just read on the internet and in books mainly so I am sure that is one of my biggest problems.


Thanks all for the help
 

Bill S

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When trying to strike cuttings, use a razor, or very sharp knife to give you a nice clean cut, rather than a squished less than clean cut. When you cut with pruners that aren't razor sharp it kind of squishes the branch a bit, just prior to cutting thru, think of trying to cut a toilet paper tube with scissors, it collapses the tube, you want to avoid this.
 

evmibo

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I usually go and get a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from Jewel, Sam's club, or another store and keep the container after eating the chicken, and after cleaning it use it to grow my cuttings in.

Do you or have you tried creating little holes in the clear sides and/or bottom?
 

Mike423

Shohin
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Yes, I drill the bottom with holes using a small drill bit before using it. I don't do anything to the top half though since there are already two holes and I remove the top every night to shake off any formed condensation and check the soil moisture. I also use a disposable razor that can be purchased at any hardware store to strike my cuttings. Sorry guess I forgot a few key details.
 

evmibo

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Yes, I drill the bottom with holes using a small drill bit before using it. I don't do anything to the top half though since there are already two holes and I remove the top every night to shake off any formed condensation and check the soil moisture. I also use a disposable razor that can be purchased at any hardware store to strike my cuttings. Sorry guess I forgot a few key details.

Thanks, I'm going to give this a shot. Now I just have to get a $5 3lb chicken at costco mmm
 

tnaz71

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I wanted to post an update of my progress.

I went and purchased a 10x20 heat mat on May 24th started a bunch of cuttings, pomegranate, trident's, japanese maple, elm's (cork, regular, catlin), junipers, apple.

Anyways..
Today I did a bit of a tug on a few and couldn't pull them out, so I got excited and had to dig around a few of them and low & behold roots on the maples, pomegranates, elms & apples. I didn't take any pictures but most of the cuttings had roots all the way around & some roots were up to 3-4" long. I am so excited that they have done so much in just over 2wks time!

I set the heat mat to 78, used pure pumice & used a tall dome for the tray. This is the first time I have had this much success. Amazing how just supplying bottom heat can change things around.

Thanks again everyone!
 

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