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Growing a tree collard from a cutting

 
gardener
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Help. As long as I have been gardening I have never tried to grow from a cutting.  My only experience is last spring I planted 12 or 13 comfrey roots cuttings. Only one grew, and that was the anyone can grow this, you can't kill this comfrey.  I ordered a cutting of tree collard. It came 4/10/21. I thought I could plant it in the garden, keep it watered and be good to go.  The directions said not to do that. It said it put it in a pot with a soilless medium, keep in a dark place, and keep moist but not wet, maybe use a plastic bag.  I did that, except I forgot the dark part. And root tone is helpful, but not required, I was looking for mine when my sister in law come over and told me how toxic it is, so I decided not to use it.  The cutting had tiny leaves at the top. I planted it so they were above the soil. It didn't actually tell me how deep to plant it.  Now I'm supposed to wait until it develops roots.  Then I can plant it in the garden.  Ok how in the H am I supposed to know when it has roots?  I have them in my dining room. Not dark, but no direct sun.  I checked on them today, and both have grown, one quite a bit.  It needs to grow roots not leaves. Did I mess it up by forgetting to put it in the dark?  Should I do it now? Usually when I plant something and it grows I'm happy, but with this I just don't know.  I love to learn new things, but I hate not knowing what I'm doing.  Thanks
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pollinator
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Location: Eilean a' Cheo
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If tree collard are like perennial kales they should be pretty easy to root.  Here I can just stick them in the ground outside and they'll grow at least 3/4 of the time!  Yours look nice healthy cuttings so far.  I can't understand why your instructions said keep them in the dark.  Maybe they meant in the shade?  As leafy brassicas they may tend to wilt in too much heat, especially without roots!.  I found this website: treecollards which seems to give some good advice (as well as maybe a source of more cuttings if neccessary).  They suggest a few weeks required before planting out.  You have given them lovely big pots, so they should be fine in those for a while I should think.  I would put them on a windowsill that doesn't get too much sun if you don't have a suitable spot outside for them.  The leaves will grow bigger from the reserves in the stem for a while, before the roots develop.  Eventually the roots will poke out the bottom of the pot, but they should be obviously growing by then.  Be patient!
Good luck.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thank you Nancy. I understand tree collard and tree kale is the same thing.  I will put them outside in the shade.  I live in California and it's very dry. Should I leave them in the plastic bag, to help with humidity, or take them out and keep them watered?  I appreciate the info. Thanks
 
Nancy Reading
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I think if it's very dry then a plastic bag will help as you say to keep up humidity, reduce transpiration (moisture loss through leaves) and stop the soil drying out so quickly.  Keep an eye on them though, since they may develop mildew instead!
 
Jen Fulkerson
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It's been almost 3 weeks since I put my cuttings in soil. They have more than doubled in size, and I see one little root poking out of the bottom of the 4" pot.  I'm anxious to get them in the ground before it gets to hot, but I don't want to plant to soon, and harm it.  Anyone know how to tell when it's safe to plant?
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Wow I thought it had been about 3 weeks, but I posted the day I got them, so that is only 10 days.  I can't believe it can grow roots that fast.  Amazing.  Do you think they are ready to plant in the ground, or should I give it a little longer?
 
pollinator
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I would go ahead and start putting the one with roots coming out the bottom of the pot out a little each day to harden it off, plant it out in about a week...
They are collards too, not tree kale. they wont do very good in full blasting hot sun if the temp gets over 90 or so.   You might give them partial shade in the heat of the day. they grow very fast and give a lot of greens in spring and fall, even good through winter here in 8b
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks Ralph. I was planning on planting it on the east side of my apricot tree so it would get morning sun, and afternoon shade.  Thanks for the info. It was called a purple tree collard when I bought it. I will start hardening it off today.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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I hardened them off then planted the one that was in the 4" pot that had the two roots sticking out of the bottom. That was all it had. I planted it anyway because I didn't want to keep disturbing it.  It isn't doing well.  I hope it will bounce back.  The one I have in a large pot I left to grow more roots. The chicken apparently likes tree collard and ate all the leaves. I don't know if this will will it.  I may have to order again.  Time will tell.
 
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Once you get one established, the cuttings will be abundant enough to be pretty laid back about how you plant them. After starting with 6 cuttings a couple years ago, we have enough now to eat them almost every day without diminishing the supply. We replicate them by just putting them in good but minimally fertilized organic potting soil (potting soil is essentially a "soilless" mix, mine is basically coco coir, perlite and/or pumice, compost and/or wormcastings, and oyster shell, if I don't have to move the pots I'll use river sand). I do like to give cuttings and bare root transplants a kelp and willow-water bath (willow branches soaked in it for a day or three), and I often put a willow branch in the pot with the cutting. I cover them with a cloche clear hood, cold-frame, or keep them in some other moderately sunny protected area with minimal temperature swings and moderately high humidity (70% or so). I mist a couple times a day, once a week with compost tea or a willow-kelp mix. I figure I'm basically trying to replicate the sunny edge of a forest near a fresh water source. This provides a good enough success rate for me (3/4 or so), and almost all the ingredients can be made with found or homemade ingredients.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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They must be pretty tough. The one I planted in the ground isn't looking to good. It may be a goner. I one still in the pot that the chicken ate all of it's leaves is growing new leaves. I will put  some chicken wire around it to give it a chance.  I guess chickens like collards.  Thanks for the great information.
 
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Hope they survive, Jen! The good part is that now you know you CAN grow from cuttings!
 
Ben Zumeta
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Chickens do love tree collards, and the collards love their feedback loop of fertilization. The ones I had at my old place on hugels up against the bird run would get vibrant leaves the size of a pro football, but  the ones that poked through the fence would get pruned back and bushy with lots of branches to take cuttings from. The leaves are high in protein and calcium, which is of course great for layers. They did not seem to mind the theoretically fungal soil of the hugels despite being supposedly bacterially associated.
 
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