Spring time is nearly upon me and I am starting to get the itch to plant. I am all for growing from seed, but today I have a few questions about asexual fruit tree propagation.
I am good on grafting, though i am always interested to hear good grafting stories/projects. I read an article last night that referred to grafting as an overused technology that can often be replaced and improved upon using cuttings (made considerably more effective using heated mist chambers and modern rooting hormones). I have never tried rooting hardwood cuttings so I don't know if that is true or not, but...
I am curious to hear about adventures in hardwood and softwood cutting in fruits. Has anyone had success with apples or pears? Peaches? Plums? Cherries? Almonds? I have gobs of root stock, but I have never tried rooting cuttings. I picked up some rooting compound yesterday and am planning to give it a shot. Any tips will be greatly appreciated. I have read that peaches in particular can root from cuttings then routinely die after a few years. Has anyone experienced this?
I need to prune my grapes this week and am planning on rooting cuttings from them as well. Are there any tips or will grape cuttings grow in anything short of concrete like the interweb implies?
I am also a bit fuzzy on what exactly layering is (I understand how to do it with raspberries), it seems as though the term can mean several things? Are there particular fruit trees people have had luck with? Is it most successful with berries?
While I'm at it has anyone taken root cuttings from Black Raspberries? Are there any tricks that helped you out?
First to the question about black raspberries, you don't need to use cuttings, a piece of root planted as a rhizome will start a new plant, you only need around a 2" piece of root for this method.
Hardwood cuttings are best taken from first year growth, once the bark has fully formed and hardened it takes three times as long for rooting to begin.
Fruit trees are usually grafted because of root disease problems on the parent tree, if you plan on using boron, manganese, and other mineral improvements, you can have great success with simple rooting of cuttings.
For grape vine cuttings, grow the cuttings in the same soil the mother vine is growing in, use something as a cloche over the new cutting.
You need two to three nodes to be in the soil medium and you will want to use a liquid hormone (willow water works great and can be made for free if you can get willow branches).
I have rooted cuttings of apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, blueberries, pawpaw's, fig and mulberry. Nut trees are best air layered. I have also rooted many Roses from cuttings with out any issues.
One trick I use for planting cuttings made from grafted trees is to blend borax into the soil from the hole along with other amendments, this seems to really help.
Another trick is to wait till you have 2" long roots and then do a watering with a B-12 addition, this really gets the roots going and don't forget to prune at the end of the first year of growth, you want more roots than top to start with when you put it in a permanent home.
Misting beds are perfect for raising cuttings ( I like mine under a bench in the greenhouse, out of the way and easy to keep track of at the same time).
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I have planted hundred of grape cuttings over the years and had 3 take... I attribute the poor rate to the super-low humidity in the desert where I garden.
Last spring, I cut the grape twigs and put them into a bucket of water with one node submerged. About half of them rooted, and were transplanted and survived the growing season. Those that rooted best were one year old cuttings with just a hint of 2 year old wood on them. I did not use hormones nor willow water. I put them into pots soon after roots started emerging. A friend that soaked the twigs in water after dipping them in hormone powder has 100% rooting.