I made this list for my own use and thought I would share it with you all. This is a list of native plants found in the South Puget Sound that can be grown by using live stakes or hardwood cuttings. If you don't know live stakes are where you take a hardwood cutting (requires several nodes) and then push it / pound it down into the ground with several nodes under the surface and at least one above the surface. Hardwood cuttings are smaller (generally) than live stakes and are placed in a pot until the roots develop. I tend to blur the line between these two methods and have just taken hardwood cuttings and carefully stuck them in the ground. I'm also experimenting with growing some species not on this list as live stakes - if these work I will add them to the list. I'm also trying to grow some of the ones listed as hardwood cuttings only as live stakes.
Native plants can be difficult to find in nurseries and it can be expensive to purchase them in mass. I have found that using cuttings and live stakes can be a very easy and cheap way to grow a lot of these plants. Live stakes generally need to be harvested in the fall or winter and placed in the ground as soon as possible. Hardwood cuttings, if you are growing them in a pot, can be taken throughout the year depending on the species and its growing habit. Live stakes are the easiest and I'm trying to use this method as much as possible. So far this season I have installed around 300 live stakes on my property. Most of these are willows but I have a few other types that I have also installed.
I have also purchased bareroot native plants that can be live staked so I will have a source on my property that I can easily take live stakes from to expand my plantings later on. Some of these are difficult to find in large numbers out in the wild so by purchasing them as bareroots and getting them going on my land I won't have to search for them in the future. When I do this I try to order a fair number (I planted 50 black twinberry as bareroots this year) so I have a decent genetic base to start from for my live stake harvests.
Be careful not to over harvest from any specific plant - I have heard that you should not take any more than 1/20th of a plant. Also, use clean and sharp cutting tools to help keep the main plant healthy. Also, know the area you are harvesting from and make sure it is allowed. I tend to find good sources of plants along roadsides (where they get cut back anyways) and from friendly landowners.
I have also used these methods with some non-native plants but I wanted to focus on the native ones for this post. Recently, I took cuttings from female seaberry plants and just stuck them in the ground - so far they all seem to be surviving and are budding out. Went from 1 female plant to over 20 if they all survive.
Here is the list (common name, scientific name, my notes):
Pacific Madrone, Arbutus menziesii, Hardwood cuttings and layering may work - not sure about live stakes
Black Cottonwood, Populus balsamifera, Live stakes
Pacific Willow, Salix lucida, Live stakes
Scouler Willow, Salix scouleriana, Live stakes
Sitka Willow, Salix sitchensis, Live stakes
Hookers Willow, Salix hookeriana, Live stakes
Western Yew, Taxus brevifolia, Hardwood cuttings
Western Red Cedar, Thuja plicata, Hardwood cuttings
Julia Winter wrote:Do you need rooting compound for the hardwood cuttings? I've heard you can make some from willow cuttings.
All the ones listed above should root without the need for a rooting compound but I'm sure it would increase your success rate. So far I have not been using any of the rooting compound and I'm having fairly good success. I would add that one reason I'm growing a large willow patch is to being able to harvest shoots to make a rooting solution. I have never done that but it seems like a good idea and for more challenging species it could be a big help. I have also heard that dipping the cuttings into honey helps but I'm not sure how it compares to using willows to promote rooting.
laurie branson wrote:
Thanks so much for sharing this info. I've also been checking out the work you've been doing on your farm - it's quite impressive!
Thank you! I hope the info is helpful! Little update on one of my experiments. I have some bitter cherry cuttings that I stuck in a pot filled with potting soil that appear to be leafing out. Have to see they get roots but if they do it will be another plant to add to the list. I'm excited about these because my Dad cut them and just tossed them in a slash pile for a fair bit before I got them. They stayed wet but still is a bit surprising for them to still be viable. So far 4 out of 6 shoots are showing good signs of life.