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Taking cutting - for newbies  RSS feed

 
Todd Parr
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Posts: 1238
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I'm far from an expert, but I rebuilt a system for starting trees from cuttings and took some pictures in the hopes that it may help someone that wants to try, but doesn't know how to start.

To build this, you will need an
1) Old aquarium
2) Some scrap wood 3 or 4 inches wide.  2x4s work great. 
3) Window screen, used or not
4) Hardware cloth
5) Misc fastening hardware, nails, screws, etc
6) Painters tape
7) White paint
Growing medium

For the first step, just build a simple frame that is an inch or so bigger than your aquarium in both length and width.  Cover the bottom of the frame with screen, and then with hardware cloth.  The easiest way for me is to staple one side of the screen, pull it as tight as you can without tearing the staples thru the screen, and then staple the other side and ends.  Then I staple the hardware cloth over the screen.

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Todd Parr
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Posts: 1238
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Next, add three cross members to the same side of the box as the screen.  Leave a gap at the ends so water can escape, as well as between the boards.  After you attach the boards, flip the frame over.  Congratulations, you now have a box with a screen bottom

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Todd Parr
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Posts: 1238
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Fill the box with your growing medium.  Coarse sand works well.  I used 1 part peat moss to 3 parts vermiculite because I had those available.  You can substitute perlite for the vermiculite if you like.  You can also use really cheap potting soil.  If you do that, get the kind without any fertilizers.

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Todd Parr
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Now you'll need to paint your aquarium.  As you can see, I'm just touching up the one I used in the past.  The paint is coming off and it looks beat up.  flip the aquarium upside down and put a strip of painters tape around the sides, an inch or two down from the bottom (which is now on top).  Then put a couple of strip across the bottom of the aquarium.  I'm nearly certain there is a perfect ration of painted area to unpainted area.  I'm just as certain that no one knows what that ratio is, and in my experience, it doesn't seem to matter that much, so make pretty designs if you like.  The idea is to let a little sun in, but not enough to burn the tender cuttings.  The white paint also keep the aquarium from getting too hot.

Once you have the aquarium taped off, paint it white.  As you'll see in the pics, mine still looks pretty ragged after painting.  I didn't have tape the same width as the tape I used the first time and I didn't bother scraping the old paint so same came off with the tape.  As I said, it doesn't seem to matter.

After it dries, put the aquarium into your pre-moistened growing medium, and press it down a little.  That way you will know where you can put cuttings.

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Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Next step is placing your cuttings.  I make mine anywhere from 4 to 6 inches long from this year's growth.  June and July seem to work well for me to take cuttings.  I haven't tried later in the year, but I will this year.  I strip the leaves off most of the cutting, leaving a couple at the top.  Poke a hole in your growing medium with a pencil or something.  I dip the cutting in water, dip it in rooting powder, drop it in the hole, and then push the soil up against the cutting to make sure there is no air in the hole around the cutting.  I use the scissors I took the cutting with, insert it into the ground next to the cutting and push it toward the cutting.  It's much easier to do than to explain.  Put the cutting in an inch or so apart.  When you placed all the cuttings you are working with, water the growing medium well until it comes out the bottom of the frame.

After that, you put the aquarium over the cuttings and wait   In a few weeks, you should have new baby trees.

I'm sure I left some things out, so if any of this isn't clear, questions are welcome
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William Bronson
Posts: 1450
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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Bravo! I was hesitant about propagation,but this seems  like a smart easy way to get it done.
 
Todd Parr
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William Bronson wrote:Bravo! I was hesitant about propagation,but this seems  like a smart easy way to get it done.


William, it's much easier than I thought, that's why I decided to post this.  Once it is setup, you just monitor the aquarium to make sure there is some condensation on the top or walls, and leave it alone.  If there is no condensation, you water it.  It really is as simple as that. 
 
Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 275
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Todd Parr wrote:  June and July seem to work well for me to take cuttings.  I haven't tried later in the year, but I will this year.


How much time does it take to make roots? How long before your first killing frost do you do this?
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:
Todd Parr wrote:  June and July seem to work well for me to take cuttings.  I haven't tried later in the year, but I will this year.


How much time does it take to make roots? How long before your first killing frost do you do this?


It only takes 2-3 weeks for the cuttings to form roots.  At that point you can just leave them in the "terrarium", plant them into a bed to grow another year, or put them in their permanent location.  Our first real frost is normally in October, and the latest I have taken cuttings (if I remember correctly) is July.  This year I am going to try to keep going until September or October just to see what happens.
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