I'm looking for advice about growing cottonwoods from cuttings. What size cuttings do I use? Do I soak the cuttings or treat them in any other way? How deep do I plant them? Do I mulch around them? How much water would I give them? What time of year is right? I'm full of questions.
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I got some to root a long time ago. Dormant cuttings are good, so between leaf fall and early spring. New growth from the past season, size of a pencil more or less. I don't think I was using rooting hormone powder back then but certainly won't hurt. Stick a few in a gallon pot of peat based mix, firm around them, keep them moist and in complete shade. A plastic bag or a bottle over them will help keep in moisture. They will take awhile to root. You can split them out in spring and give them their own pots. If doing it again I would add some fungal innoculant too. I have rooted fig trees and even a plum this way also along with roses.
Unfortunately life happened and mine died for lack of water. When planting out remember they need a good amount of water. In nature they only grow where the water table is 10 feet or less below the surface, that is why they are only seen along stream banks.
The size of cutting doesn't matter as long as it contains at least two buds.
I put the cuttings vertical in water with the water level just below the top bud. You can leave them there till you see roots or you can plant them in the ground if it's not too hot and dry where you are. Plant with the top bud just above ground level and make sure the soil doesn't dry out.
You could go for a misting system and/or use an air pump to aerate the water while the cuttings are soaking. It isn't necessary but will give faster rooting.
Cut off the small green branches from an established tree. Pencil width or a bit bigger. Plop them in ground. Done. Ok, bit harder than that. The military did a bit of an experiment on that here. They dug up part of the area with an excavator, decided they shouldn't have, covered it over and plopped some cuttings in it. Cuttings were also put in an area that hadn't been dug. The area that had been accidentally dug up by the excavator had really nicely established cottonwood and aspen on it.
I'm waiting for leaf fall at the tree at my work so I can take cuttings and put them in the pond. They do REALLY well on creek and pond edges.
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