Last time I blogged I posted about a fabulous website called Mikes Backyard Nursery so I thought it was time to follow up with one of the methods Mike suggested for taking cuttings.
I usually take Cornus cuttings in the dormant season and to be honest my past attempts at them have been pretty pathetic - I've taken heaps but only ever had one cutting successfully root and survive (though i suspect this is through my own impatience than anything else), so when I saw Mikes article on taking cuttings and rooting them in sand I figured I'd give it a go.
Mike uses 'flats' that he builds himself from off cuts of wood but I used a plastic tub with drainage holes drilled in the bottom instead.
The idea is to half fill the tub with sand, add the cuttings and then saturate the sand with water. Mike suggests cramming as many cuttings in as you like and this is how he manages to make hundreds or thousands of cuttings each season.
Once the cuttings are in and the sand saturated you simply insert the whole thing into a white plastic bag, supported in all 4 corners with pencils in my case, and then leave it somewhere to do its thing - mine stayed in the PT out of direct sunlight.
To be honest I was sceptical about this method, I honestly did not think it would work so I was a tad unconcerned about keeping an eye on it and by the time I gave it a second thought I figured the cuttings would have wilted and died.
So I was totally surprised when I took a peek and saw this.
A few of the Weigela cuttings may have died off but the majority of the cuttings were happy, healthy and surprisingly well rooted - even the Cornus, that plant that I have had such trouble propagating all these years.
In total I had about an 80% success rate which for me is nothing short of amazing and I believe that if I'f been more attentive to the plants then the success rate would have increased more.
Once my back has recovered I will be taking loads more cuttings using this method and next year I will be taking even more of the things I don't usually bother with because I've failed so many times in the past.
Thank you Mike McGroarty of Mikes Backyard Nursery and Freeplants.com