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Top tips for increasing your plant stock with hardwood cuttings

If you’re looking for new ways of increasing your garden plants, or an easy way of boosting the stocks of your favourite shrubs, then there’s no better way of doing that than by taking hardwood cuttings in our view. What’s more, taking hardwood cuttings of shrubs and fruit bushes that you want to multiply, or that are failing and need replacing, is both a simple and a satisfying job. So here are Ladybrook Nursery’s top tips for taking caring for hardwood cuttings.

If you’re planning on taking hardwood cuttings, then this job is best done any time between mid- autumn and late winter. How can you tell when the time is right? Well, you’ll need to take the cuttings when the plants are dormant and the ground isn’t frozen, so wait until after all the leaves have fallen, but take your cuttings before bud burst.

Once the cuttings have been taken your job is practically done. All you need to do is leave the cuttings in a sheltered spot until next autumn. Little maintenance is needed, other than giving the cuttings water if they’re dry. By next autumn all things being well the cuttings should have taken root and be ready to move on.

What plants are particularly suitable for hardwood cuttings?

  • Forsythia
  • Honeysuckle
  • Roses
  • Buddleia
  • Currant bushes
  • Mulberry
  • Philadelphus
  • Jasmine
  • Willow
  • Gooseberry
  • Fig
  • Cornus

How do you take hardwood cuttings?

  • Dig a trench in a sheltered well-drained area of the garden. Dig in some well-rotted compost and add a layer of horticultural grit or sand to help with drainage.
  • If your garden is small and you have little room for a growing trench, then place the cuttings in pots with a 50:50 mix of cuttings compost and horticultural grit or sand. Over-winter in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.
  • Cut long and healthy shoots from the donor plant. Remove the top third of the cutting and discard. Cut the rest of the cutting into 6 to 12 inch sections with a sloping cut at the top above a bud. This will help to shed excess water.
  • Dip the base of each cutting into hormone rooting powder or el, and push the cutting into the soil bed so that two thirds of the cutting is below the surface. Ideally a few buds should remain below ground level.
  • Firm in the cuttings and water them well. Keep an eye on them over the course of the next year and make sure they don’t dry out. Hopefully new growth should start to appear in spring.

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