Fall starting of cuttings

Has anyone tried cutting canes this late in the season in cold zones (5 or lower), and just sticking them in the ground with the expectation that at least some of them will be rooted by next spring?

Henry, I haven’t been in a northern climate for a while, but when I was in Connecticut, I had great success with semi-ripe wood cuttings* in the fall. In principle, they have the greatest stores of carbohydrates and no risk of breaking bud before roots develop. They should callous quite well if buried adequately deeply. I would recommend mulching them completely over and only uncovering the tops only after danger of hard freezes is past. Not a problem given that they will still be essentially strong sticks and a leaf rake can be used.

*Semi-ripe Cuttings should not have bark on them, nor any “green” really. Generally the last years growth from earlier in season cut to roughly pencil size on most cultivars did best for me. Rugosas and some species were a tad more difficult.

In Z5: rooting in Fall in ground VS rooting in June in a mister:

In Oct 2005, eleven 12 inch long semihardwood cuttings were stuck 6 inch into ground; each was covered with a 1/2 gal milk jug (top off) and then covered with chopped leaves. Only three (30%) are still alive (numbers are lengths of stems in inches):

Alexander Mackenzie ((36,36,18);

Red climber (14,7);

HT (PristineXFrench Lace) (28,16).

In June 2006, thirty+ softwood cuttings were struck in a mister box; about 90% survive, and are now roughly the same size as the cuttings struck in Fall 2005.

So, both methods work, but the mister success rate is much higher.

Thanks for the replies. It sounds like I have nothing to lose by sticking fall pruning pieces in the ground.

Some time ago I read that rooting hormones are translocated from the leaves to the root area. Since then I have mixed liquid rooting compound with Wilt-Pruff type sprays and have sprayed the cuttings after placing them in the ground. I have not run control tests, but I “think” this has helped.

About Wilt Pruff: to me, Wilt Pruff smells and looks a lot like Elmers Glue.

Might it be possible that diluted Elmers would be a much cheaper anti-transpirant?

dave wolfe, interesting idea. I do not know if it would work. I guess that one would just have to try it on an “expendable” bush.

I have paid very little for what probably is several lifetimes supply of Wilt-Pruf type chemicals. I have found it at very low clearance sales at nurseries that do not carry their inventory over the winter plus at after Christmas sales (a form of antidessicant is sold to preserve Christmas trees).

This past germinating season I dipped newly germinated seeds into a antidessicant solution before planting out with the expectation that the protective layer would help against damping off. I thought it worked. I will have to try the same with Elmers Glue on some non important germinations.

Wilt Pruf product information says it is a concentrate containing 23% di-1-p-menthene. Polyethylenes and poly terpenes are used in other anti transpirants as well. Glue is generally PVA (polyvinyl acetate).

Not to say that it might not work…

Henry; Most hybridizers are people of adventure and are willing to try new ideas. After reading the above statement , I decided to give it a try. I dug a hole 2 ft by 2ft by 1ft deep on the south side of my greenhouse. I mixed a combination of potting soil. perlite and canadian peat moss about 8 inches deep in the planting area. I felt it was very important to water the planting area at planting time. I then cut 24 healthy Red Knockout cuttings about 6 inches in lenght, immersed them in a water solution of RHIZOPON and planted. It has been two weeks since planting and the plants look pretty good. As soon as our zone 5 winter weather becomes nasty, I will cover the cuttingg with a mixture of chopped alfalfa hay and oak leaves. I will continue to keep the plant watered until frezing temperatures arrive, but to be careful not to overwater. I will give you a report next spring on this experiment. Perhaps the two key factors are to plant a variety that propagates easy and put your planting in a protected area. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Milford Clausen

Northern Illinois.