The Q&A Archives: Pruning & rooting

Question: I want prune my maples and also leland cypress but would like to root them when doing so. How & when do I go about doing this?

Answer: Spring, when new growth begins, is the best time to prune maples and Leyland Cypress trees. Spring, however, is not the best time to take cuttings for propagating these plants. Go ahead and prune your trees now, but wait until mid-summer to take tip cuttings for propagation purposes.

Tip cuttings should be taken during the growing season; they generally do not give the best results at any other part of the year. The tip section of a shoot is more subject to winter cold damage, may have flower buds rather than shoot buds, and may not have the proper internal nutritional and hormonal balance for good rooting during the dormant season. Take cuttings about 4 to 10 inches long from stem tips, using stems one year or less in age. Make tip cuttings from the main shoot or long side branches. Large cuttings produce a usable plant in shorter time than small cuttings but may require more care while rooting.

Dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone and place it in a container filled with moistened potting soil. Keep the soil moist but not soggy wet and place the container outdoors in a site protected from hot afternoon sunshine.

Best wishes with your new cuttings!

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