|I want to grow a Loquat tree from cutting. How and when is the best time to do it?|
|It's difficult to propagate a loquat with a stem cutting but you can certainly try. Take a 6" long cutting from a healthy stem tip, strip the lower leaves, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and place it in a container of moistened potting soil. Place the container in a shaded area in the garden and water regularly. If the cutting develops roots you'll see new growth at the tip of the cutting. At that time you can plant your loquat in the ground.
Or - you can propagate a loquat through a process called air layering. Air layering is a fun way to grow roots on the tree?s stem while it is still attached to the tree. The mother plant provides water while the shoot is developing roots so survival is often higher than with rooting cuttings.
Here?s how to air layer a Loquat: Remove a few leaves between 8" and 12" from the shoot tip, leaving a 4" to 6" stem section exposed. Scrape the bark from a one inch section of the stem all the way around. Applying a small amount of rooting powder on the cut area with a small paint brush or cotton swab speeds up the rooting. Pre-soak with water two hands full of sphagnum moss then gently squeeze to remove dripping water.
Hold a sheet of plastic wrap in your hand and place the clump of wet sphagnum moss on top. Press a crease in it and fold it around the cut part of the stem. Hold the plastic tightly and secure the bottom edge to the stem with a wire twist tie. Carefully fold the edges of the plastic together to form a good seal in the moist moss. (This wrapping process is easier if an extra set of hands is available.)
The plastic holds the moss against the cut stem and provides a moist place for roots to grow while it is still attached to the original mother plant. Many experienced propagators also cover the plastic with foil to prevent sunlight from damaging tender new roots. Birds are also sometimes known to peck at the worm like roots.
Watch for the roots grow inside the plastic. After a month or so, when the roots fill the moss, cut the shoot below the rooted area so the new cutting has roots. Don?t cut above the roots or the new plant will lack roots. This rooted cutting can be grown out in a pot for a period of time before it is planted in the yard.
Whichever method you choose, good luck with your project!