[NAFEX] instructions for root-cutting propagation?
Donna &/or Kieran
holycow at cookeville.com
Fri Jan 12 23:53:39 EST 2007
There have been a few varieties of apples that were known for rooting
from cuttings. I think that people just cut a few branches and stuck them
in the ground, probably pretty deeply with not much showing. You'd want
some juvenile wood if you could get it, certainly from the lower parts of
the tree. I'd think that water sprouts with some knobby bits at the base
would do best. Scratch the bark up to at least an inch from the base and
dip in rooting hormone. This part I'm copying from watching a professional
nurseryman preparing rose cuttings.
Personally, the way I'd do it is the way the oldtimers used to graft.
Dig some roots from the apple tree (commercially, there were people who just
grew apple roots for this purpose) and cut them in peices 3-6" long. Split
the "upper" end of the root and slide the prepared cutting into it. Tie
with cotton string and plant. You can also split the middle of the root and
stick the scion in at a 90 degree angle.
No, I haven't done any of this personally, or rather haven't done it
successfully... oh, I take that back. Last winter I cut off a low branch
from a seedling Micromalus, a tree about 4 years old, and stuck it in the
ground. It was about as big around as my finger and about 18" long, I only
put it about 8" into the ground I think. It rooted, to my surprise, and
next year I"ll have to move the thing. I'll tell you, it had grown through
a perforated tree guard, and I couldn't get the guard off without cutting
the branch, itwas partly girdled. That's what really inspired me to stick
it in the ground. I guess you could get the same effect by tying a wire
around the base of a branch for a summer and then cut it off. But it just
made it look like watersprouts do sometimes anyway. What I had planned to
tell you to encourage you was that there is a local guy who kept trying to
root an old pear. He'd stick short peices of branch in pots and about 1 in
20 would root. They'd usually die when he tried to transplant them, which I
don't find surprising. I'd think the root system would be pretty
inadequate, and that he'd have done better to have stuck them in the ground
where he wanted them to grow.
Again, for success with iffy tree cuttings, look for the most juvenile
wood, that is low branches that haven't fruited from young trees if
possible. For older trees, low water sprouts coming from the lower trunk are
probably your best bet. If you think the tree is on it's own roots, or was
grafted back in the 50's or earlier, look for root sprouts. I do think that
if you cut roots and planted them at about a 45 degree angle with the tree
end upward, there'd be some chance of sprouts, but if you're gonna dig
roots, I'd graft. If you admire the tree, you'll get the same combination
of root and top that made the original so successful.
Good luck, and tell us how it turns out. Donna
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