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 I live in rental accommodation and we are not permitted to lift or plant anything in our tiny cottage garden.

Last year I hard pruned what I thought was a dead tree, right down to the ground leaving about 10inchs of a trunk and left it. I made a nice little corner rockery around it and filled that with Forget-me-nots, tulips and sweet peas. But, in the summer time the tree went rampant and unruly and suddenly it was covered in bunches of white flowers followed by berries!

Further investigation led to the conclusion that this tree is an Elderberry, a hidden gem that I thought I had killed! As I am not allowed to dig it up I wondered if I could perhaps take a hardwood cutting from it before I prune it back now all the leaves have fallen from it?

If I can, what is the best method to use? I know how to do heel, hammer and *stick cuttings. Would any of these work and when would be the best time for to do it?

*Stick cutting - My Granddad would call it this, where you cut between buds and leave the top cut at an angle so water can drain off and the bottom end flat where the new roots will shoot.

Adam Pasco

You can try taking hardwood cuttings of elder (Sambucus), and many other trees, shrubs and fruits too.

Cut through a node (leaf joint) at the base, as elder has hollow, pithy stems that will rot if cut between nodes.

Now is teh perfect time to take hardwood cuttings too. Favourites of mine include currants, gooseberry, dogwood, willow (salix) and roses.

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