How to take hardwood cuttings

Do it:

Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb

Takes just:

15 minutes

Hardwood cuttings are taken from woody perennials e.g. forsythia, cornus and willow in autumn and winter. They can take several months to produce roots, so leave them for a year before lifting and potting up or transplanting.

You will need

  • Secateurs
  • Spade
  • Sharp sand or grit
  • Hormone rooting powder (optional)

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Look for well-ripened, pencil-thick shoots and remove them horizontally below a node, leaf joint or bud, using secateurs.

Prepare each cutting by removing the shoot tip just above a bud, and trimming the bottom just below another bud. Trim the cuttings to roughly 20cm in length.

If you have a rooting compound, dip each cutting into it before planting. Insert the cuttings roughly 10cm deep into a pot filled with loam-based cuttings compost and overwinter them in a coldframe. Keep the cuttings watered and shoots should start to appear next spring. Leave plants for at least 12 months before transplanting.

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If you are propagating a whole hedge you can place lots of cuttings in a slit trench in a sheltered nursery bed. Line a 15cm-deep trench with a layer of horticultural sand and insert the cuttings, spacing them 5cm apart.

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