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How to take hardwood cuttings


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.

How to do it


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.

Our tip

Remove a 1-2cm sliver of bark from the base of any variety that is shy of rooting, e.g. pyracantha. This is called wounding and helps the natural chemicals within the plant initiate root development.

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.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to take hardwood cuttings
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Lashes2508 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I lost my fig tree but my neighbour says I can take a cutting from theirs , can I do it now as the house will soon be in another persons ownership and if so can I do it now

jane grubb 11/03/2012 at 09:55

can ou take spruce cuttings

kathryn-brock 31/12/2012 at 09:34

Why is this information different from that contained in Joe Swifts video which I have in my scrap book?

Madeleine Read 22/11/2013 at 09:38

Hardwood cuttings root well in a bucket of water. Just make sure the water doesn't freeze.Then plant out in the spring.

Josh Bolger 14/12/2013 at 12:41

Can you take hard wood cuttings from any thing or is it only a select few that this will work with

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