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What you need:
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Twist ties
  • 6-8" pot
  • Sand
One of the easiest ways to propagate deciduous shrubs and trees is to root hardwood cuttings. Take cuttings in late fall or early winter, after the leaves have dropped and the plant is dormant. Look for shoots, about the thickness of a pencil, that were produced during the current growing season. Cut them at the base with pruning shears.
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Trim the shoots with a sharp knife into cuttings 6-10" long, each with 2-6 buds. Cut just below a bud at the bottom of each cutting and just above a bud at the top. Be careful not to confuse top and bottom; a cutting that is set into the soil upside down won't root properly. Discard the tip of the shoot.
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If you live in an area where the soil lightly freezes or not at all, you can go ahead and plant the cuttings as described in the following steps. If you live in a cold-winter climate, tie your cuttings in bundles of 6 or more and bury them in 6-8" of moistened sand, either in the ground, cold frame or unheated garage. Label the bundles if you are taking cuttings from more than one kind of plant. Remove the cuttings from the sand in spring. When the soil can be worked, it's time to plant the cuttings as described in the following steps.
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Loosen the soil in an area that receives plenty of sunshine but is protected from strong winds. The best soil for rooting cuttings is light and sandy. If your soil is heavy, work in plenty of organic matter. Then push the blade of your spade into the soil and rock it back and forth to create a V-shaped slot. Repeat this procedure until you have a narrow trench.
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Set the cuttings, bottoms down, in the trench. Space them 3-4" apart. Shovel soil back into the trench. Only the top third of the cuttings should be above ground. Firm the soil and water the cuttings thoroughly to ensure that they are in contact with the soil and that there are no air pockets. The cuttings will begin to grow as temperatures warm, producing leaves and shoots. Within 1-2 years, you'll have healthy young trees, ready for transplanting.