Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Celebrating diversity and making lemonade...

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Finally some success with plant propagation...

In the Food Forest

I have tried the past 2 years to propagate some woody shrubs (currents, honeyberry and elderberry) with absolutely no luck.  I tried a new method this year that involves putting cuttings into wet sand.  I started this project on the 4th of July.

First, I drilled holes into the containers.
 Then, I took cuttings from my plants.  This is a honeyberry cutting.
 You strip off the lower leaves and I dipped the stem in rooting powder.
 Then, you stick them in the damp sand.  These are the cuttings from the honeyberry bush.
 Put them in a white trash bag (it has to be white, not clear and not black).  Put it in a shady spot and let it sit for a couple of months.

 These are not the best pics but I wanted to explain why I wanted to propagate certain bushes.  This black current was loaded down with big currents the size of grapes!  The branches were literally hanging down with all the fruit.
 This white current bush is all bushy with leaves and only had a few small, pea sized berries.  

I had bought 4 different current bushes when we moved to the property a couple of years ago.  Only the black current seems to be super productive.  I am glad I decided to try several different ones to see what would be best.

On Labor Day (early September), I decided to see how the cutting were doing.

These are the black current.  I had put 15 cuttings in and I had 4 that looked okay...not 100% sure they will make it...
 The honeyberries did the best.  I did 2 different bushes and I got about 12 new seedlings in each container.
 Check out the roots on this new seedling!
 I also tried to propagate Elderberry but had no luck with that at all.

There are lots of different ways to propagate bushes and some methods are better than others for certain plants.  I am going to try and do some stool layer on the current bush.  Basically, it involves putting good compost and mounding it up at the base of the plant and then let it sit on the branches and they should root in the compost.

Here is a nice video describing the stool layering technique:

Another type of propagation that is good for plants with arching canes is tip layering.  Here I took the end of a blackberry and stripped off the leaves at the end and covered it with compost.  Over winter, it should root and I can dig it out in the spring and transplant it to a new area.
Here is a great video about tip layering:
It may go without saying, but propagating your own plants can save you a lot of money.  One year old honeyberry plants can sell for $15-$20 each.  I was able to propagate at least $300 worth of plants for free.  I have seaberry plants that I want to try and propagate next.  These plants cost $25-$30 each!  I have one male and one female.  The first ones I bought did not grow and the company replaced them (yeah!).  I had planted the second ones last fall and they did really well this year but they were not big enough to take any cuttings from this this year.  I bought my honeyberries and seaberry from Honeyberry USA.

I will still work to propagate more plants.  If anyone knows of a fool proof way to propagate elderberry, please, clue me in.  I have heard it is super easy to propagate but I have failed 3 times to get any to grow!


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