Propagating Trees and Shrubs from Hardwood Cuttings

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Introduction to Plant Propagation

There is something magical about propagating plants from cuttings. Perhaps it is because we always learned that plants must grow from seed. Or maybe it is the explosive growth that occurs when plants propagated from a relatively large cutting benefit from much greater stored energy. Either way, sticking a cutting in a pot and watching grow is a fun way to multiply your plants, create gifts, or having something green in your apartment until spring arrives.

There are many plants that will root from dormant hardwood cuttings which are prunings taken during the late autumn or winter when the plant is dormant. Some of the more popular plants to propagate this way are Willow, Fig, Mulberry, Forsythia, Jostaberry, Gooseberry, Rose of Sharon, Poplars, Boxwood, Blueberries, Dogwood, Currants, Weigela, Viburnum, Spirea, and Ninebark.

We have gathered some resources below and on Dingdong's Garden YouTube Channel to share all the ways dormant cuttings can be propagated.

General Propagation Techniques for Hardwood Cuttings 

There are many methods to propagating hardwood cuttings. They can be propagated indoors or outdoors. Some need rooting hormone, some don't. Some are sensitive to drying out or are sensitive to rot or both. Here are some general resources on propagating hardwood cuttings:

Propagating Willows, Cottonwoods, and Dogwoods from Hardwood Cuttings

Willow is considered the easiest plant to reproduce from hardwood cuttings. They already possess higher levels of rooting hormone. There is a wide range of willow types. They can be used as shade trees, source material for weaving, living structures like a ‘fedge’, and the branches of curly willow or ones loaded with fuzzy catkins can be used as decoration. Cottonwoods and Dogwoods are often as easy as willow to root and propagate.
  • Iowa State University Extension has a brief description on how to propagate willows in the ground in spring. “How can I propagate willow?”
  • Jason at Fraser Valley Rose Farm has many great videos on propagating roses, but also has an excellent one here on propagating willows and dogwoods in pots. "Grow WIllow from Cuttings (dogwood too)"
  • Casey Hentges from the Oklahoma Gardening Channel discusses several different varieties and talks about rooting willows using water in this video. "Propagating Willows"

Propagating Figs and Mulberries from Hardwood Cuttings

Figs are an extremely popular fruit tree to grow from cuttings. Mulberries are in the same Moracaea family as Figs and be propagated using similar techniques. Both are vigorous growers and fruit on first year wood. Most of the information below refers to figs, but the same techniques can be used to root many kinds of mulberries.

Propagating Currants and Gooseberries from Hardwood Cuttings

Popular in Europe, dormant hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries are easy to root. They can be propagated indoors or outdoors.

Propagating Spiraea from Hardwood Cuttings

We will post more resources and more types of plants here in the future.  Until then, happy propagating!

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