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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Getting to the root of the problem

I've tried rooting hard and softwood cuttings over the years with ignoble success.

I really didn't understand the process.  I probably still don't.

But at least now I've got some spiffy new equipment to play with this season.

The local nursery has a young fella that will discuss cuts and cloning in great detail at the drop of a hat.

I dropped my hat several times and after my 3rd visit, I came home with lots of rock wool plugs, a nifty root germinator, some fresh root stimulator powder and a bagful of determination.

The new germinator will only hold 6 dozen cuttings.  (3 dozen if I give them each extra spacing like in the photo.)  Sounds like a lot, right?

Wrong.  The backyard is 100' deep and 160' wide.

I want to hedge it.  Yeah... crazy.

It's darn hard to find something to fit the bill: beautiful, fast growing, low maintenance, evergreen, can reach 10' tall - and DEER WON'T EAT IT.

I've decided on HOLLY.

I'll need --- quite a few.

To buy such volume would bankrupt me.

But if I can get the knack of rooting cuts, I've got a shot.

Aside from the new germinator, I had an old non-standard (won't fit under any that the nursery sells) germinator tray I found in a dumpster.  I decided to cut it into 9-cell squares so I could root cuttings from non-holly plants (like spirea, dogwood, weigelia, lilac...)

I took my Dremel tool and sliced it up.  Well, it wasn't so much cutting, per se, but the high-speed rotating blade melted through the plastic, really gooping up the tool. Que sera.

But I was happy with the results.

A 9-cell square fits neatly under a recycled biscotti bin.

Two 9-cell squares fit neatly under recycled store-bought greens container.  I'll use this one for really short cuttings.

There.  Equipment in place.  Temps rising outside.  Buds swelling.  Hopes high.

If I plant hollies 3-feet apart, I'll only need 120 for the backyard - if I don't stagger them for a double hedge.  (Gee, that does sound nice...)

Ladies and gentlemen, grab your clippers!

Stay tuned.

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1 comment:

  1. Kris, this looks amazing, I shall be watching these posts with much interest :} I don't need 120 hedging plants but I just love growing things .... it's a sort of addiction :}


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