Types of Cuttings

Types of Cuttings

    On the basis of plant part used and relative positions on a plant, cuttings are classified in various groups as shown in Fig.5.2.
    a.) Stem cuttings: A stem cutting is any cutting taken from the main shoot of a plant or any side shoot growing from the same plant or stem. The shoots with high carbohydrate content usually root better. Broadly, there are four types of stem cuttings, namely hardwood, softwood, semi-hardwood and herbaceous cuttings.
    i) Hardwood cuttings: Cutting from mature and lignified stem of shrubs and trees are called as hardwood cuttings. Hardwood cuttings are prepared during dormant season, usually from one-year-old shoots of previous season’s growth (Plate 5.1). The size of cuttings varies from 10 to 45 cm in length and 0.5 to 2.5 cm in diameter, depending upon the species. Usually, the cuttings of 25-30cm length, with pencil thickness are preferred. Each cutting should have at least three or more buds. While preparing the cutting, a straight cut is given at the base of shoot- below the node while a slanting cut, 1 to 2 cm above the bud is given at the top of cutting. However, in case of hollow pith species such as kiwifruit, top cut should also be close to bud to avoid drying up of top portion. For tropical and subtropical crops, straight cut is given at top in order to minimize transpiration loss and slant cut should be given at the base to expose more area for absorption of water and nutrients. This helps in maintaining the polarity of the shoot and if rain occurs, water does not accumulate on the tip of the cutting, which saves the cutting from fungal infection. A number of deciduous fruit plants like grape, kiwifruit, hazel nut, chest nut, fig, quince, pomegranate, mulberry, plum, olive, and gooseberry etc. are commercially propagated by hardwood cuttings.

    5.1 5.1.1
    Plate5.1: Hardwood cuttings of Kiwifruit
    ii) Semi-hardwood (green wood) cuttings: Semi-hard wood cuttings are those made from woody, broad-leaved evergreen species with partially matured wood. These types of cuttings are mostly used in evergreen fruit plants like mango, guava, lemon, jackfruit some shrubs and shrubby ornamental plants. The length of the cuttings varies from 7 to 20 cm. The cuttings are prepared by trimming the cuttings with a straight cut below the node and removing a few lower leaves. However, it is better to retain two-to-four leaves on the top of the cuttings. While planting 1/4th cutting should be inserted in the soil. The best time for taking such cuttings is summer, when new shoots have emerged and their wood is partially matured. It is necessary that leafy cuttings should be rooted under conditions when water loss from the leaves is minimum. Commercially, such cuttings are rooted under intermittent mist, fog or under polyethylene sheets laid over the cuttings.

    5.2a 5.2b 5.2c
    Hardwood cutting Semi- Hardwood cutting Softwood cutting
    Fig.5.2: Different types of cuttings
    iii) Softwood cuttings: Cuttings prepared from the soft-succulent and non-lignified shoots, which are not hard or woody, are called as softwood cuttings. Such types of cuttings are very prone to desiccation. Therefore, proper arrangement for controlling humidity is required. Usually the size of cutting is 5-5.7 cm but it may vary from species-to-species. In general, some leaves should be retained with this type of cuttings. The best time for preparing softwood cuttings is late summer. Softwood cuttings generally root easier and quicker than other types, but require more attention and sophisticated equipments. Similarly, the temperature should be maintained 23 to 27oC during rooting at the base of cuttings.
    iv) Herbaceous cuttings: Herbaceous cuttings are made from succulent non-woody plants like geranium, chrysanthemum, coleus, carnation and many foliage crops. These are usually 7-15 cm long with few leaves retained at the upper end. These are rooted under the same conditions as that of softwood cuttings, requiring high relative humidity. Bottom heat is also useful for initiation of rooting process. Herbaceous cuttings of some plants exclude a sticky sap (as in geranium, pineapple, cactus etc.) that interferes with root initiation process. In such cases, basal ends of cuttings should be allowed to dry for few hours before planting. Generally, fruit plants are not propagated by herbaceous cuttings.
    b) Root cuttings: Propagation by means of root cuttings is also a simple and cheap method of vegetative propagation in species, which are difficult-to-propagate by other methods. In general, the plants, which produce suckers freely, are easily propagated by root cuttings. For preparation of root-cuttings, roots which are of 1cm thickness and 10-15cm long are cut into pieces (Fig.5.3). The best time for taking root cutting is late winter or early spring, when roots are well supplied with stored food material. However, in temperate fruits, root cuttings are prepared in the month of December and are kept in warm place in moss grass or wet sand for callusing and are then transplanted in the nursery during February-March in the open beds. Blackberry and raspberry are commercially propagated by this method. However, kiwifruit, breadfruit, fig, rose, mulberry, apple, pear, peach, cherry and persimmon are also propagated by root cuttings.

    5.3 5.3a 5.3b
    Fig.5.3: Different types of root cuttings
    c) Leaf cuttings: Propagation through leaf bud cuttings is partially useful in species where leaves develop root system but die because of non-development of shoot system. Leaf bud cuttings are particularly useful when planting material is scarce because each node in leaf can be used as cutting. Leaf bud cutting should preferably be prepared during growing season because buds if enter into dormancy may be difficult to force to active stage, thereby inhibit the rooting in such cuttings.

    Fig.5.4.Leaf cuttings
    d) Leaf bud cuttings: A leaf bud cutting consists of a leaf blade, petiole and short piece of stem with attached axiliary bud of actively growing leaves (Fig.5.4). In leaf bud cutting, 10-15 cm stem portion is used when propagating material is small. It is an useful method of propagation in blackberry, raspberry, lemon, camellia etc.

Last modified: Thursday, 2 August 2012, 8:20 AM