Exercise 6

Exercise 6: Preparation of different types of Cuttings

    Exercise: Preparation of different types of cuttings
    Materials Required: Cuttings, Secateurs, prepared nursery beds, growth hormone, sensitive balance, alcohol, measuring cylinders, small tub
    On the basis of plant part used and relative position on a plant, cuttings is classified into various groups as:
    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.
    Hardwood cuttings (HWC): 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 immature shoots of previous season’s growth. The length 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 two buds or more. 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.

    6.1 6.1a
    Plate 6.1 Hard wood cuttings preparation and planting
    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. 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, hazelnut, chestnut, fig, quince, pomegranate, mulberry, plum, olive, gooseberry and apple etc. are commercially propagated by hard wood cuttings. The concentration of rooting hormone depends upon the species to be propagated.
    Semi-hardwood (greenwood) cuttings: Semi-hardwood cuttings are those made from woody, broad-leaved evergreen species and leafy summer and early fall cuttings of deciduous plants with partially matured wood. These types of cuttings are mostly used in evergreen fruit plants like mango, guava, lemon, jackfruit, some shrubs and shrubby plants and ornamental shrubs. The length of the cuttings varies from 7 to 20cm. The cuttings are prepared by trimming the cutting with a straight cut below a 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 of their length should be inserted in the soil. The best time for taking cuttings in summer, when new shoots have emerged and their wood is partially matured. It is necessary that leafy cuttings be rooted under conditions that will keep water loss from the leaves at a minimum. Commercially they are rooted under intermittent mist, fog or under polyethylene sheets laid over the cuttings. The concentration of rooting hormone depends upon the species to be propagated


    Softwood cuttings: Cuttings prepared from the soft-succulent and non-lignified shoots, which have not become hard or woody, are called as soft wood cutting. Such types of cuttings are very prone to desiccation. Therefore, proper arrangement for controlling humidity is required. Usually the cutting size is 5-5.7 cm but it varies from species to species. Usually, some leaves should be retained with this type of cuttings. The best time for preparing soft-wood cuttings is late summer. Softwood cuttings generally root easier and quicker than other types, but require more attention and sophisticated equipment. Temperature should be maintained during rooting at 23 to 27oC at the base of cuttings. The concentration of rooting hormone depends upon the species to be propagated
     Herbaceous cuttings: Herbaceous cuttings are made from succulent non-woody plants like geranium, chrysanthemums, coleus, carnation and many foliage crops. They are 7-15 cm long with leaves retained at the upper end. They are rooted under the same conditions as 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 cutting should be allowed to dry for few hours before planting. Generally, fruit plants are not propagated by herbaceous cuttings.
    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. Best time for taking root cutting is late winter or early spring, when roots are well supplied with stored food material but before the new growth starts. 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 during February -March in the open beds. Blackberry and raspberry are commercially propagated by this method. However, kiwi fruit, breadfruit, fig, rose, mulberry, apple, pear, peach, cherry and persimmon are also propagated by root cuttings.
    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 the each node in leaf can be used as cutting. Leaf bud cutting should preferably be prepared during growing season because buds if enters into dormancy may be difficult to force to active stage. A leaf bud cutting consists of a leaf blade, petiole and shoot piece of stem with attached axillary bud of actively growing leaves. In leaf bud cutting, 1-15cm stem portion is used when propagating material is small. It is useful method of propagation in blackberry, raspberry, lemon, camellia etc.
    • Cuttings of appropriate type should be selected and prepared.
    • Concentration of rooting hormone should be prepared accurately.
    • Rooting media should be prepared in accurate proportion.
    • Optimum level of relative humidity should be maintained.

Last modified: Thursday, 20 September 2012, 5:45 AM