Ann Wright: Softwood propagation workshop set for Saturday | TheUnion.com
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Ann Wright: Softwood propagation workshop set for Saturday

Spring is a great time to propagate new plants. Simply stated, plant propagation offers ways for gardeners to increase the number of plants from a particular species or cultivar, accomplished by a variety of methods. Propagation can be done by seed, cuttings, division or grafting. Where seed produces plants as a result of the combination of genetic material, softwood propagation is an asexual method using plant tissue which is a genetic copy of the parent plant.

Stem cutting is a common method for softwood propagation. A small piece of the terminal bud of deciduous or evergreen plants can be cut; flowers and buds are removed so all the plant’s energy will go into root formation. The cut end of the plant is dipped in rooting hormone and the cutting planted in a rooting medium such as a mixture of sand and vermiculite. Keeping the cuttings moist, rooting should be noticed within two to five weeks. Some tips for taking softwood cuttings include:

• Plant materials should be free from pests and diseases, preferably not flowering. Tip cuttings should bend but not break.



• Dip cuttings into a rooting hormone – powders or gels. Nurseries should have these products available.

• Cuttings can be started in a rooting medium – the UC Davis recipe contains 70% perlite, 15% vermiculite, 15% peat moss.



• After cuttings have started to root, they can be moved to a sanitized pot with a good garden loam mix. When transplanting, be careful of fragile roots.

• Keep cuttings in a shaded area, keeping them moist. Once the roots have filled the pot, they can be transplanted into the ground, but need monitoring and watering for the first several months.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Camellia species, holly and Euonymus are all semi-hardwood plants that can be propagated between July and September. Other examples of plants that can be propagated by softwood cutting include roses, spirea, viburnum, lilac, honeysuckle, and many more.

To learn more about softwood propagation, join Master Gardeners of Nevada County for a workshop today, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Demonstration Garden, 1036 W. Main Street in Grass Valley. At this hands-on workshop, the process will be demonstrated, and participants will be able to cut and start cuttings for their own gardens. Learn what types of plants are suitable for propagation, and explore the parts of the plant important to consider when taking a cutting. You will also learn how to prepare cuttings for rooting and importance of rooting hormone, and find out how to plant rooted stems and start some of your own! Bring sharp pruning shears if you have them.

The second in the series of the Family Fun workshops – Starting Your Vegetable Garden – will be presented on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Demonstration Garden. This workshop, designed for families with children (age four and up) will focus on the correct way to start plant seed and started plants. We’ll also discuss the importance of the right plant in the right place and companion plants. We’ll make garden art! Come in your planting and painting clothes.

Adults must stay at the entire workshop and participate with their children. Bring water, sunscreen, hats and gloves and be ready to play in the dirt. No animals allowed. Always check our website (https://ncmg.ucanr.org/) for the latest schedule updates related to weather and other concerns.

Ann Wright is a Nevada County Master Gardener

Spring is a great time to propagate new plants. Plant propagation offers ways for gardeners to increase the number of plants from a particular species or cultivar, accomplished by a variety of methods.
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