Cuttings 'n' Clippings Oct 1990

If you have trouble rooting cuttings, and many gardeners do, you may want to try soaking the cuttings in willow water before placing them in the rooting medium. According to experiments done at the Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center, willows contain a root-promoting substance that will leach into water when they are soaked. Mung bean cuttings that were soaked in willow water had 18 times the number of roots as those soaked in distilled water. Make the willow water by soaking willow shoots from the current year's growth of any species of willow in water. Cut the shots into one inch pieces, place them end down in a glass and add a half inch of water to the glass. Cover the glass with plastic and let the shoots soak for 24 hours. Then, steep softwood cuttings in the willow water for another 24 hours, and place them immediately into a rooting medium. Using a rooting hormone in addition to the willow water soak will be even more effective. Maintain high humidity around the cuttings by misting them several times a day or by placing a glass or plastic bag over the container.

Proper Maintenance of Drip Irrigation Systems: Monthly - flush the filter at least once a month and visually inspect emitters by turning the system on for 30 minutes, and then checking around the emitter ends for excessively large wet areas (leaking emitter), or excessively small or dry areas (clogged emitter). Every three months - flush the entire system by removing all end caps and running the system for a minute or two. Every six months - remove and check the filter for holes or blockages.

In a twenty year U of A survey of 956 soil samples in Cochise County, 56% of the soils sampled had a pH between 7.5 and 7.9, with 7.0 being neutral, and the best pH for plants. Although individual sites will vary (after all, 44% of the samples were above 7.9) more than half of us have soil that is only slightly less than ideal for growing plants.

How to make a new plant from an old one - rooting made simple: take a 4-6 inch cutting from the parent plant (note: where you take your cutting from depends on the kind of plant). Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone containing indole butyric acid. This encourages faster rooting and lowers risk of infection. Stick cutting in media of 1 part perlite to 1 part peat moss and make sure there is adequate drainage from the bottom of the container. Water the rooting so that the media is moist, not wet, slip the entire pot in a plastic bag and tie it closed at the top. A small loop can be made with wire to keep the plastic off the plant. Set the pot in a place where it does not get direct sunlight. In 3-4 weeks most cuttings will have rooted. (Again this depends on the kind of plant.) To check on your rootings progress, open the plastic bag and lift the cutting carefully with a spoon to check for roots. A gentle tug may also tell you, but be careful not to damage the delicate new roots. If the plant has rooted, transplant it into your garden or to its new pot. If it is partially rooted, leave the bag on, but open the top to allow air to circulate to the rooting. You may need to water the pot occasionally after opening the bag to keep it from drying out. Some easy rootings to make include coleus, Swedish ivy, English ivy, and anything herbaceous. Difficult rootings would include azaleas, hollies, crape myrtle. Some rootings, such as mint, can be started in a glass of water and then transferred to the rooting media. The hardest part of rooting is maintaining the proper moisture level which is the reason for the plastic bag - it keeps the air around the rooting moist. Good luck, and be prepared to lose a few.

October, 1990