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ReptileAddiction
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Starting Citrus Cuttings (grafting•budding discussion added)

Hey guys I want to know how you start your citrus cuttings. I am going to get some from a friend. I have rooted lots of things before but I am wondering if their is any little tricks or anything. Thanks guys!

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ElizabethB
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Like you do any hardwood cutting. 6" - 8" cuttings the diameter of a pencil. angled cut on the bottom straight cut on top. No leaves. All purpose potting soil. I use 3/4 - 1 gallon nursery pots filled to within an inch of the top. The jury is out on root hormone. I have used it and not used with no discernable difference. Leave only 3"- 4" of the cutting out of the soil. The big thing is to keep the soil evenly moist at all times. I saturate my soil first and let it drain before planting. Even in the winter cuttings generally need daily watering. No fertilizer. No need to worry about light until your cutting starts producing leaves.

Rooting the cutting should be no problem. I have started lots of hard wood cuttings with very good results including a fig cutting I took from Mom's tree last spring. I usually avoid trying to start cuttings from plants like citrus and fruit trees that are grafted. Your cuttings will start no problem I just don't know how not having the grafted root stock will affect the tree in the long run. Maybe some of the other forum members can chime in. I have started grafted roses from cuttings. SOO proud of myself when they bloomed - alas the plants just did not live more than a few years. The parent plants were still going strong when my starts died/quit blooming. I do recommend keeping your citrus trees in pots until they are 2 or 3 years old and 3' - 4' tall. Even in south Louisiana very young citrus/fruit trees are sensitive to even a little bit of cold. I pottedd my fig cutting up to an 8" pot after the leaves appeared and will pot it up to a 10" in the spring. I will probably need to pot it up again before winter. I have not yet added any fertilizer. If it tries to fruit I will pop off the fruit. I planted a satsuma in March. It had about 12 baby fruit. I popped them off. It has not been fertilized but will do so probably late February early March. I will let fruit develop this year. The first year in the ground it needs to establish roots and not waste energy pushing foliage or fruit.

Interested in seeing how your experiment works ie not grafted.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

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The parent plants are grafted but for size control. Most citrus do fine with their own roots. Do I take a branch with buds then just pull off the leaves?

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ElizabethB
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I have found that tip cuttings don't do as well as cuttingss taken a little further back. You want the diameter of the cutting to be as uniform as possible. Cutting back of the end will also give you side growth rather than terminal growth. Snip or pinch off the leaves. Your cutting will sacrifice root production trying to keep the leaves going. Good luck. I really enjoy hardwood propagation. That and landscaping seminars for beginners are my projects for Master Gardeners.

Now thanks to all of you I am learning lots about starting from seed. My tomato seeds should be in any day now.
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Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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nice. I have been starting seeds for a very long time. I am new to hardwood cuttings. Never had luck with it. I have done many type of other cuttings though.

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I need advice and quick because it is getting dark. I took 6 cuttings in all 3 of tangerines and 3 of pink lemonade lemon. Should I leave them outside unprotected, put them in some ziploc bags to make a small greenhouse, put them in my shed, or bring them in. The low tonight is 33 :shock: . I need advice asap because soon it will be to dark to be outside.

Update: I put them in my shed in plastic ziploc bags for more heat. My shed still gets pretty cold at night but I am assuming not as cold as outside. I hope they make it. I wish I had my greenhouse already :(

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ElizabethB
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Take them out of the zip locks. Bring them inside. Plant ASAP. If you can't you can keep them in water for a day or two other than that you will have rot in the cuttings even if you see root growth. You really need to plant. Make a fresh angled cut on the bottom before planting. Good luck.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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I planted them already. I planted them as soon as I took them. They are in 4 inch pots. The whole pot is in the plastic bag. It is a little "greenhouse". Then the pots (and ziploc bags) are in the shed. I took them out of the shed this morning to warm up a little and I just put them back in.

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applestar
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Do you think they might need bottom heat? So far, most of my semi hardwood cuttings needed bottom heat. I tried propagating some Flying Dragon trifoliate orange. I think one cutting is the only survivor out of 6....

Other cuttings that seem to have rooted from fall starts are 2 out of 6 Maid of Orleans jasmine and Martha Washington geraniums. Firetail chenille plant failed miserably -- I'll try again in spring when its easier. I'm propagating some stevia now. I'm not counting mint since that's way easy. Willow is not really worth mentioning either. :lol:

I always start one or multiple sets of 6-8 cuttings in 4" pots of sandy soil mix. Two internodes buried, two or three internodes above, and big leaves trimmed in half to reduce transpiration. Round pots work well covered with no cap, top 1/2 of cut off 2L soda bottles. Sometimes they surprise me but most of the time, I'm glad for the multiple backup.

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Ill bring them in and give them some bottom heat :? I took all the leaves off... do you think i should take new ones with leaves?

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ElizabethB
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No on the leaves. That only reduces root production. You only have that small cut to provide moisture to the cutting. 4" pot is small - I root my cuttings in 6" (3/4 - 1 gallon) nursery pots filled with soil to within 1" of the top. At least 1/2 of the cutting should be in the soil. 1 cutting per pot. Daily watering. As long as your cuttings are inside and not subject to very cold temps they should be fine. The jury is out on bottom heat. Can't hurt. The main issue is consistant moisture. That cut is small and your cutting will absorb lots of water. Light is not an issue until it starts to produce leaves. Don't despair. It will take 2 or 3 months for your cutting to be well rooted. No fertilizer. That will force foliage production and hinder root production.

I have a 90% success rate with hard wood cuttings. My failures have all occured when I have been out of town and not able to provide the daily watering. When I have starts and will be away I hire the girls next door to water for me.

Seriously - hard wood cuttings are the EASYIST method of propagation.

Good Luck :!:
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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Why is 4 inch to small? I have always done multiple cuttings together. As soon as they start to get good size roots and start growing I transfer them to individual pots. I always put the bags over my cuttings because then I never have to water. I water once and since it cannot evaporate (where most of the water goes) I usually don't have to water.

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ElizabethB
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My advice is based on my experience. Hard wood propagation is my MG progect. Trial and error. Single starts in a 6" pot have proven to have a better success rate. Eric (DoubleDog) posted a very interesting post on mass plantong fig cuttings, A very interesting idea - waiting for his result.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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I have always done multiple plantings. IMO it doesnt matter. We will wait and see! I might start another one individually and not up root it till later and see which one does better.

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ElizabethB
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When you plant in a 6" pot you don't have to worry about potting up until you have 3 or 4 sets of leaves.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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Ya. But I do not want to disturb them now.

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Seeing as I am an incredibly impatient person when it comes to cuttings today I gently dug one up with a pen and found 2 small roots. WAHOO!!! But I also noticed some molt on the surface of the soil. It is because of the constant 100% humidity. I took them out of the bags to try to let the surface of the soil dry out to kill it. What do you guys think? Is their any other ways to get rid of it?

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kyngRick
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Re:

Thanks much for this
ElizabethB wrote:Like you do any hardwood cutting. 6" - 8" cuttings the diameter of a pencil. angled cut on the bottom straight cut on top. No leaves. All purpose potting soil. I use 3/4 - 1 gallon nursery pots filled to within an inch of the top. The jury is out on root hormone. I have used it and not used with no discernable difference. Leave only 3"- 4" of the cutting out of the soil. The big thing is to keep the soil evenly moist at all times. I saturate my soil first and let it drain before planting. Even in the winter cuttings generally need daily watering. No fertilizer. No need to worry about light until your cutting starts producing leaves.

Rooting the cutting should be no problem. I have started lots of hard wood cuttings with very good results including a fig cutting I took from Mom's tree last spring. I usually avoid trying to start cuttings from plants like citrus and fruit trees that are grafted. Your cuttings will start no problem I just don't know how not having the grafted root stock will affect the tree in the long run. Maybe some of the other forum members can chime in. I have started grafted roses from cuttings. SOO proud of myself when they bloomed - alas the plants just did not live more than a few years. The parent plants were still going strong when my starts died/quit blooming. I do recommend keeping your citrus trees in pots until they are 2 or 3 years old and 3' - 4' tall. Even in south Louisiana very young citrus/fruit trees are sensitive to even a little bit of cold. I pottedd my fig cutting up to an 8" pot after the leaves appeared and will pot it up to a 10" in the spring. I will probably need to pot it up again before winter. I have not yet added any fertilizer. If it tries to fruit I will pop off the fruit. I planted a satsuma in March. It had about 12 baby fruit. I popped them off. It has not been fertilized but will do so probably late February early March. I will let fruit develop this year. The first year in the ground it needs to establish roots and not waste energy pushing foliage or fruit.

Interested in seeing how your experiment works ie not grafted.
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imafan26
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Re: Starting Citrus Cuttings

The main thing about taking cuttings, especially plants that go dormant, you want to get the cutting just before it goes into an active growth phase and make sure the tree was well fed.
I root multiple cuttings in a pot. I prefer bulb pans for rooting. They have a good surface area, straight sides and lots of holes in the bottom.

I want to have cuttings 1/4-1/2 inch thick. I take more bark of the bottom of the cutting to increase rooting surface. I use powdered rooting hormone but some people say dip 'n grow works best on harder wood. I root everything pretty much in perlite. Most citrus will strike well. It will be all or nothing. Nothing, if you get it at the wrong time. The root mass is pretty well developed by transplant time and for me it only takes a couple of months. I have made some cuttings of my Meyer lemon and I think all of them took.
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DevIsgro
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Re: Starting Citrus Cuttings

I found this really helpful, I tried my hand at grafting and I over taped so it was a disaster. I am wanting to try to root citrus cuttings so I'm happy I found this. i had a lot of bad form leading to lousy propagation With Figs so I have a lot to think on! Thanks Elizabeth and imafan26.

imafan26
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Re: Starting Citrus Cuttings

Grafting is an art and requires a lot of practice to develop the skill. I know what I have to do to graft but I have a weak wrist so I have a hard time making a cut the doesn't have waves in it. I did get a grafting tool to make it easier that makes the cuts you just have to remember to turn it upside down to make the corresponding match. The tool eliminates the problem of getting the edges to match but you still have to eyeball it to find branches approximately the same size.

Cleft grafts are easier than slip grafts because the cleft helps to hold it in place tightly when you are taping it.

It is also easier to cut the scion with a sharp knife on a cutting board to get a straighter cut.

You still want to collect scions when they are just beginning to flush and it helps if you spend a lot of time practicing first. Whittling is a good hobby to help practice matching grafts and making straight cuts.

Cuttings will allow you to get citrus sooner and it will be exactly like the mother plant. But, there is another reason for grafting. Trestiza virus is a devastating disease of citrus and resistant root stock keeps the citrus alive and productive longer. True dwarf trees are shorter generally 8-15 ft. Some "dwarfs" can be up to 30 ft tall at maturity planted in the ground if only the rootstock is dwarfed but the graft is a standard citrus. I just keep mine in pots. Pots keep will keep citrus trees smaller even if they are not true dwarfs.
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applestar
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Re: Starting Citrus Cuttings

Found this -- making a note here for future reference though we may want a separate thread for citrus grafting later ;)

Budding and Grafting Citrus and Avocados in the Home Garden
https://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu/8001.pdf
BUDDING

Budding is the standard method used to propagate citrus. Aside from being the eas- iest method, it allows a large number of plants to be propagated from a small amount of scion wood and is suitable for trees, rootstocks, or branches from 1⁄4 to 1 inch (0.6 to 2.5 cm) in diameter.

Budwood should be taken only from high-producing, disease-free trees (see sidebar). The best citrus budwood is located just below the most recent flush of new growth; the best avocado budwood is located near the terminal end of shoots that have fully matured, leathery leaves.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
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Re: Starting Citrus Cuttings

If you live in Florida or Hawaii, tristeza is a problem and most citrus needs to be grafted onto resistant rootstock or the plant will not live for very many years. Cutttings and seeds will grow but once the disease hits, the bark will peel off and the plant dies.

In Hawaii virtually all citrus have tristeza, so nearly all citrus is grafted. Resistant rootstock is not immune but slows the progression so a tree can last 20-25 years instead of an average of 5 ungrafted. The second stage of the disease usually produces bumper crops of fruit as the tree tries to reproduce itself before it dies. When the bark starts peeling off the main trunk, you have to cut the tree down before it falls down. Meyer lemons and calamondin appear not to be bothered much by tristeza and heenaran is the most common rootstock.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

fruitmentor
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Re: Starting Citrus Cuttings (grafting•budding discussion

Growing citrus from cuttings is a challenging plant propagation. I got it to work with a good success rate this year. I wrote an article and made a video that show how to do it. Please see below.

Best regards,
Dan Willey

Step-by-step guide:
Rooting Citrus Cuttings

Video:
Rooting Citrus Cuttings (YouTube)



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