djet13
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:21 pm
Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Okay. I think I fell victim to the 2nd most deadly bonsai disease (after overwatering if I'm correct) by intending to rush my tree. Now from other websites, I'd gathered that taking a cutting meant weighing down a branch of the tree to the ground for a few months so that roots will form and then cutting that part off.... is that what you're talking about? Not sure if I got my vocab. mixed around, or if there's a simpler way to start a bonsai from a live tree around me.
"The true means of being misled is to believe oneself finer than the others." Duc de la Rochefoucauld

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

djet13,

From your other thread I know that you realize you can buy bonsai that are already underway so I'll skip over that for now.
I'd gathered that taking a cutting meant weighing down a branch of the tree to the ground for a few months so that roots will form and then cutting that part off.... is that what you're talking about?
That technique is known as layering and is a traditional way or propagating new material. A cutting is simply a shoot or young branch that is cut from the donor plant and encouraged to grow new roots. Neither of these techniques are exclusive to bonsai.
Not sure if I got my vocab. mixed around, or if there's a simpler way to start a bonsai from a live tree around me.
You can acquire subjects for bonsai from numerous sources, you need not start from seeds or cuttings. It is a common misconception that the fine old bonsai seen displayed were grown from very young material. Sometimes this is so but more often older, larger material is selectively pruned. Rather than grow a bonsai up cut one down.

A nursery is a good place to start. You can almost always find something to work with. You will probably not be able to differentiate exceptional material from the average but at your early stage of interest just getting your feet wet is more important than finding exceptional material.

Overgrown landscape plants is another source of stock that can yield good material. Often such material can be obtained for little or no cost. I have found material that has been discarded at the local yard wast repository. Friends, knowing of my interest, have brought me material. Keep your eyes open and you may get lucky.

Norm

djet13
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:21 pm
Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Hmmmm.... okay so I originally nixed cherry trees from my list due to their high length of time for developing blooms.... but are you saying that if I take a cutting from one of the blooming trees near my house that it will bloom sooner?
"The true means of being misled is to believe oneself finer than the others." Duc de la Rochefoucauld

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

djet13,
but are you saying that if I take a cutting from one of the blooming trees near my house that it will bloom sooner?
I think you are referring to your discussion with bonsaiboy in your other thread. But yes, if you start with wood that is already flowering then the resultant plant will already be mature and ready to flower.

Be aware though that not all plants are easy to propagate from cuttings. For instance Pears are difficult as are some varieties of Crab Apple. For these an air layer would be a better choice.

Norm

djet13
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:21 pm
Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Okay so after browsing around the internet, I'm fairly certain that the two cherries in my yard are Yoshino Cherries. Now after reading on the internet about cuttings in general, I think I have gotten the basic gist of it. I will take a part from the end of a limb, soak it in root hormone, then plant it in a pot with 50% peat and 50% perlite. Then, by watering once or twice a day, I will keep it moist, but by cutting away the bottom leaves and the top leaves by half, I will reduce transpiration. Now the part where I'm confused is about sunlight. Some places say to keep it in partial sunlight while others say to stick it under a bench... also, should I cover the pot with plastic to create a warm environment?

Thank you all very much for your help!
"The true means of being misled is to believe oneself finer than the others." Duc de la Rochefoucauld

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

djet13,
Then, by watering once or twice a day, I will keep it moist,...also, should I cover the pot with plastic to create a warm environment?
If you cover the cuttings this will help keep humidity up and will drastically cut down on the need for you to provide additional water. You need to keep the top portion humid, and therefore viable, without keeping the stem too wet which can cause it to rot.
Now the part where I'm confused is about sunlight. Some places say to keep it in partial sunlight while others say to stick it under a bench
While the plants are rooting low light is sufficient. You may want to research the term "Nearing frame" for some information on this aspect of rooting cuttings.

Norm

djet13
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:21 pm
Location: Birmingham, Alabama

I'm thinking of taking multiple cuttings, so should I place them all in individual training pots, or normal clay pots like you would for flowers or what....
"The true means of being misled is to believe oneself finer than the others." Duc de la Rochefoucauld

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

djet13,

I like to use flats for cuttings or even seedlings at their earliest stages. If you don't have anything like that you can use the plastic trays that meat sometimes comes in these days. Make sure to punch plenty of holes in it for drainage.

After filling the flat water it thoroughly. Then make a fresh cut on the cuttings with a razor blade or utility knife. Dip in rooting hormone then shake off the excess. Use a pencil, or similar object, to make holes in the medium and firm the medium after inserting the cuttings.

It is a good idea to take extra cuttings as it is unlikely that you will get 100% of them to strike roots.

Dirr & Heuser report better success with semi-hardwood cuttings taken during July rather than earlier in the season.

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/cuttings.htm

Norm

djet13
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:21 pm
Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Okay thank you very much!

Just a few things to clarify: First, how will I know when they are done rooting? Will I judge it by the length, size, amount or color of the roots or by some other method? Also, should I keep the cuttings wet between cutting and placing in the flat? I will be obtaining them from my yard so it won't be a large amount of time between the two steps. Finally, how will I be able to tell new growth from old growth? From the website you linked, it seemed to me that you can tell by testing the "springiness" of the branch... but I'm not sure if I read it correctly.
"The true means of being misled is to believe oneself finer than the others." Duc de la Rochefoucauld

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

djet13,
First, how will I know when they are done rooting? Will I judge it by the length, size, amount or color of the roots or by some other method?
Sometimes you will see it suggested that you can determine if a cutting is rooted by gently tugging on it. This never made a lot of sense to me, you can easily damage tender new roots. In practice, either they will root or they will eventually die. New growth is the surest way to tell.
Also, should I keep the cuttings wet between cutting and placing in the flat? I will be obtaining them from my yard so it won't be a large amount of time between the two steps.
Yes, they should be kept moist. On approach would be to cake the cuttings and immediately place them in a pail of water. Then, working in the shade, prepare the cuttings one at a time and plant them in the flat.
Finally, how will I be able to tell new growth from old growth? From the website you linked, it seemed to me that you can tell by testing the "springiness" of the branch... but I'm not sure if I read it correctly.
Watch the growth as it progresses this spring and you will easily be able to tell this years wood from last.

Norm



Return to “BONSAI FORUM”