General gardening topics

How to propagate Cornus by taking hardwood cuttings

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If you have a Cornus commonly known as dogwood, and it’s growing successfully but now you want more, you can always propagate by taking hardwood cuttings. Hardwood cuttings get their name because they are taken from the hardwood later in the season.

When to take Cornus cuttings

Hardwood cuttings are taken later in the season usually in the Autumn but you can take Cornus cuttings in spring. The hardwood is called such because it is already grown and hard. If you feel it in your hand it should be hard from one end to the other as opposed to semi-softwood cuttings or softwood cuttings which have more flexibility on one part or all of the cutting.

It’s best to choose the wood that is at least one year old, straight, about the thickness of a pencil so if you prune your Cornus in spring every year this is the perfect time to use this waste material for cuttings as well.

Waste material from Cornus ad pruning that is perfect for cuttings.

How to take the cuttings

When taking cutting you can either plant them straight into the ground or plant them straight into pots, we recommend something around 1 litre but you can use any size of whatever size you have hanging around if needed. Use a mixture of compost and grit for improved drainage.

Step 1

Make a cut at the bottom of the peace near a set of buds. An angled cut is better and dip the end in rooting powder or gel. Using rooting powder or gel is not essential but ca help improve the success rate.

Step 2

You want at least four sets of buds on every hardwood cutting you take, so trim them down to just above the 4th bud.

Step 3

Once that is done, push the cutting directly into the ground or into your pots. You can put two cutting in each pot if you prefer. Having an angled cut when you first trim the hardwood cuttings is what makes this much easier if putting them straight into the ground. The ground doesn’t have to be very loose but obviously you don’t want it to be to compact either.

Step 4

Push the stem down until it is between the second and third bud so that two buds are under the soil which can produce roots and two buds are above soil where the new growth will come from.

If growing the cuttings directly in the ground, you can grow them in a row or plant them randomly, but wherever you place the cuttings make sure you leave them in place for a few months or as long as it takes for them to get a good root system and establish themselves. We recommend lifting them the following autumn when they go dormant again.

By having multiple cuttings at the same time, you don’t have to worry when one or two don’t take because you’ll still have other cuttings that you can eventually transplant elsewhere in your garden.

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