Cutting Propagation

Course CodeBHT211
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Efficiently propagate a wide variety of plants by Cuttings

ACS Student Comment: [The course} is teaching me a lot about propagation that I did not know.  Your courses are very good, easy to understand, full of lots of valuable information.  My tutor is very good, fair and always there if needed. Pauline Ross, Australia - Cutting Propagation course.
This course lays the foundation for a career as a professional propagator; or to start your own production nursery.

This is a particularly valued skill in today's nursery industry, and while no course alone is going to make you into an exceptional propagator, this training provides a necessary foundation needed to build these skills.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction.
    • The principles of propagating plants by cuttings.:Importance of cuttings, Phenotype vs genotype, why choose cutting propagation, where to get cuttings from, basic cutting technique.
  2. Stem cuttings.
    • Ease with which tissue forms roots, types of stem cuttings (softwood, hardwood, semi hardwood, herbaceous, tip, heel, nodal, cane etc), treatments (eg. basal heat, mist, tent, etc), testing rooting, etc.
  3. Non-stem cuttings.
    • Leaf cuttings, root cuttings (natural suckering with or without division, Induced suckering, In situ whole root cuttings; ex situ detached root cuttings), bulb cuttings, scaling and twin scaling, sectioning, basal cuttage.
  4. Materials and equipment.
    • Selection and maintenance of stock plants; disinfecting cutting material;
  5. Growing media.
    • Propagation media; biological, chemical and physical characteristics of propagation and potting media, Testing for toxins, air filled porosity, potting up cuttings, soil-less mixes, rockwool, etc.
  6. Factors affecting rooting.
    • Juvenility, Cutting Treatments (hormones & their application, anti transparents, acid/base treatments, disinfectants etc), Callusing, Mycorrhizae, Carbon Dioxide enrichment, etc.
  7. Setting up a propagation area.
    • Creating and managing an appropriate cutting environment in terms of: Water; Disease; Temperature; Light and Air Quality. Greenhouses and other structures, watering methods (mist, fog, capillary etc), heating, etc.
  8. Management of cutting crops. Estimating cost of production; Keeping records, etc.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • To familiarise the student with the principles of propagating plants by cuttings
  • To develop an understanding of how to propagate plants from stem cuttings
  • To develop an understanding of how to propagate plants from non-stem cuttings
  • To develop an understanding of the materials and equipment used for propagating plants from stems
  • To understand the principles of growing media in relation to cutting propagation
  • To understand how and why cuttings form roots. To learn how to manipulate the formation of roots on cuttings
  • To understand the principles for establishing successful plant propagation areas
  • To understand the principles of nursery crop scheduling

What You Will Do

  • Establish an area near where you live that can be used for the raising of cuttings.
    • It doesn’t need to be a greenhouse, just a sheltered place where you can raise the cuttings you will be asked to grow for this course.
  • Select ten different plants that can be grown by stem cuttings. Practice preparing different types of cuttings until you feel you can do this well.
  • Place samples of your cuttings in a propagating mix and place in the propagation area. Keep the mix moist and observe the behaviour of the cuttings. (eg. does it put on new leaves? Do changes in temperature effect growth? Do any cuttings die? etc. )
    • Make notes of your observations. You will be asked questions about your results later in the course.
  • Prepare leaf cuttings for five different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Prepare root cuttings for five different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Prepare bulb cuttings for five different plant species. Practice doing this until you feel you can do this well.
  • Place samples of cuttings in a propagating mix.
  • Visit three plant propagation nurseries and see if you can find out where they obtain their propagation material.
  • Test soil samples and name them.
  • Go to your local nursery and/or garden supply and find out what rooting hormones they sell. See if you can discover what chemicals the products contain.
  • Visit three different commercial greenhouses.
  • Prepare a pot of cuttings and estimate the cost of production for each cutting produced.

Plants are reproduced by cuttings for a number of reasons, including:

 

*Cutting grown plants are identical to their parent.

 A cutting grown plant is genetically identical to the parent plant from which the

 original cutting was taken. This is not necessarily so when plants are grown from seed.

 Cuttings are the most widely used technique for reproducing "true to type" plants. This ensures that the unique characteristics, such as leaf variegation or flower size & colour, of the parent plant are perpetuated in the progeny. When a plant is grown from seed, the flower and foliage effects, for example, can be different to those on the parent plant

 

*It is easier to produce new plants from cuttings

For some types of plants, seed production is difficult, due to one or more of the following reasons:

  a/ The plant doesn’t produce viable seed, or produces seed at irregular times,

  b/  Seed is difficult to germinate (e.g. Boronia, Eriostemon),

  c/ Seed that is difficult to collect, for example, plants that have seed pods that burst open dispersing the seeds widely,

  d/ Seed is produced at a time when seed cannot be collected, or collection would require a further trip to the area (often very difficult for remote areas), or can only be collected with difficulty (e.g. plants whose seed matures during wet seasons when access may be limited).

 

*  Producing plants that flower or fruit sooner

  Many plants grown from seeds go through a juvenile stage, in which flowering, and hence seed production do not occur. Some plants may take 5, 10 or even more years before they commence flowering. Once a plant has flowered, plants propagated from that plant by cuttings will avoid the juvenile stage and flower early, often within months of the cutting having struck.  Many plants also have undesirable growth forms when they are young. These include very vigorous growth, thorniness, or unattractive foliage or form. By taking cuttings from adult plants these undesirable characteristics can be avoided.

 

* Maintaining juvenility

  In some cases the juvenile form of a plant may have characteristics that are more desirable than those of the adult form. A good example of this is the smaller, immature foliage of the Hedera helix cultivars (English Ivy). For some plants cuttings will strike more readily from juvenile material.

 

 

Why Cuttings

Despite all the difficulties that can be experienced with various techniques to propagate a plant, the cutting technique still remains one of the easiest and cost effective techniques to produce a number of new plants, whether that be for commercial or domestic production.
 
 
 

 

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  Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
  John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
  Adriana Fraser

Freelance writer, businesswoman, educator and consultant for over 30 years. Adriana has written extensively for magazines including free living publications -Grass Roots and Home Grown; and has authored or co authored many books ranging from a biography to books on business and gardening. She holds formal qualifications in education, child care and horticulture and has worked with ACS Distance Education since the mid 1990's.
  Yvonne Sharpe

RHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.
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