Cutting Propagation

100 hour course, hardwood, semi hardwood, softwood, leaf, root cutting techniques -practice and theory. For career development or business improvement.

Course Code: BHT211
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to efficiently and effectively propagate a wide variety of plants by cuttings.

Cutting Propagation - what will you learn?

  • Take and prepare a range of cuttings from a variety of plants
  • Do – stem cuttings, root cuttings leaf cuttings, bulb cuttings
  • Learn about propagation mixes and potting mixes and their differences
  • Soil testing
  • Learn the processes used in production nurseries
  • Rooting hormones
  • Greenhouses and how to use them for propagation


Where will this course take you?

  • Work in a retail or wholesale nursery
  • Work in a production nursery
  • Set up your own small nursery
  • Improve your techniques
  • Give you plants almost free for your own garden!

Knowing how to propagate a range of plants from well taken and processed cuttings 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.

HERE IS SOME OF WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:

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 and 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.
 This course lays the foundation for a career as a professional propagator; or to start your own production nursery or to improve your skills as a a gardening enthusiast..

 
Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.


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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

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 (c

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





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Gaynor Hartley

Dip.Hort.Sc., Cert.Tiss.Cult., MAIH

Parita Shah

Parita has a Masters Degree in Horticulture specializing in Plantation, Spices, Medicinal and Aromatic crops and Organic farming. She has worked as a freelance consultant, and in an Avocado nursery in NSW as grafting and preparing avocado clones.

Lynette Morgan

Dr Morgan has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production, and a keen appreciation of the global scene. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

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