root cuttings

Discussions about propagating from cuttings, seeds, air layers etc. Going on a dig (Yamadori) or thinking of importing? Discuss how, when and where here.

root cuttings

Postby shibui » July 28th, 2017, 5:49 pm

Earlier this week I dug the Chinese elms from the grow beds. Lots of good roots so I took the opportunity to make some root cuttings which should give me more Chinese elms to plant out next winter.
For those who have not used this method here's how I do root cuttings.
elm root cuttings 2017 1.JPG


elm root cuttings 2017 2.JPG


elm root cuttings 2017 3.JPG


Pot up the root cuttings into normal potting mix. with the tops a bit above soil level.
P1170548.JPG


It is important to get root cuttings the right way up. New roots will grow from the distal end (furthest away from the trunk) and branches will shoot only from the proximal end (closer to the trunk). It is easy to get them around the wrong way because there's often not much difference. Some went in upside down one year when I was not concentrating. :palm: New shoots emerged from the end under ground and then grew up and out of the mix. They even grew roots from the junction of the new shoot and the old root so these Chinese elms are pretty resilient.

Sizes above are only a guide. many species will grow from shorter or longer root cuttings. If I find a nicely shaped longer elm root I'll often pop those in as they produce nicely shaped trunks. Elm roots are really flexible so you can also wire them to give really attractive shapes.
One down side of root cuttings is reverse taper. Roots tend to get thinner the further away from the trunk so your new trunk can have reverse taper, especially if you use longer pieces. Select roots that don't taper too much if you want better trunks.

Here are a couple of trees grown from root cuttings.
P1170545.JPG


P1170546.JPG


P1170547.JPG


Not all species grow from root cuttings.
Species that do include: any elms, including zelkova, wisteria, apples and crab apples, quinces and flowering quinces. Grant and Barefoot have posted that gingko also grow from root cuttings.

Happy for others to add other species that you have found can be propagated this way.
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Re: root cuttings

Postby robb63 » July 28th, 2017, 7:07 pm

Hi Neil , with the ground grown elms or elms in deep nursery pots?
Do you treat the roots as harsh as a trident maple when turning them in ground.?
I'm interested how hard I can go at the roots of CE safely
cheers
Bob
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Re: root cuttings

Postby Daluke » July 28th, 2017, 7:58 pm

I've taken a Camellia root cutting and it sprouted. 100% success rate - one from one
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Re: root cuttings

Postby shibui » July 28th, 2017, 9:01 pm

I'm interested how hard I can go at the roots of CE safely

These pictures might help
prune field grown Chinese elm 2017 1.JPG

prune field grown Chinese elm 2017 2.JPG


I suppose I'm a little more lenient with most other species but not by much. There were other Chinese elms that had roots cut back more than this one. I figure that if I can grow it as a cutting - ie a trunk with no roots at all, then surely if the trunk has even just a few roots to help get started there should be no problem at all?
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Re: root cuttings

Postby terryb » July 28th, 2017, 9:11 pm

shibui wrote:Happy for others to add other species that you have found can be propagated this way.


Celtis will also grow from root cuttings
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Re: root cuttings

Postby BGOLD » July 29th, 2017, 7:21 am

Willow leaf figs also sprout from root cuttings :yes:
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