Propagation Info


GRAFTING -The basic whip and tongue graft is usually best when the rootstocks are the same diameter as your scionwood. When the rootstocks are larger in diameter than the scionwood either bark grafts or offset splice (wedge) grafts work well. For top-working larger rootstocks and already established trees the bark graft gives excellent results. All graft unions should be wrapped with grafting tape. For small diameter grafts the elastic Buddy Tape is our favorite. For thin bark tree types such as avocado the entire scion stick is best wrapped, leaving the buds exposed. When grafting large diameter rootstocks or topworking established trees we prefer using 1/2" poly grafting tape for a stronger hold on the scion. All exposed surfaces should be painted over and sealed with a quality grafting paint or melted beeswax. Bare-root grafted rootstocks should be potted up or lined out in a nursery row before they leaf out.

BUDDING- Budding is done in the summer with fresh cut green wood. The most common budding method is the T-Bud, or sometimes known as Shield budding. For this to be successful the rootstock needs to be actively growing and its bark needs to be able to slip so the bud can be slipped under. If the bark is not slipping then Chip Budding can be done. The bud is left to callous and heal into the stem of the rootstock for the rest of the summer. At the end of winter while the rootstock is still dormant its stem is cut off just above the inserted bud, which then forces its new growth into the bud. The bud is allowed to grow while any other sucker growth coming from the rootstock is cut off so the new variety may grow strong. Most of our scion selection can be purchased as summer budwood. Tell us on the notes section of the order form if you want what you ordered as budwood instead of scionwood.

CUTTINGS- Cuttings are best stuck as soon as they arrive, but can be kept refrigerated for a short period. Dormant or summer cuttings should be rooted in small containers or plug trays filled with your favorite rooting mix. We use a 50/50% mix of peatmoss and perlite for rooting all types of cuttings. We add a small amount of ground limestone for non acid loving plants, leaving it as is for those who like a distinctly acid soil such as blueberries. The cuttings mix should be completely moistened with water before using as peatmoss can be hard to hydrate in a pot. The base of each cuttings piece should be trimmed close to the bottom node of the cuttings stem. The top bud should have an extra inch or so of wood extending beyond it to keep the bud from drying out. Normally cuttings are done with at least 2 buds, the bottom for sending out roots, and the top for growing the vegetative shoot. We prefer rooting cuttings that are at least 3 to 4" long, so they might have more buds than 2 with varieties that have closely spaced buds. In either case push the cutting deep into your rooting medium to where only the top bud is above the surface.Though many types of cuttings root easily on their own, many need an extra nudge to be successful and most all will root faster and in higher percentages if dipped in a rooting hormone solution. We generally dip the bottom cut surface of the cutting in a DIP"N"GROW solution as specified on the label for consistent success. A willow tea solution can also be used for this purpose, but effectiveness is still being researched. Since most cuttings will grow out leaves before they grow roots they should be placed in an environment where the new top growth will be kept humid enough to not dry out until the roots emerge. A greenhouse with shade cloth is excellent for many plants, though an outside space with either shade cloth or part shade from deciduous trees can work fine for hardier plants. When weather gets warmer and dry be sure to water the top growth regularly. We usually turn on our 4 times a day battery timers for short sprinkling once the season gets warm and dry. When it is cold in early spring only water by hand when necessary as cuttings can rot if kept overly wet. Once they have sprouted roots they can be gently fertilized to spur good growth. Pot up into larger containers filled with quality potting soil once they have a solid well established root system.

DIVISIONS- Plant in regular good organic potting soil, being sure to not bury the crown deeper than it was before. If the crown has multiple shoots it may be possible to further divide it to make extra starts. However the smaller the division the weaker the individual start, so use your own discretion.

LINERS- Plant in a pot larger than what they came out of, generally at least 6" deep using a well balanced organic potting soil. If there is more than 1 seedling or cutting in the plug they can be divided to make extra plants, though breaking apart and disturbing their root ball can make for more setback and necessitates more care to ensure survival and good growth. Liners are the quickest way to get your desired nursery varieties on their way to being ready to plant out in the field or garden.

SEED- Starting perennial plants from seed can be either easy or tricky depending on the specie being propagated. Many species need cold moist stratification, which can be achieved a couple of different ways. The common method is seed is soaked in cold water overnight, then mixed with moist cuttings mix and placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for the necessary length of time. Remove from fridge when its desired stratification time has elapsed or it is beginning to sprout, and then plant in seedling containers or plug trays filled with potting soil. If seed is obtained in the fall it can be planted in a container right away and then placed in a cool location to naturally stratify over the winter. Seed containers should be placed in a safe place where rodents and birds won't eat the seed while it is stratifying. A screened unheated greenhouse or protected outside bench works well. Seed will sprout in the spring after it has gone through its necessary stratification time and the weather has warmed to the proper temperature for germination. Some seed types need a warm moist stratification before the cold moist stratification. This group includes many prunus species. Plant fresh undried seed of these species just after fruit harvest and keep watered through the summer, and then cold stratify through the winter before spring sprouting. 

Other types of perennial seeds need a scarification treatment to soften their hard seed coats so water may be absorbed. Many legumes fall into this category. Place seed in a glass container and pour 4 times the volume of the seed of hot slightly below boiling temperature water and let soak overnight before planting in containers. With some species seed will need to be scarified before it is stratified.

Some species can be planted in the spring with no pre-treatments. Specific germinating needs will be sent with your order of seeds.