Growing bare root trees by hardwood cuttings

We have just established new stock beds where we have permanently planted several species which are best grown from hardwood cuttings rather than from seed.

Currently we are growing White Willow (Salix alba), Osier (Salix viminalis), Black poplar (Populus nigra betulifolia) and Common Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium also known as oval leaf privet) and we plan to add more species in the coming years.

The “mother plants” in the stock beds will be allowed to grow without pruning for a couple of years and then they will be sufficiently mature for us to take cuttings.  We take cuttings in September whilst the summer growth is soft and sappy.  This is very much a manual process – no machine could do it carefully enough. We then trim off a lot of the foliage to prevent transpiration, and prepare them for storage in our cold store.  They are stored until early spring when they are planted out into our fields to develop roots and grow on for a full spring/summer , and then we lift them in the autumn ready for despatch in the following dormant November to April planting season.

There are very few British nurseries which grow bare root plants from cuttings taken from British grown mother plants, and yet these species are very much in demand.  We’re delighted that we’ll be offering our own British grown stock very soon.

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