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Trident Maple cuttings

val rie (7a)
October 19, 2018

Took them from 2 large broken branches the leaves were still alive almost everywhere.
Removed the bark at the base.
Dipped all bases in rooting powder.
Diameters from half pencil thick to broom handle thick.
Some semi-hardwood and most hardwood.
Dipped the butts in rooting powder.
Stuck 4inch in turface and grit and left 2 inch sticking out.
They are enclosed in large gallon bottles.
Put in full shade outside. Will set them on a heating mat in a couple days and leave them until Spring.
How often to water?
Do you think they will root?

Comments (14)

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    Who knows?? According to Dirr, cuttings from mature trees are very difficult to root while cuttings from 2 year old seedlings had a 75% or more success rate. And softwood cuttings would be preferred over hard wood and those that retain an apical growth point (tip cuttings) would be far more viable or likely to succeed than just interior wood.

    Just try and see what happens :-))

  • val rie (7a)

    This morning I checked on the cuttings. Removed the few leaves I had left on them that really won't be of any use at this point. Wanted to check the PWT of the containers because when I prepared the soil I ran out of grit so I used probably 2/3 turface. Yesterday I opened the lids and saw the surface was dark, not light as when turface dries so I was very concerned that I may have created a high pwt and that the medium will be too porous. So this morning I just dug in very shallow into the turface with my finger and the soaking wet color was just an illusion. The medium is actually slightly damp, not wet. So I also tilted the containers to check for a PWT and a steady stream flew out but for only a limited time and I watched the puddle of water on the floor and it did not seem like a lot of water volume, considering the containers each have a gallon of soil and cuttings in it. Also the butts of the cuttings are sitting about 2 inches above the bottom of the container so hopefully if there is any PWT, it is lower than that.

    I received the heating mat and thermostat last night so set it all up this morning, set the target temperature to 70f. It was 43.7f when I left the house for work. Let's see if the mat is capble of adding 30 degrees... I actually am not sure if it can. If it cannot I'll add insulator that helps while not creating a house fire :) Anyways, I'll be having this system on for the next 5 months without touching it except for when I need to take off the lids to water. Overtime I'll add more cuttings on top of the mat because it is really large, more than I needed, so that's good in a way. I'm not sure if branches need to go dormant, versus entire trees. Entire trees do, but cuttings? Assuming they don't need dormancy as well as the heat mat being able to bring them to 70f when it's 40f outside, these could have a chance of rooting, a big maybe. But that's the fun part, not knowing, right? In a month or two I'll be adding cuttings from my green palmatum, red palmatum and maybe other stuff (just saw a few trees at 75% off this morning I went crazy, didn't get anything yet...).

  • PRO
    tapla

    Take 6" dormant internodal cuttings 1/8-1/4" thick. make the basal cut a little below a node, then clean up the cut with a straight edge razor blade to eliminate any crushed tissue caused by the pruning tool. Mark them so polarity is easily identified (I cut the proximal end at 90* and the distal end at 45* so there's no getting them mixed up). Treat basal end with IBA or Dyna-Gro rooting gel. Leave the cuttings in the shade for a day. Bundle the cuttings so the distal and proximal ends are together, then bury the cuttings in the garden or a bed for the winter. The cuttings should be buried vertically, with the basal end UP (this is upside down) and approximately 2" below the soil surface for the winter. As maple buds are swelling, lift the cuttings and stick them with the polarity now properly oriented - proximal end down.

    When you bury them upside down, the colder temperature deeper in the earth helps keep the dormant buds dormant. As soil surface temps rise in spring, the warmer temps close to the surface promotes formation of root initials and primordia, which hastens striking when the cuttings are reoriented to a basal end down position.


    Al

  • val rie (7a)

    So I came home and the temp at the "root zone" is 59.5f. The temp outside is 50f. Not bad but not on target. Also I suspect that as it gets colder the system will have more and more trouble producing that 10 degree difference. I could fabricate a microclimate environment so that the system keeps more heat in.

    Al, thanks for your formula and I will definitely put it to the test. I am only working with two small balconies at my apartment (4' x 10' each) so I am very limited in space. One of them has all my trees and two planters as well as a chair, the other has a shelf for supplies and a nasty A/C exhaust vent that blows warm air so bad for things that grow.. Also no beds or yard.

    I really want to try your method and will do it at my parents' who have a yard and don't think would mind. Now I have to get cuttings so I am on the lookout again but these ones I did were because I got lucky and picked up nice broken branches. This time I'll have to get more creative and make sure I can drive 3 hours to my parents a day after I take them... Finding nice looking kinds of Tridents like those are and being able to have access to them will prove to be a challenge. At least i have a few months to find a good opportunity.

    By the way I never got to thank you for the knowledge you give on here and I hope I have absorbed a great portion of it. I did work quite hard to follow the gritty recipe, albeit a bit late so I can't see the results of it yet, however nothing has died yet hehe!

    I'm a little disappointed at your directions for diameter of cuttings because I was hoping to root very thick cuttings to be ahead in time compared with pencil-sized but oh well, that's part of the game!


  • PRO
    tapla

    Thanks for the kind words, Val rie. Those larger size future trees would come easy from air layers.

    A good rule of thumb is that most cuttings do best with bottom heat such that the soil temperature is about 10* warmer than the air temp; but, as soon as the cuttings strike, a 10* COOLER soil is more favorable to developmental progress.


    Al

  • val rie (7a)

    I have a few questions.
    If we need 10* cooler soil after they strike, we can just leave the soil as is and warm the air by 10* right? Some sort of lamp on top and a box to enclose the air?
    I have read that we can make a tree skip dormancy for a year, and the second year it will go into dormancy early regardless of temperature. Is this right? If so does this mean the same thing for cuttings? Make them root and draw out leaves, then take it off the propagating environment in the spring and plant it outside? I really want to try a grow light if that could do it because it sounds fun but also I'm bored of everything going dormant.
    Al, you mentioned to leave the cuttings in the shade for a day, why? Just outside in the shade without being planted at all? No moisture at all? So prepare them, apply hormone and leave them to breath for a day?
    Another one: "As maple buds are swelling, lift the cuttings and stick them".
    How would I know they are swelling if they are underground? Are you talking about budswell of the same species Maple on a live tree, should I look for that? Or pull out one of the cuttings periodically to check for budswell on it?

  • PRO
    tapla

    I have a few questions.
    If we need 10* cooler soil after they strike, we can just leave the soil as is and warm the air by 10* right?
    Chances are too great that something will go wrong with trying to manipulate temperatures with lights. If in the ground as I described, the sun will warm the top of the soil where the basal end of the cuttings are and the cool temps deeper in the soil will keep buds dormant. If you have the cuttings stuck in a flat or cell-pack, bottom heat should be controlled with a heat mat that can be counted on to raise soil temperatures somewhere very near 10* above air temps until cuttings strike. Some sort of lamp on top and a box to enclose the air?
    I have read that we can make a tree skip dormancy for a year, and the second year it will go into dormancy early regardless of temperature. Is this right?
    There is no hard fast rule here, but it is not good practice to deprive temperate trees OR CUTTINGS of a cold rest. The chill not only triggers deep dormancy, a sufficient accumulation of chill units is required to release the tree from dormancy and allow its passage into a quiescent state. I strongly suggest that you not attempt to start cuttings that haven't been allowed a cold rest that ensures vernalization. If so does this mean the same thing for cuttings? Make them root and draw out leaves, then take it off the propagating environment in the spring and plant it outside? Stick the cuttings, vernalize them by giving them a cold rest, start bottom heat in spring well before buds move on maples in the landscape. I really want to try a grow light if that could do it because it sounds fun but also I'm bored of everything going dormant. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
    Al, you mentioned to leave the cuttings in the shade for a day, why? Just outside in the shade without being planted at all? No moisture at all? So prepare them, apply hormone and leave them to breath for a day?
    Yes - this helps promote the formation of callus which helps facilitate root initiation.
    Another one: "As maple buds are swelling, lift the cuttings and stick them".
    How would I know they are swelling if they are underground? Are you talking about budswell of the same species Maple on a live tree, should I look for that? Or pull out one of the cuttings periodically to check for budswell on it?
    Sorry - watch for budswell on maples in the landscape. When you see that, roots will be actively growing and it's time to reverse orientation of the propagules to the correct polarity - roots down/shoots up.


    Al

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)

    Al, interesting technique of burying cuttings upside down. Never heard of that before. I did a bunch of bald cypress cuttings the way you described and buried them in the yard. I am hoping for a good spring surprise.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

    I've found that Trident Maple roots very easily...but I take cuttings in early Spring when pruning before the buds push. I just cut, push down into potting mix, leave them in a semi-protected area, and see which cuttings start to leaf out. My success rate has been very high over the years.


    Josh

  • val rie (7a)

    I'll do Al's technique and greenman28's technique once comes Spring. This Spring will be fun. I still have these cuttings warm on the mat outside. Don't think anything will happen and they are moldy but let's see. It would be amazing if it did. If not, then whatever.
    Also thanks for the info AL. I want to take more trident cuttings and treat them the way you describe but not sure exactly when I should be doing so. Now? I can allocate a large pot for that purpose.

  • val rie (7a)

    Checked the cuttings. Most of them moldy. Watered them well. Sprayed some H2O2 on all the mold.

    BUT! Two cuttinsg are showing green buds. I don't know if that means they rooted. The buds are closed but are green and look fresh. I'll try to make a better effort at spraying to kill the mold. Maybe these two cuttings rooted, maybe not; maybe most of them rooted.

    In the picture below, the ones that are green are in the upper left hand container.



  • val rie (7a)

    Here is a close-up. I can't tell if these are about to open. It kind of seems so, what do you think? They have been in a micro-climate all winter with bottom heat.


  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)

    Good sign but does not mean roots have formed yet. At the most root primordia may have formed. Wait another 2 weeks at least, may be more to be sure. Right now they are testing the waters so to speak. Any cuttings that is moldy is unlikely to strike. Ideally, I would not have packed them so close together. One moldy cutting can affect another good one easily. I would be inclined to carefully pull out all the moldy ones and fill the space with more substrate and pack it in. Otherwise just hope that the fungal growth subsides with peroxide.

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