The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation

Reference Manual of Woody Plant PropagationThe Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation by Michael Dirr and Charles Heuser, Jr., is an excellent reference for plant geeks to have on their shelves.  Yes, you can read between the lines there and figure that if you're a dabbler, this book can easily go over your head, but that's part of the fun and you'll likely grow into it.

The book is divided into two parts --- an explanation of general propagation techniques (about 90 pages of relatively easy reading) and an encyclopedic review of the literature detailing the best way to propagate many woody plants.  You really need to read the first part to understand the second part --- for example, here's what they say about fig cuttings:

"In several tests, 1000ppm IBA-5 second dip proved optimum.  February, terminal bud removed, 50 ppm lanolin paste (control) rooted 50% with an average of 4 roots; 770 ppm IAA-lanolin paste rooted 100% with 23 roots per cutting in 28 days.  March, untreated, rooted 80% with an average of 13 roots per cutting, 200 ppm IBA-24 hour soak rooted 100% with 61 roots per cutting.  Girdling 30 days before taking cuttings increased rooting from 55 to 100% and hastened rooting to 28 days versus about 90 days.  In a Brazilian study, 10" long cuttings rooted 97% and gave best shoot and root development.  Summer firm wood should root as well but no literature was found.  Hardwood cuttings were successful."

Got all that?  These summaries made a lot more sense once I brushed up the best techniques for taking cuttings, which I'll summarize in this week's lunchtime series.

In addition to the book's density, I've already found a few species not listed in the manual, most notably grapes and gooseberries.  I suspect no manual is 100% complete, but if you've found a reference you like better for this type of information, I hope you'll leave a comment and let me know.  In the meantime, this is the book I'll be recommending to intermediate-level homesteaders who want to turn one mulberry tree into a dozen, or to sprout weird seeds that need intense stratification and scarification.

If you're not quite ready for rooting hormones and humidity chambers, The Weekend Homesteader starts with easy steps on the path to self-sufficiency.

This post is part of our Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I've got - American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques - and I'm happy with it, it's got a lot of pictures so it's easy to flip through and understand exactly what you are looking for and helps you understand the process and possible methods.

Below is an Amazon link, it has a Click to look inside preview as well.

Comment by Brian Mon Feb 25 13:42:58 2013

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