12. New plants from cuttings
Many types of trees and small plants with woody parts can be used for cuttings.
A small section of a branch is brought to class by each student who wishes to participate.
Alternative: A teacher can bring in four or five types of branches (fruit trees, conifer, hardwoods).
A cutting from a branch should be taken at a place between new and old wood. Cuttings should be taken at the place where the branch breaks with a snap when bent. If it crushes between the fingers it is too young, and if it bends without breaking it is too old.
When the branch is brought to school, cuttings should be made about 2 to 4 inches long., and cut straight across just below the node. This node will form roots on the new plant. The top of the cutting should also be cut, slanting with the bud, just below the tip.
There should be two or three nodes on each cutting.
Lower leaves are cut off about 1/2 way up the stem. The young plant does not have root structure to support many leaves.
The cuttings should be planted as soon as possible into a hydroponic tub. Drench them in water, then cover the seedlings with newspaper and keep shaded until the roots start to form.
In about two to three weeks, check to see if the cuttings have developed roots. If so, you can uncover the seedlings and allow them to grow in the bright light.
When roots are about 1/2" long the plants can be transplanted to other growing things.
Students take cutting different lengths and from different areas on the plant.
Place this variety of cuttings at various depths in the hydroponic grower.
Each day, pull a few cuttings and see what is happening. Some of the shorter, more shallow cuttings might die. The students should take drawings of this, and then, once some cuttings have taken hold, the students should have an idea about what size to make a cutting for the tub grower.
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