Monday, September 4, 2017

How to Clone New Fruit Trees - and other plants

After much searching, I found a wild fruit tree that the Plains Indians of America used for fruit.  The SandHill Cherry Bush.  I was looking for the Sandhill Plum I couldn't find a Nursery that had it in stock.  Finally, I did find a relative.  The SandHill Cherry Bush.  I also learned that there is a SandHill Apricot, SandHill Peach and even a SandHill Pecan tree!  My father had a shelterbelt on the farm made up of SandHill Plums.  I loved it.  Someday I hope to find this bush again.  From them, many Kansan Pioneers made Plum Jellies and Jams and other delicious desserts.  And I will clone them too!  Today I will show you how to clone your own fruit tree - or many other plants if you wish.  And so we Begin:
After I bought my little Sand Hill bush, I started to make cuttings.

My Brand New Sand Hill Cherry Bush
 To make a "Cutting"  You need a healthy semij-soft healthy stem from newer but sturdy growth.  I cut several that were about 6 inches long.

Cut just below a fat leaf bud   and place in a
   pint jar of water to keep from drying out while
           you cut more stems.  You will retrim and clean later.
After you have several healthy looking Cuttings, you can then take your jar of Cuttings inside and trim the stem at a proper angle and strip all the leaves but a few two or three at the very top.  You will need these so the stem can gather a little light to continue to grow food for the stem cuttings.

                                          Here I am using a sharp Box Knife and cutting just below a
                                               a leaf bud at the bottom of the cutting. Try to cut at a sharp angle
                                                60 degrees to expose a wide slice of stem.  This allows water to
                                               get into the stem easier.  You might want to dip the knife blade
                                                     into Alcohol (rubbing alcohol is fine) to steralize the blade as you go

Next you will want to clean off extra leaves.  This is to reduce stress on the stem .  It will not have to feed these leaves.

Using your thumb and fingernail, just nip off the leaves close
to the stem but just before the leaf bud.  This is the area where
new roots will form.  Nip all but a couple of leaves at the top.

Dampen the bottom of the stem with water.  Shake the stem a bit to get rid of extra water and dip into a rooting hormone.  Easily found at any Plant Nursery.
Here are shown to equally good Rooting Hormones.

Dampen the stem near the cutting end

Dip the damp end (with a bud) into the powder and shake the
excess powder off.  You are then ready to place it into the
Sprouting Chamber that I will show you how to make next.

               How to Build Your Own Sprouting Chamber

If you can, find one of the Smaller coffee cans and one Large coffee can.  Metal is good.

Smaller Coffee Can

Drill a few holes in the bottom about 3/8's inch.

Coat it inside and out with a good outdoor paint like Rustoliam.

I like to use separate colors for each can but it
doesn't matter what colors you us.  This keeps
the cans from rusting.
Small Can Finished

Likewise, spray the inside and Outside of the Large Can.
              Place a canning lid ring in in the Center. or any lid for that matter.
                Actually, any lid will do.  You just need a pedestal to keep the Small
              Can off the bottom of the Large Can -  to allow excess water to be
 held in the large can.  This will hold the
          small can off the bottom of the large can so it can easily drain.

 Add Course Sand to the small Can.  A piece of window screen
 should be added to the bottom to the bottom of the cann to avoid
loosing sand out the bottom.

Course Building Sand is best. It drains well and allows Air to
 get to the new roots that we hope will form.  This can often be
 found in Tube Sand to add weight to the back of your car or
                truck if you live in a cold area in winter.  I find mine at Ace Hardware.
         I Don;t recommend Childrens Sand.  It slows down drainage
and seals of air to the new roots when they hopefully form. 

Place the small can with the sand into the large can centered over
the lid you have at the bottom of the large can.  pour enough water
dampen the sand well.  Drain the large can if you have over a small
    amount accumulate in the large can. The leavel of water should never
    reach the smaller can with sand in it.  The new plant cuttings should
always  be damp but never sit in water to prevent rotting.

An Ordinary #2 pencil will come in handy next.

Poke a hole in the sand about 2 inches or so deep.

Keep the cuttings damp for this next procedure.

Stick the cut end into Rooting Hormone.  Shake off the excess.

Set the Cutting end into the hole you just poked in
the damp sand. Press the sand down gently around
the new cutting, and proceed to the next Cutting.

Except for the last step, this is how your set-up
should look when finished. Note the Alcohol
you should use when making each cutting to prevent
any plant infections when making the cuttings.

Your Sprouting can with the cuttings should look like this.
I place mine about 1/2 to an inch apart in the can.  About 1/2
the stems actually rooted with my first try.  I was happy.

For the last step, slip a Freezer Bag over the
Cuttings in the small can to prevent evaporation.
You should remove it whenever excess condensation
if formed.  The Bag should be prevented from touching
the leaves while the process is going on.  Hold the
Bag on the Can with a rubber Band.  The Cat is Optional.

              In about 2 weeks you should start to see roots forming.
                                   Allow another week and place the rooted stems in pots                   
                 to allow continue growing.  Water regularly.  Keep damp
                   and  in a  semi-shaded area .  The stems should soon start
                   putting on new leaves.  The cutting leaves will probably
                      drop off.  Put the new plants in a small pot to grow.  I start
                      mine in large 32 ounce plastic cups to get a good start.  Be
                            sure the pot drains well.  Introduce them to full sun gradually.
                            Later you will want to place them in a larger pot or plant them
                              out into your own garden or orchard. Try this on other plants!
                               Spring is a good time to take cuttings.  The stems should  springy
                 but not two new.  They should have plenty of leaf buds.