Propagation Nursury Road Trip

My Propagation Class at CCSF took a field trip to Monterey County to check out a private nursery that still propagates plants old school style…vegetative stem cutting done by hand.  Below is a bunch of Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)…

Coast Redwood - Sequoia sempervirens

Coast Redwood – Sequoia sempervirens

Here is the skinny.  There are 4 types of vegetative propagation: herbaceous, softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood.  Herbaceous cuttings are taken from herbaceous (non-woody) plants.  The next three types are all from woody plants:  Softwood is new growth…which is still soft and succulent; Semi-hardwood cuttings are made from new growth wood, but collected farther along in its growing cycle; and Hardwood cuttings are just as it sounds…hard wood and collected at end of growing season or after the plant has gone dormant.  Generally, Herbaceous cuttings kick out roots the fastest and easiest…Hardwood cuttings produce roots slowest and at a lower success rate.

The sticking table.

The sticking table.

You start with some medium.  There are tons of recipes, and they use a standard blend of soil and Perlite.

Mudflats full of Sequoia sempervirens

Mudflats full of Sequoia sempervirens

Next, take a fresh cutting and stick it in the medium.  Each of these flats have about 100-200 plant cuttings.

Tables of 2 inch pots, and flats ready to transplant.

Tables of plants to transplant.

The cuttings take anywhere from a couple weeks to a year to start roots.  The Coast Redwood, a hardwood cutting, takes about 9 months before it kicks out roots.

Finally outside in 4 inch pots.

Finally outside in 4 inch pots.

After roots form, they get hand transplanted into 4 inch pots and move from the greenhouse to a shaded outside location.

1 gallon and 5 gallon pots.

1 gallon and 5 gallon pots.

After the new root growth fills the 4 inch pots, they  are either ready for market…or they get transplants once again into 1 gallon and/or 15 gallon containers if they need bigger plants to sell.  Above is just a sample of the acres of those larger containers.

Here is where it all starts...

Here is where it all starts…

This private nursery is able to collect all of their stem cuttings from on site plants.  Above is one of the Coast Redwood trees they use for cuttings.  Not quite what I was expecting.  They prune it this way so that it constantly puts out new shoots at a height where they do not need a ladder to harvest them…and the cycle continues.

–Far Out Flora

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