growing lucerne trees from cuttings

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Flatland, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Hi. After many years of trying to grow literally 1000's of lucerne tree seeds and having a 100% failure rate I tried cuttings. I put in about 10 cuttings and have gotten one to strike. Not a brilliant strike rate but compared with my seed sprouting it is streets ahead. So my question is has anyone taken cuttings and got any helpful hints for me? I can get as many cuttings as I want. We are coming into spring so is this the time to take cuttings?
     
  2. dyllos

    dyllos Junior Member

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    Did you boil the seeds until they swelled up, then planted them?
     
  3. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    After the 2005 bushfire they came up like weeds on our place , so try mixing seeds with a bit of dry trash on a piece alfoil (tin will retain heat) and light it up .

    There hasn't been much I cant strike in my aquaponic system so that would be worth trying .
     
  4. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    are you trying to start them in pots/containers or in the ground?

    try rooting compound (a hormone which encourages root formation)...

    remove all but one leaf from the cutting. should not be too long
    (10-15cm is probably plenty).

    also, if your climate is dry it can help to cover them with a clear
    dome and some shade (the dome to keep moisture in) the shade to
    keep it from frying.

    the other thing you could do is look into other techniques like
    air layering (a way of forming roots before you remove the
    cutting from the tree)...
     
  5. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Thank you of the thought but I am no longer interested in trying to sprout seeds. Over the years i have tried every "guaranteed" method of getting seeds to sprout and then some. No trouble getting seeds to swell they just don't go anyway from there. and yes the seeds were viable. plenty sprouted under the trees. I tried transplanting seedlings and they never survived
     
  6. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Thanks for those thoughts.
    When you say remove all but one leave from the cutting do I plant the cutting so that only the one leave is above the ground?
    I am putting them into pots.
    The one cutting that took I planted into soil (very sandy and gritty) that I collected from under the trees so I am wondering if that had the bacteria thingy that lucerne trees need to grow well and that is why that one took. Should I use that soil again or something different? I don't know where I can access the bacteria thingy .
    Where I am getting cuttings from i can take cuttings but doing layering would not be a possiblity
     
  7. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i would go 2/3rds below ground. with your coolest season coming to
    an end i'm not sure if you get enough moisture to keep any new starts
    alive... i would do these in the begining of the wettest and coolest
    season to give the plant a chance.

    regarding soil, sure, take a few pinches and put it on top of the soil
    in each pot when you've finished planting and then water. probably
    won't hurt. :) the other possibility is that it actually had more
    fertility or nutrients or the sand worked better at giving the sprout
    a good start.

    however, remember that a newly growing plant doesn't need a huge
    amount of nutrients at the beginning, it is more a point of getting the
    roots going so that they can balance the needs of the plant again.
    that is why it is important to remove most of the growth. you may
    also want to try different lengths, sizes of pieces used, remove all
    the leaves, leave two leaves, etc. try different things and see what
    works. :)
     
  8. Jojonierends88

    Jojonierends88 New Member

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    are you trying to start them in pots/containers or in the ground?

    try rooting compound (a hormone which encourages root formation)...

    remove all but one leaf from the cutting. should not be too long
    (10-15cm is probably plenty).

    also, if your climate is dry it can help to cover them with a clear
    dome and some shade (the dome to keep moisture in) the shade to
    keep it from frying.

    the other thing you could do is look into other techniques like
    air layering (a way of forming roots before you remove the
    cutting from the tree)...
    ----------------------------------

    yes Thanks for those thoughts. remember that a newly growing plant doesn't need a huge
    amount of nutrients at the beginning, it is more a point of getting the
    roots going so that they can balance the needs of the plant again.
     
  9. Bryant RedHawk

    Bryant RedHawk Junior Member

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    hau Flatland, you are correct in the soil assessment, a growing tree will have the bacterium the Lucerne needs to grow. The bacteria is necessary for nutrient and water pickup by the roots. You can grow this soil if you take a starter from under your currently growing tree, mix it with soil that you want to use for propagation and for planting new trees, this will help greatly with getting cuttings to start producing roots.

    Other tricks that will help; make some rooting solution from willow bark (take some branches of willow and strip the bark and cambium from them, steep in non-chlorinated water for at least three days then use this solution to soak the branch cutting once in your inoculated soil. To help roots get a start forming on the cutting branches take a sharp knife and make 4 equidistant slits about 4cm long around the base of the cutting. Drop these branches in the willow water solution to soak while you prepare the containers with inoculated soil, stick one per container and press gently on the soil working around the cutting to firm the soil against the branch bottom, once all are done take the bucket of water you had them soaking in and use it to water in the cuttings. Place these in a shaded spot, some dappling of sun light will be ok.

    Preparing the cutting branches: remove the lower leaves without stripping the growth node the leaf comes from, these will be where the first roots spring out of. make 4 slits 4cm long and through the cambium layer in the stripped area on the cutting. Soak this part with either willow water you made fresh or with pure water that has 2 tbs. of rooting hormone dissolved in it, plant in containers with inoculated soil and water in with the rooting solution. Cuttings perform best when there are fewer than 4 leaves left on, this is so most energy goes into growing roots on the cutting. A cloche (clear cover either of plastic or glass) will help regulate humidity for better rooting action. Shade is the best place to start all hardwood cuttings, regardless of tree type, some dappled sun light getting to the cuttings will not hurt as long as the duration of direct light is less than 4 hours per day and it is morning light.

    hope this helps you have better success with rooting your cuttings.

    Redhawk
     
  10. Spudwa

    Spudwa New Member

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    Hi flatland I'm in the same boat as you mate I'm located in perth , and I've been aquiring seeds 500 gram off seeds sacrified and I can get every seed to germinate on a damp cotton wall in a couple days , and it doesn't matter what I do trying to get this seed to germinate out of the soil I've had no luck . I've tried being like a surgeon and transplanted the germinated seeds into pot with a small bit of inoculant and sprinkled sand on top and still no luck . Never been so frustrated in trying to get some to grow by seed

    I have recently purchase some lucurne tree about 200 mm high and hasn't been inoculant so I've tried and dug a abit of inoculant into the soil and watered abit into these hopefully the bacteria infect these plants . But I still need more and I'm wanting to do this by seed with inoculant it's got me frustrated
     
  11. Anthony B

    Anthony B New Member

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    Hi flatland, spudwa,

    I've germinated tagasaste successfully and didn't have too much trouble with them just by following instructions on the packet. I scarified them in almost boiling water for 2 mins, soaked them for 24 hours, then left them to germinate between two saucers between a couple of damp folded paper towels. When they're ready to germinate they swell up and turn paler. Once they stick out a little bit of a root, I dip them into innoculant and put them into a small pot, not too far under the surface. It takes a few days to a week for them to stick their leaves up.

    This had a pretty good success rate, but there were about half in the saucer that didn't germinate after about a month or so (I replaced the paper towel and saucers a few times). So I nicked them using a metal file - just drag each seed along the file until you can just see the inside as a small pale dot. This lets water through into the shell and they start germinating pretty much straight away, within a few days most of mine were swelling up. This time I put them in a large pot, and then transplanted them out after about 5 weeks when they'd grown a bit and had got some secondary leaves (maybe 5-10cms?)

    A couple of things to watch out for - Tagasaste doesn't like clay soils, fertile soils or wet feet, so you need sandy soil, and if you overwater or stick compost/rich soil on them they can rot. You can check that by digging up the germinated ones that haven't grown. You could maybe wait a little bit longer in the germination process until the leaves have unfurled, and plant it with the leaves out of the soil. That might give you more clues as to what's happening. The other thing to watch out for is that slugs and snails don't eat them - they do seem pretty tasty. I lost several seedlings, but a 'barbed-wire fence' cut from a can put a stop to that.

    They are a weed/pioneer tree, so they shouldn't be *that* hard to grow :)

    Hope that helps,

    Anthony
     
  12. antonius

    antonius Member

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    Hello, reading this reminds me of my own failure to germinate cherry birch seed ---4 attempts and still trying , but i did manage to get some tree lucerne /tagasaste seed to germinate this year , which amazed me in that the seeds were 2 years old and had been lying in the kitchen cutlery drawer , i poured a kettle of hot water over them , soaked them for a day or 2 , and planted 2 or 3 seeds into potting soil --nothing else added --then used those little seedling grow bags you get from china and placed as many as could fit into one of those cheap grow trays with the clear plastic top . I dont have a greenhouse yet so placed them on top of the fridge to harvest the warmth off the back of it. They are now thriving negelected outside in the stuff we call our irish weather awaiting their turn to be stuck in the ground, which will be up on top of a long ditchline of mounded earth and rock to keep the roots free draining ---hope this doesnt p you off but rather gives a bit of hope--be stubborn and persist, cheers
     

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