One of the first things we do at the nursery as the weather begins to freeze is take evergreen cuttings. Last week we took about 10,000 cuttings from a variety of Arborvitae, Yews, and Boxwood. Late November and Early December is the perfect time to take any of your evergreen cuttings, since the branches will have hardened off. This year we reduced the number of boxwood cuttings taken now, since we had a lot of success rooting them in a sand bed during the summer last year.
We typically take all of the cuttings in one day, then stick them the following day. Before sticking cutting they are scarred and dipped in a root concentrate. We then set the stuck cuttings on the heated greenhouse floor, which we keep at 70 degrees. This ensures that the rootzone is warm throughout the winter, but doesn’t require us to heat the entire greenhouse.
The automatic booms in the greenhouse help keep the soil media moist. Once the cuttings root in, we will transfer them to 3 gallon pots, after that, the arborvitae will be moved into their final growing space- our fields!
We also work on field preparation prior to the ground freezing. We disc a combination of horse manure, leaves and mulch into the soil. Some areas will receive an application of sulfur as well. We also take soil samples and have them analyzed by a lab to give us updates on how we are doing with our soil remediation practices. We also use the results of these tests when making adjustments to our slow release fertilizer in spring. The small investment goes a long way in helping us make informed decisions regarding soil and fertilizer practices.
Once the ground freezes and we can no longer dig trees the crews will begin our winter trim on all of our trees in the field. In a future Gazette we will go into detail on how and why we trim in the winter during the dormant season.
If you ever have any questions about propagation, soil management, or anything else feel free to reach out anytime.