Lift a root with suckers on it without disturbing the parent plant. Check that there are fibrous roots at the base of the suckers.
Remove the suckering roots by cutting it off close to the parent plant. Firm the soil around the parent plant.
Cut the main root back to the fibrous roots, then divide the suckers so that each has its own roots. Cut back the top-growth by about half.
Treat each sucker or hardwood cutting at the base with IBA at 20,000 ppm liquid formulation to promote rooting. Alternatively, treatment with 2 percent IBA talc; this will promote rooting on both suckers and stem cuttings.
Replant the suckers in open ground in prepared holes with good potting soil. Firm the soil around the suckers and water.
Before growth starts in the spring, lift the plant. Break the clump into sections, retaining those with vigorous shoots and well-developed roots.
Prune any damaged roots, and cut back the top-growth by one-third to a half to reduce water loss. Replant the divisions in the open and water in dry weather.
Ultimately, simply lift a suckering root, sever it from the parent plant, and then replant it in the open.
In spring, plant a rooted layer or young plant, label it, and grow it for a season. Then, in the dormant season, cut back the stem to within 3 inches (8 cm) of the ground.
In the following spring, apply a balanced fertilizer at the rate of 2-4-oz/sq yd (60-110 g/sq m). Space the stems evenly again; dropping each into a 2-inch (5-cm) deep trench. Peg down each stem and cover with soil, leaving the shoot tips exposed. Hill up all but 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) of the new shoots as they develop, until the mound is 6 inches (15 cm) high. Water as needed.
After leaf fall, carefully fork away the soil from around the new shoots until the stems that were laid horizontally are exposed. Cut these flush with the basal area of the stems. Then cut the stems to separate the rooted sections. Pot these or plant them out in the open garden, and label them. The same redosier dogwood basal area may be used to propagate further layers.
Adaptation: Redosier dogwood grows in soils that are saturated for at least a portion of the growing season. Redosier dogwood is common on the edges of lakes, ponds, within wetlands, and along streams. Not as tolerant of long-term root saturation as are some other shrubs, dogwood seems to prefer wetland margins where soils are nitrogen-rich, saturated, and shallowly inundated in the spring, and may be completely dry by late summer. It is tolerant of fluctuating water tables. The “osier” in redosier dogwood is derived from French, meaning “willow-like”; it is often called red willow because of its red stems.
Propagation from cuttings: Redosier dogwood can be started easily by division, french layering, and hardwood cuttings. To propagate suckers by division:
To ensure survival of cuttings or suckers through the following winter in cold climates, the potted cuttings should be kept in heated cold frames or poly-houses to hold the temperature between 0-7°C (32-45°F). Rooted cuttings that had shoot growth in the fall, but were not given nitrogen, had the best over-winter survival in a cold frame with microfoam.
French layering: Layering is a method where a stem is encouraged to develop roots before being removed from the parent plant.
Propagation by seed: Redosier dogwood is established easily from seed. The best germination is obtained if the seeds are gathered as soon as the fruit starts to color or ripen, from August to October. If the seeds are allowed to dry out, it is best to remove seeds from the fruit and soak in water.
The best results are obtained from fall sowing of freshly harvested seeds. Fruits collected too late to sow in the fall should be stored, pre-chilled until the next season, and sown outdoors the following fall. To effectively condition the seed for germination, store for two months in moist sand at 5ºC for 90 days. After pre-chilling, expose the seeds to fluctuating temperatures from 12/72ºC for 10 days (Young and Young 1992). With some species, the warm stratification period may be replaced by mechanical scarification or soaking in sulfuric acid. Seeds sown in nursery beds should be covered with 0.25-0.5 in (0.6-1.25 cm) of soil. Fall-sown beds should be mulched during the winter.
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