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How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

Posted by jagchaser 5A NE, -15-115f may (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 17:56

Hedge post cut last fall. I used it for a end post on my new grape trellis. 8" across and about 9ft long! None of the other ones cut last fall rooted, but somehow this one did.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

  • Posted by murky z8f pnw Portlan (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 18:40

That is awesome. What type of tree is it?


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

Willow will do that pretty reliably, but I didn't know "hedge" might; we've had discussions about whether it'll work with fruits.

I'm not sure what "hedge" is. I've heard it also referred to as osage orange, bowdark, and even iron wood. My Kansan brother refers to hedgerows (the massive windbrakes all over the flatlands) but to me "hedge" is boxwood or caragana, and I'm not sure what anybody means when they use the term. Just sayin' there may be room for confusion there.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 12, 14 at 23:20

Hedge is a nasty thorny tree common in the plains. The thorns pop your tires. Wildlife and cattle eat the hedge balls (of the female trees) and spread the seeds far and wide.

I've sprayed literally thousands of hedge seedlings. The only thing worse is thorny honey locust.

That said, they do have their use. Hedge wood is fairly rot resistant and is used for fence post, as Jag shows. The wood burns very hot, as such is considered premium firewood.

Miles and miles of hedge were planted in the dust bowl to try to stop wind erosion, which also gave people a job during the depression. The trees are tough as nails. They will grow in any soil or condition in the plain states and because of the thorns, wildlife won't eat the foliage.

That is an amazing photo Jag. I wish fruit trees could be propagated that easily.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

I've seen articles addressing reforestation in places like Africa, indicating that you could plant 'truncheons' of milky-sapped trees (figs, mulberries, osage orange(hedge), etc.) as big around as a man's arm, and that they would root.
Just because your post is pushing shoots, it doesn't necessarily mean it's rooted; it may utilize all its stored energy reserves and then die.

I dunno - I've had dismal results trying to root red mulberry and M.rubraXalba hybrids. A couple of years back, I planted close to 100 dormant cuttings of mulberries,ranging in size from pencil-diameter with a heel or 'hammer' base,to 3"diameter limbs. None rooted or survived the following growing season.
Maybe it works in a sandy soil in a tropical setting, but not in a good bottomland clay soil in a zone 6 winter; at least not in my experience.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

Lucky, that was my first thought that it was just using up reserves. I checked all the posts and none of the others were pushing growth. They were all cut the same day and all buried the same day but only one pushed growth. I will check with my uncle to see if he ever heard of such a thing, he has worked strictly Osage orange for 70years.

If you mulberry cuttings didn't work then it does make me wonder, since they are so close.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

I think that it is just using up reserves and will die soon. About 7 years ago I cut about 20 popple trees to use as temporary deer fence posts. All of the trees were about 4" in diameter and cut into 10 or 11 ft lengths. About 30" of the length was buried as the post base.

Somewhere around 4 or 5 of the tree/posts sprouted leaves within a couple of weeks. All of those died about a month after sprouting the leaves. With their bases 30" deep in moist, sandy soil, there was enough moisture to push leaves, but I don't think roots ever developed.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

I cut a lot of firewood last fall and I have lots of logs with sprouts growing out of the logs this spring. They will stay alive till the log dries out. I'm not saying yours didn't root but That it's normal for big wood to do that without roots.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 9:20

It's not carbohydrate reserves it will run out of but rather water. Then the sprouts will die.

I cut down a 12 inch pecan right in the middle of my current greenhouse in fall 2004. It pushed up sprouts under weed barrier with almost no light until 2012, eight yrs before the roots died. Kind of converse of this example.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

I know there is a tree down in Central America they use for fence posts where they root all the time when they put posts in the ground. They will cut off a section and the majority of the time it will root and start to grow. You see a lot of fence lines that are all trees because of it.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 10:41

The thought had occurred to me the post had not rooted and was simply using energy reserves, but Jag's comment about this being the only post pushing growth made me me think the post had rooted.

I've stuck lots of peach/plum shoots in the ground and seen them sprout, only later to see them die when the hot dry summer cooks them.

Nevertheless, hedge seems tougher to me. When I made terraces for my peach planting a few years ago with a road grader, I bladed down a ton of young hedge trees. I just "windrowed" them with the rest of the dirt into the terraces, thinking they would rot with the rest of the organic material I windrowed. Instead they produced multitudinous new shoots. We are still spraying hedge sprouts in the rows. But perhaps it was due to all the broken up pieces of hedge roots.

Let us know Jag if the post continues to grow.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

> Hedge wood is fairly rot resistant and is used for fence post, as Jag shows.

From what I've read that's a major understatement, no? My understanding is that osage orange is the most rot resistant wood native to temperate North America.

There are also thornless cultivars, by the way.

Jag, do you care if your end post becomes a tree? I've wondered about using trees for end posts, especially on long runs where shading wouldn't be a concern.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

>>I think that it is just using up reserves and will die soon<<
Yes, I think so too.


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RE: How is this for rooting a hardwood cutting?

Funny, I was just driving through Iowa and Nebraska with my dad, noticing how many trees planted as wind blocks have died recently, and he told me that back in the old days a lot of farmers would plant their fences and have them grow. I'm thinking he said poplar would root easily.


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