Successfully removing rooted cuttings from intermittent mist
What do I do after the softwood cuttings have roots?
Is this a question you find yourself asking? Well, fear not! I will explain what needs to be done to help the cuttings survive.
After the cuttings have rooted, you must decide what you are going to do with them. Will they be potted up to be sold retail or given to friends or relatives, planted in a grow bed to continue growing for a year or two and then sold bareroot or as a liner, or simply planted in your landscape for you to enjoy?
Gently remove the rooted cutting from the rooting medium. Lightly shake off any medium that is clinging to the plant. Getting all the material off is not important, but saving as much as you can will allow you to continue rooting cuttings with the same rooting media.
If the cutting will be potted up to be sold retail, pot up the cutting in an appropriate sized nursery pot. Appropriate sized means large enough for the roots to grow, but not so large that the roots get lost in the pot. Usually, with a small rooted cutting of 6 inches or so, a 1 quart pot is sufficient. Potted plants lose moisture at alarming rates, and should be watered twice a day, but you may find that you can water them only once per day with no detrimental effect on the plant.
If being planted in the landscape, they need to be acclimated to normal growing conditions. When using intermittent mist, this means gradually reducing the frequency the cuttings get water. You can safely reduce the watering frequency to twice a day for the first week. Notice I said watering frequency and not misting frequency. You are acclimating them to being watered, and weaning them from the mist. I water mine in the morning before the sun gets too intense, and in the afternoon as the sun begins to lose it’s intensity. Be sure you do not water too late in the evening or you may promote the growth of fungus and other diseases. After the first week, the cuttings can be watered once a day for a week. After the week has passed, reduce the frequency to once per week for two weeks. At this point, the plants should be established and you really should only have to water the plant during droughts.
Bareroot cuttings and liners require special handling. Look for my separate article on handling bareroot cuttings.
Following these steps with your newly rooted cuttings will improve their odds at survival.