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How to propagate hedgerow cuttings this autumn

Time needed: around 1 hour

Tools needed : secateurs, long tom pots, compost or soil

Dog rose ( Rosa canina) is an important wildlife plant, its flowers are an important nectar source for insects and its fruits are a food source for birds such as blackbirds, redwings and waxwings. Their prickly stems, offering a protective habitat for birds. They are easy and rewarding to propagate. Their stems are often cut by flailing (hedge trimming) in the winter, so autumn is a good time to propagate stems that would otherwise be wasted. Always ask permission of the landowner.

How to propagate dog roses

The best way to make more dog rose plants is to take hardwood cuttings. This is can be done in autumn.

  1. Cut a section of new stem (from the current year's growth), above a node (where leaves, buds and shoots emerge from the stem).

  2. Cut your stem into pieces 25-30cm long, cutting at an angle just above the top bud and straight across just below the bottom bud. This will help you plant the cutting the right way up. Ideally pencil thickness or more.

  3. Make a slit trench in the soil as deep as your spade’s blade and push the earth back. (Or put them into a long pot with local soil or compost with horticultural sand 50/50 mix to improve drainage.)

  4. Insert your cuttings into the trench leaving a quarter of the cutting above the soil.

  5. Firm the soil around the cuttings and water well.

  6. Store in a frost free place and keep moist but not waterlogged.

  7. Make sure at least two viable nodes are well below the soil surface.

Successful propagation

  • Cuttings might take between 4-6 months to root.

  • Do not assume that they have rooted when you see shoots growing; wait until you see roots showing at the base of the pot.

  • Take care when removing them from the pots as the fine white roots are fragile and easily damaged.

  • When the cuttings are rooted plant them into their final location and keep well watered for their first year.

Other hedgerow plants that are easily propagated

Elderflower The flowers provide food for pollinators and berries high in vitamin C and antioxidants provide food for birds and small mammals and humans.

Hazel The yellow catkins are a source of early pollen for bees and its nuts, are great for insects and small mammals including dormice.

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