What I am about to share with you is a bit of an industry secret. But what I want you to really grasp is that this system will work for just a few cuttings, or in our case we do tens of thousands of cuttings at time using this very simple, yet incredibly effect system.
This is a system that I call:
“Water as Needed and Only as Needed, Automatically, even while you are away.”
In the above photo there are approximately 26,000 cuttings that we stuck this summer. The rooting process is being controlled automatically with a simple system that can be used to root as few as 10 cuttings at a time or as many as tens of thousands at a time. People in the industry all use the same system, we just expand it as needed. Expanding the system as needed can be done in a matter of minute. It is amazingly simple.
In a moment I will explain more about the system and how it works and why it is incredibly effective. But first I need to explain something about cuttings.
For the most part cuttings come in three flavors. Okay, not flavors but stages. For all practical purposes the plant propagation season begins in May or June, depending on where you live. If you are in a colder northern state, zone 6 or below, the season begins no earlier than June 1st. A good target date for northern states would be June 15th. Find your zone here.
In warmer states, zones 7 and up, you can usually get started around mid May. But no earlier.
During the summer months we do what are called softwood cuttings and they root easily and fast. During the late summer and fall the cuttings are harder and are referred to as semi-hardwood cuttings. During the winter the wood is very hard and those cuttings are called hardwood cuttings. So what does all that mean?
Softwood Cutting, Hardwood Cutting, what’s the Difference?
There are two differences. One has to do with timing, what time of the year did you take the cutting? And second difference is the actual consistency of the cutting that you take. Which is really determined by the time of the year.
Let me explain it this way. Picture in your mind, or actually hold in your hand, a yellow, #2 writing pencil. How would you describe that pencil? It’s yellow, it’s about 7″ long, it’s made of wood and it’s filled with graphite. It is very rigid and if you tried to bend it, it would snap in two. That’s how a hardwood cutting is. Very rigid and you were to try and bend it, it would break.
A softwood cutting on the other hand is soft, pliable, flexible and can be bent without breaking. A softwood cutting is like partially cooked spaghetti. If you hold it at the bottom it will stand on it’s own, but it can be bent without breaking.
When Rooting Cuttings, Timing is Everything.
For all practical purposes lets say that the gardening season begins in the spring when the new leaves begin to emerge on the dormant plants. Once plants start to grow in the spring they grow like crazy for about four to six weeks. Then they slow down. First to appear are the leaves and immediately following the leaves are new stems, or the new growth for the season. It’s an amazing thing to watch and most people don’t even realize how much their plants are growing or how interesting the process is. But you will now!
The New Growth is Where You Will Take Your Cuttings From.
However, you cannot be too impatient, you have to allow nature to take it’s course. You have to allow that new growth to harden off a bit. Not so much that it becomes hardwood or semi-hardwood, but just hard enough that when you take the cuttings they don’t immediately fail. If you take the cuttings too soon they will limp over and die within hours because the wood is just too soft.
Remember, write this on the top of your foot; “Timing is everything”.
So from the time you see the first leaves in spring, count forward on your calender six weeks and write in big bold letters on the calender; “Start Taking Cuttings”. Here in northern Ohio we typically see that burst of new leaves around mid April. That means that our earliest date for taking cuttings is June 1st.
That date, whatever it is for you, is the beginning of Plant Propagation Season.
That’s when you take your very first softwood cuttings and you can just keep right on taking them all summer long and into fall. Eventually those cuttings will harden off and become semi-hardwood cuttings then hardwood cuttings. Doesn’t matter, just keep right on taking those cuttings.
Now Here’s the Kicker about Softwood Cuttings.
1. They root faster and easier than any cuttings you can take all year. You can take that to the bank.
2. They will die faster than any cutting you will take all year if they are not happy. You can take that to the bank as well.
So how do you keep them happy? I’m glad you asked and I’m about to show you some magic. Seriously, this really is like magic because it works incredibly well. What we as plant propagators have learned is that if you can keep a softwood cutting moistened, it will be happy and if it’s happy it will make roots as fast as nature allows.
So here’s how it works.
We wet the cuttings with just a short spritz of water, then we allow them to dry, then we spritz them again, allow them to dry then spritz them again. It’s super easy to do because we automate it with just a few fairly simple doodads that do all of the work for us. I just turn it on and let it run.
We use these flat head spray nozzles that are specially designed for outdoor use. They deliver a pattern of water that is almost perfectly horizontal. The water is atomized, but only to a point. What makes these nozzles unique is that the droplets of water are tiny, yet just large enough to not be easily carried by the wind. Other nozzles don’t work because all of the water just blows away.
As you can see, all of the cuttings are getting wet, but not too wet. As soon as they are wet enough the water shuts off and only comes back on when necessary. That’s why this system is so efficient. Remember how I said that the system is expandable? As soon as we make our first batch of cuttings we install one spray nozzle. One nozzle can easily water hundreds of cuttings. We just keep sticking cuttings in the bed and as soon as we get out of range of the first spray nozzle we add another.
It only takes minutes to install each spray nozzle. If one spray nozzle is all you need, that’s fine. The system happily runs one nozzle.
The spray nozzles plug into plastic PVC piping that is hooked to a garden hose. The water is turned on and off automatically, as needed, by an automatic water valve which is controlled by an electronic controller. The controller is mounted inside of a garage or shed and plugs into a regular household outlet. Of course the outlet should be a GFI type of outlet for safety reasons.
The automatic valve ican be out in the weather and is low voltage, 24 volts, and connects to the controller with light weight wire like household thermostat wire.
The controller automatically turns this system on in the morning, automatically waters the cuttings throughout the day as needed, then the system shuts down in the evening so the cuttings are nice and dry by the time the sun goes down. It’s an amazing thing to watch. All you do is set it and walk away! I set my system in June on the first day that we do cuttings and just let it run! After that all we do is keep making cuttings, sticking them in the bed and adding spray nozzles.
I’ve been sharing this information with my customers for years, those who buy my Backyard Growing System, and they all get frustrated because they can’t find the components needed to set this system up. So what I am doing, at least for now, is selling all of the critical components along with an Instructional DVD that shows you how to set up the system and how to actually use the system and make the cuttings.
But I am going to be honest with you. Even for me, these components are hard to come by. When I have them available I offer them for sale. But so far it has been frustrating trying to get my hands on this stuff.
Like I said, this kit comes with all of the critical components, the things that you cannot find locally. You’ll still have to pick up a few things at your local hardware store like a section of 3/4″ plastic PVC pipe, a couple of PVC fittings, about three brass fittings, and a piece of thermostat wire.
In the Instructional DVD I explain to you, and show you exactly how to assemble the system in great detail, how to set the controller, what the proper settings are, how to glue the PVC fittings onto the PVC pipe, how to connect the wiring etc. Then I show you how to make the cuttings, how to stick the cuttings. It’s all very simple with this system if you are willing to make the investment.
These are the components included in the kit.
The kit includes one of these automatic water valves. You only need one. I do tens of thousands of cuttings with just one valve.
Like I said, one horizontal spray nozzles will cover an area large enough to stick several hundred cuttings. In the kit you get four of these nozzles.
These two items are the heartbeat of the kit. The automatic controller is the critical component. Most controllers on the market are completely incapable of controlling the water as we need it for this application. This one works incredibly well.
And of course The Instructional DVD contains a great deal of information that I am not sharing here. We put a lot of time into making this DVD because I did not want to leave anything to chance, or leave anything misunderstood. There are lot of really important tips and examples in this DVD that I have intentionally not included on this page.
New DVD Just Added to this Package!
“Simplifying the Art of Growing Plants for Profit”.
This is a brand new DVD that we just shot this February (2014). There is so much conflicting and confusing information when it comes to plant propagation that we recorded this DVD to completely simplify the process of exactly which plant propagation techniques you should be using to make the most money with plants as quickly as possible, in the easiest possible way.
I’ve been teaching this stuff online for over 15 years now and in that time I’ve shared a plethora of plant propagation techniques. They all work, but there are only three that I use. In this DVD I explain why, what they are and how to use them the most effectively. This is good Stuff!
So far feedback on both these DVDs has been nothing but positive. You know me, don’t expect some fancy Hollywood production. Because if you do, you’ll be sadly disappointed. What you get is me walking you through the complete process just as if you were standing there with me in the barn. I didn’t get all dressed up like on TV, I’m wearing my bibs and knowing me I probably made no effort to make sure they were clean.
As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, at one point in the movie I’m wearing a bandana and sweating like crazy because I was out back working and Amber said; “Mike, we have to shoot video for the DVD.” That’s how it happens around here. Work, work, work, stop and make a movie, get back to work. If you find that unappealing then please don’t order.
I will tell you this. Of all the cuttings that we do, and we do tens of thousands each year, 95% of them are done during the summer when it’s nice outside using this very system. We do a few hardwoods during the winter, but all the rest are done using this system because it works!
Okay, right now this kit is priced at $297.00
and you can order by clicking this link.
Questions? I’ll tell you right now, don’t ask for brand names, model numbers etc. I am not going to share that nor am I going to answer questions that are propitiatory regarding information contained in the DVD. I really put this together for serious propagators only.
Click Here to Order Right Now!
Only $297.00 for the Kit and Two DVDs!
Can this system be used with rain barrel water supply?
It can as long as you some kind of a pump to put some pressure behind the water. Any pump that makes pressure should work fine.
Jess Smith says
I love your videos, I think you are so knowledgeable, and it shows with your success..
But you also have a HUGE heart to do all these videos and teaching all of us strangers so many helpful, wonderful things!
Thank you so much Sir, and God bless you & your wife!
(And of course, the lil donkeys! ???? )
Thanks Jess, I appreciate that.
Hey have you had any experience using the leaf and will your system work in a greenhouse? Thanks -Danielle 🙂
I’ve never used the system but know those who have. It’s considerably more expensive and is not a good option at all outside. My system can be used in a greenhouse, but with summer propagation air flow is important which is why I like working without a greenhouse. This system works perfectly inside or outside so the added hundreds of dollars for other system really isn’t necessary.
Okay thanks so much that was helpful! I guess after I get your system I’ll decide later on down the road. The other is I live in sc do I need to or will it help the cuttings to be in a greenhouse for the winter months?
No, I’m in northern Ohio, 22 below last winter, all of my cuttings are outside, uncovered. They did fine.
I don’t know where to go to ask this so will ask here. Deer, Rabbits???? Have been here 8 years and have planted about 30 burning bushes across front of property-something has eaten the bark off the burning bushes, crabapple, snowball, purple plum tree, kwanza cherry., even some of my nursery plants. This is a first! Zone 5, Illinois and in truth until Feb had a very mild winter. Will they survive??
Rabbits and deer love burning bush. When the snow is deep the only thing they can eat are trees and shrubs that rise above the snow. There are things you can spray on them. I don’t how well they work. Some growers used to mix Louisiana hot sauce with a sticky product called wilt proof or vapor guard. As long as they have not girdled all the way around the stem the plants will survive. If they have girdled all the way around the shrubs will come back from below that point. But with burning bush it will take a few years.
James B. says
I’m trying to propagate Mahaleb cherry rootstock doing softwood cuttings. I’ve got a basic plastic greenhouse and cuttings in trays of sand with misters above. I’ve had them in a two weeks but some are starting to look a bit mouldy on top and some below seem to be rotting. Is my sand too small? Do I need to clean my sand before planting? The mister timing seems to be ok as if I lesson the timing they start to wilt. Any ideas? I really want to make this work.
Sounds too humid for me. When we mist cuttings we do them in the open air which is how we do all our cuttings. Air flow is important to control fungal type diseases.
Mike, please notify me when you have more of these misting kits and the two DVDs available. Thanks for everything!
We have them available now, but they do sell out quickly.
jim Schwab says
Mike, How does the controller in your misting system know when to turn on or turn off?
It’s based on timing cycles. There are other methods but they can be problematic. Most in the industry use time cycles.
Larry Hedgpeth says
I’m very interested in this system, Mike. Josie (my wife) and I retired last year. With our sons we are building a new (small) house on our land here in northwest Washington. When that project is done (June or so), I’d like to be all ready to start getting some cuttings started rooting.
I did a few last summer – just stuck some 10-14″ cuttings in some sand. About half are starting to grow right now. Pretty small potatoes, but still exciting for me. Mostly fruiting currants – Josie makes some killer jelly!
Anyway, I’m wondering about this misting system of yours. Will it work up here in the nw? How can it know when to spray? We have so much natural moisture. Do we really need something like that up here? I know you can get pretty hot there in the heartland, but we don’t see much of that here. Might your system over water here?
We really want to be ready to get going this summer with cuttings, so I’m hoping someone there will be able to squeeze in time in your busy schedules to drop us a note.
Thanks for all your emails – lots of good info, and even more important is your interest and enthusiasm for what you are doing.
Larry and Josie Hedgpeth
You can attach a rain gauge to the system to turn it off when it rains, but most of us don’t. I have a number of growers in your area growing and selling plants this way. One in Washington just told me a few days ago that people are practically kicking the door down to buy plants from her already this spring. You still need the system because you only have an hour at best before the cuttings fail without it.
First off, let me say that you are amazing and are so inspiring. One day, I really hope that my husband and I can meet you in person. We are in the “contemplation” stage of our business with 3 small children but make no mistake about it, we will make this happen! (And yes, we have encountered nay sayers but that only makes me want to do it even more to prove them wrong!) My question is this- how much light does a cutting need to root? We have a large yard however right now it may be difficult to get water to that part of the yard. We have a raised ranch home with a raised deck on the south side of the house that would be easy to walk under if I put some flats under there to root cuttings. The water supply is there, an in fact I have a drip irrigation system in place already for my deck plants. It gets rather warm on that side of the house and the cuttings would get indirect sunlight even though they’re under the deck. This would solve two issues- water supply AND I would be close to the house to keep an eye on the kiddos. Your thoughts? Thank you so much!
When rooting cuttings shade is an important element of successfully rooting cuttings. They need some sunlight, but not all that much. I think the idea is feasible as long as some sunlight gets in there. Move the bed out to the edge of the deck so more light hits the cuttings, but not too much. We give our cuttings at least 50% shade when they are rooting.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. Your information is so appreciated. Happy “rooting”.
EDWARD MCKENZIE says
THANKS MIKE FOR THE VERY HELPFUL INFO. I WILL BE PLACING MY ORDE RSOON, I LIVE IN MI. ED. MCKENZIE
I already have made a purchase on a misting system but wondered if the cd’s can be purchased separately?
Mike Noon says
Now that this last (I hope it’s the last) nor’ easter blew through yesterday, I’m setting up my planting bed. What is the height the nozzles should be off the soil level, and what radius do the nozzles cover? My planting bed is about 3ft x 4ft in size, about 5in deep filled with sand (my wife calls it my sand box). I’m thinking that at the most I’ll only need 2 nozzles?
Cape Cod, MA
Mike, the nozzles are 30″ high so they end up about 24″ above the cuttings. You can probably get away with two, but it’s always good to have extras in case you add on or have issues with the wind moving the spray pattern. They cover at least a 48″ radius, but the bed is square and the pattern round.
Michael P. Quinn (Home Of Quinn Nursery) says
i am ready to make the commitment to purchase the Propagation Kit & DVD’s, but it says you are out of stock.. Please let me know asap when I may purchase the kit.
Michael P. Quinn
Karyn Flynn says
Mike, I think i ordered a mist system but I can;t find the confirmation, will you let me know if you have my order… thnaks, Karyn Flynn
Jim Coulter says
Thanks Mike, between you and my Master Gardener class I am really learning a lot about Horticulture now! Also our friendly Lady Bugs have a DNA that they fly away shortly after developing wings. I assume they heard us to fly away home as their house is on fire!
Bo Baker says
Are you going to re-stock the intermittent mist system?
Yes I will, should be just a few weeks.
I received a dozen long stemmed white with red tipped roses for Valentines Day. I have never propagated before, lol I promptly cut the rose stems down just like you said and followed your instructions. I now have 12 new rose bushes started, I am so excited. I have your backyard growing system, I will finally get to study since I retired this year. Keep up your wonderful work. Thanks, Sandy
Ummmm …. Be careful wit dat .. Roses are copyrighted …..
Not all roses are patented. Some are, some are not.
Ummmm …. Be careful wit dat .. Roses are copyrighted …..
Rick Hames says
I am ready to place an order, even though I don’t have my misting bed ready. And I don’t have a pay pal account yet. I assume a credit card payment is acceptable?
Question, just out of curiosity. It is hard to tell from the pictures. Do you have sand or soil in the beds in the pictures?
I’m using coarse sand in the beds. Credit card is fine.
Hello. Thanks for all information and all the work you providing it. I have yet to do any cuttings or propagation. I’ve been laid up for some time do to disabilities. My vegetable garden keeps me busy but I hope be able to spend more time this season outside and want to start to do some cuttings. I watch your video on grapes vines and cut some this fall but I don’t know how they will after our North Dakota winter. all I can do is wait and see. My question is would this mister set up work for direct seeded vegetable in raised bed gardens? Say after the first break out of the ground? And would this work for new transplanted starts?
This time will operate up to 6 different valves with different time requirements, so yes, it can work for many different things.
Lois Symes Australia says
Hi Mike, I’m keen to get the sprayers and would like to know the diameter of the tubing that you use. we run metric system of measurement in Australia and also 240 volt power.
I am in Canada…. I would like to order your misting system, but was just wondering how you were shipping it? USPS? We get dinged big time by UPS brokerage fees when stuff is sent to us from the states.
Yes, right now we are shipping USPS, priority mail. You really have to do the math. You buy this stuff once, then you use it to make tens of thousands of cuttings for years and years.
Clifton Snider says
I just checked out the planting zone map for Canada. I feel I should point out that Canada is a lot more than Toronto. In fact out here in the hinterlands of British Columbia we consider Ontario a foreign country.
Wayne Shaw says
Mike please include link in email. I need system soonest possible and was ready to try and order this week. I’ll hold off as I would much rather get from you
Thanks for being so much help.
We should have this open later this week, around 2/26/14.
hi mike could you plz advise me if this type of system works for northern Ireland many thanks in advance look forward to your reply god bless and take care
This program will work anywhere that plants grow. The beauty of this is that plants respond the same no matter where they are growing and people respond to buying plants as well. We have growers in many different countries that do this and have a blast doing so.
John Reed says
Mike, I had to wait until January 1st to order the horizontal spray mister for business reasons, (a new tax year). Please email when available. Thanks!
HS HANKS says
Are the Horizontal Spray Nozzles available separately. I found a controller that has a photo eye built in and works perfectly but the mist heads that I am using just don’t cut it.
We will have them available separately closer to spring.
I installed my prop system this past fall, but would like to upgrade it before spring.
Is there any way I could get just eight (8) Horizontal Spray Nozzles.
Yes, before spring I’ll have just spray nozzles available.
DECEMBER 19 ,2013 @ 10:00 AM
MIKE ; I’ve BEEN ON BOARD FOR OVER A YEAR . I HAVE A SYSTEM ALREADY IN PLACE , I WOOD BE INTERESTED IN JUST THE SPRINKLER HEADS . HOW MUCH WOOD THEY BEE ? AND CAN THEY BE CONTROLLED TO SPRAY ON JUST HALF OR JUST ONE SIDE OF THE HEAD . I LOVE GETTING EMAILS FROM YOU GUYS , KEEP THEM COMING !!!
Before spring we’ll have an offer for just the spray nozzles.
I do not check my email all the time. so I missed out this time I hope that I can get a system next time
Brian Dunsha says
I am still getting everything ready ( while working 100 hour weeks testing backflow preventers ) to start taking Brown Turkey Fig cuttings next spring. Please add me to the email list for a system about March or April. Thanks & Merry Christmas
I should have more product soon and I will Email my customer list as soon as I can fill orders again.
Joel Howell says
I recently bought your Backyard Growing system and have been diligently preparing for the up coming spring to put it into full swing. Thank’s for providing such a great resource.
My question to you is…Do you or will you sell us just the nozzles you use in your system? I have an older system already in place and it works fairly well but I think it could use newer nozzles in order to bring it into modern times and increase it’s functionality.
Thank’s again for your inspiration.
At some point I will offer just the nozzles as soon as I have some extras that we can sell.
George Stout says
I have been receiving your e-mails for about 4 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed them! The information I have received for free is invaluable. That’s why I joined up.
There are millions of people just like me that like a good landscaped yard and to propagate
my plants without buying new ones…well that’s why I signed up, I owe you that much. Maybe you
could target in you free plant system more people like me. I will never sell plants, but the information I have learned from you has definitely made me a better gardener and I will never
buy plants I have in my yard again.
You are absolutely right, not everybody wants to sell plants, but lots of people love to learn how to grow them for free!
John Reed says
Mike, I would certainly look forward to an email about the mist watering system. Thanks!
Dear Dave and Pam
I just bought your Backyard Plant Growing System yesterday for Santa to leave Christmas morning.
Actually, I bought A LOT of stuff yesterday, as Walgreen’s has 15% and 20% of almost everything (no booze, tobacco and a couple of other items) even on sale stuff – for seniors one day a month. And everything is sort of guaranteed. I actually spent more than intended and am now $200 short for the rest of the month.
So, I will have to wait until you get these systems again. Here in Arizona the sun is brutal, and I will also need a canopy of ‘bird netting’ to filter the sun.
I lived and went to school at The Ohio State satellite campus at Marion. They did to me what the IRS did to you. I moved before completion of my Bachelor’s in Psychology, and had to do three courses commuting from Canon City, Colorado to Pueblo, Colorado University of Southern Colorado ( I can fool the Californians by saying I went to college at USC:)) – anyway. When I went to get a job with my Bachelor’s Degree, I wrote to the college for my degree paperwork. They said that since I didn’t ‘petition’ for my degree and they had since changed the curriculum, I now had to take two more courses. I finished the course as needed to complete, and now they wanted me to do something else?!! So I didn’t get my Bachelor’s Degree, dreams of completing to Master’s (at which point I could counsel etc. under a PHD as an associate) and dreams of my son having a swimming pool to invite his friends over to in high school etc. all went ‘poof’. He is now 35 and working in Guam with his wife from Ukraine. Anyway. Sorry for the venting.
Your donkeys are so CUTE! And running around their pen with them is shrinking you!
I will put away money to buy one of these systems so I can get one next time. I hope you will be able to offer them again.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you both, your family and ‘extended work family’.
Thanks Lynn and congratulations for getting The Backyard Growing System. Lots of great information in there about plant propagation and selling plants. I’ll send an email as soon as I have more packages.
Finally had a chance to order your system but it will be a while longer before I can order the rest of the tools that I will need.
This will be OK since everything is closed or out of stock.
Right now and I have several inches of snow.in my beds. No planting this week. Will try again next week.
I am enjoying the DVDs and all the emails. Looking forward to spring this year to get things growing.
Once spring breaks the season moves quickly. Do something everyday to grow your business and keep making those baby plants.
Michael P. Quinn (Home Of Quinn Nursery) says
I am ready to purchase a Plant Propagation Mist Kit, but I see that you are out of stock. Please let me know when they will be available so I will be ready for Spring 2014.
I’ll send another Email as soon as we have more to ship.
Keep checking this page, my goal is to have them available on a regular basis but dealing with suppliers is challenging.
Peter K. Chen says
Looks interesting, Good work.