Building a Bed for Rooting Cuttings is really easy and it’s something that you shouldn’t over think. Many people ask about putting things like hardware cloth (screen) or Weed Barrier Fabric in the bottom of the bed to keep critters out and I always tell them not to. The roots of the cuttings will get tangled in the screen or fabric and make it difficult and damaging to the cuttings as you remove them from the bed.
This is our propagation, rooting cutting area. The three beds that you see are completely full so I’m adding a new bed so we can stick thousands and thousands of cuttings this summer. Notice in this photo that as I added more beds I started sitting the beds right on top of the ground. That’s because with heavy rains I was getting dirt and mulch washing into my cutting beds. I wanted them in the ground for winter protection, but it’s just not necessary, they do just fine as they are.
This is how simple it is to build a bed for rooting cuttings.
These are the steps that I took when building this propagation bed
Step 1. I bought treated, one inch by eight inch lumber. I think this bed is around 20 to 25 feet long.
Step 2. I marked out the area by putting down a string to make sure the boards were straight and I could maintain the dimensions I wanted.
Step 3. I sprayed the existing grass and weeds in and around the bed with a non selective herbicide. I use glyphosate which is generic Roundup. Yes, I said the word! Roundup. If you want to beat me up about that You Can Do So Here. I’ve actually created a post where people can and do beat me up about using Roundup or Roundup like products. The truth is, people in this industry use chemicals to control weeds. They have to.
Step 4. Won’t the glyphosate harm the cuttings as they are rooting? No it won’t. Despite what you read on the internet glyphosate does not linger in the soil when applied properly and I go into detail about that in this post.
Step 5. After 72 hours I drive 30″ metal pipes in the ground to support the boards. For pipes I use 1/2″ electrical conduit, about $3.00 at a big box store. I only stake the outside of the boards, I let the sand hold up the inside of the boards. After spraying I wait 72 hours to give the herbicide a chance to translocate throughout the weeds and grass plants that I am trying to eliminate.
During that 72 hour time period it’s really important to not disturb the weeds or grass at all. If you start digging and chopping the herbicide will not have a chance to work and the weeds and grass will thrive despite your digging and chopping efforts.
Step 6. I make my beds exactly 44″ wide outside edge to outside edge. That way if I want to cover them with snow fence or something else for shade, most of those kinds of materials are 48″ wide. Also if I decide to cover them for the winter, A Mini Hoop House fits Nicely over a 44″ Wide Bed.
Notice that in the bed to the right of this new frame, those cuttings are all rooted and thriving. That bed was built exactly the same way, the cuttings are in coarse sand, the bed was sprayed when I built it just as I am doing here. You should see those cuttings now! I took this photo in June, it’s now October. They are huge! At least 12″ tall, most of them. So much for sand not having enough nutrition to root cuttings.
Step 7. I usually layout the boards and drive the stakes as I am putting the Coarse Sand into the bed, that way I can use the sand to support the boards as I go. See this post for Information About Coarse Sand. I buy the sand buy the ton from a gravel supply company. About $25 a ton I think is what I pay. When this bed was finished it had over two ton of sand it in. I haul the sand on my 3/4 ton pickup. I shovel it off the truck into a “real wheelbarrow” and wheel it into the bed.
Step 8. With all of the sand in place I install the end board. I leave off until the end so I can wheelbarrow inside of the bed. Then I lay out the 3/4″ PVC water line that will feed the flat head spray nozzles. The System that I Use is Fully Automatic which is extremely important. It waters the cuttings at precise times so they don’t wilt and die.
And here we are four months later. The bed that I built in June is full of cuttings that are fully rooted. This photo was taken in mid October and this is exactly how these rooted cuttings will go through the winter. I don’t cover them, I just leave them as is and they do fine.
Notice the bed to the left of this one. Those are rooted cuttings from last year that we have yet to get potted up. Between now and early spring we’ll get them out of that bed, prune the roots a little to make the roots fill out more and we will trim the tops aggressively. Believe it or not I have already take the hedge shears to the tops of those cuttings at least twice! Pruning is extremely important. More about that here.
Recently somebody said to me; “The automatic system is really expensive.”
Really? You really have to think this through. Look around your house. Look at all of the things that you own. How much did they cost? How much money have they made you? Recently Pam and I had to replace the refrigerator. $2,300 and they told me to only expect it to last 10 years!
Folks, you have to take this seriously! Every single day in Our Private Members Area I see brand new members selling cuttings that they have rooted. We have members that have sold tens of thousands of dollars worth of rooted cuttings and liners just inside of our members area. And I’m not talking about “one lucky member”. I’m talking about many members who have done that.
I am not going to promise that you can do that, but I see new members all the time selling hundreds of dollars in the Buy/Sell Area. Not to mention what they make selling plants locally to people in their home towns.
I am going to do a couple of related posts to accompany this one.
How to actually go about taking and making cuttings.
I’m sure you have a million questions. You can post them below, but what you should do is Take the Trial for Our Private Members Area. You’ll be dumbfounded by the amount of information that is shared there daily.