Sunday, July 17, 2011

Propagation of Seabuckthorn / Seaberry Plants - (Vegetative Propagation)

Be sure to read the comment below by MikeH.  He provides some great information! 

The varietal plants have been growing well this year.  Last year, you may remember, my experiment was nearly wiped out by a few insect pests.  Take my advice and disregard all the published statements that Seabuckthorn is not bothered by pests.  It could be my location but both Winter Moth Caterpillar and June bugs favor Seaberry leaves.  Learning that lesson last year, I was able to anticipate their arrival and take measures to minimize the damage.  The plants benefited greatly.

Softwood Cutting Propogation-
The literature states this method has a 96-100% success rate.  My attempt starts here.  First I chose one variety to begin.  Assuming success, I will then know without careful labeling, which plant I am propagating and will be able to compare varietal success variations.

Titan was chosen since I wanted 6 good Seaberry cuttings and this plant could provide that easily.
Titan - minor insect damage

cutting made with sharp knife ( notice minor insect damage done by June Bugs)

6 cuttings were made with a sharp knife.  The cuttings were 10-15cm long with at least 3 leaf nodes.  

Important- keep cuttings moist in water or moistened burlap

I removed the lower leaves and was careful to do this quickly so the cutting could be placed in water immediately.

soaking in water/bleach solution

Soaking in water/bleach solution to kill bacteria and fungus.

Drying clay pots
Next, I decided to run a little test.  Splitting up the sterilized sand planting medium, I mixed half with a few tablespoons of sulfur based organic fungicide and the other without.  This may offer some protection-I'll see as the experiment progresses.
Sulfur visible on right bag before mixing.
   Pots filled with the sand and sand mixed with sulfur planting medium.  Ready for the Seabuckthorn cuttings.

(dry assembly)

Cuttings dipped in rooting hormone (there are two types and I am not sure which one I used.  I had transferred it to a unlabeled glass jar and discarded the package.  Thomas S.C. Li and Thomas H.J. Beverige recommend indole butyric acid, IBA at 0.1%.  Check out your labels if you want to replicate their recommendation.

cuttings set in sand, watered and placed in a tray.

After three days, the cuttings are still turgid (essential and a predictor of success). They require 80-90% humidity for this, or so I have read.  I will be placing these in a bright indirect sunlight location and encasing the tray in opaque white plastic--yes a tall kitchen garbage bag and monitor closely for disease. The sand must be kept moist and kept in the pots for 1-2 months.  That's quite a variation in time, I will be planning on 2 months which should bring these to outdoor planting time in late September 2011.

Will it work?  Will the fungicide show a benefit?  Would another variety performed better?  These and other insights will be a result of this trial.
Thanks for visiting!
Vielen Dank für den Besuch der Sanddorn blog!


  1. Hi Tom,

    My experience with softwood cuttings in general is that you want to get them into a greenhouse-type situation immediately, ie, your plastic bag or in my case, plastic shoe boxes with tight fitting lids. Transpiration continues through the leaves but there are no roots to take up moisture so the plant dries and dies. When you get them into the "greenhouse", you can see the transpiration within minutes as the plastic mists. You can see what I mean in the fourth picture at Be very careful about adding water to the rooting medium. It's easy to rot the stems since there are no roots to use the moisture. This is even more likely to happen when you get the cuttings into the "greenhouse". Transpiration plus evaporation creates a very,very moist situation.

    I also like to take my cuttings early in the morning before the day's heat begins. I always have a container of water with me. The cuttings go into it as quickly as possible. In the past, I used sterile seed starting mix but this year I switched to ProMix BX which seems to be the growing medium of choice for nurseries. The tech data on it is impressive - So far I've been very pleased with it.

    I decided not to take cuttings this summer as the plants were only two years old and had a tough time last summer from what I think were gall ticks. This spring while the plants were still dormant we sprayed with dormant spray. So far the plants look good and have put on a great deal of growth, doubling in size.

    Best of luck with your cuttings.


  2. Thank so much for sharing this process with us. Love to see how you are progressing in a few months. Good luck!

    Btw, my little female SB plant is also having it's leaves eaten up too. I'm attempting to spray it with Neem oil and see if that will help keep the pest away.

  3. hellow i want propagated SBT through cuttings can anyone tell which morphological parameters should i take into consideration ....