Can you take cuttings of a japanese maple and what is the best way of getting them rooted?
Hi Cyclonenat.Well this subject has been discussed so many times here and on other forums,I won't bother getting into the reasons most people don't bother with cuttings,I'm sure you've read them by now.
Anyway the short answer is yes,infact there's some big nurseries in Holland producing some exciting cultivars in this way,but then again they've got vast temp.controlled growhouses with overhead misting systems,and access to thousands of scions/cuttings.If you're just gonna take 2or3 cuttings from your favourite cultivar then you may be dissapointed.
Still,I guess you're just curious and want to give it a try with a few,and why not?
From personal experience,the ordinary species(non-cultivar)green and red palmatums can be done summertime in much the same way as any cutting.Just use standard hormone powder and keep them out of sun and wind.I've found no advantage in keeping any leaves on except that you know it's still alive.Try to select a cutting where you can see some buds waiting to go,though not a necessity.I think up to 75% success but with well over 100 cuttings.
I've also had a quick go in late winter/spring,just before bud break.Moderate success,also with a couple of cultivars,I just stuck them in the dirt with a bag over them on a windowsill in what was really too cold a room.Perhaps this is a good time to try cuttings or just lucky,I'm not sure.Needless to say,though they've survived all season,they ain't grown an inch ha.
So,if you're gonna give it a quick try,without investing in spray systems etc.....I wouldn't bother sacrificing my maples just for cuttings.I would wait until pruning time and take the cuttings then.Spray the branches to be cut with fungicide a few days before.Borrow someones seedling propagator(heated if doing it in winter/spring)and adjust it so it's not steaming up(fungus is a big problem with these)it will still be moist enough inside I believe.It may be a good idea to snip off some of the leaves as they appear in winter cuttings,just to put less strain on them.
If it's a finnicky cultivar,don't expect much success,but good luck mate...it's fun trying!
cheers so you would advise taking the leaves off?
Well in summer I didn't notice any greater success leaving a couple of leaves on,infact they would often shrivel anyway making me think it's a drain on the limited resources of the cutting.The new buds under the leaf petioles(leave the petioles on)won't be ready to go for a while but I found if you can see any buds already exposed by being leafless,they are more likely to produce growth as they're already fully formed,but this isn't always possible or a necessity,just quicker result.Obviously in winter there aren't any leaves but if many buds start sprouting,perhaps is a good idea to keep leaves to a minimum.Invariably the cuttings will lull you into a false sense of security in winter as most will probably quickly produce leaves.However after weeks of sitting there with leaves on,I have sometimes gone to transplant them only to find there are no roots(still amazes me how they can do that)