about 1^-2 in between cuttings. Label the container; then water with a fine rose. Place in a closed case or mist unit.

The cuttings will root within three to four months. Harden off and pot on in spring.

Conifers propagated in a cold frame

It is easier, but slower, to propagate conifer cuttings in a cold frame.

Prepare the soil in the propagation bed before taking the cuttings. Raise the level of the soil in the cold frame to within 6-8 in of the lid. This will maintain an equable humidity and temperature for the cuttings.

Pull a stem backwards down the parent stem to obtain a cutting with a heel, which can then be propagated in a cold frame.

Trim the heel of the cutting with a sharp knife. Remove the leaves on the bottom third of the cutting either with a knife or by hand provided only a small scar is caused which may actually encourage the cutting to root. Do not remove the growing point.

Dip the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone powder of ripewood strength (0.8 per cent iha). Make a 1 in hole with a dibber in the cold-frame soil and plant a cutting. Firm the soil back round the stem. Space any other cuttings 2 in apart and label them. Water with a dilute fungicidal solution and close down the lid of the cold frame.

Ensure the environment is always kept absolutely clean and hygienic as the cuttings have to survive for nearly a year in the cold frame. Place matting on the lid to insulate the cuttings during any cold weather. Remove it as soon as the danger of frosts has passed.

Leave the cuttings undisturbed until summer, when the frame should be aired and shaded to prevent scorching. This can be done either by painting its lid with a proprietary brand of lime-wash or by covering it with mesh. Water the cuttings as necessary to prevent them drying out.

Lift the cuttings in autumn. Pot on or transplant to their final position in the garden.

4 Remove the leaves on the bottom third of the cutting with a knife or by hand.

5 Dip the basal cut surface in a rooting hormone powder.

6 Make a 1 in hole in the prepared cold-frame soil. Insert the cutting and firm the soil round it.

Conifers propagated in a cold frame

in the cold frame to within 6-8 in of the lid.

7 Plant any other cuttings 2 in apart. Label; then water with a fungicide. Close the cold frame.

2 Take a heel cutting from a strong, vigorous leader or lateral shoot.

8 Insulate the cold frame with matting until the danger from frosts has passed.

3 Neaten the long, straggly tail on the heel of the cutting.

9 Shade the frame from intense light in summer. Transplant the rooted cuttings in autumn.

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