Propagating Red Twig Dogwood | a new hedge for freeeee!

So you are flipping through gardening books and you see all of these beautiful hedges of blooming forsythia, or fragrant lilacs or stark red twig dogwood against a snowy floor.  You decide that you are going to take the plunge and put a hedge up in between your property and the neighbor next door that has 5 junk cars in their yard.  You go to the nursery and the plants are 18.97 each.  $18.97 EACH?!?  At that rate, you are going to be spending approximately $2000 on a HEDGE.  Ridiculous, right? 

Lucky for you, most common hedging plants are easy to start from your own cuttings.  Granted, it is going to take you a little more time to get your hedge big and beautiful, but you wouldn’t be gardening if you wanted instant satisfaction, now would you? (you have read about being converted, haven’t you?)

Certain plants are easier to root than others.  There is nothing easier to root than a sedum.  You snap the top off, literally shove it into the dirt, and next year you will have a plant.  It is that easy.   Slightly more difficult (but not by much!) are the great hedging plants of the gardening world.  Forsythia, Lilacs, Willows and Dogwoods are some of the best hedging bushes and some of the easiest to root.  In fact, some gardeners use willow water to root other plants because willow secretes a rooting hormone.  No need for the fancy stuff!  All you have to do is cut off several young stems and plop them into some water.

You can tell stems are young because they will have a strong color (in this case RED!), be fairly small and have lots of leaf buds.
The buds will probably open up when you bring the twigs indoors.

Leave your cuttings in the water until, almost by magic, roots will appear.
The only trick to this part is to replace the water if it gets brown or stinky and BE PATIENT!
Some plants will root within a week or two, but others will take a little longer.

Perhaps you are wondering where to get your cuttings from?  
Well, you can buy 1 of those overpriced plants and take a couple cuttings, or wait a year and take a lot of cuttings next spring, find a neighbor or friend that is willing to let you take a few cuttings or serendipitously find one hidden in your yard.  That is precisely what happened to me.  I was going around the garden pruning and found a red twig dogwood that I didn't even know existed among a clump of grasses.  It hadn't been pruned in a long, long time and most of the branches were very old, thick and brown.  (You have to keep dogwoods pruned to new shoots to keep the bright red or yellow color).  So I pruned out about 1/3 of the plant and took out a few of the newer branches for cuttings.

After my cuttings rooted, I cut them off directly below the new roots.

Use your trusty heavy duty trowel and dig a hole.  Place the twig into the ground.  Easy peesy!  
Just make sure you do this fairly quickly so the roots aren't exposed to the air for too long and dry out.
I took my vase full of cuttings outside and just pulled each twig when I was ready to plant it. 

Some of you might be wondering why I didn't make a super large hole and add compost and make a nice new home for my dogwood. 

Well, #1 - I'm lazy. 
#2 - This hedge is going to be in a high traffic area and needs to be tough.  I need the plants to do well pretty much on their own, so I want them to get used to a hard "life" right away.  The soil here is actually pretty good, so they should do fine (see the wormy below?!), but if I were to add in a bunch of compost, the roots would want to stay in the nice compost instead of reaching out into the soil.  The plant would grow fine the first couple of years, but then would reduce in growth because the roots wouldn't dig as deep as they will starting out in regular soil.

Clear as mud?

Basically, my roses and vegetables get pampered.  Everything else has to be tough or else it isn't going to survive, so I don't baby it.  
These plants have to stand up to three little boys running trucks into them and digging in the mud at their bases, so they have to be tough :)
Yay!!  Lots of these guys crawling around...

  After planting the cutting, fill in with soil around the roots.

Give the soil a good pat and water to make sure the soil fills in tightly around the plant.  
Don't press TOO hard though because you want the roots to be able to "breathe" a bit.

The only bit of pampering I will give to these plants is to protect them from the lawn mower by caging them.  
I put a hanging basket upside down over them and pin it down so they won't get chopped off. 
These will come off as soon as the plants are visible enough for folks driving the lawn mower to see :)
Questions???   Just ask!

 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!

Want more for free?

#DIY Coconut_Oil Lotion Project_Ideas and Craft_Ideas from Amy Renea at A Nest for All Seasons

For ALL the DIY projects here at the Nest, 

check out the 'for DIY folks' page and click on any link to see that particular post!

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Grace said…
I love it. Now I will go out and propagate and grow, grow, grow!
My mom was very successful at rooting rose bushes from cuttings (I have a brown thumb - I'm not successful with full grown blooming plants). She would take a cutting, dip it in rooting powder, put it in a hole, and then put a clean glass jar over the top - like a small greenhouse. She created an entire hedge of red rose bushes that way.
Okay so I just planted today one of the cuttings you game me but I didn't trim it before planting. I guess I will do that in the morning and replant!