Leaf, cane or root cuttings taken from a parent plant and properly nurtured are ways to propagate new plants. Not all cutting methods are suitable for all plants. Depending on the species, the new root system may develop on the cutting before or after new shoots appear. When taking a root cutting from a woody plant, schedule the cutting for the plant's dormant season. Some plants able to propagate from root cuttings include the blackberry, rose, phlox, crabapple, lilac, fig, sumac, raspberry and trumpet vine.
Wipe down the knife blade with rubbing alcohol between each cut. This will help reduce fungal and bacterial infections.
Expose the root carefully by minimal digging with a hand gardening spade, so as not to damage or injure the plant. Seek a root that is between 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter.
Slice off a piece of root, beginning near the crown of the parent plant, and make a slanted cut. The piece should be at least 2 inches long.
Cut the root piece into sections, between 2 to 6 inches long. Pay attention to which end of the root was initially pointing downward and which end pointed upward. When planting, maintain this direction.
Tie the root cuttings in a bundle, keeping all the ends that originally pointed down on one end.
Store the roots in a box filled with sand or peat moss and keep at 40 degrees F. Cover the roots with the sand or peat moss. After three weeks, the root cuttings will be ready to plant.