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How to Propagate Evergreens

Evergreen trees are trees or shrubs that stay green all year around, and unlike deciduous plants, they don’t lose their foliage during the winter. Although we often think of evergreens as being pine, fir, spruce and cedar, there is actually a wide spectrum of evergreens that includes rhododendrons, magnolias, holly, juniper and boxwood. It’s not difficult to propagate evergreens from hardwood cuttings. Take the cuttings in early spring while the evergreen is still dormant.

Select a sturdy stem from a healthy evergreen, and with pruning shears, take a 7 to 8-inch cutting from the tip. Remove the needles or leaves from the outer 3 to 4 inches of the stem tip.

Use a sharp knife to peel the outer bark from the bottom inch of the cutting, then dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting about 2 inches deep in a planting container filled with potting soil that has been dampened with a spray bottle, and tamp the soil down around the cutting. Don’t allow any leaves or needles to touch the soil.

Put the container in a well-lit area, and set it on a warming mat to keep the soil about 65-70 degrees. If you don’t have a heating mat, put the container in a plastic bag. Humidity is crucial, so mist the soil as needed to keep the soil damp, but never drench it, because too much moisture will rot the cutting.

Check after a month to see if the cutting has rooted, and if it hasn’t, continue to check it monthly. You’ll be able to tell when the cutting has rooted when you tug the cutting and it resists. Once the evergreen has rooted, it can safely be planted outdoors.

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