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Monday, January 13, 2014

Root Fig Cuttings in February and March

Q. I just came across one of your oldest articles about growing fig trees in Las Vegas and I would like toask you when is a good time to cut off some of the bottom branches to make a new tree. I got this tree about 2 years ago from California and has been growing fast and big in my backyard.

A. Figs are pretty easy to root provided you take the cuttings at the right time. The next months of  February and March is the best time. You can root them in small pots or directly into the ground. 

You can use rooting hormone if you want or not. They don’t need rooting hormone but usually get more roots if you use it. You can get Rooting Hormone at Plant World Nursery on Charleston. In fact, I just bought some because I can usually get better luck using it. 
Hormex is a rooting hormone that contains IBA, NAA and hormones such as B1. I call it the "shotgun" approach.

Contains IBA as the rooting compound. Not labeled for food crops.

There are many ways to do it. The easiest is to stick it into the soil where you want it to root and then you don’t have to replant it. If your limbs are low enough you can just bend them into a trench in the ground, peg them so they stay put, water the trench and mulch the soil heavy. They will root directly in the soil as well still attached to the tree. As soon as you see roots forming, cut the rooted limb from the tree and transplant it.
This is a grape cutting but you can see the new growth from buds on the cutting
            Use amended garden soil (with compost) or potting soil. Make sure the soil drains easily. Cut last year’s growth, around pencil sized diameter, into pieces about 8-12 inches long. Stick them vertically into the soil so at least two buds are in contact with soil. Roots can come from any place on the cutting that has a bud in contact with the soil. So make sure that there are at least three buds on the cutting. Stick it vertically in the soil. You should have two buds in the soil, the rest above the soil. One bud above ground is all you will need.

It will root faster if the soil is warm so find a warm location for the potted cutting like on top of the refrigerator if indoors. If the soil is warm you could expect roots in about three to four weeks. I would stick several in the same container a few inches apart in case some don’t take. As soon as you see leaves, put them outside in the sun.

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