http://www.ancienttreearchive.org


‘In this October 2010 photo provided by Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, group member Jake Milarch climbs the Waterfall Tree, a famed giant sequoia that measures 155 feet in circumference at bottom, near Camp Nelson, Calif. Milarch gathered cuttings from the tree to develop clones for Archangel’s project to restore ancient forests.’

OLDEST, LARGEST
http://matadornetwork.com/change//top-ten-national-parks-for-visiting-old-growth-forests/
http://www.landmarktrees.net/redwoods.html
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134512634
Group Seeks Forest Restoration To Cleanse Planet / March 13, 2011

Redwoods and sequoias towering majestically over California’s northern coast. Oaks up to 1,000 years old nestled in a secluded corner of Ireland. The legendary cedars of Lebanon. They are among the most iconic trees on Earth, remnants of once-vast populations decimated by logging, development, pollution and disease. A nonprofit organization called Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is rushing to collect their genetic material and replant clones in an audacious plan to restore the world’s ancient forests and put them to work cleansing the environment and absorbing carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas largely responsible for global warming. “In our infinite wisdom, we’ve destroyed 98 percent of the old growth forests that kept nature in balance for thousands of years,” said David Milarch, the group’s co-founder. “That’s what we intend to put back.”

Milarch, a tree nursery operator from the northern Michigan village of Copemish, and sons Jared and Jake have been producing genetic copies of ancient trees since the 1990s. They’ve now joined with Elk Rapids businesswoman Leslie Lee and a team of researchers to establish Archangel Archive, which has a staff of 17 and an indoor tree research and production complex. Its mission: Clone the oldest and largest individuals within the world’s most ecologically valuable tree species, and persuade people to buy and plant millions of copies — on factory grounds and college campuses; along riverbanks and city streets; in forests, farms, parks and back yards. “The number of these ancient survivors that go in the ground will be the ultimate measure of our success,” said Lee, who donated several million dollars to get the project off the ground and serves as board chairwoman. The group hopes donations and tree sales will raise enough money to keep it going. Scientific opinion varies on whether trees that survive for centuries have superior genes, like champion race horses, or simply have been in the right places at the right times to avoid fires, diseases and other misfortunes. But Archangel Archive is a true believer in the super-tree idea. The group has tracked down and cloned some of the biggest and oldest of more than 60 species and is developing inventories. The plan is eventually to produce copies of 200 varieties that are considered crucial. The trees preserve ecosystem diversity, soak up toxins from the ground and atmosphere, store carbon while emitting precious oxygen, and provide ingredients for medicines. Rebuilding forests with champion clones could “buy time for humanity” by mitigating centuries of environmental abuse, said Diana Beresford-Kroeger, an Ontario scientist who studies the roles of trees in protecting the environment.

California’s coastal redwoods and giant sequoias, the world’s largest trees, are best suited for sequestering carbon because of their size, rapid growth and durability, said Bill Libby, a retired University of California at Berkeley tree geneticist and consultant to Archangel Archive. The longer a tree lives, the longer its carbon remains bottled up instead of reaching the atmosphere. “They grow like crazy,” Libby said. “I have a clone of what used to be the world’s tallest redwood tree in my back yard. It’s still a baby, only 30 years old. It’s already taller than anything around it, probably 80 to 100 feet.” Archangel Archive crew members have taken cuttings from redwoods and sequoias between 2,000 and 3,000 years old. Among them: the Stagg tree, ranked the world’s sixth-largest sequoia by the U.S. Forest Service; and the Waterfall sequoia, considered the widest tree on Earth at ground level — 155 feet around. Three dozen coastal redwood clones and nine of the giant sequoias have taken root in the Copemish facility and another in Monterey, Calif., David Milarch said. The group also has successfully cloned sprouts from stumps of a dozen redwoods that were felled years ago, including one 35 feet in diameter.

The group uses several processes to develop clones. One is micropropagation, in which branch tips less than an inch long are planted for weeks in baby food jars containing gel-like mixtures of vitamins, fertilizers and hormones and placed on shelves under artificial lights. Eventually they are moved to pots of soil. Another method is to place tips up to 8 inches long in soil blends and grow them in mist chambers. Terry Root, a Stanford University climate change expert, said giant tree clones could help fight global warming if large numbers are planted where conditions favor their long-term survival. “You can’t put a redwood or giant sequoia just anywhere,” she said. Location is also an issue in cities. Big, shady trees could lower home energy costs in the summer but could shed limbs and cause damage to houses if planted too close. Finding genetically superior trees has been challenging, but group leaders acknowledge their biggest hurdle may be selling the public on the urgency of restoring the world’s ancient forests. David Milarch said he was aghast to learn that vast tree plantations were being cultivated in Ireland — not with native oaks, but with pine and cypress imports from California that would grow quickly and be harvested instead of helping cleanse and cool the planet as native champions would do. “It makes no sense to plant monocultures of exotic species while the last of your giant native trees are in danger of blinking off the earth,” he said.

http://www.ted.com/speakers/richard_preston.html

GROW YER OWN
http://www.redwoodworld.co.uk/growing.htm

Since planting out trees is now quite popular, why not grow yourself a Giant Redwood! You could grow from a sapling or from seed. As with most plants, the latter is best done in the Spring but I have had germination at other times of the year. There are several stories of people who are growing their own Redwoods on the Tall Tales page. Growing from seed presents a little more of a challenge and requires rather more patience, but need not be too daunting. Firstly you will need to obtain some seeds. The choice is either to buy a pack from a really good seed supplier such as Chiltern Seeds see their web site: www.chilternseeds.co.uk), or to find your own.

Foraging for Seeds
You will need to find a good-sized tree. Wellingtonia have not been in the UK long enough for there to be really mature trees; most are only just into their productive stage. The cones need to be around 2″ in length or more to have a reasonable chance of having viable seeds. Ideally you should hunt both for some brown, open cones that still contain some seed and also for some that are green and unopened. This will give you the best chance of success. You are not like to find viable Dawn Redwood cones, these trees have only been grown outside of China for the last 50 or so years and are generally too small and immature. As for Coast redwood, I have not experimented with foraged seeds yet so I would be pleased to hear from anyone with experience in this area.

Sowing your Seeds
Once you are home with your cones, place the green ones to one side somewhere warm but out of direct sunlight to give them time to dry and open. This will take some weeks. In the meantime, you will need to prise out the seeds from your brown cones. At this stage many people recommend treating them in a manner called “stratification” in order to improve the germination rate. This involves placing them in cold storage, such as a household refrigerator, for a period of time from several weeks to six months or so. This process is supposed to emulate the conditions that the seeds may encounter in nature, and is thought to encourage them to release chemicals that trigger germination once they are removed for sowing in warmer compost. A mixture of seed and damp sand tied in a muslin cloth may help. There is much debate as to whether this process is effective but the dedicated among you might like to experiment. When you are ready to sow your seeds spread them on a tray of moistened compost and cover with a quarter inch or so of drier compost. Cover with a clear lid and place somewhere warm but out of direct sunlight. Do not be disheartened if you experience difficulties with your Giant Redwood seedlings. I have grown hundreds so far yet I still have many that do not germinate, and have only just got to the stage of feeling confident about keeping alive those that have germinated through the first few months of their growth! I would also add that although I have grown hundreds of Giant Redwoods from seeds I have bought, I have found it extremely difficult to germinate seeds I have gathered from trees in England. In fact I have no more than five successes with my own foraged seeds. I am not sure of the reason for this, perhaps the U.K. trees are just a little too young to have a high proportion of viable seeds. Once the initial excitement of seeing your seedlings appear has passed, if you have sown into a tray of compost you will be faced with the need to prick them out into their own pots. The easiest way of doing this is with a desert spoon, but you will probably find that many (if not all) of your seedlings die soon afterward; they do not like having their root system disturbed. Because of this I no longer sow the seeds directly into trays of compost. I now use tray inserts that have fifteen sections to a standard tray size, or I use fifteen deep square shaped pots that just about fit into the same size tray. I very nearly fill each of the sections or pots with compost, into which I have mixed ten percent or so of horticultural sand. I then moisten the compost with water treated with cheshunt compound. I tend to water it fairly well as I believe it needs to be quite damp to encourage germination (once they’ve germinated I would not keep the compost so sodden). I then place two or three seeds into each section or pot rather than one each, as I have come to accept that the germination rate is quite low. In fact for seeds that I have gathered myself, rather than purchased, I might put dozens in each pot and will be grateful if I get just one to germinate out of the whole tray! I then cover half of them with an eighth inch layer of compost, the other sections or pots I cover with fine vermiculite. My theory with the vermiculite is that it does not suffer quite so much with green surface mould. My early conclusions are that germination might be a little better with the vermiculite, but I am hedging my bets by doing half of each. I sprinkle a little moisture on the vermiculite, very lightly, but none on the compost topped seeds. I then label the tray with the date and cover with a standard transparent tray cover that has no ventilation holes (although in the hot summer I might leave a slight ventilation gap). What happens next is quite variable. I find the trays that are in the lowest part of the greenhouse often seem to germinate a little more readily but this may just be chance. I may find that several germinate within a week or so, sometimes the whole tray will eventually germinate, sometimes a few more some months later, sometimes none will come out at all!

After germination
Once they germinate I will leave them in for a week or two, possibly longer, but at some stage I will take out the pots that have germinated and put them in a shaded area of the greenhouse to grow on and to be watered from the base of the pot or section. If they are left under the cover much after the first leaves appear I have found that they are likely to die – they need some air circulation. Where I have used sectioned tray inserts, (and here is the sneaky bit), I use a sharp craft knife to cut out the sprouted sections, and thus I am able return the as-yet unsprouted sections to the covered tray. I must say I prefer the individual pots, as they are a good deal deeper and therefore easier to keep at a reasonable dampness in the hot summer months, and they can be left to grow bigger before they need to be re-potted. Giant redwood seedlings are very unforgiving of being allowed to dry out completely so it is very tempting to over-water them. I was losing many seedlings to damping-off until I got the hang of stopping myself watering them as freely as one would water a leafy pot plant in the summer. I now leave it until the pot is feels very light and if possible I apply the water sparingly to the base (with the pot standing in a small saucer), allowing it to soak up. I tend to go by the weight of the pot rather than how damp it looks or feels at the top. If you are growing Coast or Dawn Redwood over-watering is not so great a concern as they will tolerate soggy conditions more readily. The first signs of your newly emerging tree will be a tiny loop of reddish stem, a few millimetres in size, poking out of the compost. When the tiny seedling manages to straighten out, it will be about 1″ high and will often still have its seed case attached at the top. This should dry and fall off naturally within a day or so but if it looks like this is not going to happen you can very carefully remove it. The next stage you will see is the top third or so splitting open, typically into four prongs (although I have had three or five appear on some). Within a week or so your little tree will have a dozen or more tiny green branches! I have occasionally had more than one seedling grow in an individual pot or section. Although it is heartbreaking to do so, I usually feel more inclined to snip off one of them rather than try to separate them. As tempting as the later may be I have found that an attempt to obtain two prized trees usually resulted in two dead seedlings and a sad Ron! You will probably find that Coast Redwood and Dawn Redwood seeds germinate far more readily than Giant Redwood. They are also far less fussy about being over-watered. They will take water-logging fairly well, although Coast Redwood are also quite unforgiving about being allowed to dry completely. They also both grow at a much faster rate as seedlings, in my experience, so you will see your results much sooner. Remember that they can take many months to germinate, so don’t give up hope too soon.

The first winter
Generally I will keep the seedlings in my greenhouse through the first winter and until they are at least four inches tall. I avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, and my greenhouse glass is sprayed with diffuser to stop the sun burning the delicate seedlings. As I said before, it is very important not to over-water them as this is how you are most likely to lose them. Winter is not really the best time to attempt to keep Redwood seedlings alive, you might find your spring sowings fare better. This may be because any instance of over-watering will fairly quickly dry out past the danger stage for the seedling during the warm summer days. By the second summer (around a year and a half old) I will place them outside and there they will stay through all weather. By this time they will be able to withstand, and probably enjoy, mid summer sun provided that the roots are not allowed to dry out completely. A larger sized pot will help provide reserve moisture for times when you forget or are not able to water. If you were to be away from home and unable to water them then it would be wise to move them to a shaded area. Good luck!


http://mvh.sr.unh.edu/mvhinvestigations/old_growth_forests.htm
Remaining Old Growth Forests: The shaded areas in these illustrations show the remaining old growth forests in the United States in 1620, 1850, 1926, and 1990. Each dot represents an area of 25,000 acres of old growth forest. Data are from Paullin, Charles Oscar, Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, Edited by John K. Wright, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 1932, 1975; Findley, Rowe, and Blair, James Pl, “Will We Save Our Own?” National Geographic, vol. 178, no. 3, September 1990, page 120; and the Wilderness Society.

Main points to remember:
-If you are gathering seeds from trees yourself just take the larger cones, some brown, some green.
-Dry the green cones somewhere warm but out of direct sunlight.
-Use sectioned trays or individual pots; allows you to seperate out the germinated seedlings.
-Store the trays out of direct sunlight.
-Seperate out seedlings as they appear, store out of direct sunlight.
-Water sparingly.

Planting Out – Finding a Good Home
After you have nurtured your young Redwoods and re-potted them each year, they will eventually be too large to keep in a container and will need to be planted into the ground. The first problem is finding a suitable location. These are big trees and although they can grow well in a crowded area, they will not look their best. Also, they do not like shade, once again they will grow but will not produce branches in heavily shaded areas. Ideally, if you do not have a large garden yourself you could find someone who has. Failing that you could join the growing band of guerrilla gardeners and plant them out in an under-utilized public space. If you do this, then naturally you must take great care in choosing an appropriate location.

Digging-In
It seems unlikely that many people need instruction on digging a hole, so we shall not give any! It is possible to find many different forms of advice on digging in a tree from digging square holes (so the roots do not go round in circles) to teasing the roots out to encourage them to spread. You just have to decide what is sensible but we recommend at least loosening the soil a little around the hole and working in some compost if you have any available. In all probability it will be the environment, wildlife and how good a specimen the tree is itself that will determine its survival, rather than how nicely you dig your hole. A little luck will help too. During the first couple of years you can increase your sapling’s chances with the occasional visit with a plastic bottle of water and by clearing away any tall weeds.

Rogue Redwoods
One day when you are walking in a remote woodland and stumble across an unusual small pine tree, or perhaps you are driving along a dual carriageway and spot an unexpected young Redwood growing high up on the verge, you might well wonder if they were Redwood trees planted illicitly by a guerrilla gardener. The term “Guerrilla Gardening” originated in the U.S.A. in the 1970’s. Groups of people gather to place seeds and plants in neglected corners of public space. More recently Richard Reynolds has been doing a fine job of rallying willing troops to the cause in the U.K. See his web site www.guerrillagardening.org for more details. Would we encourage others to plant Rogue Redwoods? Certainly, just as long as you choose an appropriate location and obviously not on privately owned land unless you have permission. Always check for the closeness of electricity pylons, telephone wires or buildings and try to choose somewhere that will provide shelter and water. Also bear in mind that you will need to avoid underground services, i.e. gas, water or sewerage pipes. Avoid slopes if possible, as large trees will find it harder to keep stable in storms. If there is a choice, somewhere fairly close to a pond or lake would help see the tree through very dry summers. These trees may be planted in a place that some authority figures deem to be “wrong” but we hope they will eventually look upon them as legacies – a gift to future generations to gaze up in awe, just as many people do with the Giant Redwoods that were planted in the Victorian era. As soon as they are big enough to be in need of protection hopefully someone will place a tree preservation order on them to hold back greedy developers.

Tulips from Amsterdam
As to those xenophobes who would argue that Redwoods are not “indigenous” please read our Native Page. We have nothing against oak or ash or any other type of tree but there is room for other species too, especially one that was re-introduced 150 years ago. Before complaining, think about the diversity that we would be missing if we do not plant specimen trees. I wonder if those who do complain for reasons of non-nativeness have ever thought about sending the tulips in their garden back to Turkey, (no, they are not originally from Amsterdam) or their potatoes back to the Andes? In terms of the local ecology, there is no danger presented by Giant Redwoods. They are not at all invasive, and in fact outside of a huge forest environment they will only reproduce with a considerable amount of assistance.

Finally, one of the greatest reasons cited for growing a tree is that it will take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. If this is one’s motivation, then what better tree to plant than one that grows to immense size. Not only taking vast amounts carbon out of the atmosphere but also holding it there for thousands of years instead of dying and returning it after a hundred or so?


http://richardpreston.net/climbing-giant-trees

OLD GROWTH CARBON SINKS
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v455/n7210/abs/nature07276.html
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=old-growth-forests-help-combat-climate-change
Old-Growth Forests Help Combat Climate Change
Mature forests in colder climes may continue to store more carbon than they emit, thereby helping to stave off global warming
by David Biello / September 11, 2008

Rare is the forest untouched by man. Whether logging or clearing land for agriculture, the bulk of the world’s forests have fallen to crops, cattle or younger trees. According to some estimates, less than 10 percent of forests worldwide can be considered old growth, or undisturbed for more than a century. And that is not just a tragedy for the plants and animals that require mature forests—it is also a tragedy for the world’s climate, according to a study published today in Nature. Laborious research in the 1960s by the late pioneering U.S. ecologist Eugene Odum seemed to indicate that forests achieve abalance between the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbed by growing trees and plants and the amount of CO2 released back into the atmosphere by the decomposition of dead plant matter. But it seems that old forests may be more efficient than previously believed. Biologist Sebastiaan Luyssaert of the University of Antwerp in Belgium and his colleagues surveyed all the existing measurements of how much carbon is absorbed and released from old-growth forests (exclusively in temperate and boreal forests due to a lack of extensive data on tropical forests). Their findings, Luyssaert says: “old-growth forests continued to accumulate carbon.” In fact, not only do old trees continue to store carbon in their wood, forest soils also appear to be actively capturing carbon over time, although direct observations of this process are lacking. All told, by Luyssaert’s calculations the relatively small remaining stands of old-growth forests in the U.S. Pacific Northwest as well as Canada and Russia consume “8 to 20 percent of the global terrestrial carbon sink,” or roughly 440.9 million tons (0.4 gigatonnes) of carbon per year.

That is not even close to enough to balance the 1.8 billion tons (1.6 gigatonnes) released into the atmosphere by deforestation or crop-clearing. But it remains important—if unrecognized—in the present battle to combat climate change. Luyssaert suggests that credit—and money—should be given to protect such old-growth forests under carbon trading schemes and other economic mechanisms to combat climate change. “Any kind of existing program that gives credit to reforestation could give credits to forest preservation,” such as the carbon offsets based on tree planting, he says. “Instead of investing the money in a new forest, it could as well be used to protect an old forest.” But the case for old forests as carbon sinks is not airtight. The measurements used by Luyssaert rely on the flux of CO2 levels over the forest, but this kind of metric can be skewed by young stands of trees within an old-growth forest or an increase in growth as a result of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, according to forest ecologist Mark Harmon of Oregon State University in Corvallis, who was not involved in the study. “To really test this, one would need a far better data set that had different ages in the same system: that is very young, mature, old-growth and super old-growth in each system,” he says. But “older forests should not be written off as places to store more carbon. Even if they aren’t taking up more carbon, their harvest releases a great deal.” It remains unclear whether tropical forests, such as those of the Amazon or Congo, produce the same effect, due to much faster decomposition of dead plant matter in these climes. But preliminary results suggest they do. “The data that are available show that, like the boreal and temperate forests, tropical old-growth forests also continue to take up and sequester carbon,” says forest scientist Eugenie Euskirchen of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who was not involved in this research. Protecting old-growth temperate and subpolar forests might prove a boon to thefight against global warming, also because of the soils they currently shade. “Many old boreal forests tend to be underlain by permafrost soils, which can contain many times more carbon than that stored in the vegetation,” Euskirchen notes. Melting those soils is an ongoing climate calamity.

Cloning Plants: Cuttings for Cloning a Plant

PLANT CLONING
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/cloning-plants-cuttings-for-cloning-a-plant.html
Cloning Plants: Cuttings for Cloning a Plant

Plants can reproduce both sexually and asexually. While sexual reproduction involves pollination and development of seeds, which in turn produces new plants, asexual reproduction is the development of a new plant from the cells of a single parent plant. Asexual reproduction does not involve pollination or seed formation, but a growing part (usually the stem) of the parent plant is used to develop a new plant by random mutation. Natural asexual reproduction is of many types. While some plants, like strawberries, develop new plants from its arching roots, which develop roots, others use the rhizomes, bulbs and tubers (like, in lilies and irises). In case of bryophyllum, an ornamental plant, new plantlets are developed throughout the margins of its leaves. These tiny plants fall off and develop as new plants. Some plants reproduce by budding whereas others reproduce by fragmentation. All these are nature’s techniques of asexual reproduction. Even humans have been using various methods of cloning plants, like developing new plants from stem cuttings. Plant tissue culture is one of the advanced techniques invented by humans for cloning plants from cuttings. {More on Plant Tissue Culture.}

What is Plant Cloning
In case of sexual reproduction, merging of two sets of DNA are involved and the resultant offspring is genetically different from the parents, wheres the offspring produced by asexual reproduction is genetically identical to the single parent. Cloning is a type of asexual reproduction which ensures that the offspring is genetically identical to the parent plant. You may wonder what is the benefit of a plant being genetically identical to its parent and how is it different from a plant developed from a seed? As the clones are taken from the strongest, healthiest and productive plants, there is a guarantee of the offspring being a genetic replica of the same characteristics. You can have a garden full of such strong and healthy plants. In case of seeds, there is no guarantee to this effect and the plants developed from the seeds of a single parent may show different characteristics. Cloning process is much faster than the natural sexual reproduction in plants. In case of grafting, a cloning technique, clones of two genetically different parents can be combined to form a new superior plant. Cloning plants for food is also beneficial, as it aids commercial farming and ensures good results. {More on grafting fruit trees.}

Cuttings for Cloning a Plant
Plant cutting is a method adopted for propagating plants through asexual reproduction. It involves using any part of the plant’s vegetation which contains at least one stem cell. Such parts are placed in a suitable medium and proper growth conditions are provided. These cuttings develop roots, stems, etc. and grow into new plants which are genetically identical to the parent plants. The term ‘plant cutting’ is often misunderstood for stem cuttings but it also includes any of the vegetative parts, like, roots, scion, eyes, leaves, leaf-bud and many other difficult cuttings. The type of cutting which is best suited for a particular plant is determined according to the plant species. Following are the different types of cuttings for cloning a plant:

  • In case of stem cuttings, a piece of stem with at least a single leaf node and a few leaves is used. This is the most popular type of plant cutting.
  • Even though the success rate is high in root cutting, it is not popular, as most people don’t want to harm the roots. In this method, a part of root is used to develop a new plant. It is better to take a healthy and thick root with a length of two to three inches, to be planted right side up in the growing medium.
  • A scion cutting is a shoot or sprout of a plant, used for vegetative propagation.
  • Eye cuttings denote pieces of plant stalk which are foliated or defoliated and are used to develop new plants by planting the cuttings in a growing medium.
  • Leaf cuttings are small parts of leaves which are used to produce new plants. Such cuttings are taken from thick leaves with veins. Take care to cut open the veins and plant it flat in the growing medium with the cut leaf exposed to light.
  • In case of leaf-bud cutting, you need that part of the plant which has a leaf blade, petiole and stem attached to it with a bud. This type of cutting is best suited for those healthy plants which have very few cloning material.

There are many other types of plant cuttings for cloning plants which are very complicated and are usually done by experts. Apart from cuttings, the most important factor for cloning plants is the proper conditions that can stimulate the growth of roots, shoots or both.

Cloning Plants from Cuttings
Now you know some of the common types of plant cuttings which are used for cloning. The following are some guidelines and tips about how to clone plants from stem cuttings:

  • You can start by selecting the right parent plant which has the desired characteristics. The plant should be healthy and at least two months old.
  • Next you have to collect the materials needed for cloning plant cuttings, like, sharp and sterile scissors for cutting the clone (i.e. plant cutting) and clipping excess leaves, a glass of fresh and tepid water, a container filler with the growing medium of your choice, rooting hormone, spray bottle with water, etc. It is very important to sterilize the tools and cutting blocks to prevent attacks of fungus, viruses and diseases in the cuttings.
  • You have to select the right rooting hormone and growing medium. Liquid rooting hormones are preferred to the powder ones as the former can easily penetrate the stem and are better for good results. You can also select from the different types of growing medium, like, rapid rooters, rock wool or oasis cubes, pro-mix, coconut fiber and many other materials. Among these, rapid rooters are very popular for being organic and are made of composted bark and latex. You must have heard of cloning plants in water and this means that the growing medium is nothing but water. It can be soil or sand too.
  • The next step is to remove the nitrogen from the parent plant by heavily watering these plants for three to four days prior to the date of cutting. The water should be pH adjusted, without any fertilizer content. This is done to minimize the amount of nitrogen stored in the plant, as it can retard the rooting process.
  • Now, you must select the plant cutting, usually a growing tip of a stem. The stem should have two to three sets of leaves and some leaf nodes. The large leaves must be cut off with scissors, leaving two to three small leaves. Now, cut the stem with scissors and the removed stem must contain at least two to three leaf nodes.
  • Place the stem on the sterile cutting block and slice it at an angle of 45°, around ¼ inch below the leaf nodes. Take care not to bruise or crush the stem while handling. The plant cutting for cloning must contain one or two leaf nodes and leaves and must be around two to four inches in length.
  • As soon as you prepare the plant cutting, dip the cut part of the stem in a good rooting hormone (for 30 to 60 seconds), to prevent the air from entering through the cut.
  • Take out the stem and wipe off the excess hormone, before planting it, at least ½ inch deep into the growing medium. Now place the container with the growing medium and cutting in a tray. Mist them with fresh water and cover with a dome. The inside of the tray should be misted with water and it must have some holes for ventilation.
  • The cuttings and the dome must be misted with water around three to four times a day. 72° and 80° Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature settings for these cuttings as too much cold or hot conditions curb root growth. For lighting, dappled sunlight is good and t5 fluorescent can be used indoors.
  • Now, you may use mild fertilizer, to be applied with water. Plain distilled water is good for the cuttings. Reduce the frequency of misting to once in every two days. The medium should not be allowed to dry out, but at the same time, excess watering should not be done.

After one week, remove the dome for about two hours, if the cutting has not wilted, and you can make sure that roots have developed to support the cutting. In case of wilting, place the dome back and continue the misting process. Don’t use the domes for those cuttings which have developed roots. The lower leaves may wilt, but don’t remove these yellow leaves as it may cause death of the plant. Once established, these plants can be removed from the growing medium and planted in soil or any other medium of your choice. {More on hydroponic soil-less gardening.}

Now, you know the basics of cloning plant cuttings. Cloning plants at home is not very difficult, once you become comfortable in this task. The above mentioned is one of the methods of cloning plants. Tissue culture is one popular practice of plant propagation, which uses various methods for cloning plants from cuttings. You can try this method and clone your favorite plant, so that you get an exact replica, which has the same desired characteristics of the parent plant.