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Cuttage

plants, cuttings and roots

CUTTAGE, the propagation of plants by means of slips or cuttings which are detached parts of roots, stems, leaves, etc. This form of asexual or bud-propagation is found in na ture among willows, poplars and many other trees and shrubs, especially such as are readily broken by wind and drop their twigs and branches into streams and ponds with muddy shores. Artificially, it is one of the oldest meth ods known and is of wide importance, ranking with graftage (q.v.) and seedage. The advan tages of cuttage are that, with the rare excep tions due to bud variation, plants may be prop agated true to variety or species in very great number, and the cost of production of the kinds commonly so propagated is small when com pared with certain other methods such as divi sion and layerage, in which cases roots are developed before the removal of the parts which become new individuals. An idea of the scope of this practice may be obtained from the fact that, except in the production of new varieties which are obtained by means of seeds, the great majority of florists' perennial plants such as roses, carnations, violets, chrysanthemums, are so obtained, as are also many fruit plants such as gooseberries, currants, grapes and pineapples, though in the last instance other methods are also used to a large extent.

The methods for making the cuttings root are very various. Some species such as currant and gooseberry will soon produce roots if plunged in moist soil out of doors; others must be grown under glass, often with extra degrees of heat in the soil (bottom heat), in propagating boxes (glass-covered frames upon the greenhouse benches), and other devices, as well as specially favorable soils, etc. The meth ods of making the cuttings also differ widely with the species ofplant and the part used, as the following classification will show : As a general rule, to secure the best success with cuttings, a well-drained, sandy soil is necessary, and, in most cases, it is desirable to have bottom heat. Consult Fuller, 'The Propagation of Plants' (New York 1887) Bailey, (The Nur sery-Book' (New York 18416) ; id. article tagep ; of American Horticulture' (New York 1900-02).