Dormant Cuttings

Vines for vineyards, with the exception of varieties of Rotundifolia,

are propagated from cuttings of hard wood taken from the season's

canes when the vines are pruned. The inactive buds in these cuttings

may be brought into active growth, and roots induced to grow from the

cut surfaces by various means. By this miracle of Nature, an infinite

number of plants, in an endless procession, may be propagated from the

product of a single seed, each plant complete in its heredity and

differing from its fellows only in accordance with environment.

Time to make cuttings.

A good cutting should have a protective callus over the cut and this

requires time, so that the sooner cuttings are made after the wood

becomes thoroughly dormant the better. Besides, the cutting should use

its stored food material for the formation of adventitious roots

rather than have it pass into buds, as it quickly does late in the

dormant season when buds are about to open. If cuttings must be made

late in the season, transplanting must be delayed as long as possible,

and the cuttings be set in a northerly aspect to prevent the premature

development of the buds. However, the grape responds surprisingly well

to the call of Nature in forming roots, and great importance need not

be attached to the time at which the cuttings are made.

Selecting cutting wood.

Cuttings are made from one-year-old wood; that is, canes produced

during the summer are taken for cuttings in the fall. Immature canes

and those with soft, spongy wood ought not to be used. Strong vigorous

canes should be given preference over weak growth, but most nurserymen

maintain that very large canes do not make as good cuttings as do

those of medium size, the objection to large size being that the

cuttings do not root as well. Short-jointed wood is better than

long-jointed. Cuttings from vines weakened by insects and fungi are

liable to be weak, soft, immature and poorly stored with food. The

wood should be smooth and straight.

Making the cutting.

Grape cuttings vary in length from four inches to two feet, the length

depending on the climate and the soil of the nursery and the species

and variety. The hotter and drier the climate and the lighter the

soil, the longer the cutting needs to be. Six to nine inches, however,

is the usual length in the climate of eastern America, while on the

Pacific slope the length varies from eight to fifteen inches. For

convenience in handling, all cuttings should be approximately of the

same length, to insure which some kind of simple gauge is needed.

Various gauges are used, as marks cut in the working table, a stick of

the required length, or a cutting-box.

In making the cuttings, a slanting cut is made close below the lowest

bud, while about an inch of wood is left above the upper bud. When

possible, a heel of old wood is left at the lower end; or, still

better, a whorl of buds, as roots usually start from each bud. The

finished cuttings are tied in bundles, all butts one way, and are then

ready to be heeled-in. This is done by burying in trenches, butts up,

and covering with a few inches of soil. It is important to invert the

cuttings in trenching, since otherwise the tops often start to grow

before the butts are properly calloused, and it is very essential that

the tops remain dormant until roots appear to support the new growth.

Planting the cuttings.

Cuttings are planted in the nursery in rows wide enough apart for

cultivation and two or three inches apart in the row. Trenches are

made with a plow; perpendicular if the cuttings are shorter, and a

little slanting if longer than six inches. The cuttings are set at a

depth which permits the upper buds to project above the ground, as

shown in Fig. 6. When the cuttings in a row are placed, two inches of

soil are put in and pressed firmly about the base of the cuttings.

Then the trench is evenly filled with earth and the cultivator

follows. Doing duty by the young plants consists in cultivating often

during the summer to keep the soil moist and mellow.

The cuttings are planted as soon as the ground is warm and dry enough

to work. To delay planting too long invites injury from drought, which

almost annually parches the land in eastern America. Irrigation gives

more leeway to planting time in the West. When warm sunny weather,

accompanied by an occasional shower, predominates, the cuttings start

growth almost at once, as shown in Fig. 7, and by fall, all things

being propitious, make a growth from four to six feet. With the

cuttings three inches and the rows three feet apart, 58,080 vines may

be grown to the acre.

Single-eye cuttings.

New and rare varieties are propagated from single-eye cuttings,

thereby doubling the number of plants from the propagating wood. This

method gives an opportunity, also, to start the work of propagating

early in the season, since single-eye cuttings are nearly always

rooted by artificial heat. But the greatest value of the method is

that some varieties which cannot be propagated in any other way

readily grow under artificial heat from single-eyes. Well-grown vines

so propagated are as good as those grown by any other method, but the

great disadvantage is that unless much care and skill are used, vines

from these cuttings are poor and quite worthless. It is also a more

expensive method than growing from long cuttings out of doors.

There are several ways of making single-eye cuttings. The most common

form of the cutting is the single bud with an inch of wood above and

below, the ends being cut with a slant. Some modify this form by

cutting away the wood on the side opposite the bud, exposing the pith

the whole length of the cutting. In another form, a square cut is made

directly under the bud, leaving an inch and a half of wood above. Or

this last form is modified by making a long sloping cut from the bud

to the upper end, thereby exposing the maximum amount of cambium.

Advantages are claimed for each form, but these are mostly imaginary,

and the cutting may be made to suit the fancy of the propagator if a

few essentials are observed.

Single-eye cuttings are made in the fall and are stored in sand until

late winter, about February in New York. At this time the cuttings are

planted horizontally an inch deep in a sand propagating bench in a

cool greenhouse. If the cuttings are not well calloused, they remain

one or two weeks in a temperature of 40 deg. to 50 deg. without bottom heat,

but well-made cuttings are calloused and ready to strike root so that

brisk bottom heat can be applied at once. After six weeks or two

months, the young plants are ready to pot off or to transplant in a

cold-frame or cool greenhouse. If but a few plants are to be grown,

they may be started in two- or three-inch pots, shifting into larger

pots once or twice as growth progresses. In early summer, the young

plants are set in nursery rows out of doors and by fall the young

vines should be strong and vigorous.

Single-eyes are also started in hot-beds, cold-frames and even in the

open air without the aid of artificial heat. In hot-beds and

cold-frames, the method is only a modification of that described for

greenhouses. Out of doors the cuttings are given the same conditions

under which long cuttings are rooted, except that the whole of the

short cutting is buried an inch deep in the nursery row.

Domestic Uses For Grapes Downing facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail