Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pear tree propagation

Dear Ms. Clapp:

I have been trying to propagate a very old d'anjou pear tree by means of cuttings with no success whatever.

I've taken about a dozen cuttings, dipped them in rootone and planted them in a !:1 mix of perlite and potting soil.

The pots were then covered with glass enclosures and kept fairly warm from below.

Nothing took. Something is wrong but what? the cuttings(size, location on tree)?, time of year?, potting mix?

Perhaps the method. Should I use some other technique? If so, what, and how?

Being a rank amateur I would like very much to stick to the simple technoique of cuttings, rather than more advanced approaches such as grafting, which is a complete mystery to me; however, if that's what it takes then perhaps you could give me a start.

Apologies for the length of this note.

Many thanks,

Anne's Response:

The most successful way to propagate an Anjou pear is by grafting. Some experts recommend grafting the cutting to a seedling quince that is about the diameter of a pencil in early spring. I graft camellias but not pears so I recommend you find a good book with illustrations. It is not that hard to do but it is difficult to describe without illustrations.

For rooted cuttings of the plant try taking the cuttings from new wood in late May or early June. Take the cutting from a branch tip. Use a moistened potting medium of half vermiculite and half perlite. Dip the cut end of the cutting ( no more than 6 inches) in a rooting hormone. Poke a hole in the rooting “soil” and insert the cutting to a 1-inch depth. Firm the soil. The best luck comes when you can mist the plants for 6 weeks – but you can try putting the cuttings in a chamber (I have used a Styrofoam cooler covered with clear plastic.) to maintain a high humidity.Roland

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