They’re particularly useful for propagating mahonia
It’s key semi-ripe cutting time, but there’s more than one form of this useful propagation technique. A mallet cutting is slightly more unusual, but worth knowing about. It’s particularly useful for mahonia, but can be used for any shrub. These cuttings are essentially new sideshoots with a piece of older, woodier stem attached and, if held upside down, looks like a little mallet. With plants that have opposite buds, there will be two shoots protruding from each ‘mallet’ section. In this case, the mallet can be split down the middle to create two cuttings. Once prepared, place your cuttings somewhere warm and bright, but out of direct sun. A shaded greenhouse is ideal, or a bright windowsill that doesn’t get hot, midday sun.
How to take your cuttings
1. Find sections of healthy stem (here pictured on a mahonia) with woody, hard growth and new sideshoots that are green. Cut down to a leaf node so regrowth is neat and healthy.
2. Trim the stem down to a short 1cm (½in) section, with the shoot in the middle. Trim off all the leaves except the top two or three. If leaves are large, snip them in half to reduce moisture loss.
3. Dip each mallet cutting in hormone rooting powder and plunge each one, mallet side down, into a gritty mix of cuttings compost. Water well and cover with a plastic bag.
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