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Home and Building, Volume 18 Number 1 (June 1955)



1. Cuttings: Facilities: A cold frame is usually the most practical way to root cuttings, and consists of an airtight frame of the following dimensions Six feet wide and length desired; 18 to 24 inches high at the back, sloping to 12 to 18 inches at the front. The top is covered with a glass sash. The frame can be placed on the ground and the bottom should be covered with two inches of gravel to aid drainage and topped with 2 inches of sand to hold moisture and build up humidity. On top of the sand 1 by 1-inch garden stakes should be criss-crossed so that the flats will sit above the sand for better drainage and circulation of air. The frame should face south and be placed under lath or trees where filtered sunlight is available, as the protective care required when they are in the full sun, is excessive. If desired a heating device can be placed in the frame with a regulated temperature of 65 degrees to 70 degrees. Also, if available, cuttings, can be made on a bench in a glass house.

Bedding plant flats make the best containers for planting. Wash the flats and fill all cracks with sphagnum moss. Then fill the flat with thoroughly washed sand, and pack tight. Peat moss is sometimes mixed with the sand to be placed

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in the flat in the ratio of about 1/3 peat moss and 2/3 sand.

Time to Make: Cuttings can be made after each of the two cycles of growth has sufficiently hardened, that is, in the winter from about June and in the summer from about November to December.

Selection of Cuttings: Tip cuttings from the Jast cycle of growth with two or three eyes of leaf buds and at least 2 to 3 inches long are generally the best. However, inside cuttings with only 1 leaf bud can be used. In taking cuttings, use a sharp knife or pruners and cut on a slant, leaving at least one and preferably two leaf buds on the last cycle of growth.

Preparation of Cuttings: Where space is limited, strip all but the top leaf from the cutting, and cut this leaf in half. If space is not limited, a cutting with two or three leaves and leaf buds can be used. However it is generally best to cut all leaves in half, although full leaf cuttings can be made. Just before planting make a clean slanting cut at the bottom with a sharp knife, preferably just below a leaf bud, although this is not necessary.

Planting: Before using the prepared flats be sure the sand is wet; for the cuttings can be more firmly seated than in dry sand. Starting at one end of the
Camellia Japonica, Glen 40.

Camellia Japonica, Glen 40.

flat, cut a narrow trench in the sand with a thin metal blade and place the cuttings in the trench so that all leaves and leaf buds at the base of the leaves are above the surface of the sand, and the leaves of the cuttings do not touch. When the row is filled, place a narrow board in front, and pack until firm. Then continue until the flat is filled, and label.

If more than one variety is placed in the flat, each variety can be labelled and separated with pot labels placed in the sand. Rooting media are sometimes used, but in tests no particular benefit has been noted.

When the flat is filled, place on the stakes in the cold frame with air space between each flat, and water in with a fine spray until the sand is smooth.

Care: The sand in the bottom of the frame should be kept moist at all times to aid in building up humidity.

The cuttings should not be allowed to dry out but should only be watered when

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a need is disclosed. This can be determined by pressing a portion of the sand in the flat between the fingers. If the sand is moist, no water is needed, if not, water lightly with a fine spray.

It is recommended that the frames be aired once a week on a cool day, or early in the morning, for approximately one to two hours to prevent any danger of fungus. However, never open a frame on a very hot day with low humidity.

When the temperature reaches 75 degrees a covering of cheese cloth should be placed over the frame, and on a very hot day of 90 degrees or more a double covering may be advisable. Where the frames are in the full sun, a heavy covering such as burlap should be used.

Removal from Frame: In summer, cuttings will root in approximately four months, and in winter in approximately six months in an unheated frame. However, some varieties such as Alba Plena will take much longer.

To determine whether the cuttings are ready to remove and pot, loosen an occasional cutting throughout the flat. If the average root formation is 2/3 or better, remove and transfer to a 2 to 21 inch pot, with a soil mixture of ¼ sandy loam and ¾ peat moss. If the average root formation is less than 2/3 leave the cuttings in the frame. Cuttings taken from the flat with a good white callus, but no roots, can be replaced in a flat and returned to the frame. However, if the callus or the tip of the cutting is black, throw it away. The newly potted cuttings should be thoroughly watered with a solution of B-1 and protected from the hot sun for a few days, after which they can be exposed to the sun under lath or trees.

2. Grafting:

Reason for Grafting: This method of propagation is used to produce plants which attain an earlier maturity and bloom with more vigorous growth than would be possible in plants on their own roots. In fact the time is at least cut in half.

Time of Grafting: Camellias are gene-ally grafted from about June to October 1st. However, summer grafting is possible as soon as the first cycle of growth hardens, and before the second cycle of growth begins, from about December to January.

Type of Graft: There are many types of grafts, but the ones generally used are the cleft graft in the winter and the bark graft in the summer. A cleft graft is generally preferred, although a bark graft is generally used in the summer due to the fact that during the summer growing period, when the bark is loose, a cleft graft will generally result in the misplacement of the bark or understock. A bark graft also allows the scion to have full and complete contact with a solid cambium layer on the understock, while in a cleft graft the cambium layers are matched only on one side. A bark graft cannot be used in the winter dormant season as the bark is not loose.

Tools and Materials: The tools and materials needed are a sharp knife, pruners, fine tooth saw and string or heat treated rubber bands.

Selection of Understock: The factors to look for in selecting understock are vigorous growth, soft wood, width of canbium layer, and ability to heal or callus rapidly. The best results can be obtained from vigorous seedlings and such named varieties as Sarah Frost, Ake-Bono, Purity, Pink Perfection, etc., with a preference for Sarah Frost. Understock which has been transplanted or fertilised just prior to grafting is not recommended.

Preparation of Understock: Cut the understock on a slant (so water accumulating will drain away from the scion) as low as practical (about 3 inches above the surface of the soil) with a pair of pruners on small understock aged 5 years or less, or with a saw on larger understock. Smooth the cut surface with a knife.

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