| Forestry training manual for the Africa region |
Total time Approximately 4 hours
- To give information pertinent to reproduction by clippings,
- To review the trainees' plan for the nursery and to check the progress to date,
- To introduce a problem to be solved by the trainees' resourcefulness.
Information about reproduction by clipping is given in this session. The participants' nursery plan is reviewed and progress is checked. A problem of missing seedling containers is introduced.
1. Reproduction by Clippings
2. Review of Trainee's Nursery Plan and Progress of Nursery
3. Plastic Bag Caper
Flip charts, marker pens, tape, string, shovels, rakes, newspapers, staples.
Exercise 1 Reproduction by Clippings
Total time 1 hour 30 minutes
In this exercise, the technical trainer gives a lecture on reproduction by clippings. For many participants this will be a refresher session and the technical trainer should ask people to make comments about their experiences.
1. The technical trainer gives a lecture using the following outline. It is recommended that the outline be placed on newsprint and displayed as the technical trainer shows the various stages of the outline during the lecture. The newsprint outline below helps hold the attention of trainees.
1 hour 30 minutes
REPRODUCTION BY CLIPPINGS
1. Sprouts cut and stuck in ground.
2. More experimentation needed in hardwoods.
3. Rooting medium.
b. Moss-soil around sprout.
POWER IN THE WILLOW
The common willow evidently contains a substance, which you can extract and use at home, that far surpasses synthetic plant hormones in its ability to stimulate almost any plant into rooting. That means hard-to-root trees like beech, cherry, pine and oak - to say nothing of vegetable cuttings, flower slips and woody ornamental bushes - now may be routinely turned out from our potting sheds and window sills.
The discovery of the "willow rooting substance", as Dr. Makota Kawase, professor of horticulture at the agricultural research center in Wooster, Ohio, calls his finding, was an accident. (Ever notice how man scientific breakthroughs are the result of accidents? I finally know why: If scientist could define what it is they're looking for, they'd have already found it. It's when they're looking for something else that they find what they seek.)
An experimental team was using water from a basin where willow twigs were soaking to moisten softwood cuttings in a centrifuge. The softwood cuttings sent out extraordinary numbers of roots. In tracing why, the scientists found the willow rooting substance - which may turn out to be "rhizocaline" (literally "root-stimulator"), a hypothetical substance that scientist long felt must exist, even though they'd never found it.
Is willow rooting sustance the long-sought rhizocaline?
"They share many characteristics, "says Dr. Kawase. Willow rooting substance is a "remarkably strong root-promoting agent. A crude extract from only a third of an ounce of willow twig stimulated production of 12 times as many roots per mung bean cutting as controls in plain water. At the highest concentration tested, the willow rooting substance could easily produce more than 100 roots in the two-inch stem of mung bean cuttings, while control sections produced only four or five roots. Alone, it seems to have the ability to stimulate rooting unmatched by any previously known rooting substance, including plant hormones." Commercially available rooting preparations are usually synthetic plant hormones.
"the newly discovered willow rooting substance is not a plant hormone, Its root-promoting effect increases sharply when it is applied to cuttings along with plant hormones, however, and this is another important link to the true rhizocaline."
How strong is willow rooting substance?
Yellow birch cuttings are known to be almost impossible to root' In one study, yellow birch cuttings treated with plant hormones produced no roots at all. When the hormones were combined with a water solution of willow twigs and applied to the cuttings, 100 per cent of them rooted These test also showed significant results with bittersweet, forsthia, peach and spirea.
Dr. Kawase says use of willow rooting substance could mean an end to the time-consuming bedding and transplanting now needed for propagation of woody plants. Using it during routine transplanting of potted plants could ease shock and reduce plant loss by stimulating new root growth. He even suggest we try it on seeds before planting.
To make an extract of the willow rooting substance at home, gather current-year willow shoots, remove the leaves, and cut the shoots into short pieces - an inch or less. pack as many as you can into a container such as a cup or mason jar. Cover with water and use a lid or plastic bag to prevent evaporation. Let it sit for about 24 hours, then drain off the liquid for use.
For softwood or herbaceous plants, place the cuttings upright in a container with willow extract in the bottom. Allow them to absorb the extract, adding more if needed, until about 24 hours have passed. Then root them normally in soil. As usual, a plastic tent over the potted cuttings will prevent them from drying out. if you're dealing with a plant that ordinarily roots well in water, try rooting it in willow water.
Now that I think of it, willows always were the easiest plants to root - just stick slips in the ground, keep them moist, and they take hold. Maybe now we can transfer something of the willow's rooting power to our other plants.
*This article reprinted from Organic Gardening. September 1981. Jeff Cox’s Organic Discoveries.
Exercise 2 Review of Trainees' Nursery Plans and Progress of Nursery
Total time 1 hour
In this exercise, the technical trainer reviews the trainees' nursery plan and comments on the process of arriving at the plan The trainees then proceed to the nursery site with the technical trainer. The technical trainer makes suggestions, points out possible pitfalls, etc.
1. The technical trainer reviews the nursery plan and then goes to the nursery with the trainees and points out the quality of the work He/she discusses with group that this nursery will be their responsibility during the rest of the training No one will remind them, but trainee will check progress, from time to time.
2. The technical trainer moves to Exercise 3 while at the nursery site.
Trainer’s Note: There will be more trainees than space with which to work. The groups will have to negotiate the use of tools and space with each other.
Exercise 3 Plastic Bag Caper
Total time 20 minutes
The trainees are aware that there are several seedlings which were started by the technical trainer weeks before the training program commenced. The technical trainer announces that the plastic bags ordered for transplanting are unavailable and that the trainees will have to make containers for the seedlings.
1. The technical trainer tells the trainees that the seedlings are ready to be transplanted and the plastic beg a that were ordered have not arrived and may not for some time. The trainees will have to figure out how to get 1,500 to 2,000 seedlings transplanted into containers in the next week.
Trainer’s Note: We called this the plastic bag caper. It comes after the trainees are aware that the trainers expect them to use available materials whenever possible. This exercise is processed all week long. We had stacks of newspapers from the first day we arrived. Having asked the trainees to stack their newspapers, we eventually wanted then to make paper tube containers from newspaper. In the pilot training program, the trainees eventually had to be instructed to do this. Instructions for paper tubes are shown below in case you also have to demonstrate the use of newspaper to construct seedling containers.
1. Take a standard size shoes of newspaper, fold in half, then fold in half again.
2. Roll folded paper around fingers to give cylindrical shape.
3. Staple top and bottom.
4. Pack bottom tightly with potting soil using tamping stick.
5. Transplant needling packing soil tightly around roots, pack up to collar of seedling.