Cuttings – Plastic or Fabric?
Using plastic or fabric, commonly referred to as “mulch” will dramatically improve the success of your cuttings. A layer of mulch will reduce competition from weeds and other plants, and increase water retention.
A few notes about using mulch with cuttings:
- Plastic is not suitable for all trees and shrubs. Plastic will create an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment. Check the anaerobic tolerance of the species you are planting before using plastic. If the species you are planting has a low anaerobic tolerance, choose fabric. High anaerobic tolerance means it is safe to plant using plastic.
- Species with medium anaerobic tolerance can often be planted using plastic in lighter soils.
- Plastic will break down in sunlight. Covering it with wood chips or pine straw will increase it’s useful life.
- Fabric will often allow seeds to root on top of it. They are easily removed and should be as soon as you see them.
- Only use black plastic. Clear or opaque plastic will kill your plants.
- Put the fabric or plastic down first and plant the cuttings through it by poking a hole approximately the same size as the cutting. Then simply place the cutting in the hole you created (make sure you plant deep enough!)
- Approximately 2 months after planting, check that the cuttings are not being restricted by the mulch. As the cuttings grow they will increase in diameter, eventually they will require a slit with a sharp knife to give them a little more room to grow.