Propagating Soft Fruit
Fruit plants, by and large, must be multiplied vegetatively in order to maintain the purity of the varieties; and any soft fruit plant regularly propagated in this way will progressively become contaminated with virus.
If your canes and bushes are vigorous, apparently healthy and yielding well, you are, of course, perfectly at liberty to take cuttings (or pot-upin the case of ). But if you already have healthy plants, there would seem to be little point in renewing the stock in any event. Nonetheless, should there be circumstances when, in spite of my warnings, you do wish to propagate your own stock, there are different ways in which this can be done.
Raspberries are multiplied by removing already rooted suckers and replanting them. Blackberries and other pliable cane fruits may be multiplied as hardwood cuttings but can be tip-layered. The tips of low hanging canes will often self-layer but if a shoot tip must be pegged down into a small hole in late-summer, rooting will take about nine months.
Most bush fruits are easily propagated by hardwood cuttings, but gooseberries are something of an exception to this, in that they are intrinsically difficult to root because of their very hard wood. Fortunately, however, they also tend to be comparatively long-lived, and are less prone to viral contamination than most bush fruits, so the need for propagation arises relatively infrequently. Blueberries are also extremely difficult to strike from cuttings and their propagation really is a job for an experienced nurseryman.
Hardwood cuttings are best taken in the early winter, before all the leaves have fallen, using sections of the current year’s shoots about 20cm (8in) long and with the tip portion of softer wood trimmed off. Remove any persisting leaves and bury the shoots for about three-quarters of their length in a narrow slit-style trench in a sheltered part of the garden. Ideally, a little sand and bone meal mixture should be sprinkled in the bottom of the trench and the cuttings then firmed in. They should root within about 12 months.
1t’s unlikely that most gardeners will want to propagate their own grapevines and Kiwi fruit, although it is relatively easy to do. Hardwood cuttings may be taken as I’ve described above, but a more convenient technique for grapes is in early spring, by using very short pieces of stem called ‘vine eyes’, each about 2cm (1 in) long and each bearing a bud. Push the ‘vine eye’ cuttings into a 3:1 mixture of sand and-based potting compost so the bud just protrudes. Place the cuttings in a warm propagator.
Strawberries produce stolons bearing small plantlets; both the stolon and the plantlets themselves are referred to as runners. Normally, these should be removed so the plants direct their energy into fruit production but if they are needed to multiply the stock, they can be left in place. After six to eight weeks, they will have rooted sufficiently for them to be transplanted.