Re: Rooting plants from cuttings . . .
rooting woody plants is always a challenge. typically, stem cuttings of tree species tend to be difficult to root, however, cuttings from trees such as crape myrtles, some elms, and birches can be rooted. a greenhouse is not necessary for successful propagation by stem cuttings; however, maintaining high humidity around the cutting is critical.
there are four main types of stem cuttings; herbaceous, softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood. these terms reflect the growth stage of the stock plant, which is one of the most important factors influencing whether or not cuttings will root. what you want to root and how easy it will root is based on the wood type, for example, crape myrtle you should use semi-hardwood and ginkgo use softwood.
-herbaceous cuttings are non-woody, herbaceous plants such as coleus, chrysanthemums, and dahlia
-softwood cuttings are taken from soft, succulent, new growth of woody plants, just as it begins to harden (mature)
-semi-hardwood cuttings are usually prepared from partially mature wood of the current season’s growth, just after a flush of growth
-hardwood cuttings are taken from dormant, mature stems in late fall, winter, or early spring
cuttings generally should consist of the current or past season’s growth, avoid material with flower buds if possible - remove any flowers and flower buds when preparing cuttings so the cutting’s energy can go to producing new roots instead of flowers. remove the leaves from the lower one-third to one-half of the cutting, on large-leafed plants, the remaining leaves may be cut in half to reduce water loss & conserve space. always take cuttings from healthy, disease-free plants, preferably from the upper part of the plant. treating cuttings with root-promoting compounds, there are commercial products made especially for rooting woody cuttings and contain a higher percentage of hormone.
rooting will vary with the type of cutting, the species being rooted, and environmental conditions. conifers generally require more time than decidious broadleaf plants. late fall or early winter is a good time to root conifers, i have had great luck with pines and ginkgo taking my cuttings in the fall.
newly rooted cuttings should not be transplanted directly into your landscape, instead, transfer them into containers or a bed - growing them to a larger size before transplanting to your permanent location will greatly increase the chances for survival.
bigdog, if you take a cutting from your pine you will most likely ruin the shape - cause multiple leaders. if this was to be a stock plant then that would not matter but in your yard it might look bad. take your cuttings in the fall, try semi-hardwood & hardwood (i don't have a reference for that species)