Etiolation Improves Rooting of Bigtooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum) Cuttings

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American Society for Horticultural Science

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Bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum) has potential as a small, water conserving landscape tree in western landscapes. This potential has been hindered in part by the difficulty in asexually propagating superior accessions. The ability of etiolation to enhance rooting of softwood cuttings of selected wild accessions was determined by grafting six accessions onto seedling rootstocks to use as stock plants. Etiolation was applied to stock plants by placing open-ended, black, velour, drawstring bags over the end of pruned shoots at bud swell allowing new shoots to develop and grow out the end of the bag while leaving the base of the shoot covered. In 2009 and 2010, cuttings from etiolated and nonetiolated shoots were treated with 4000 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) + 2000 ppm naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), stuck in a premoistened 3 perlite:1 peat (by volume) rooting substrate and placed under intermittent mist. After 4 weeks, 89% (2009) and 85% (2010) of the etiolated cuttings rooted and only 47% (2009) and 17% (2010) of the nonetiolated cuttings rooted. Etiolated cuttings produced on average 11.3 (2009) and 7.2 (2010) roots per cutting and nonetiolated 2.1 (2009) and 0.5 (2010) roots per cutting. Etiolation, and its application through the use of black cloth bags, can be an effective way to increase the rooting of bigtooth maple cuttings and the availability of these plants for use in water conserving landscaping.