How to prepare a cutting of Strawberry tree
The strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L., 1753) is a fruit tree belonging to the Ericaceae family and widespread in the western Mediterranean countries and on the southern coasts of Ireland. The fruits are called strawberry trees or sometimes albatrosses.
It is a tree that, due to its particular ripening cycle, simultaneously presents ripe fruit and flowers.
Given the presence of the green color of the leaves, the white of the flowers and the red of the fruits (the colors of the Italian flag), the strawberry tree is also the symbolic plant of Italy.
The strawberry tree is a plant that easily reproduces both by seed and by cutting or by layering. Reproduction by seed must be done towards the end of winter in a mixture of sand and peat. The soil must always be kept moist and the containers must be placed in sheltered and bright places.
The multiplication by cutting must be done in winter. The new seedlings of strawberry trees must be transplanted into the ground after about two years.
Let’s go into the specifics of propagation by cuttings.
The arbutus cuttings must be prepared in winter by immersing the basal part of a branch of about 15 cm in rooting hormone, which you can prepare by hand and inserting it into a soil formed by 2 parts of sand and a part of high quality soil.
The cuttings must have at least two buds ready to sprout and it is advisable to leave at least one apical leaf on the cuttings to facilitate the production of the substances necessary for the delicate rooting phase.
Also in this case, the rooted cuttings must be kept in a protected place for a couple of years before being planted.
It is recommended, especially in the first period, during the rooting phase, to keep the cuttings in an area out of direct sunlight and taking care to spray them at least once a day.
Layering, on the other hand, is the simplest reproduction system. It is practiced by covering the base of the strawberry tree-mother with good soil in which there are some suckers.
These must be previously equipped with a tight tie at the base, which must be buried. This snare stimulates the rooting of the sucker which takes place in a few months.
When the rooting has a good development, the seedling is removed and planted in an appropriate location.