It all starts with a cutting
It seems amazing that some of the tallest and most majestic trees in our environment began life as a simple cutting. But with a catalogue of over 300 plants - many of which are grown from cuttings - propagation is a serious business at Warners.
Patience, deft hands and attention to detail are just some of the finer skills required by Warners’ propagation team, comprising team leader Kathy, Misa, Jenny and Sandra.
“You definitely need a certain level of concentration, the ability to work quickly, and a desire to work as part of a team,” said Kathy.
The propagation process begins with the collection of cuttings from the nursery’s stock gardens and potted stock. These cuttings are then planted into community trays to promote root establishment, and then subsequently the seedlings are potted into tubes. Propagation numbers are set during production planning, and the Prop team works diligently throughout the year to fulfill the required numbers.
“We prop twice a year – a summer and a winter prop – and we tube from September to December. Once the seedlings are tubed, they’re moved into the polyhouses until they’re big enough to be re-potted for the next stage of production.”
With a broad – and ever expanding - catalogue of plants, the Prop team needs to keep abreast of the specific requirements of different plant varieties to ensure their best possible chance of survival.The strike rate of cuttings can differ quite significantly from one plant species to another, and some species are notoriously difficult to propagate. The Prop team is also responsible for budding and grafting – a highly detailed technique responsible for some of the nursery’s more popular plant varieties.
Introducing new lines can also be a challenge, but a team-approach to problem solving generally overcomes any difficulties. And although many of the day’s activities may resemble a factory assembly line, the team draws on their camaraderie to get through the day.
“We try to approach our work in an inclusive way. We work as a team…we all know what needs to be done, so we try to share the load and just get on with it,” Kathy said.