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Bryan J. Peterson, Gregory J.R. Melcher, Ailish K. Scott, Rebecca A. Tkacs and Andrew J. Chase

Sweetgale (Myrica gale), rhodora (Rhododendron canadense), and catberry (Ilex mucronata) are shrubs of eastern North America that may have potential for broader use in horticultural landscapes. Because information on their vegetative propagation is scarce, we conducted experiments over 2 years to evaluate the effects of cutting collection date, wounding, substrate composition, and the concentration of applied potassium salt of indole-3-butyric acid (K-IBA) on rooting of each species. In 2015, we collected cuttings of each species on three dates to obtain both softwood and semihardwood cuttings. Cuttings were unwounded or wounded with a razor blade, and treated by dipping into water containing K-IBA at concentrations ranging from 0 to 15,000 mg·L−1, after which they were inserted into a substrate of 3:1 perlite:peat (by volume) and placed under intermittent mist. In 2016, semihardwood cuttings of each species were all wounded, treated with K-IBA from 0 to 15,000 mg·L−1, and inserted into substrates of 100%, 75%, or 50% perlite, with the remaining volume occupied by peat. In both years, the greatest percentage of sweetgale cuttings rooted when no K-IBA was applied. K-IBA application also reduced root ratings, root dry weights, and root lengths of sweetgale. For rhodora and catberry, maximal responses for all measures of rooting occurred when 5000 to 15,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA was applied. We recommend that growers use no exogenous auxin to propagate sweetgale, and 5000 to 10,000 mg·L−1 K-IBA to propagate rhodora and catberry. Cuttings of all three species can be collected from softwood or semihardwood shoots. Finally, sweetgale can be rooted in perlite alone, whereas rhodora and catberry required the addition of peatmoss for satisfactory root development.