Septic Tank Propagation

There’s magic in that tank buried in your backyard. It’s not as gross as it sounds. Actually it’s not gross at all, it’s clever, fun and truly rewarding.

If you are lucky enough to live in a rural area where all the homes are served by a septic tank rather than a public sanitary sewer system, you are in luck, if you enjoy plant propagation as a hobby.

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You have undoubtedly noticed that during the winter, the snow in your yard always melts over top of the septic tank first. That’s because of the heat that a septic tank generates. That heat is a gardener’s best friend.

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Many varieties of landscape plants can be started from cuttings during the winter, simply by making 5" cuttings, stripping the leaves or needles from the lower two thirds of the cutting, dipping them in a rooting compound (available at garden centers), and sticking the cuttings in a bed of coarse sand outdoors. This must be done during the winter when the plants are dormant.

For years professional growers have applied heat to the bottom of their cuttings to help induce, and speed root development, while the top of the cuttings are kept cool so they remain dormant.

At home, if you locate your propagating bed directly over top of your septic tank, the natural heat generated from the tank will speed up root development, and increase your chances of success.

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