Difference between Cutting and Layering

Cutting  and layering are artificial methods of vegetative propagation widely practiced by agriculturists and plant breeders.
Cutting: Many economically important plants like Tapioca, sugarcane etc are propagated by stem cuttings. Most of them form roots without any special treatments. Other examples include  croton, potato, Yams etc. Even root cuttings of plants are  used for propagation in the case of  bread fruit tree, citrus, Psidium etc. These also strike roots easily without pre-treatment.
cutting
If root initiation is difficult as in the case of jack fruit tree, it can be induced by the application of hormones especially auxins like Indole acetic acid (IAA) Indole butyric acid,(IBA), Naphthalene acetic acid etc.
Layering: It is a method for root production when stem cuttings are used for propagation. This is done for better production of the tender roots that are produced and for convenience of transferring the rooted twigs to distinct places.
layering
The stem cutting is taken only after root formation.
Cutting vs Layering
Cutting
1. Cutting planted before rooting.
2. Any vegetative part is used.
3. Simple process.
4. Cutting may dry up, not suitable for all plants.
Layering
1. Planted after rooting.
2. Only stem portion used.
3. Not a simple process. A ring of tissues from a convenient part of branch is removed that contains both bark and vascular cambium. The portion is covered with moist earth and kept moist by regular watering. The branch is cut just below the portion of root formation and is planted.
4. Very effective method as stem cuttings have roots
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