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Rooting a tip, typical method [soil must be ≥ 60-70 degrees]
I have noticed that it is virtually impossible to root a cutting in the winter. I suppose it can be done if  the soil is heated to 70 degrees or so. Cuttings will root like crazy in the hot summer, but slower or not at all in the cool Spring and Fall. They tend to go dormant in the Winter. I imagine that you could beat nature with grow lights, heated soil, etc. -- but I have no experience with it. I simply root all my cuttings in Summer.
Place in a warm shady place. Moisten the media with small amounts of water--you just don't want "bone dry" soil. Do not water for 2 weeks to a month and then only lightly! If you water it like a plant before it roots it will rot. Wait until  the soil feels dry when you stick your finger into it before watering again. After about four weeks, gently lift the cactus see if it has roots yet. If rooting has not occurred, rebury it and check again in two weeks.

It can take months to root a cutting. Variables such as the time of year, local temperature and duration of sunlight, etc. are all factors.

Keep the cutting warm during the entire process. Warmth always stimulates rooting.

Maintain low exposure to direct sunlight; use shade netting (shade cloth) to make a shade nursery for your cuttings. Direct sun falling on an unrooted cutting can sunburn it.

Cuttings from new growth tips will sometimes root in only a few of weeks in spring and summer. Old growth tips take longer.
Cut & heal
Cut the piece you want to root from the cactus with a clean, alcohol sterilized knife. Place it in a moderately cool, dry shady location to allow the base to form a scab. This will take 2-3 weeks. An electric fan can help dehydrate the end in 24 hours, then let it rest for a couple of weeks.

Sterile rooting medium NONSENSE!
Why a sterile medium? The "experts say" If you have problems with rot, then use sand or vermiculite as a rooting medium. The use of soil can cause rot since it contains bacteria. Nonsense!

Rot is from too much water and/or from using anerobicly composted material. Anerobic compost stinks and has pathogenic bacteria in it! Aerobicly composted material is sweet smelling humus that has beneficial bacteria! World of difference.

If you don't know what you are doing, then read a book on organic gardening. This is basic knowledge; not rocket science. Heck, go buy a bag of cactus mix potting soil at a garden center/Wal*Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.

Commercial nurseries use sterilized soil, or sterile media such as perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, etc. to avoid molds, fungus, weed seeds that will sprout (imagine having to weed 10,000 small flower pots), bugs, etc. Sterilized soil is OK--just take good organic soil and bake it in a microwave or gas oven.

Place cutting in a container of soil prepared as I describe on the Soil pages. Logs can be half buried horizontally.

When the cutting has roots (congratulations!) increase watering and fertilize. When the roots form a substantial ball you may transplant it into a container with a compost rich, well draining soil mix.

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