I always felt that I was removing Rooting Compound when I inserted Cuttings into a hole in the soil. I felt better when I started standing them in a trench on a hard slope at my garden. Then I went to laying them on the soil in a bucket that was nearly lying on its side.
Now I'm using a method that seems to solve a lot of potential problems.
There is no loss of powdered Rooting Hormone, and I can exanine or remove individual Cuttings with minimal root disturbance. If clear plastic is used, the rooting progress can be seen without any disturbance at all.
Prepare a piece of heavy plastic about 1' wide and 2' - 3' long as shown above. The "cuts" will make the plastic easy to fold and provide drainage for the Cuttings.Then fold the 4" bottom up to contain the soil-less Cutting mix. The board at the bottom Left keeps it positioned. Spread the dampened mix about 1/2" thick.
Prepare the Cuttings by removing a thin sliver of bark, exposing the green Cambium layer underneath as shown on the cutting second from the Right. Then dip the exposed cambium in Rooting Hormone and place it on the mix about 1-1/2" from its neighbor, and about 1" up from the fold.
When the plastic is full or you run out of Cuttings, put about 1/2" of moistened mix on top of the cuttings, and fold the 4" bottom up over the cuttings, creating a pouch. Then start at one end and roll the plastic with cuttings and mix tightly.
Wrap the whole bundle snugly with several rubber bands. Place it in a tapered pot or bucket with drainage holes that will not allow the bundle to touch the bottom. Submerge the whole thing in water until it quits bubbling. Then remove it and enclose it in a plastic bag. A "roof" will keep any leaves from touching the wet plastic bag. Label it with cuttings name and date. Place it in a warm bright area. Removing the plastic for 30 minutes a day will help thwart fungi growth. Check the mix for moisture several times a week.
from the staff at Garden Grapevine