How to Make Clones From Tree Clippings

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Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears

  • Measuring tape or ruler

  • Jar

  • Medium-sized plastic flowering pot

  • Seed starting medium

  • Rooting powder

  • Two chopsticks or 2- to 4-inch-long dowels

Cloning trees from clippings is a great way to multiply the number of trees in your garden.

Cloning trees by cutting off tree branches and making the cuttings develop root systems is a great way to multiply tree varieties. The cloned trees will be genetically identical to the tree they were taken from. The cloned trees will grow at the same rate and have the same pest resistance as the parent tree. Cuttings will take two to nine weeks to develop a root system, depending on the type of tree. After that time, the rooted tree cuttings can be transplanted into larger pots.


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Step 1

Cut off a thick young branch from a deciduous tree that is 8 to 10 inches long from the tip with a pair of sharp pruning shears. Or cut off a thick young branch from an evergreen tree that is 4 to 10 inches long from the tip with a sharp pair of pruning shears. Make a straight cut under a leaf node.


Step 2

Remove the leaves and flowers from most of the branch. Place the cut end of the branch into a jar of water.

Step 3

Fill a medium-sized plastic flowering pot three-quarters full with seed starting medium. Water the medium until it is moist.


Step 4

Remove the branch from the water and dip the cut end into a rooting powder.

Step 5

Push the cut end of the branch 1 to 2 inches down into the seed starting medium.

Step 6

Support the branch by placing the ends of two chopsticks or 2- to 4-inch-long dowels into the soil so they stand upright on either side of the branch, and cross them to hold it up. Use more sticks if necessary.

Step 7

Water the branch as needed to keep the soil moist. Place the potted cutting in a location that stays between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and receives minimal light.


Take cuttings from deciduous trees from late autumn to early winter, and from late autumn to late winter for evergreen trees. Use root hormones to help root development. Check to see if the cutting has developed roots after two weeks by gently tugging on the cutting; if the cutting resists, then roots are developing.


Not all tree cuttings will develop roots. Do not overwater the tree cutting, or it will rot. Some tree cuttings take up to three months to develop roots.