Trees come in numerous sizes, shapes and colors that complement any landscape design and increase property value. Many trees produce fragrant blossoms or tasty fruits and nuts. Purchasing trees can be expensive, and it may be difficult to find seedlings to grow the particular tree you want. You can grow new trees from the branches of other trees in a process known as propagation.
Types of Tree Cuttings
There are three types of cuttings commonly used for propagating trees: softwood cuttings from new branches of this year's growth are taken during the summer; semi-hardwood cuttings from partially mature new branches are gathered from July to September; and hardwood cuttings from dormant, full-grown branches are cut sometime from late fall to the beginning of spring. Only use cuttings from a disease-free tree, and select the healthiest branches. Use several cuttings, since some of them may not produce roots.
Readying the Cuttings
Cut branch sections at least 6 inches long or use one longer branch to create several cuttings. Gather your cuttings in the early hours of the day and do not allow them to dry out before planting. Place the cuttings in a dampened paper towel. Remove any leaves from the cuttings except for two or three near the top. Cut off any flowers or berries on the branches. If the leaves on the branch are large, cut them in half.
Growing Environment Needed
Fill a 6-inch or larger pot with good quality potting soil. Use a pot that has drainage holes already or put several holes in the bottom of it. Some gardeners mix their own soil using equal parts (by volume) of perlite, sand and peat moss. Dig holes in the soil that are 3 inches deep and the same diameter as the tree cuttings. Place the holes 2 inches apart; spread them farther apart if the cuttings have leaves on them to ensure they do not touch.
Caring for Tree Cuttings
Pour some rooting hormone into a small container or baggy and dip each cutting's bottom half into the container. Shake the cutting to remove any extra hormone material, and insert the cutting in a hole. Push the soil around the cutting and then use a spray bottle to dampen the cuttings and the soil with water. Make several holes in a plastic bag and put it on top of the pot. Spray the tree cuttings every two weeks until roots form in a month or so.