It's gorgeous, healthy and well-loved. A tree that provides enjoyment, beauty and shade to your outdoor landscaping or indoor haven may often be propagated fairly easily. This will generate an identical specimen that can be replanted indoors or out.
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While it seems simple to start a new tree from a single branch, it does take some understanding of the workings of a tree as well as the best water and light conditions to get the most robust roots to grow from a cut tree branch. You won't be able to root a large branch, but smaller cuttings taken from the branch may easily root.
Reasons for Propagating a Tree
There are many reasons to propagate from an existing tree. You may want to easily and inexpensively grow an identical tree in another part of the yard. Or maybe you'd like to try your hand at growing the same type of tree indoors to enjoy all year long. A cutting from your tree that's ready to be transplanted is also a lovely and sentimental way to share something you enjoy with someone close to you.
Types of Cuttings
Some trees take better to the process of growing roots from cuttings than others. Hardwood cuttings can be taken in later winter to early spring. Hardwoods include spruce (Picea spp.) and pine (Pinus spp.) trees. Softwood cuttings are best when cut during the new growth of spring to early summer, can use a little rooting hormone on the cut part of the stem to get it to grow. It can also handle moist soil to get it to root. Softwood includes oleanders (Nerium oleander, USDA zones 7-10) and other large shrubs.
Growing a Tree from a Branch
The key is in the cutting and controlling the water, light exposure and container. Even though you can't root a large tree branch, pencil-diameter cuttings are often easy to root.
Fresh tree cuttings need a lot of humidity to assist them in growing roots for a successful transplant. For a single cutting, a flower pot is fine to use. This will keep the humidity high while also making it easy to monitor the water level and drainage. For larger crops of cut branches, uses a rimmed plastic tray with a wire frame and plastic stretched over the top.
Press cuttings (6 inches to 8 inches long) into potting soil or soilless potting mix. Keep the soil moist and mist the cuttings on a regular basis to keep the humidity high. Make sure there are holes in the bottom of the rooting container. The cuttings will need bright light but not subjected to direct sunlight that can cause them to struggle. There may be some wilted leaves during the process, so just remove those to give the plant a good chance at growing healthy roots. It will take a few weeks to months to get the cutting to its fully established state. Once the roots are long, healthy and thick with new life, they're ready to be transplanted.