How to Root Tulip Tree Cuttings

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The tulip tree, Liriodendron tulipifera, is a deciduous semi-hardwood tree. The tree is native to the eastern United States, but it is a hardy tree that can withstand freezing temperatures and can be cultivated in most states. It is typically propagated by grafting or from seed, and rooting tulip tree cuttings can be challenging. Cuttings should be taken in mid-July to early fall from recent growth that is only partially mature and rooted for spring planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone with an IBH concentration of 0.8 percent or higher
  • Potting soil, or peat and perlite
  • Plastic wrap (optional)

Select a branch of current or last year's growth that is about 18 inches in length and cut diagonally at least 1 1/2 inches from where it connects to the trunk of the tree. Trim away any leaves or flowers on the cutting.

Use the knife to strip away just the bark from the bottom inch or two of the cutting to increase the area from which roots can develop, . This wounding technique is called heel cutting.

Dip the cutting in rooting hormone. If using a powdered hormone, pour out a small amount of powder and dip the wounded end of the cutting in it so the exposed inner tissue is evenly covered in a thin layer. Avoid contacting any other part of the cutting with the hormone.

Place the cutting approximately 8 inches deep into a well-draining and moist planting medium like potting soil or a mixture of peat and perlite.

Create a greenhouse effect with plastic wrap to help keep your cutting moist while it roots. Be sure to leave the cutting with room to breathe and open the plastic every few days to allow the air to circulate. Put the cutting in a place where it will receive indirect light.

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