How to Root a Tree From a Branch

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Rooting a tree from a branch will only be successful if the branch has been taken at the correct time of the year. This varies from species to species, but in general the best time to prune a tree for rooting is during new growth. This time period generally occurs for most trees between May and July, but trees like Russian olive and Eastern pine are pruned for rooting during the dormant stage, from late fall to early spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning tool
  • Small planting pot
  • Peat potting soil
  • Sand
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plastic wrap
  • Snip the branch to be rooted with a pruning tool. Prune out a new growth branch, preferably without flower buds. If transporting the cutting for any distance, keep it cold wrapped in a plastic bag, in a cooler with ice.

  • Prepare the soil. Use 1 part peat and 1 part sand in a pot. The pot must be large enough to have one-half of the branch inserted in the soil. Wet the mixture thoroughly.

  • Cover the bottom half of the branch with a commercially made rooting hormone. Once covered, insert the branch into the planting soil mixture. You can plant the branch directly in the soil, but chance of success becomes much greater if you use rooting hormone.

  • Water the soil again if the pot is deeper than 3 inches.

  • Cover the branch with plastic wrap to retain moisture and place it into indirect light. Maintain the moisture in the pot until the branch has rooted. This may take several weeks depending on the species involved, the environment and the temperature. Misting the cutting regularly will improve the chances that the branch will root.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow the branch to root and grow, transplanting into another pot when needed. The larger the cutting gets, the greater its chance of survival when planted outside.

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