How to Propagate Birch Trees

Birch trees can be propagated easily by using cuttings from young, healthy birch trees. Because they are softwood trees, they will root quickly and without much fuss. By carefully following the proper steps, within a single season you can have newly grown birch trees ready to plant and thrive for years to come.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears
  • Birch tree cuttings
  • Moist paper towels
  • Soil
  • Large flower pots or growing trays
  • Plastic bags or sheeting

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Birch Tree Propagation

Locate a young birch tree that appears to be in good health, as the condition of the parent tree can be a factor in the propagation success of its cuttings. Make sure the tree is well hydrated and has not been grown with fertilizer.

Take your birch tree cuttings from newly grown softwood shoots, which you can test by trying to snap one in half. Softwood shoots will snap easily when bent and will have noticeable differences in leaf sizes because they are still growing new leaves. Ideally, you should choose stems that have no flowers or bud growth.

Make a straight cut when taking shoots from birch trees. It is not necessary to include older sections of the wood in your cutting.

Keep the cut shoots damp. The softwood shoots from birch trees are very delicate and will dry out quickly without proper care. For short-term storage, bring along moist paper towels or a cooler to keep the birch tree cuttings until planting time. If you’re not planting the cuttings immediately, keep them refrigerated in a plastic bag.

Remove leaves from the bottom half of the shoot and pinch off any flowers or buds prior to planting. If the cuttings are long, cut them into 4- to 6-inch pieces.

Put soil into flower pots or large growing trays with drainage holes in the bottom and plant your birch tree cuttings in them. If you don't have a humid greenhouse in which to propagate your birch trees, make sure to cover the pots or trays with plastic to keep the environment humid. Poke a few holes in the plastic to ensure aeration.

Transplant rooted birch cuttings into larger containers for decorative display or directly into the ground.


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