How to Propagate Shrubs in the Fall


Woody shrubs can be easily propagated in the fall season by taking semi-hardwood or hardwood cuttings. Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken in early fall from broadleaf evergreen shrubs or conifers. Hardwood cuttings are taken in late fall from deciduous shrubs and evergreens once the shrub has become dormant. Cuttings should not be allowed to dry out prior to sticking them in the rooting environment, as this will inhibit root formation.

Step 1

Cut 6 to 8 inch sections of semi-hardwood stems in early fall from current year growth that is beginning to mature and starting to firm. Hardwood cuttings are taken in late fall from sections of current year growth that has become firm and no longer bends easily.

Step 2

Prepare rooting soil by mixing equal amounts of peat moss, course sand and perlite. Lightly moisten the soil, and place it into a rooting tray.

Step 3

Remove all leaves from the bottom one-half of the stem. Cut the bottom edge of the cutting at a diagonal with a sharp knife.

Step 4

Pour a small amount of powdered rooting hormone into a container, and stick the cut end of the stem into the hormone. Gently tap the stem to remove excess powder.

Step 5

Stick the cut end into the rooting tray at a depth of one-third the length of the stem. Gently firm the soil to hold the stem in place. Space the cuttings in the tray so stem and leaves are not touching.

Step 6

Water the cuttings after sticking them into the rooting tray. Cover the tray with a clear plastic bag to hold humidity around the cutting during the rooting process. Place the tray in a warm location, such as the top of a refrigerator.

Step 7

Pull on the cuttings four to six weeks after placing them in a tray for planting to see if there is resistance from root growth. Transplant the cuttings to individual containers once the roots reach a length of 1 inch.

Step 8

Grow the cuttings in a protected environment for the first year of growth. Transplant the cuttings to an outdoor growing location in the spring season once they have grown for one year or more.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Peat moss
  • Course sand
  • Perlite
  • Rooting tray
  • Water
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • Small container
  • Clear plastic bag
  • 4-inch individual planting containers
  • Bleach


  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
  • Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs
Keywords: propagate shrubs in fall, shrub stem cuttings, fall stem cutting

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.