Cuttings are small branches taken from a tree's newest growth and used for rooting as new trees. While not necessary, the best means of ensuring that a cutting roots is using a solution known as rooting hormone. This hormone triggers the cutting's cells to multiply into root cells.
Rooting is one of two means of propagation that produces a reliable variety of fruit tree. Unlike germination of seeds, rooting guarantees that the plant will be identical to the tree the cutting came from. Furthermore, trees grown from cuttings tend to produce fruit sooner for cultivators.
Cuttings must be fresh for rooting to occur. If the cutting dries out, or is not planted within an hour of cutting from the tree, the chances of the branch rooting are greatly reduced. If the cuttings are taken from a location where rooting treatment is not practical immediately, cuttings should be wrapped in a moist paper towel and placed in a sealed plastic bag to keep them moist.
Time to Root
On average, cuttings take roughly three weeks to root from the time of treatment. After rooting and transplant, cuttings are typically grown indoors for one full year before being transplanted in the next growing season. Most cuttings produce fruit within four years of being rooted.
A cutting should be a thin branch, taken from the newest growth. Typical length for a cutting is 2 to 3 inches. The most important aspect of the cutting is that it contains a leaf bud. A leaf bud is a joint on the branch of a tree that produces leaves. If multiple cuttings are desired, a large branch of new growth can be taken and cuttings removed from it while treating.
Cuttings allow farmers to produce an entire orchard from a single tree branch. Cuttings are inexpensive (if not free) and have a higher chance of taking than grafted trees.