How to Propagate Apples From Cuttings


Asexual propagation is a method of cloning plants to create a duplicate from a parent. Selection of the parent plant is critical. Apples trees propagated from cuttings will be duplicates if the trees are grown in the same conditions. This means that the trees should be oriented in the same type of soil and growing conditions. Older apple trees can be saved by taking multiple cuttings from end branches that contain small, supple limbs.

Step 1

Prepare the holes in which the cuttings will be placed well in advance of taking any stock from the apple tree. Dig the hole at least 18 inches deep and 18 inches in diameter, using the shovel. This will provide plenty of room for the cutting to take hold with roots. Add plenty of composted organic material so the soil is loose and friable. This will encourage roots to grow.

Step 2

Remove cuttings from the apple tree just as the buds are emerging from the limbs. Select limbs that are ¼ inch to 3/8 inch in diameter. Cut the limbs at an angle with a sharp pocket knife. The limbs should be no longer than 12 inches long. Remove any large growth buds from the limb if applicable.

Step 3

Dip the cut end of the apple limb immediately in the rooting hormone. The white powder should run up the limb, from the cut end, at least 2 inches long.

Step 4

Push the cutting into the soil you prepared to a depth of 4 inches to 6 inches. Place up to four cuttings per one 18-inch-diameter hole. Evenly space multiple cuttings into one hole. Remove the multiple cuttings the following winter for transplanting into other areas. It is easier to care for multiple cuttings in one hole than many holes the first year.

Step 5

Water the new cuttings as soon as possible. This will remove any air around the stems of the new cuttings. Add up to 5 gallons of water per hole. Keep the cuttings moist by adding water during the growing season. Do not allow the ground to dry out as this will kill the new cuttings.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic matter
  • Pocket knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Water


  • North Dakota Extension Service: Apple
  • Arizona Master Gardener: Asexual Propagation
Keywords: limb cuttings, apple propagation, clone trees

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.