How to Plant Apple Tree Cuttings


There are over a hundred varieties of apple trees grown in the United States, with some in every one of the 50 states. According to an article published by the University of Illinois, apples are the second in value only to oranges in the U.S. It is no wonder that people enjoy growing apple trees in their own backyards. You do not have to go out to a nursery to buy an apple tree that someone else started if you know of an apple tree from which you can clip a few cuttings. There are just a couple of steps to follow in planting these cuttings.

Step 1

Prepare your cutting for planting by clipping it so that it is only 6 inches long. It should have between four and six buds. The best time to try to plant apple tree cuttings is in the early spring, before the buds start to swell. Use the end of a branch that grew last year and try to include the growing tip. Set it in a glass of room temperature water.

Step 2

Fill your plant pot with a mix of equal parts of potting soil and sand. Moisten the soil by watering it until the water drains from the bottom of the pot. Poke a hole in the top of the soil with the back of a pencil or the handle of a wooden spoon. Set the whole pot into a plastic bag, leaving the bag open.

Step 3

Dip the damp cutting into the rooting hormone powder and give it a little tap to shake off the excess. Set it directly into the prepared hole so that half of the cutting is below the surface of the soil. Press the soil up against the cutting.

Step 4

Close the plastic bag over the cutting. Allow the cutting to sit for two to three weeks in a sunny spot until you see leaves appearing. Remove the plastic bag and allow the roots to continue to grow, keeping the soil moist at all times.

Step 5

Transplant the rooted cutting to a permanent spot when it has about 6 inches of new growth. It will need full sun and well-drained soil as well as a least one more nearby apple tree for pollination.

Things You'll Need

  • Rooting hormone powder
  • Plant pot (6-inch)
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic bag


  • University of Illinois Extension: Apple Facts
  • Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees and Vines with Stem Cuttings
Keywords: apple tree cuttings, rooting apple cuttings, propagating apple trees

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.