How to Propagate Birch Trees


Birch trees have paper-like bark that separates from the trunk of the tree as the tree ages. A striking characteristic of the birch tree is the raised lines on the trunk called lenticels. As the tree matures, the bark begins to peel off from the lenticels. Birch trees are cold hardy medium-sized trees with a common life span of 60 to 100 years. Birch trees can be propagated from a green cutting off a healthy tree. Expand your own birch tree collection or give a newly rooted cutting of your favorite tree to a friend or fellow gardener.

Step 1

Cut a green branch from a young, healthy tree. The branch should have four leaf nodes. A leaf node is the area where a leaf emerges from the branch.

Step 2

Remove all the leaves except for the top leaf. To remove the leaves, bend them back gently until they snap off.

Step 3

Fill a plastic container with equal parts coarse, clean sand and peat moss. A yogurt container works well for a propagating pot.

Step 4

Roll the lower half of your birch tree cutting in hormone rooting powder. Hormone rooting powder can be purchased at most home and garden stores.

Step 5

Bury the bottom two leaf nodes in the sand and peat moss mixture.

Step 6

Water the cutting, making sure the sand is thoroughly and uniformly wet. After the initial watering, keep the area wet but not saturated. The rooting mix should feel damp to the touch.

Step 7

Prepare a 1- to 2-foot pot with potting soil for your cutting. Hollow out a small area in the middle for your rooted cutting.

Step 8

Transplant your birch tree cutting to a larger pot after the cutting has taken root. When new leaves emerge on your cutting you know the birch branch has taken root.

Step 9

Water your transplanted cutting thoroughly, making sure the soil is evenly wet. Water every three to four days after the initial watering. Birch trees like damp conditions and can withstand frequent watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Propagation pot (yogurt container)
  • Coarse sand
  • Peat moss
  • Rooting powder
  • Planting pot
  • Potting soil


  • Trees For Life: Birch
  • NC State University: Plant propagation by stem cutting
  • Virginia Tech: Round Leaf Birch
Keywords: forest trees, propagating trees, propagating trees from a cutting

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.