How to Propagate Fruit Trees From Cuttings


Propagation by taking branch cuttings is a method of cloning a mature tree to produce additional specimens. Fruit trees cuttings are required when the fruit is a seedless variety or you need a fast propagation method. Propagate fruit trees by taking softwood cuttings in late spring through early summer or semi-hardwood cuttings in mid summer to late summer. Softwood cuttings are fragile and dry out quickly, but produce roots quickly when placed in the proper environment.

Step 1

Cut a six-inch softwood or hardwood branch section of the fruit tree with a sharp knife. Take softwood cuttings from the end portion of the branch where the stem is beginning to mature and snaps in half when bent. Take semi-hardwood cuttings from the end portion of the branch where the stem is becoming woody and beginning to harden.

Step 2

Purchase rooting medium or create your own by mixing equal amounts of course sand, sterile peat moss and perlite. Add water to the medium to moisten. Fill a rooting tray with the moist medium.

Step 3

Cut off all leaves from the lower half of the fruit tree cutting with a sharp knife. Pour a small amount of powdered rooting hormone onto a piece of waxed paper. Dip the cut end of the branch cutting into the hormone and gently tap to remove excess.

Step 4

Stick the fruit tree cutting into a rooting tray filled with moist rooting medium to a depth of two to three inches. Tamp the medium around the cutting to hold it in place. Place the cuttings in the tray so the leaves are not touching.

Step 5

Mist the cuttings with water and place a clear plastic bag over top of the tray. Secure the covering closed with a rubber band. Set the rooting tray in an area that has indirect, bright sunlight and maintains a temperature of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6

Pull on the softwood tree cuttings after three weeks of growth to see if there is resistance from root formation. Pull on semi-hardwood cuttings after six weeks of growth. Continue to grow the fruit tree cuttings until the roots reach a length of one inch. Gently remove the soil around the stem cutting to observe root formation and length.

Step 7

Transplant all cuttings with one inch or longer roots into individual growing pots. Fill the pots with a sterile potting soil moistened with water. Gently remove the rooting cuttings from the tray and plant one in each growing pot at the same depth it was previously growing.

Step 8

Grow the transplanted fruit tree cuttings indoors for a minimum of one year. Transplant the cuttings outdoors the following spring season.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Rooting medium
  • Course sand
  • Sterile peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Water
  • Rooting tray
  • Rooting hormone
  • Waxed paper
  • Water mister
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • 4-inch growing pots
  • Sterile potting soil


  • North Caroline State University: Plant Propagation with Stem Cuttings
  • Washington State University: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Tree and Vines
Keywords: propagate fruit trees, fruit stem cuttings, root fruit trees

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.