How to Root Woody Cuttings


Many types of plants grow from cuttings. This asexual propagation produces plants that display the characteristics of the parent plant. This type of propagation provides an inexpensive alternative to purchasing specimens from garden centers and nurseries. Woody cuttings are segments taken from mature plants, once the tissue hardens within the branches or stalks. With proper care, these woody cuttings grow into mature specimens.

Step 1

Select your cuttings from healthy specimens. Look for mature plants with abundant limbs to avoid damaging the parent plant. Choose varieties that grow in similar types of soils and lighting conditions existing in your landscape. Harvest your woody cuttings in the late fall, once plants lose their leaves and become dormant.

Step 2

Cut small, young limbs from your selected specimen with sharp pruning shears or hedge trimmers. Cut each limb into sections between 5 and 12 inches long. Make slanted cuts along each branch. Mark the bottom ends of your cuts with a piece of string to indicate the direction of insertion in your soil.

Step 3

Bury your cut segments in moistened sand or vermiculite. Keep these segments vertical, allowing the tops to remain a few inches above the surface of the planting medium. Keep these woody cuttings cool during the remaining months of fall and winter.

Step 4

Plant your stored cuttings outdoors in the spring. Place these in a protected site in a location that receives full or filtered sunlight. Plant the cuttings so only a couple of inches remain above the surface of the soil. Keep the soil around these cuttings slightly moist at all times to encourage healthy root formation. Allow the cuttings to grow and produce roots in this sheltered area until the following year. Cover your delicate specimens with clear plastic during hard frosts.

Step 5

Plant your rooted cuttings in their permanent locations the following spring. Include plenty of soil when transplanting your cuttings from one area to another. Loosen the existing soil in the permanent site with a shovel to allow young roots to expand and mature. Keep soil moist after transplanting. Cut back on the frequency of watering once new growth appears on your plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or hedge trimmers
  • Sand or vermiculite
  • String
  • Clear plastic
  • Shovel


  • Purdue University: New Plants from Cuttings
  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
Keywords: woody cuttings, grow cuttings, tree cuttings

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.