How to Grow Trees From Cuttings. Growing trees from cuttings has a number of advantages over other propagation methods: You end up with a mature tree much more quickly than you would starting from seed, and it's a simpler process than grafting. The tree is a genetic duplicate of the parent tree, with all of the same characteristics. Follow a few steps for propagation of hardwood cuttings.
Prepare the ground. You will want to do this in the early fall, while the ground is still warm, and you'll need well-drained soil. You may need to add some sand to a heavier soil. The shovel should be pushed vertically into the ground to make a narrow trench about 7 inches deep (for hardwood cuttings) and only an inch or two wide. Trenches should be spaced 12 to 15 inches apart.
Select the cuttings. After most of the leaves have fallen from the tree, you can cut the stems. Select stems that are straight, healthy and young. Cut just above a bud, using the first 12 inches of a stem.
Trim the cuttings. Remove any remaining leaves. Then trim the cutting to about 8 inches in length, making a diagonal cut at the top, just above the new top bud, and a horizontal cut at the bottom, just below a bud.
Insert the cuttings. Cuttings should be placed 4 to 6 inches apart in the trench. For a multi-stemmed tree, leave about 1 inch of the stem above ground. For a single stemmed tree, leave only the top bud of the stem showing above the surface of the soil.
Firm the soil. Use your feet on either side of the trench to bring the soil together and firm it down. Rake the surface and label the rows.
Transplant the cuttings. One year after the initial planting, your cuttings will be rooted. Carefully lift each cutting using a hand trowel. Pot each one individually, or plant in its final location.
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