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How Do I Root Aborvitae Cuttings

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017
Propagate arborvitae by taking cuttings in midsummer.
evergreen image by Joann Cooper from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The evergreen Arborvitae is a tree or large shrub that reaches a height up to 50 feet when allowed to grow. It produces a flat leaf with a scaly texture. Plant the Arborvitae in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9 in soil that is well-draining and nutrient-rich for best results. Choose a partially shaded area to prevent sunscald on the foliage. Propagate a three-year-old or older Arborvitae by taking semi-hardwood stem cuttings starting in midsummer through early fall.

Cut 6-to 8-inch semi-hardwood cuttings from the Arborvitae tree using a sharp blade. Semi-hardwood stems are new growth that is beginning to turn woody and mature.

Fill a clean propagation tray with a mixture made from equal quantities of coarse sand, peat moss and perlite. Moisten the mixture with water until it has the consistency of a damp sponge.

Remove the foliage from the lower half of the Arborvitae cutting, and dip the bottom cut end into rooting hormone. Tap the stem to remove excess hormone, and stick the end into the rooting tray to a depth of one-third the length of the stem. Space the stems so they do not touch.

Mist the Arborvitae cuttings with air-temperature water, and cover the tray with clear plastic. Place the propagation tray in an area that receives indirect sunlight, with a temperature of approximately 70 degrees F.

Monitor the cuttings by opening the plastic cover each day. Mist the cuttings with water to keep a humid environment around the cuttings during the root development process.

Pull on the Arborvitae cuttings 5 to 6 weeks after planting them in the propagation tray. If they resist when you pull them, it means that roots are present. Move the soil around the stems to verify the length of the roots.

Transplant Arborvitae cuttings into 4-inch growing containers once the roots reach a length of 1 inch or longer. Continue to grow the stems indoors for at least one year to increase root development before transplanting outdoors.


Things You Will Need

  • Sharp blade
  • Propagation tray
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand
  • Perlite
  • Rooting hormone
  • Water misting bottle
  • Clear plastic
  • 4-inch growing containers
  • Bleach


  • Clean the propagation tools and growing containers with a solution of 9 parts water and 1 part bleach. Rinse the equipment well and let dry before using.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.