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How to Propagate Arborvitae

Warning

Arborvitae trees are fast growing. Don't plant the rooted clippings too close houses or buildings.

Arborvitae are common plantings to create greenery in your home's landscape. You could purchase arborvitae seedlings from a nursery or garden center, but nearly as easily as driving to the store, you can take cuttings from an existing, healthy arborvitae. This will not only save you money, it will also provide you with a stronger sense of accomplishment as you watch the planting grow.

Make sure the parent arborvitae you take your cuttings from is healthy and disease free. It's best to take cuttings to propagate from a mature arborvitae in late to mid-summer or early to late fall.

Cut as many branches from new growth on the parent arborvitae tree as you want to propagate, using the garden clippers. These branches should be cut about 5 inches long.

Remove the lowest leaves on each branch, leaving a fair amount of leaves at the top of each cutting. It's important to keep the new arborvitae cuttings moist following the cutting process. This will prevent them from losing too much moisture before planting them in your soil.

Plant each arborvitae cutting in your garden soil so they can develop their new roots. You should plant cuttings immediately after cutting them. Add reliable root starters to your cuttings at this point.

Choose a site where the arborvitae will have full to partial sun. Arborvitae cuttings do best planted in coarse sand with good drainage. If you're propagating more than one arborvitae to plant in a different area later on, space the new cuttings far enough apart so they have plenty of room to grow without touching each other. This will give the arborvitae clippings an extra boost in growing new roots.

Water the planted cuttings right away, using a gentle spray. Water regularly after that to keep the soil nice and moist, but not soggy. Continue watering throughout the growing season in your area. Watering is not needed in cold winter months. Your newly propagated arborvitae will be ready to transplant by the following spring.

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