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How to Propagate Pine Trees

By Cindy Hill ; Updated September 21, 2017

Pines are a family of trees which include valuable timber specimens for commercial or market growing, attractive evergreens for landscaping, and some of the most popular tree varieties used in bonsai. Rather than purchase expensive nursery stock, you can propagate most pine tree species yourself from purchased or gathered seed, or from stem cuttings.

Stem Cutting Propagation

Cut 8 to 10 inch stems, tipped with new growth, from young pine specimens after the first few winter frosts.

Strip bark from the last two inches of the cut end of cutting by paring with a utility knife. Treat with root-promoting compound according to manufacturer's directions.

Mix one part sand with one part peat moss. Moisten with rain water. Fill a 1-gallon nursery container with sand mixture.

Insert the lower 3 inches of cut stem into sand mixture. Water weekly and spray daily with a plant mister. Keep plants out of direct sunlight until new growth is well established.

Pine Propagation from Seed

Place collected or purchased pine seeds in a freezer bag with a handful of compost. Spray mist into bag. Place in freezer for 3-4 weeks.

Remove seeds from freezer. Soak in rain water for 24 hours.

Set five pine seeds on damp paper towels and place them in a clean freezer bag. Seal the bag and place it in indirect light. If seeds do not germinate in 5-30 days, place remaining seeds back in freezer for an additional two weeks, and repeat germination test.

Mix 1 part sand, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part compost. Fill one gallon nursery container with mixture and water thoroughly. Plant seeds one inch deep.

Keep soil moist and set pots in a warm place in indirect light. Seeds may take a month or more to germinate.


Things You Will Need

  • 2 freezer bags
  • Paper towels
  • Potting soil
  • Compost or forest-floor humus
  • Rainwater
  • Freezer
  • Pruners
  • Utility knife
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Utility knife
  • Root-promoting compound such as Rootone or Hormodin
  • Plant mister
  • One-gallon nursery container


  • Seeds from bristlecone, ponderosa, and mugo pine don't require freezer treatment before sprouting.

About the Author


A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.