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How to Propagate Wild Bradford Pear Trees

The wild Bradford pear or Callery pear is native to China and is used extensively in the United States, especially in commercial landscapes. The small fruit is eaten by birds in the fall and the tree is often used in wildlife plots. Many times fruit trees, including the Bradford pear, are produced by grafting a fruit tree with certain favorable characteristics onto the root base of another type of fruit tree with different favorable traits, such as resistance to a certain disease. If this is the case, then the new tree produced from propagation will not grow into the same tree. However, if you take cuttings from a wild Bradford pear that was never grafted, the new plant will have the same characteristics as the plant from which the cutting was removed.

Take cuttings from a wild Bradford pear tree in early spring when the buds just begin to swell. Look for cuttings from tender growth that is 1 year old or less. The end of the stem should be green and pliable. If the stem is too woody it will not root properly. Immediately put the cuttings in a container of water being sure the cut end is immersed in the water.

Prepare flower pot by filling it with peat moss. Soak the peat moss in the flower pot until it is saturated, then let it drain.

Re-cut the end of the wild Bradford pear cutting that was soaking in water and make one or two small notches in the side of the stem about 1/4 inch from the bottom to expose the green undergrowth.

Dip the bottom inch of the cutting in the rooting hormone making sure it has complete coverage.

Stick the end of the cutting covered with rooting hormone into the damp peat moss closing the peat moss around the end of the cutting with your fingers so the cutting remains upright. Place in a bright warm location (75 to 85 degrees F) but not in direct sun. Keep the soil moist by misting it with water every day if needed until the cutting is rooted in about four weeks.

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