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Many plants and thus many trees can be propagated by cuttings. This is a lot less work than you might think. In addition, it is a sense of accomplishment when the tree is grown by oneself instead of having to buy it from a nursery as a small, ready-made tree. A little more patience is of course required for the cultivation of trees and not every branch or twig later grows into a tree.

Trees from cuttings

Suitable Trees

Not only the tree that is already at home in the home garden is suitable for the cultivation of cuttings. Even on a walk through the forest you will find many deciduous trees and conifers, which can also be easily pulled from offshoots and are therefore suitable for cultivation. The forest walk can also be used to collect various cuttings. Suitable forest trees include:

  • maple
  • beech
  • Oak
  • chestnut
  • linden tree
  • various conifers

If you are not sure which tree is suitable for propagation by cuttings, you should simply try it and take a branch or twig home and follow the instructions step by step. However, it should always be borne in mind that most deciduous trees and conifers from the forest can grow to an impressive age and height. Cultivation therefore only makes sense if there is enough space.

Castanea, chestnut


In order to successfully pull cuttings, the right time must be chosen. This depends less on the weather in which the cutting can be taken than on the time at which the branch or twig is ripe. Attention should be paid to the following:

  • between May and August
  • deciduous trees even in autumn
  • after leaf fall
  • Maturity of the shoots is crucial
  • cut too early too soft
  • prone to rot
  • lignified shoots require more time

Nurseries usually start propagating as early as spring from April to May. Cuttings of deciduous trees should be taken between July and August. Then the shoots are already slightly woody, but still young enough to quickly develop a root ball.

Growing trees from cuttings: instructions

find cuttings

When looking for the ideal cuttings, they should come from a healthy tree. Care should be taken to ensure that these are annual, strong and flowerless shoots. Evergreen shrubs such as conifers, on the other hand, grow well from a shoot that is two to three years old. If the hedges or solitaires in your own garden are cut regularly, enough strong shoots will grow back that can be used as cuttings next year. However, branches and twigs can also be easily removed from coniferous trees in the forest. This is done as follows:

  • either tear off
  • so-called cracklings
  • otherwise use sharp and disinfected scissors
  • Cut off desired shoot with a fork
  • make sure the interface is smooth

Use Riftlings

Especially with conifers but also with various evergreen deciduous trees, such as the yew or the box tree, it can take a long time until they are rooted. Here you should use Risslinge for rooting. Proceed as follows when harvesting cracklings:

  • Tear off a shoot directly at a branch
  • this creates a strip of bark
  • remove it with sharp and disinfected scissors
  • Astring at the end should be preserved
  • this is where the roots form later
  • contains a particularly large amount of dividing tissue
  • Use annual or biennial shoots
  • Shorten the shoot tip by half
  • also existing side shoots

The cracklings can be placed in a seed pot or directly in humus-rich soil in a shady spot in the garden. Yew and boxwood in particular can grow well in this way.

Prepare cuttings

If the right cuttings or cracklings have been found, they must be prepared before they are inserted. This should only leave about four leaves, you need to remove the rest. In the case of large-leaved trees, the remaining leaves should also be cut back by about half. This has the following background:

  • without roots only limited water absorption possible
  • Too much water evaporates from large and many leaves
  • this is missing from the cuttings when they are rooted
  • Leaves should not shade each other
  • large leaves should not touch wall of grow box
  • both can lead to infestation of fungal diseases

The shoots used should be between ten and fifteen centimeters long and dipped in rooting powder before use in soil or alternatively water.

Prepare seed pots

In order for the selected cuttings and cracklings to root well, they need the ideal substrate. A pot should also be available for each individual offshoot. This has the advantage that the later root balls do not get confused with each other later. Individual small trees in a seed pot can later be removed and planted more easily. The substrate in the pot should look like this:

  • Mixture of sand and peat
  • always slightly damp
  • no waterlogging
  • Lay drainage over drainage hole

Root in water

In contrast to conifers, deciduous trees can also be rooted as cuttings in water. A vase is ideally used for this. A glass jar, on the other hand, should be darkened all around, for example with aluminum foil. Furthermore, the following must be observed when rooting in water:

  • put in a bright window
  • without direct sunlight
  • Change water regularly
  • remove as soon as small root strands appear
  • put in breeding pot
  • don't wait for big root balls
  • would have to be cut back
  • small roots disperse better in soil

care during cultivation

Once you have prepared the shoots and placed them in the seed pots, they require certain care so that roots can form quickly and small trees can grow. You should pay attention to the following:

  • bright and warm
  • avoid direct sun
  • in a greenhouse
  • alternatively, cut off the neck of the PET bottle
  • Put the bottle over the pot
  • air daily
  • otherwise there is a risk of mold formation
  • Always keep soil moist

Care after rooting

By autumn, sufficiently large root balls should have developed. However, the actually hardy trees should not be planted in the garden before the frost in winter. Wintering in the first year should look like this:

  • repot rooted trees
  • choose a larger pot
  • so the root ball can unfold
  • choose bright and cool place
  • bright staircase
  • Garden house with window
  • unheated conservatory
  • Glasshouse
  • water moderately
  • do not fertilize

As soon as the first warm days are expected in spring, the new, small trees can move to their final location in the garden.

Propagation not always possible

Not every tree, whether deciduous or coniferous, can be propagated by cuttings. Some magnolia species, witch hazel or various pines are not suitable for this and it will never be possible to root cut shoots on these trees. But there are indications of when the propagation of cuttings will succeed:

  • regenerative capacity of a tree
  • if pruned back heavily
  • sprouts vigorously from old wood
  • Variety ideal for cuttings

propagate fruit trees

In order for fruit trees to remain varietal, they are usually only used for grafting. If you still want to use cuttings from these trees, then you should generally not expect single-variety fruit. Only nectarines and peaches are still true to their variety when they are grown from cuttings.

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