Can plum trees be grown from cuttings?

aleksandar(8a BC)June 6, 2008

I would like to propagate an old prune plum tree and am searching for the best method to do so. Growing from seed seems slow and not guaranteed to produce true to type. Is it possible to take a cutting to create a new tree? Any advice on how and when this should be done would be great.



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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Alex, plums are very difficult if not impossible to propagate from cuttings. You need to graft it to propagate it. Fortunately plums are one of the easier fruits to graft. Read up on it and feel free to ask questions here.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 10:55AM
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aleksandar(8a BC)


Thanks for the tip. It will save me some time and effort, but now I will have to learn how to graft.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 1:40PM
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Grafting (and budding)is great fun. Every time I wonder how it could grow, and I feel a sense of wonder when they do grow. (of course not all of them grow, but quite a few do.) You will find it addicting. Raintree carries roostocks, but I don't know if you can buy from them in Canada. See if you can find a Canadian supplier. Or you can find and dig up a sucker from another plum tree for a rootstock, but it may not be at all dwarfing. Krymsk 1 and Marianna are a couple of good semi dwarfing rootstocks that can be kept at a reasonable height (10-12 feet) by pruning to a vase shape if you can get them.

You can do budding this summer in early to mid August. I am in Washington State north of Seattle, so your time for budding is pretty close to mine. Try to get some rootstocks as soon as you can. You can plant them in a nursery row until you see which ones "take". Do 2 or 3 so that even if they don't all grow you will probably get at lease one.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:38PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

it really depends on teh type of plum tree too. i don't know what kind mine are, but i can tell you that all you do is cut off a branch, stick it int eh ground, and water it and before long you have a new tree. the old man who used to own the house did it all the time for folks. one neighbor came by recently and got a couple cuttings for his daughter's house. he said so far, about 6 weeks later, they are growing just fine!

mine like to spread so easily that i cut down new growth trees all over my yard each week. the birds keep stealing the plums, and where they drop one a new tree comes up in no time!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Try inserting current season's growth into soft ground in shade during September.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 2:34PM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

I've got some pruned off Fellemberg plum branches growing under the tree since April. I haven't check for any roots yet but the leaves are doing fine.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 5:27PM
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aleksandar(8a BC)

Thanks for the tips. The plum in question is a very productive prune type that is one of the sweetest I have ever tasted. The tree has been around for decades. I'll give the cutting method a try for now until I can get some rootstock and learn how to graft properly.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 5:35PM
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Along with Raintree Nursery, One Green World sells rootstocks as well. Depending what your soil type and desired size of tree are, one or the other will probably work for you. The problem with growing from cuttings is that the parent tree may be on a rootstock that is adapted to your soil whereas whatever type of tree you are propagating from the cutting may not be.

Here are two link for how to graft fruit trees:

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 4:05PM
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lokidog(Z5 UT)

Plums are a diverse group. Many related fruits are nearly impossible to root - like apples. Some plums, however are pretty easy, and some are like apples, nearly impossible. Unless you know the variety you, can't tell if rooting will work. Have a go though. Take cuttings after dormancy (late fall) to late winter. Then propagate like any cutting (hardwood) - lots of info out there (don't overdo the rooting powder - dip and shake off excess as too much sometimes inhibits rooting!). You can root a bunch in a very small space - and do this as you might have only marginal success... I've had great success in a greenhouse mist bench (lots of humidity and bottom heat) in mid winter with all sorts of species. Try to recreate this in your house. Heat, humidity, and light (once leafed out) are paramount. You CAN store the dormant cuttings wrapped in moist paper, and in a plastic bag (partly open to let in some oxygen) in the fridge till spring too. I've even buried cuttings under the snow and had success! If this does not work you can graft - you just need a rootstock (best not to use a root-suckering type).

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 11:21AM
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    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 12:24AM
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Can plums be grown from from root cuttings (cuttings from the roots, not the top part of the tree)?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 4:09PM
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nyRockFarmer(5A Southern Tier, NY)

I've rooted a Marianna 2624 sucker after removing it from tree. I wanted to see how easy it would be so I dipped a sucker in rooting hormone and potted it. Ideal rootstocks are easily propagated by layering, so it wasn't really a big surprise.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 4:57PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

European plums often form thickets here so apparently yes, these will sprout tops from root sections.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 5:02PM
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glenn_10 zone 4b/5a NewBrunswick,Can.

I have had good luck rooting many tree fruit by air laying. Most plums are easy apples not so much but they will eventually root they just take a lot longer, I have not tried pear or apricot and cherry yet. Here are some photos of one of my fave peaches that I am doing this year. The pics are from a few weeks ago the first one is one branch that broke off in a wind storm about 4 weeks in and you can see the roots forming,2nd pic is the remaining one still on the tree which will be cut off sometime in October after the tree goes dormant and stored in the fridge till spring.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 6:40PM
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I did some root cuttings a few hours ago, but I just realized that I did them wrong lol. Hopefully they will work anyway. I took them from my purple leaf plum tree. It's grafted but I want the rootstock so I can use them for grafting in the future. No rooting hormone, hope it works!

I'm having image uploading issues so I can't upload a picture.

This post was edited by Peat23 on Fri, Sep 26, 14 at 19:16

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 7:14PM
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Picture here:

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 8:17AM
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alan haigh

Glenn, do you have any established trees you started that way?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 9:26AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I layered some smaller cherry plums and producing,..just got a little Sapalta plant from a friend who has rooted by cuttings.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 2:11PM
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I have been impressed with the success Dennis McClung has had in rooting green hardwood cuttings in an aeroponics setup. As to how well the roots will do in any particular soil...grafting onto an appropriate rootstock still makes more sense to me.
or buy the setup:

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 2:51PM
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The five gallon bucket aeroponics system seems pretty cool. I might try to make one now.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 3:40PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

I have a damson plum tree that is producing and 14 feet tall. I just cut off about 4 inches of another tree, slit the sides and stuck it in the ground. A few years later= Instant tree. Now it has suckers. More trees.

Can be done with Asian plums too, but you have to keep it watered.
John S

    Bookmark   September 28, 2014 at 2:16AM
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