Rooting a Pine cutting?

ryan_tree(7aVA)February 14, 2009

Its all right if you guys want to call me stupid. I understand. But, I was wondering if it was possible to root a Pine tree from a cutting. I havemany large Eastern White Pines around me, and was wondering if I could root a cutting from one of them. Is it possible? Thank you for your answers! Ryan.......

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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Hi Ryan,

It's possible to root a pine from a cutting.
I'm not familar if Eastern White Pinus can be rooted from a cutting.
During the trip with the Dutch Conifer Society in the U.S. in 2004 we visited Iseli Nurseries and they were rooting several Pinus mugo cultivars from cuttings.
Pinus mugo 'Slow Mound' was the easiest one to root they said.
They also mentioned that the best time to root from cuttings was August when the cuttingmaterial was a little bit woody.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 7:48AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

a question is a request for knowledge .. the only stupid question .. is the UNASKED question ...

to my knowledge.. its not possible ... but that should never stop you from trying ..

the biggest issue .. is relative humidity .. keeping the cutting moist until such time as it might root ....

and then a whole host of other issues ... which a simple $10,000 greenhouse and tools would cure ... lol ...

if you have mature trees .. and they have cones around the bottom.. i would bet.. if you spent enough time looking... you can find baby trees ... that would be very easy to transplant ... with permission ...

or if you find seed in some cones... try growing those ...

on my 5 acres.. i have about 20 pinus sylvestrus ... and seedlings EVERYWHERE ...

good luck hunting ...


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 9:54AM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

Eastern white pine seedlings are so cheap to purchase its likely not cost effective in terms of time and cost to root it your self. If they have some special features and you want to clone them, white pines are very easy to graft. David

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 10:17AM
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"It's possible to root a pine from a cutting"

Possible, but not at all easy, and needs a full professional propagator's laboratory and equipment (i.e., = very expensive). It isn't like willows, you can't just put a shoot in a jar of water and have it take root. As David says, vastly cheaper, and easier, to buy some seedlings.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 1:39PM
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RE: and needs a full professional propagator's laboratory and equipment

Maybe not all species, loblolly can be rooted (with high success rates) by semi-air layering the "cutting" to be rooted first, then rooting it quite conventionally. It won't require fancy equipment, just know how. But I agree, as an amateur plant nerd propagator who has done lots of cuttings, seed and grafting, I wouldn't even try pines by cuttings.

One of the basic rooting principles is that plants root better when they are juvenile. That's why even a very hard to root genus like picea has cultivars that can be rooted easily (p. albertiana 'conica' for example) they are juvenile forms. Anyway, without knowing the prospects of rooting p. stobus off the top of my head, Id say that because the trees are mature your chances are greatly diminished, especially without experience and proper equipment.

Why not try them from seed? That way the progeny will be unique. Rooted and grafted plants are clones. Sometimes that's good. But every seedling could be the next great plant, especially if it has great parents.

Buying plant seed a few ozs at a time and collecting my own from native trees, I have found some pretty aberrant forms of interesting plants, in less than 5 years.

The seed bed will produce much more variation than nature, becuase the wild is much less forgiving than a garden. Of all the plants I've grown and collected, I am the most proud of my tiny mutant seedlings. Commercial growers who produce seedlings do it on such a massive scale that they cannot take the time to be sensitive to very interesting variations. You can.

I have variegated plants, dwarf plants, and what looks like a very green, very upright deodar cedar, with all of it's little green branches shooting strait up. To my knowledge there is no cultivated equivalent of himalayan cedar.

Maybe they;ll die next year, but maybe one of them will be a cultivated form someday... I also have a dwarf southwestern white pine - grown from seed I collected myself from an especially dense wild tree in it's habitat in the middle of nowhere, Texas. No one else in the world has it.

All forms of propagation have their rewards. But to me seed is the easiest and often the most interesting. I even started collecting seed from nursery plants. They are just sitting there, breeding with adjacent superior forms, waiting to produce something neat.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:49PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Only the youngest wood on young specimens are the likely 'canditates' for success. Or the shoots of a stock plant (all juvenile kept/maintained for the very purpose of cloning) will success have it's possibilities.

Keith Rushford 'Conifers' pps. 52-53, suggests this. He says:

" Cuttings taken off seedlings of almost all species will root relatively easily, but with many species cuttings taken from older plants do not have the same capacity to root. This is called the juveniliy factor and if more than the occasional cutting is required, it is worth keeping the stock plant in a juvenile state. This can be done by clippping it regularlyu. Juveniliy is particularly important with members of the pine family, and much less significant in the cypress family. In spruces the capability to root readily is progrewssively lost after the young plant is over six years old.....

" Cutings can be taken at several times of the year. The best periods are in the early summer, autumn and late winter. Early summer cuttings can be either softwood or smi-hardwood cuttings, depending upon how firm the base is. This can be a very useful time to take cuttings of old spruces (Picea), when partially grown shoots will root, albeit extremely slowly (hence mist is not appropriate). Autumn cuttings are suitable for readily rooted species and should not need any artificial heating. Cuttings after Christmas, preferably with bottom heat, are suitable for other species.

The cuttings should be around 8cm long and for imtems which root readily can be two or three times longer. They can be taken either with or wirhout a heel but the use of a homone rooting treatment is beneficial.....

Mist, warm bench and plastic, cold bench and plastic and cold frames with close fitting lids can all be used to root the cuttings. With mist, it is important to avoid getting the compost too wet, otherwise the cuttings will rot. Also mist is not suitable for plants which are slow to root (except where it has the extra effect of speeding rooting), as the repeated watering inherent with mist will learch nutrients from the leaves over a period of time. The difference between warm bench and cold bench is that the former has the compost heated by some means, usually electric soil warming cables. This gives the ideal of warm bottoms and cold tops and will hasten rooting; the thin plastic or poly thene film prevents desiccation, but the cuttings must not be exposed to full sun. Tooting is less of a problem with the plastic based metods, and teh cuttings will often look healthier than comparable ones under mist, although take slightly longer to root. Cold frames are most useful for autum cuttings and for the growing on of the rooted plants.........

The cuttings should not be firmed in too hard, as this may destroy the aeration to the base of the cutting and hinder rooting.......

Cuttings taken from young plants in early summer may root within four weeks or so, particulary under mist. Those taken in a cold frame in September should not be expected to be ready for potting on until May or June. Cuttings made with additional heating in Januaary to April can also be ready for potting on in June or July........

After the cuttings have rooted, they will need to be potted on. Before this, they will need to be weaned off the closed humid conditions by gradually increasing the ventilation......"

I'll just say that a tented structure (closed) with cuttings in individual pots (I use 5" tall Anderson Tree Band pots) stuck with a hormone (May here or fall as the cuttings are turning from medium-hardwood to hardwood or winter hardwood in a heated greenhouse) are the times to root conifers. .....Dax
My greenhouse has a 60 percent shade cloth on the front (full southern exposure) If I had eastern exposure it would be better for conifer grafting and for rooting. So hence my shadecloth. It's very sunny here, sort of like Colorado which is why each person needs to find their own means of achieving success. Since I've lived in Oregon, Portland that is, I would know that it's never sunny there during winter so no shade cloth would be needed. So you get the idea of what it is I'm speaking, of.

Use Dip n Grow, strength 1/10 parts water.

Here's a photo of where my grafts are being grown as well as any cuttings I want to root. Bottom heat is not necessary when tented like this. My greenhouse is at 60 F, set at, and during the day on sunny days it goes up to 80 F. Just perfect. The 'cool mist humidifier' I have on a timer to run from 7 am to 9 am maintaining the high humidity needed all day. What you do not want is water droplets on your plants. And lastly I spray a fungicide/algaecide every two weeks. I happen to use, 'Consan 20' but anything labled for greenhouses and for fungus should work identically. If you have insects, use pyrethren. If you're going to go large scale, use 'Zerotol'.


Rushforth, Keith Conifers (1987); First published in the United States in 1987 by Facts On File, Inc., 460 Park Avenue South, New York, New York 10016; ISBN: 0-8160-1735-2

Seal the structure completely for 2 weeks using furring strips (scrap wood); then remove the furring strips on the front panel and allow the clear (must be lightweight poly) poly to hang/drape. That's it.

Humidity/junk wood furring strips:

As per watering: conifers don't like wet feet when grafting especially. Allow the media to "nearly" dry up between waterings. It's been called "babysitting" to me.

A Vicks brand cool mister humidifier. Model is 1.2 gallon and I purchased a 5 foot piece of 1.5 diameter pvc and a neck insert piece of pvc with dimensions of
Nibco 1 1/2" PVC-1 USA; D 2466 SCH. 40 ; A x 4
UPC: 39923 14082 from Menards. The Vicks humidfier came from Target and is 50 dollars.

This is the final photo of what you'll ever need to know:

My greenhouse showing the shade cloth and how it is situated under a deck. The west side of the greenhouse I did not add shade cloth to. I kept it open for direct sunlight which Picea grafts desperately need!

The humidity, "everything" you'll need to adjust to match your surroundings/"climate"/propagation materials.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 11:29AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Thanks, Dax!
I'm showing this to my friends.
Great photo tutorial.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2009 at 12:17PM
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