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starting apple tree from cuttings

Posted by trailer_gal z4 ND (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 23, 05 at 20:14

Could anyone give me instructions as to how to start an apple tree from cuttings. I took cuttings from the old apple tree and dipped them in rooting hormone and put them in a homemade bog I had made out of spagnum moss, peat moss, soil, sand and manure. Do you think I have a chance? I cut some on the diagnal and some cut off some of the bark about one inch high and about 1/4 way around. Am I supposed to cut through the cambium? I would appreciate any advice. Hope you don't tell me that it is a lost cause. Still working with that 100 year old, blown down apple tree. It made it through the summer and still looks pretty good and has lots of apples on it, although they do look a bit smaller than usual.
I had tryed airlayering. When I went back two of the branches had died and two were still alive so there is hope there. Am thinking of trying to send some off to a nursery when the right time is here to have some grafted.
Also, could a person buy small apple trees at a nursery, plant and graft to them?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: starting apple tree from cuttings

Trailer gal, You might be interested in my experience with rooting a variety on it's own roots. A few years ago I buried a young apple tree so that it's grafted rootstock was below ground level. Then I heaped dirt around the young trunk and kept it well watered. It developed roots. I don't remember how long it took but it happened. I wonder if it would do any good to ring the bark. I never had any luck rooting cuttings. Frank

RE: starting apple tree from cuttings

  • Posted by Baci z10Ca (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 29, 05 at 6:24

As you know, apple cuttings ideally need to be grafted. I have rooted just the apple cuttings without grafting, but in doing so I had many cuttings fail. The problems I had were the cutting I received were not ideal in the first place they had some powdery mildew on them and some of them were small in size. Another problem I had was excess moisture due to last years rains, which contributed to cutting failure. If you are going to try cuttings without grafting, get good size healthy ones. I rooted mine in peat. If you are in an area of high humidity, you might add some Perlite for drainage.

RE: starting apple tree from cuttings

If it's laying on the ground, maybe you could pile some wood shavings or sawdust over some small limbs and let it root while attached to the tree. Keep it moist. May need to wound the limbs and dust on some rooting hormone. I know that to make rootstock people will plant seedlings and heap sawdust around the base to cause "stooling"...when rooted those suckers are severed from the parent tree and bench grafted to make new trees for orchard plantings. If I were you, and knew anyone who could graft, I would get them to graft some on an existing apple tree to prevent the loss of this old variety.

RE: starting apple tree from cuttings

I would love to know if this really works. I am very tempted to do this because my first challenge was to grow an apple tree ,cross growing when seeds had grown so high into the tree stem and then put another variety of apple with this by bonding the stems together with hormone powder and grow on from there.

RE: starting apple tree from cuttings


We have a fairly young apple tree, maybe 4 years old now. I have fed and sprayed and we have about 50 apples on a 10-12 foot tree. Is it possible to dig up the smaller trees or "suckers" as my Husband calls them and start new trees? If so, could you please tell me how to accomplish that. Many Thanks from an apple lover in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont!

RE: starting apple tree from cuttings

I've found that propagation from cuttings is harder than grafting. You have to keep the space around the leaves moist while maintain only a slightly moist media around the leaf node. Until the stem sends out roots (several months) the only moisture the stem will get is from the moisture absorbed through the leaves. Plan on grafting several scions in the early spring using a dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstock. You'll have some nice fruit-bearing trees in about 5 years versus the standard that you'll get from the slipped cutting.

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