Apple Tree Propogation

14 years ago


I read the post regarding 'Propogating Resources' and spent some time on the websites listed. There is some GREAT information in them. I learned that it is possible to perform hardwood cuttings at this time of the year. With that said, I am interested in obtaining 40 apple trees to espalier. Is it possible to take hardwood cuttings from apple trees or do they have to be grafted on root stock?

Comments (18)

  • georgez5il
    14 years ago

    I have only used softwood cuttings taken May to Early June. applied 0.8% IBA Rooting hormone, mist & bottom heat.

  • terryb
    14 years ago

    Most Apple Trees are grafted in the spring time. As with most fruit trees.

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  • msbumble
    14 years ago

    If you propagate the cuttings you will get standard trees. If you want dwarf or semi-dwarf for espalier, you have buy grafted ones or graft your own (something I'd like to try myself sometime). Have fun. MsB

  • ladylotus
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Here is an update on what I've done. It will be interesting to see what my end results will be.

    I took one hundred 6 to 8" hardwood apple tree cuttings. I dipped all of them into a liquid root stimulator and then into a powder rooting hormone and placed them directly into the ground.

    I did some serious research online and found a website that explained how to take hardwood cuttings and place them into a home made propagation tank. Since I did not have an old fish aquarium I chose to take bags of leaves and surround my cuttings. I then took a window and placed the glass window over the top of the bags of leaves that outlined my cuttings. I now have sun coming in through the top (window) and the insulation with the bags of leaves surrounding the cuttings.

    What do you think? Will this work? Do you think I will need to suppliment water or just allow things to go dormant for the winter? Come mid summer I wonder how many will have greened up?

  • terryb
    14 years ago

    Any thing might and will work for us I just say to myself and others if you don't try it you will never know. But with that said you will be leaving to much of a heat build up or sun into cutting area with just plain glass. Get some white spray paint that will stick to glass. Then take and put a couple strips of 1" to 1 1/2" masking tape on the glass and spray it. When the paint is still tacky remove the masking tape. Believe me it does work. Just make sure you also keep the cuttings moist over the winter so they don't dry out. And also if they do freeze over the winter don't worry about it the cuttings should be fine. I myself have my propagation bed over top of my septic holding tank for bottom heat purposes and they are doing just fine. Like I said never know unless you try.

  • geoforce
    14 years ago

    I used to do about 200 flowering crabapples every year for a local gardening club. Cleft grafted on seedling rootstock I grew from 'Golden Delicious' seed. I found these to be the most uniform of any seed source I tried. Over 90% success if the graft is done at the right time of year.


  • centerhill
    11 years ago

    I have read with great interest these notes from you guys about apple tree propagation. While it MAY be possible to simply root the cuttings, it is incredibly hard to do (even with rooting powder) and if you were able to get them to root, there would be very poor rootstock.

    As a lifelong nurseryman and agronomist, I have found it very beneficial to use rootstock designed for that purpose. Cornell University has done a massive amount of work in this area (see Wikipedia "fruit tree propogation"). This explanation shows basic budding and grafting techniques and explains the rootstock options and histories. If I were trying to do just a few myself without having access to these root cultivars I would probably grow some seedlings from crabapples that grow well in the area you live, then bud the type I wanted on that rootstock after 2 years. There are also usually many small seedlings that surround the base of many crabapples that are left to grow wild (that would be a good source,also)

    One of you state you want to espalier some apples...there are actually rootstock that is designed for this purpose and standard size trees would be very tough to control and keep healthy. I hope this helps.

    Good luck with your apples. I would be interested to know if anyone is successful in rooting apple cuttings (I have never known anyone that was).

  • generator_00
    11 years ago

    Hello, Two years ago I purchased a dolgo crabapple tree from walmart, took it home, dug a hole, removed the tree from the pot and found that the roots had been freshly chopped to the size of the pot and the tree stuck in the pot. I decided to dig the hole deeper and plant the tree anyway to see what would happen. About three months later the much shortened tree finally produced a few leaves and two flowers which I immediately removed. The next spring it leafed out a little better and produced a few more flowers and even grew a little. I have high hopes for the tree this spring and am hoping that it will grow its own roots. Has anyone here tried planting apple trees deep and successfully got them to go own root? I would like to get a yellow transparent tree this spring and I think I'll plant the graft about 6 inches deep and see what it does.

  • edensnake
    11 years ago

    Apparently not all experts agree that cloning trees from cuttings is either incredibly difficult or that own root apple trees are undesirable. In fact, quite the opposite.
    Which says:
    Q: My father-in-law insists he used to start new apple trees by cutting off a branch and sticking it in the ground. We doubted his story until we were looking at our childrenÂs question-and-answer book. It says sour apples come from trees started from seeds and sweet apples come from trees started from limbs. Now we are very curious. Do you have any information on starting new trees from limbs? Is there any truth to the sweet/sour story? (Brookings, S.D.)

    A: Your father-in-law has a "Smith" sense of humor, just like my dad. Apple trees can be propagated from softwood cuttings or seed. Trees rooted from stems are clones (asexual propagation). No one can root a branch from a tree that produces sour apples if they want sweet apples! Seedling stock (sexual propagation) will produce offspring that are widely variable in fruit quality and taste. Some will be sweet, some tart, some large and some small. In general, commercially available apples trees are usually bud or cleft grafted to take advantage of a hardy rootstock. Go to my Web site on home propagation techniques at for more information. You may then want to explore our fruit tree publication at Near the end of the publication is an explanation of the various budding and grafting techniques.

    Another link:
    "Fruit trees on their own roots
    Growing Apple Trees on their Own Roots
    By Hugh F. Ermen"

    Here is a link that might be useful: Questions on Apples

  • bren-landscaper
    11 years ago

    I am trying to propogate an apple tree from cuttings.
    The tree was started by planting seeds in a pot.
    Good luck to everyone and HAPPY GARDENING.

  • generator_00
    11 years ago

    bren-landscaper, What are you doing to get the cuttings to root? What kind of seed did you use initially? I would like to try the same thing if it works.

  • generator_00
    11 years ago

    Well, the yellow transparent apple tree is planted deep with rooting hormone on the wounded. buried trunk. Now all I have to do is wait and see.

  • hajijemal_ymail_com
    9 years ago

    plsease send me Apple tree propagation technique

  • ricjo22
    9 years ago

    i have a very helpful book you may want to lok for-the reference manual of woody plant production by michael dirr and cw hueser jr

  • Dardons
    8 years ago

    This winter has been very windy. About two months ago the wind blow my children trampoline into my 4 year old apple tree breaking a lot of its top branches. One month later there was a nice sunny day and while walking by the tree I saw the branches and I decided to put them on a jag with a bit of water inside the house. About a week ago I saw that there were new leafs on some of the branches. I pull the branches from the jag and I couldn't see any roots. Now that I am seeing those new leafs, I want to do something to make sure that these branches have a chance to succeed.
    I don't know any thing about propagation, what do you recommend me to do? please some help.


  • Konrad___far_north
    8 years ago

    Yeah...growing from cuttings is really not advisable, looks like ladylotus found this out?
    A update would be nice.

    Your branch grew out a bit from the stored energy which was still left in the wood, ...then, most certainly going downhill until dry.
    Hopefully, you should be OK with the tree growing out new shoots.

  • calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9
    8 years ago

    Prunings from dormant fruit trees, just left on the ground, will grow leaves with what energy is in the wood, but they will not grow roots.

    georgez5IL mentions using Golden Delicious seedlings for root stock. I agree with that practice. We have no rain in the summer here and if we are to grow apples without irrigation, as we do, we need a really able root to use all the moisture from the winter rains. As you might guess this root has NO dwarfing effect, but we accept that. Al

  • Vic Darel
    4 years ago

    This is an old thread but I thought I would comment anyway. I have read lots of comments about propagation of apples by rooting cuttings as being inadvisable.

    This is probably reasonable, but I believe there is very little to lose.

    Depending on local conditions I believe it possible with a little luck and perhaps enough cuttings. I know my grandparents did this in the Fraser Valley in BC and while I recall it being of limited effectiveness it did work. Weather conditions there were typically suitable. High humidity and fertile soil.

    I remember young wood cuttings perhaps 3 feet long being direct planted in the garden in the spring. Later that year at least a few had made it. Not good odds but as far as my Grandpa was concerned very limited input.

    Grafting is probably much easier but in absence of rootstock perhaps worth a try. Being a bit of a novice myself I understand the line of thinking.

    With a little practice I agree - it turns out that even growing ones own rootstock is probably more effective.