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Old 06-16-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
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Cloning apple tree?

So we got an apple tree in our yard which is quite overgrown (bears several apples but is way too tall). we were thinking of cutting off limbs and putting them in the ground in hopes that it would grow new apple trees.

When is the best time of the year to do this? my first thought would be in the early spring or late fall, because that is normally when you transplant trees, because you dig up the tree and a lot of the root system. but i figure this situation is different because you're cutting off a limb from above the ground, so wouldn't you want to do this when all the nutrients are above ground and not below in the roots, like during the summer?

As for growing trees from limbs, we've done this several times and it works. just cut off a limb that has several branches, and bury the whole thing while exposing one of the branches out of the ground.


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Old 06-16-2011, 08:16 PM   #2
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when i clone i use rooting hormones they come in powder form or gel form they help the root system... i make sure to take the newest growth off the branch tho not a thick bark covered piece. i have only done this a few time at my old house with some lilac bushes. i start them in a peat pot then transplant that into a a regular pot then when it looks healthy enough i put it in the ground usually in spring never tried it in the fall. not saying that what u said about burying a stick wont work i have never tried it.


Last edited by rollinastang; 06-16-2011 at 08:19 PM.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:20 PM   #3
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I have never heard of burying entire limbs of apple trees and getting them to take and turn into apple trees.

Apple seeds contain the DNA for apple trees.

Layering is a method you might try. It involves scraping the bark from a young branch, covering it with peat or or other moss, and sealing it tight with plastic. It will take awhile but roots will form in the scraped region. The advantage layering has over other cloning techniques is that you rely on the health of the existing plant---in this case and apple tree---to keep things alive until you are ready to cut of the layered branch and plant it is a tree.

Of course you can graft apple branches to other root stock. I had a lovely apple tree that grew five varieties at once that was all about grafted stock.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ligyron View Post
As for growing trees from limbs, we've done this several times and it works. just cut off a limb that has several branches, and bury the whole thing while exposing one of the branches out of the ground.
With an Apple tree? That normally works well for poplar, willow family, many bushes, but doesn't work with the majority of trees. I looked it up and it is possible with softwood cuttings.

As another poster pointed out, air layering is going to be a option. This should likely be started early spring and left until you have a good chunk of roots, which could take a good chunk of summer. You could still try it now and see what happens.

I suspect your going to find out that it is a lot harder than you think to propagate most species from cuttings, that just sticking it in the ground. If it was that easy, everyone that owned a bit of land would have a nursery. There is a lot more too it. I would love to hear from you if it works out and roots well for you. Cuttings that have started to harden off might root with a stronger hormone with bottom heat. Lots of stuff will root with an intermittent misting setup, but it can take a longggg time.

Your talking about a lot of effort and for what? To save $30 on a new apple tree?

Apple trees are normally grafted onto different root stock that is more hardy and which also dictates the size of the mature tree. If you do root a cutting, it will be a full size apple tree and may not be as hardy as a normal tree.
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