Q. I pruned a rare copper beech tree in my yard recently. Can I used the pruned branches, now in water and rooting, to propagate new trees?
Beech trees are usually propagated from seed, because cuttings may not survive through the winter, even if they have developed roots and buds. But some gardeners have had success growing trees from cuttings using the following method: Fill a 5-gallon plastic pail two-thirds full with a two-to-one mixture of peat moss and perlite. Soak this with water and a controlled-release fertilizer such as Osmocote. Place the cuttings about 6 - 8 inches into the damp mixture. Lightly tamp the mixture down around the cuttings.
It is important to keep the rooting mixture moist but not wet, and to keep the humidity levels constant. One method to do this is to cut off the bottom of a milk jug using a utility knife, then put the milk jug over the cutting to hold in moisture. Place the bucket in a sheltered location with some sun. By three to four weeks the cutting should have a well-developed root system and be ready for transplanting.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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