Can You Root Pine Branches – Conifer Cutting Propagation Guide
The following are some interesting facts about pine trees:
Pine trees have been growing since the beginning of time. They were probably used for building purposes in ancient times. They are still used today for such things as furniture, doors, windows, etc. Some pine species produce cones which can be easily grown from cuttings. Other species require special conditions to grow from cuttings.
There are many different types of pine trees. There are two main kinds: Pinus sylvestris (white pines) and Pinus rigida (black pines). White pines include whitebark, lodgepole pine, western red cedar, and Douglas fir. Black pines include black gum, southern magnolia, black locust, black walnut, and eastern hemlock. All these varieties of pine trees can be rooted from cuttings.
For some species it can be very easy to grow from cuttings. For others, it can be quite difficult. It is also quite easy to root seed from pine cones. This guide will tell you how to do both these things.
How To Root Pinus sylvestris (White Pines) From Cuttings
Pine trees belonging to this family are fairly easy to root from cuttings. Take a potted plant and make a pruning cut at the base. Take a cutting of about 3-4 inches in length. Make sure it has at least two nodes or “knuckles”. To create a node, just bend the stem until it snaps.
Each broken point will now grow into a new shoot if placed in water.
The best time of year to take cuttings is during the spring, however they can be taken at any time of the year. Take the cuttings and dip the bottom 1/3 of the cutting into a rooting hormone. This helps it to root faster and better.
Now take the cuttings and place them into water. This will prevent them from dying while you’re preparing your chosen pot. The next step is to remove all the leaves from the lower part of the cutting. This exposes the nodes which will produce new shoots if placed in water.
Afterwards, place the cuttings into a pot of sand and perlite. This is to retain water while the cutting is establishing its root system. The next step is to keep the cuttings in a shady place until you see new growth appearing on them. Make sure the new shoots do not receive any strong sunlight until they are well rooted. If they do, they are likely to die.
After about six weeks you can plant the rooted cuttings into small pots and harden them off. This means placing them outdoors during the day, then bringing them in at night. After a few days you can leave them out for longer periods of time until they are able to remain outside all night long. At this point they can be planted in their permanent positions.
How To Root Other Pine Trees From Cuttings
There are several other species of pines that can be rooted from cuttings. These include jack, mugo, Norway, Taiwan, and Scots. Many of these can also be grown from seed.
The first thing you need to do is take a look at the bottom of the pine cone. If you see a large number of seeds, then it can be grown from seed. You also need to take a look at the mature tree to see if it hasa sufficiently straight trunk. If you do not see a large number of seeds or they do not have a straight trunk then it must be rooted from cuttings.
What you need to do is take 10-12 inch long tip cuttings. Cut off the top few needles to expose the wood. Dip the bottom 1/3 of the cutting into rooting hormone. Place the cuttings into a pot filled with perlite and water. Keep the cuttings in a shady spot until you start seeing new growth.
After a few weeks, the rooted cuttings can be potted up.
You should only start taking cuttings after a year has passed since you first planted the tree. You must take very young shoots that are growing at a 90 degree angle to the trunk. Cut them off leaving 3-4 eyes or nodes. Each cutting should be around 4-6 inches long.
After you have made your cuttings, dip the bottom 1/3 of the stem into rooting hormone. Now place the cuttings into a pot of perlite and water. Keep them in a shady spot for 4-6 weeks to allow them to develop a root system. After that time, they can be potted up individually and eventually be planted outdoors.
So there you have the basics of propagating new pines from cuttings. The other thing you can do is collect pinecones and allow them to naturally seed. This takes longer, but is free. To do it, simply wait for the pinecones to open up and release their seeds. Some of these will grow into baby pines.
These are known as baby pines and will grow very slowly. They can be used for landscaping or moved into pots and given sufficient time (10-15 years), they can grow into mature trees.
Sources & references used in this article:
Flora of Alberta: a manual of flowering plants, conifers, ferns, and fern allies found growing without cultivation in the Province of Alberta, Canada by EH Moss, EH Moss, JG Packer – 1983 – books.google.com
The grafter’s handbook by RJ Garner – 2013 – books.google.com
The conifer manual by HJ Welch – 2012 – books.google.com
Propagation manual of selected gymnosperms by AJ Fordham, LJ Spraker – Arnoldia, 1977 – JSTOR
Guide to wildlife feeding injuries on conifers in the Pacific Northwest by WH Lawrence – 1996 – books.google.com
Domestication for conservation of an endangered species: the case of the Wollemi pine by SJ Trueman, GS Pegg, J King – Tree and Forestry Science and …, 2007 – era.daf.qld.gov.au
Early field growth of loblolly pine rooted cuttings and seedlings by J Frampton, B Li, B Goldfarb – Southern Journal of Applied …, 2000 – academic.oup.com
The New England Wild Flower Society guide to growing and propagating wildflowers of the United States and Canada by W Cullina – 2000 – books.google.com