How to propagate from very large root

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My home owners' association has opted to remove a beautiful, healthy flowering cherry tree in front of our condo (scheduled for May 1st). I believe it's a kwanzan from the blooms but I don't think anyone here knows. I am attempting to save any parts of it that I can through vegetative propagation. January was my earliest notice, so I didn't have much time to work with.

I took about 20 cuttings before any leaves or flowers started opening, and most of those started growing roots in water, but all died shortly after transferring to pots with sphagnum, perlite, and potting soil. I think I needed a humidity tent. Is it still possible to take cuttings now that the tree is in leaf?

I attempted to start three large air layers at the same time. Those all healed over, with one of them showing a few white bumps that looked like the start of roots. I re-girdled by removing a half-inch ring of cambium in the same spot, scraping a bit deeper into the wood this time. Two weeks later, none of the branches are wilting or showing any signs of trauma at least. I know it's ambitious to try to layer branches so thick (0.75", 1" and 1.5"), but I figured it was worth a try. With such vigorous leaf growth at the moment, what are the odds they'll have sufficient roots that they can be cut by May 1st and survive?

My third, and probably main question, since it may have a higher chance of survival, and because I have no experience propagating anything via root cuttings: I scored some of the surface roots of the tree, hoping to encourage suckers. One has showed up, but it is on a root that's about a 6" diameter. I have no idea how to excavate and remove this sucker, or whether it is even possible. If I were to saw off the root on either side of the sucker, and dig a 2 foot wide hole around it, would there likely be any feeder roots on the underside of this big root, or just more huge, woody roots branching off? Also, if I could recover it with any feeder roots intact, would there be any chance in future years of developing this flat, horizontal square with a thin trunk in the center into a smoothly tapering tree? Would it be worth trying?

Full tree:
20190405_165519.jpg
Root with shoot:
20190413_150421.jpg
Air layer in progress:
20190418_130747.jpg
 

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
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Is it still possible to take cuttings now that the tree is in leaf?
Yes.
Remove all but 1 to 3 leaves on each cutting before striking.
what are the odds they'll have sufficient roots that they can be cut by May 1st and survive?
I guess close to zero. But having no idea where you are, I may be overly pessimistic. Comparable layers take 4+ months in my climate and I've had some need multiple years.
I have no idea how to excavate and remove this sucker, or whether it is even possible. If I were to saw off the root on either side of the sucker,
A flowering cherry is a cherry that doesn't bear fruit. Hence, they don't grow from seed. Hence they are grafted. IOW, this would be trying to propagate the root stock which is actually a different variety than what you're trying to 'save'.

You say 'sucker' but seem to just mean it in a slang sense. In gardening, a sucker is a new leafed shoot that sprouts from the root. These are generally easier to root than cuttings from branch tips. But, again, these are not the flowering cherry you are trying to 'save'.
 
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@0soyoung thanks for the advice. I'll try a few more cuttings.

I'm in Sacramento (9b I believe). The projected highs for this week are in the 80s (fahrenheit). I suppose I won't give too much more thought to the air layers then. If they work, they work. If not, I doubt there's much I can do now.

When I say sucker I am in fact referring to shoots off of roots. I wasn't sure if flowering cherries were typically grafted or not (though I assumed some sort of vegetative propagation). The shoot I'm talking about has similar looking leaves to the top of the tree. Is it likely to have ugly flowers, no flowers, or just somewhat different flowers from the variety on top? I've been able to observe the top growth more, but neither the scion nor rootstock has a known pedigree or name - just cherry, so I'm not sure that I value the top variety any more than the rootstock to be honest.
 

R3x

Mame
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Trees like these are usually grafted. I have very similar one currently in bloom. Notice the change of bark texture few inches below where the branches come from. So what @0soyoung says is probably true. The understock is usually some wild cherry (similar leaves) not having anywhere near as nice flowers as the grafted stock. So if you want to save it your option probably is attempting rooting cuttings again. However this is not some rare cultivar so even if you failed you can get such tree easily in nursery.
 

Shibui

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Almost certainly grafted onto a rootstock. Over here they mostly use 'mazzard' cherry as stock. The leaves of the sucker will look like the top. They are both cherry species!
Cherry grows quite well from root cuttings but that's hardly any use because you'll only be growing the rootstock. I also find suckers easy to root. They will often root as a cutting but even if there is only a trace of a root growing they will almost certainly survive a transplant with only minor care.
You can strike cuttings even after the tree starts to grow but it becomes progressively more difficult as the leaves emerge. Given that you will soon lose the tree I would try more cuttings again. Transferring cuttings struck in water into soil can be difficult. far better to strike direct into a growing medium.

I have successfully removed layers with very few roots. I would even have tried the one with the few white bumps which will be the start of roots. Getting roots started is the hard bit. They grow rapidly after that especially if you cut off the supply of water and nutrients by removing from the mother tree.
 

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