How to propagate malus cuttings

Lazylightningny

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I've never propagated cuttings before. Could someone instruct me on how to propagate malus cuttings? Time of year? Media? Method? Etc.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I did it once. Don't know what type of apple though.
Took a couple of cuttings in spring during the final days of dormancy. The branches were somewhere in between 1 and 3 years old. They were powdered with rooting powder and I put them in sphagnum in a humidity dome.
They callused pretty fast and sent out roots just after producing some foliage (6-8 weeks? Around that mark).
Then the wood lice came, they reduced the roots to zero in a couple of days and the project was over.
 

Lazylightningny

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I did it once. Don't know what type of apple though.
Took a couple of cuttings in spring during the final days of dormancy. The branches were somewhere in between 1 and 3 years old. They were powdered with rooting powder and I put them in sphagnum in a humidity dome.
They callused pretty fast and sent out roots just after producing some foliage (6-8 weeks? Around that mark).
Then the wood lice came, they reduced the roots to zero in a couple of days and the project was over.
Sorry to hear that. Bonsai is full of well-intended failures, isn't it? :)
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Sorry to hear that. Bonsai is full of well-intended failures, isn't it? :)
Oh boy, it sure is! And some of them would've been success stories, IF IT WEREN'T FOR THOSE DAMN WOODLICE!

I don't know what the weather is like in NY right now, but if it's spring like here, you can always do air layers. Apples are about as fast as cherries. In two, maybe three months from now, they could be on their own roots. But here too, watch out for the wood lice! Crustaceans, on land, in trees, chewing roots.. Absolutely weird.
 

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Most varieties of apple root well, others are more difficult.
Dormant hardwood cuttings in winter are easiest. Pencil thick young wood is best. It is possible to root straight in the ground but a propagating mix would be better. Even though they are dormant you still need to keep humidity up or the dry out without roots.
Summer cuttings of softer wood is also possible if you can keep the humidity high with a cover over the cuttings.
 
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I made a hardwood cutting from my crabapple tree last summer, and put it in water to see if it would grow roots. It's pencil thick, and it grew roots, so I potted it in the fall. Critters knocked it over many times, so I've had to replace the soil more than once. Anyway, now it's more secure and is growing well. Malus are tough and store lots of carbs, so cuttings should be pretty easy any way you try them.
 

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How do you know if the cutting has produced roots? Remove from the soil or just wait til you see them at the bottom of the pot (or C...)?
 

Shibui

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I usually leave cuttings in the pots until roots appear at the bottom. That means there is roots, not just random shoots on top and also allows the roots to gain some strength before you start knocking them around with repotting.

Occasionally when it seems to be taking far too long I'll carefully knock the whole mass out on the other hand and gently slip the pot off to check around the edge of the cutting mix. If I do this carefully enough the whole thing stays together like a sand castle and the pot an be carefully slipped back into place and returned right side up and back on the propagating bed again.

Best not to be tipping them out just to check because new roots are really brittle and can just drop off really easy. Be patient and wait for roots to appear.
 

Woocash

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I usually leave cuttings in the pots until roots appear at the bottom. That means there is roots, not just random shoots on top and also allows the roots to gain some strength before you start knocking them around with repotting.

Occasionally when it seems to be taking far too long I'll carefully knock the whole mass out on the other hand and gently slip the pot off to check around the edge of the cutting mix. If I do this carefully enough the whole thing stays together like a sand castle and the pot an be carefully slipped back into place and returned right side up and back on the propagating bed again.

Best not to be tipping them out just to check because new roots are really brittle and can just drop off really easy. Be patient and wait for roots to appear.
That’s what I thought. I’ve got some apple cutting started right when you and guy wires suggest above which still look healthy, but no roots showing yet. Same with some maples. Guess I’ll just keep waiting a while.
 

Lazylightningny

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That's the advantage of starting it in water. Wait until you see strong roots.
I thought about doing this.
Do you change the water often or put any hormone in it or anything? I’m going to try a few things.
I saw a youtube experiment where a guy took cuttings from the same parent plant and put them in 4 glasses: one with plain tap water, tap water plus rooting hormone, plain hydroponic solution, and hydroponic solution plus rooting hormone. He checked results after 9 days. The two with the rooting hormone grew zero roots. The plain hydroponic solution grew weak roots. The one in regular tap water grew strong roots. We don't know what his variables were in this experiment, and it was only one plant in each category, but the results were clear.
 

Woocash

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I thought about doing this.
I saw a youtube experiment where a guy took cuttings from the same parent plant and put them in 4 glasses: one with plain tap water, tap water plus rooting hormone, plain hydroponic solution, and hydroponic solution plus rooting hormone. He checked results after 9 days. The two with the rooting hormone grew zero roots. The plain hydroponic solution grew weak roots. The one in regular tap water grew strong roots. We don't know what his variables were in this experiment, and it was only one plant in each category, but the results were clear.
Good to know. I saw @Leo in N E Illinois mention about putting willow stems in the water releases hormones which aids in root growth sometimes. As long as you change the willow stems when they start to root themselves. I keep meaning to give it a try.
 

Lazylightningny

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Good to know. I saw @Leo in N E Illinois mention about putting willow stems in the water releases hormones which aids in root growth sometimes. As long as you change the willow stems when they start to root themselves. I keep meaning to give it a try.
There's someone here who keeps one of his bonsai in his pond, thus dispelling the myth about roots standing in water getting root rot. I think it's more that the standing water in a pot becomes oxygen depleted and contributes to anaerobic respiration, creating alcohol, and killing the roots. The water itself won't do this. That supports changing the water on a regular basis, as oxygen will dissipate from the water in a glass.
 

Woocash

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That certainly is an interesting theory. I wonder if it has any scientific credence. As in, has there been any extensive research into the idea? By that extension, I wonder what would happen if you bare rooted a plant and kept it in a bowl of water, changing it daily.
 

Lazylightningny

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That certainly is an interesting theory. I wonder if it has any scientific credence. As in, has there been any extensive research into the idea? By that extension, I wonder what would happen if you bare rooted a plant and kept it in a bowl of water, changing it daily.
Hmm, I may go buy something at Home Depot and give it a try.
 

Quince

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I stuck crabapple cuttings collected around fathers day and kept in a tent with a humidifier on a timer. By September some were growing well, but none survived the winter. I have had much better luck with air layers.
 

Lazylightningny

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Based on my post at #12 I decided to strike some cuttings. I removed 4 new softwood shoots, cut off the bottom 2 leaves and stuck them in a glass with tap water. They are throwing roots already. I'll keep this thread updated as they grow more. This was sold to me as a Japanese crabapple a few years ago.

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