Plum or cherry blossom tree from cutting?

tanlu

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Hi everyone,

Does anyone know if it's possible to start a plum or cherry blossom tree from a cutting?

If so, when is the best time to do it and how?

Can they thicken up quickly?

I've never grown anything but pines, so this should be interesting.
 

jk_lewis

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Hi everyone,

Does anyone know if it's possible to start a plum or cherry blossom tree from a cutting?

Yes. You can. Genus Prunus is sometime difficult, but it's definately possible.

If so, when is the best time to do it and how?

Spring and early summer

Can they thicken up quickly?

No. Bonsai is a sport of patience.
 

jquast

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Does anyone know how easily Prunus will take by air layer?

Thanks,
Jeff
 

milehigh_7

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I will just tell you what I have read in Dirr and Heuser "The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation" that it depends on the species you are dealing with. There are some fairly specific methods by which successful rooting percentages are obtained.

If you have a specific species in mind I will look in my copy but if you are going to do any amount of propagation I would recommend getting this book. The second edition is available from Amazon.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Can they thicken up quickly?

No. Bonsai is a sport of patience.

Actually, Flowering Cherry will thicken up very quickly, you can add about an inch of diameter a year if you are in a favorable climate. The trick is getting taper and movement...this necessitates trunk chops, and will require a little time, but you should get a 3"-5" trunk in 5-7 years in a warm climate.

This Yoshino cherry seedling is 5 years old, and has a 3" trunk 2" above the roots. A couple more years and this will have a great nebari and a fat trunk with a few curves.
 

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tanlu

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Thanks everyone! Your input has been helpful.

So what kind of root hormone should I use if I want to propagate these? How young does the wood have to be in order for them to successfully take root?

If I were to purchase a small tree from a nursery, could I technically chop off the whole top of the tree, prune off most of the roots and still walk away with a tree that will bud in the spring?
 

rockm

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Rooting hormone is pretty useless when used on roots, despite what you hear around bonsai boards.

Rooting hormone acts as a switch for NON-ROOT tissue to produce roots. In other words, it won't really stimulate root tissue on root tissue, since root tissue is already root tissue. Rooting hormone can actually slow down rooting when placed on roots. It is meant to stimulate roots on trunks and branches.

FWIW, I would avoid trying to air layer any of the species you've listed unless you run across some very interesting twisted old branches. You can usually do better just buying a $15 sapling at a nursery and chopping it or planting it out for a while. The results are more reliable and you've got more going at the beginning with a larger plant with a set of roots already in place.

Trunk chops can be done just before bud burst in the spring. Root reduction can trunk chops can be done at the same time, but alternating a trunk chop one year, then reducing the roots the next can be a little easier on the tree. Fruit trees are quite vigorous (unless you're dealing with a specialist grafted variety--avoid those).

Be warned, fruit species are notorious for attracting bugs--all kinds of them.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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So what kind of root hormone should I use if I want to propagate these? How young does the wood have to be in order for them to successfully take root?

Just about any powder should work. Do it in June, just as the leaves are hardened off, using semi-hardwood (just barking up). I've noticed that if you remove 3/4 of each leaf on the cutting, it has a better chance of surviving.

If I were to purchase a small tree from a nursery, could I technically chop off the whole top of the tree, prune off most of the roots and still walk away with a tree that will bud in the spring?

Technically, yes. The biggest challenge would be to find something in a nursery that is not grafted. If you can find that, you could bare-root it, comb out the roots so they're radial, and stick it in the ground. Every year or two thereafter, do a chop to build some taper and movement. Once the trunk is satisfactory, dig it up, work out the roots again, and shift it to an oversized bonsai pot.
 

garywood

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Rooting hormone acts as a switch for NON-ROOT tissue to produce roots. In other words, it won't really stimulate root tissue on root tissue, since root tissue is already root tissue.

Mark, would you clarify this please? What is "root tissue"? and what makes it root tissue?
Wood
 

rockm

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Without getting into the specifics of auxins and hormone effects--which I will quickly botch:D, the basic principle behind rooting hormone on air layers is to get a plant to produce root tissues in stem tissues (above ground tissues) that have not produced roots.

The root system ALREADY produces roots. It doesn't need to be "told" through hormones to produce them. Adding rooting hormones to roots is telling it to do the same thing twice. It's not necessary. Additionally, there is evidence, if I read stuff correctly, that adding a lot of rooting hormones to roots can inhibit their elongation and other complications.

It is a complex subject and I probably have an oversimplified idea of what's going on,
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Auxin
 

ichoudhury

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Technically, yes. The biggest challenge would be to find something in a nursery that is not grafted.

I was about to state that and then noticed that you've already brought it up. Few months ago, I was at a Lowe's and saw some 75% off Trees :D ... so I thought .. why not attempt a Bonsai with one of those :p ...

Well, to my dismay .. most of them are high graft:rolleyes::rolleyes: .. if I chop them down, I would definitely kiss goodby to that Tree I wanted in the first place.
 

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