Propagating Trees and Shrubs from Hardwood Cuttings

Posted by Dingdong's Garden on

Introduction to Plant Propagation

There is something magical about propagating plants from cuttings. Perhaps it is because we learned that plants must grow from seed. Or maybe it is the explosive growth we witness when plants propagated from a stick that benefits from much greater stored energy than a tiny seed. Either way, sticking a cutting in a pot and watching it grow is a fun way to multiply your plants, create gifts, and have something green in your apartment until spring arrives.

There are many plants that will root from dormant hardwood cuttings (prunings taken during the late autumn or winter when the plant is dormant). Some of these include willow, fig, mulberry, forsythia, jostaberry, gooseberry, rose of sharon, poplar, boxwood, blueberry, dogwood, currants, elderberry, weigela, viburnum, spirea, and ninebark.

We have gathered some resources here to show how some dormant cuttings can be propagated.

General Propagation Techniques for Hardwood Cuttings 

There are many methods to propagating hardwood cuttings. They can be propagated indoors or outdoors. Some need rooting hormone, some don't. Some are sensitive to drying out or are sensitive to rot or both. Here are some resources that provide a general overview:

Propagating Willows, Cottonwoods, and Dogwoods from Hardwood Cuttings

Willow is considered the easiest plant to reproduce from hardwood cuttings. This is primarily because they already possess higher levels of rooting hormone. There are a wide range of willow types. They can be used as shade trees, source material for weaving, living structures like a ‘fedge’, and the branches of a curly willow or others loaded with fuzzy catkins can be used as decoration. Cottonwoods and dogwoods are also relatively easy to propagate and are frequently mentioned together with willows when discussing propagation.
  • Iowa State University Extension has a brief description on how to propagate willows in the ground in spring. “How can I propagate willow?”
  • Jason at Fraser Valley Rose Farm has many great videos on propagating roses, but also has an excellent one here on propagating willows and dogwoods in pots. "Grow Willow from Cuttings (dogwood too)"
  • Casey Hentges from the Oklahoma Gardening Channel discusses several different varieties and talks about rooting willows using water in this video. "Propagating Willows"

Propagating Figs and Mulberries from Hardwood Cuttings

Figs are an extremely popular fruit tree to grow from cuttings. Mulberries are in the same Moracaea family as figs and can be propagated using similar techniques. Both are vigorous growers and fruit on first year wood. Most of the information below refers to figs, but the same techniques can be used to root many kinds of mulberries.

Propagating Currants and Gooseberries from Hardwood Cuttings

Popular in Europe, the dormant hardwood cuttings of currants and gooseberries are easy to root. They can be propagated indoors or outdoors.

Propagating Spiraea from Hardwood Cuttings

We hope you find these resources helpful and will post more along with additional types of plants in the future. Until then, happy propagating!

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