The Q&A Archives: Propagation Of Maple

Question: Is it possible to root cuttings of the acer palmatum tree? If so, when is the best time of year to do this? Also, I have seen references in catalogs to a 'witch's broom'of certain maples being the start of a new variety. What is a witch's broom and how is it used in maple tree reproduction?

Answer: Witches Broom is a proliferation of growth, generally due to an injury and the invasion of fungi. I wouldn't use an affected branch as stock for a new tree! According to James Dirr's Manual of Woody Plants, 6 to 8 inch softwood stem cuttings should be taken in July, wounded, treated with a strong rooting hormone, and stuck into a peat and perlite potting mix. They should be kept under mist until they have rooted (this can take months) at which point they should be left alone to undergo a normal winter dormancy or should be set under supplemental light and encouraged into active growth.
It is possible to take root cuttings, but these are very difficult to root, which is one of the reasons the majority of maples are grafted rather than on their own roots.

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