The Q&A Archives: Propagating Blue Spruce

Question: Can I use a branch to propagate a blue spruce tree? If not what other alternatives? (if seedlings are not available). I want to perserve tree without moving it. Skip Slaven Lowellville, OH

Answer: Blue Spruce can be propagated either from seed or cuttings. The seeds need no pretreatment. Cuttings can be rooted and are best taken in winter although cuttings taken in April rooted 80% in 8 weeks after treatment with 100 ppm IBA with a 24 hour soak.Cuttings of narrow-leaved evergreens must be rooted under moisture conditions that will prevent excessive drying as they ususally are slow to root, sometimes taking several months to a year. Spruce tend to take longer, especially if taken form older trees. Treatment with a rooting hormone at high concentrations is usually beneficial. Cuttings are best taken between late fall and late winter. Rapid handling of the cuttings after the mateiral is taken from the tree is important. Cuttings are best rooted in high humidity and high light conditions. Heavy wetting of the leaves is to be avoided...a light misting is preferable. Use a humidifier or keep the rooting flat in a plastic bag or construct a propagation tent with a floor of moistened peat moss.(Wear a mask when working with the peat...the dust is bad for your lungs). Dipping the cuttings into a fungicide helps prevent disease attacks. Sand alone is a good media to use. The cuttings should be 4-8 inches long with all the leaves removed from the lower half. Mature terminal shoots of the previous season's growth are ususally used. Wound the basal end to promote rooting.

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