The Q&A Archives: tree cuttings for starters.

Question: When do we take our cuttings from our cottonwood, weeping willow, and eucalyptus trees? What other trees will thrive in the southern california high deserts?

Answer: To propagate trees, take softwood cuttings in early summer, or semi-ripe cuttings in late summer. (Softwood cuttings are new growth that is still pliable; semi-ripe are those same stems, but by the end of summer are developing bark at the base where they meet the limb.) Cut a stem that's about 12" long, remove the lower leaves, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and place it in the ground or in a pot filled with moistened growing medium. All the trees you mention should root readily and you'll know roots have developed when new leaves appear along the stem or at the top of the cutting.

Some trees to consider include Honey Mesquite
Chinese Elm
Seedless Cottonwood
Fruitless Mulberry

Best wishes with your landscape!

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