Ask a Question forum: Cloning a Chinese pistache tree

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worstnight
Feb 10, 2016 8:57 PM CST
My daughter is renting a house in Tyler, Texas, with a gorgeous Chinese pistache (also called Chinese pistachio) in the yard. I want to root cuttings of this tree - if that is possible. I have heard using a "willow tea" improves the odds of cutting survival. Lucky me, a friend has a willow tree in her yard! My questions: How long should the cuttings be and how deeply should they be planted? Any idea how long it would be before I should be able to see signs of life? I have been squirreling away several empty 5-gallon water jugs to use as incubators. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Feb 11, 2016 11:50 AM CST
Welcome to ATP. Welcome!

I think the first problem with your plan is that Pistache trees are grafted. If you take a root cutting, you will be growing whatever was used for root stock. Sighing!

You could try grafting a cutting onto another closely related tree. If this tree produces seed, you could possibly grow your own rootstock.

Or you couldd try growing it from a cutting. According to my propagation guide, the best time to do that is mid summer with softwood cuttings.

Daisy

worstnight
Feb 11, 2016 1:08 PM CST
That certainly is discouraging. I didn't realize Pistache trees are grafted. I am now wondering if I actually DID manage to get a cutting to root - would it even survive in Texas' often brutal summers with the natural root of the Pistache tree.

The Pistache tree is a male tree, so seeds are not an option. I could actually PURCHASE a Pistache tree, but risk getting a tree with not-so-brilliant coloration, as individual trees often have completely different fall colors. It appears I am going to have to rethink this problem.

Are you CERTAIN Pistache trees are grafted onto another root stock? I have no idea what my root stock options would be. Do you have suggestions? I may have bitten off more than I can chew regarding this project. Sighing!
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Feb 11, 2016 1:38 PM CST
Down towards the soil line on the trunk of the tree, look for a change in trunk texture or size. If the tree isn't too big, look for what looks like a 'V' or slash where the root and the trunk came together. If you can, send a photo of the tree trunk from ground level up and we will look too.

Your tree could be seed grown but if it was produced commercially, it is grafted. The growers can get a jump start on tree size by grafting. Very few commercially grown trees are not grafted.

If its a variety, a horticulturist may be able to give you a name.

Rooting a cutting is still an option. It sould be able to handle your Texas summers.

Daisy

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