Trees and Shrubs forum→Cuttings from Trees - Need Info

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Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Nov 1, 2019 12:00 PM CST
Has anyone ever taken cuttings from a well-established tree? Not sure if it makes a difference how old it is, but I read that a cutting should be taken from the top and there is no way I will get up there.

We have a tree at work that I really like, but I have no idea what kind (thinking maple). Is it feasible to take cuttings and if so, how would I go about it?

Thanks!

This is probably around 20 feet tall. Get to look at it from my office window!
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Name: Bea
(Zone 8b)
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bumplbea
Nov 1, 2019 4:42 PM CST
Yes you can take cuttings from green wood about 8" long strip off all leaves except the top two. Dip cutting in plant propagation hormone or make your own from soaking willow twigs over night. Place all the way down in 2" sterile soilless pot . Keep soil moist cover cuttings . Place in warm area with sunlight. Keep clear plastic cover over pot until two new leaves bud then remove the plastic covering. The plastic clear covering will keep the leaves from drying out photosynthesis is needed for root growth.

It will take approx 4-6 weeks to see good results. Keep an eye on them if moisture develops on the plastic covering the plastic will need to be turned back to allow air to cycle in to clear the excess moisture. Air, light, warmth is key. Use sterile equipment to avoid virus or damage during this cycle.

Take several cuttings not every cutting will take. Good luck.
I’m so busy... “I don’t know if I found a rope or lost a horse.”
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Nov 1, 2019 7:28 PM CST
That is probably a Red Maple (Acer rubrum) or Freeman Maple (Acer x freemanii) selection.
John
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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oneeyeluke
Nov 2, 2019 2:29 AM CST
Its against the law to take cuttings from any plant that has a Patent, unless you buy it first. Tree breeders spend years and years developing and working hard on the special traits you like before getting a Patent. Why don't you just buy yourself the same kind of tree and plant it in your yard, instead of stealing someone else's.
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
[Last edited by oneeyeluke - Nov 2, 2019 2:37 AM (+)]
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Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Nov 4, 2019 1:21 PM CST
Thanks, @Bumplebea for that info. I would like to do this now (November) if possible. Not sure if I would want it to grow leaves. Maybe spring would be best?

Thanks, @viburnumvalley. Here are some more pics just because I had the time at lunch to go out and take them. The colors are some of the prettiest I've seen. I did see something that bothered me when I took these pictures. Please notice the cross-branching on the third picture. These trees were just plopped in the ground 30 years ago and forgotten.

@oneeyeluke, I am glad you brought up the subject of patents, because I had not thought of that. I fully intend to ask the plant manager if I can take cuttings, so I certainly don't see it as stealing from the company. Without knowing the hybrid of the tree, I can't check the patent, but I did some research and plant patents are good for 20-25 years. So since this tree was planted on the property 30 years ago in 1989 when the plant was built, I also don't see it as stealing from the original patent owner. I will take into consideration anything else you have to say about patents if that is wrong. Interested in learning about patents in relation to propagating.

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May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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oneeyeluke
Nov 5, 2019 2:46 AM CST
To grow a tree from a stem cutting will take 50 years. I know you can't do what a professional tree growers do, but I will share how they propagate special trees.
The tree growers use another method for propagating trees which will give a 6 ft tree in 2 years. They take a mother tree in the Spring, and saw it off at the ground leaving 2 inchs of stump in the ground, and then they allow for new growth to grow from the sawed off stump. You can get as many as 10 new shoots growing out of the stump at one time. As the new shoots grow upwards, you pile a quality top soil on top of the stump. As the shoots grow you keep adding soil to the stump mound. By the end of Summer you will have a mound about 2 foot tall, and full of new roots on every shoot. In Fall take out the rooted 3 ft trees and plant them. Uncover the Mother tree and remove all the new trees and do it again the next year......IF A tree farm has 5 stumps, they can get 50 trees a year that are 3 to 6 ft tall. You can get trees off a stump for many years under the right conditions.
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
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blue23rose
Nov 5, 2019 5:53 AM CST
Thanks, @oneeyeluke. I had no idea how it was done, but that is very interesting. After looking at the tree at work again, I got to thinking about how many years it would take for a cutting to mature and you are right. I just need to buy a good sized tree because like you said, a cutting would take too many years. I just got caught up in the beauty of that tree this year.

I am retirement age, so I like to think that I am planting a tree for the next person who lives here to enjoy. I love this saying:

"Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
― Anonymous Greek Proverb

May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Nov 5, 2019 4:28 PM CST
Obviously a quote from an anonymous Greek male chauvinist!

Society can also grow pretty great when mature women plant trees whose shade they shall never sit in, either.

And - they can direct their male counterparts to rake the leaves - and make good pruning cuts - while they are still of sound mind.

I'm not sure where the professional tree growers are that oneeyeluke refers to, but they sure aren't making money with that methodology and I'll be surprised if they have 50% survival of transplants produced that way. But I don't live and garden in Texas - perhaps things just behave differently there.

I DO garden in the hazy hot humid Ohio River valley, and while patents should always be respected, one can learn a lot of things by reading (books and online) about that subject and its application in the landscape. Being that you garden in the Hoosier State, blue23rose, perhaps a half hour drive (or 6 hour stroll!) down to Mesker Park Zoo and visit to its fabulous landscaped grounds would be worth your time. Their director of horticulture is a fine gentleman I've long had the good fortune of knowing.

Conversely, there are several excellent native plant nurseries in your state, or nearby. I have purchased many plants from one in Lizton, outside Indianapolis. They are fine propagators, and produce stock sure to excel in your environment since they germinate seed only from sources acclimated to their zone 5 conditions. A very good nursery grows great native trees in Monee, IL. Finally, I have acquired plants the longest from a superior grower in Elsberry, MO - who produces 4-6' oak trees of 32 taxa (Quercus sp.) from acorns in one growing season. Now, THAT'S a professional tree grower.

Given the 30 years or so ago planting era of that Red Maple you favor, and your growing area, I suspect it is a 'Red Sunset' Red Maple. One of the most (if not THE most) commonly planted named selections of ornamental shade trees in the eastern United States, it does have excellent and reliable red/orange fall color - but it also has its woes. You've noted one - crossing branches if not observed and properly pruned. Red Maple as a species is also well-known to develop tight (= narrow) crotches in co-dominant stems. Worst, and evident in your pictures, Red Maple will inevitably have troubles with encircling or girdling roots when transplanted in larger calipers. It is a vociferous and vigorous producer of roots, and unobserved/unabated, it can and will eventually strangle itself when the circling root diameter and the tree's trunk diameter meet each other.

Many many many Red Maples of that era are ending their lives prematurely in landscapes of all kinds, due to that very condition.

I would plant a smaller tree, plant it properly, and take good care of it for several or five years to get it going well on its way. You will be rewarded for as long as you stick around to watch it, and you can be sure that generations after you will be thankful that you did.
John
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Nov 6, 2019 5:45 PM CST
@ViburnumValley, John, thanks for all your insight on this maple tree. I loved the reference to the Male chauvinist, lol!

Sad to think that trees with such beautiful leaves will die before they should because they were not taken care of.

I do need to go visit Mesker Park Zoo again. It has been a few years.

May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Nov 6, 2019 6:13 PM CST
A visit to nurseries that grow trees out from seed is a life-changing experience. That nursery in Lizton is just such a place.

Here are a couple pictures with the proprietor, walking between two blocks of Quercus bicolor (Swamp White Oak) seedlings in 3 gallon pots. Not particularly known for stellar fall color - typically a washed out yellow brown on significant specimens around here - these young plants were arrayed in hues of red, burgundy, orange, to yellow and yellow-brown. Many were still fully green, and these photos are from November 15, 2007 in central Indiana!

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Here is a picture of a block of Quercus rubra seedlings - Red Oak. It's obvious no one informed them what color they were uniformly supposed to be...

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One will never appreciate the variations in genetics in any one species of plant without such observation.
John
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
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blue23rose
Nov 7, 2019 5:23 AM CST
Wow. Those colors are different on the red oaks. Sets me to thinking about where all those trees are now 12 years later, how big they might be, and whose day they are brightening.

Thanks @ViburnumValley, for sharing those beautiful photos. That is an encouraging sight to see. We need more trees!

May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
Quitter's never Win
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oneeyeluke
Nov 7, 2019 8:19 AM CST
HOLY smokes they are growing cuttings in Haydite concrete wall blocks! Those should be ready in eight to ten years. How many times will those cuttings get transplanted before they are ready for market?
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Nov 7, 2019 5:56 PM CST
Those concrete blocks are merely the support structure.

These seedlings (NOT cuttings) are growing in fabric mesh containers of a variety of makes/models, after germination in trays. The 5" mesh bags fit right in the openings in the concrete blocks - which not only keep the mesh bag upright but also act as a good insulator against temperature fluctuations, hot or cold. Porous enough to allow water to freely drain and air/gaseous exchange, the concrete block also keeps the container/media from drying too rapidly.

The mesh bags create the environment for root tip air-pruning, forcing branching of main roots without causing circling/girdling roots. This generates a denser and more transplantable root mass when this plant goes for planting in its final home - increasing survivability exponentially over typical B&B plants with much more rapid establishment.

I think the hard-sided pots in the pictures are Rootmaker or some such, which are also designed to air-prune root tips and discourage encircling roots while in container.

I am NOT a time-tested nurseryman, but I've been to; purchased from; talked extensively with; and participated in more conferences and presentations than you can shake a well-pruned stick at. Oaks produced in this fashion, planted along parkways in Louisville KY at 2" caliper about 21 years ago, are now approaching 18" caliper and are roughly 30' tall depending on species (Q. macrocarpa, Q. bicolor, Q. shumardii, Q. imbricaria - 25 each). These are along busy city thoroughfares - not any sort of TLC environment like a homeowner might sustain in their yard.

I was sold on the production process by the nursery's presentation, and that opinion was galvanized when I saw no losses despite fall transplantation and local government's generally mild ability to properly manage newly planted trees. I have not lost enthusiasm since, but have only wished more horticultural entrepreneurs would pick up the baton and produce such trees closer to market.
John
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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oneeyeluke
Nov 8, 2019 10:19 AM CST
Wow super read ViburnumValley. Is the 100 % success mostly to do with the tap root growing from a seed?
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Nov 8, 2019 1:27 PM CST
I am learning a lot from this thread; thanks all.
Porkpal
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Nov 8, 2019 5:19 PM CST
Yes. I just love all the information about trees. It is so nice to learn from those that are willing to share their knowledge.

I had never given a thought to the concrete blocks providing insulation from the heat and cold. So interesting I tip my hat to you.

May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
[Last edited by blue23rose - Nov 10, 2019 7:26 AM (+)]
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Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
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ViburnumValley
Nov 9, 2019 10:31 PM CST
High success rate in transplant survival is due to significantly higher density of roots within similar soil volume - and NO TRANSPLANT SHOCK, due to severing of root volumes. Germinating oak acorns in shallow trays with open bottoms allows the tap root to be air-pruned early in life, and thus far easier to produce dense lateral root systems as the seedling is up-transplanted into larger growing containers.

B&B plants will ALWAYS have significant loss of root volume, when existing roots in field growing conditions are cut off, up to 90%. Container grown plants will bring with them nearly 100% of their roots, every time. The only losses of roots will be due to handling by the gardener when they put these plants in the ground.

Using properly grown plants from container regimes such as the Rootmaker or mesh bag or other similar conditions, means that there should be little or no circling root problems to relieve. It is never a bad idea to take such plants when planting during the dormant season, and wash/remove ALL the soil media so that you can see exactly what the root system looks like. You can do exactly the same thing when planting with dormant balled and burlapped plants, and compare.

Most gardeners will never do this, which is a shame. Nurseries, garden centers, and other purveyors of plant products rely on customers never understanding these things - much like excessive dependence on blanket systemic insecticides that kill everything, even beneficial insects like butterflies, honeybees, etc.

John
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Nov 10, 2019 7:44 AM CST
We bought two arborvitae many years ago that were balled and burlapped and they were planted with the burlap intact, but the string was cut. I didn't know much about plants at the time and went with whatever the landscapers were doing. Maybe that is how it is still done, but I don't know. The arborvitae eventually succumbed to bagworms and we had to take them out. I don't even like to leave plants in the little peat pots when I am planting them now. Why make those roots struggle any more than they have to.

Don't get me started on neonics! The only thing I use is Sevin dust/spray to attack the dreaded Japanese beetles between July and August.


May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Portland, Oregon (Zone 7b)
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Sallymander
Nov 15, 2019 5:12 AM CST
ViburnumValley said:Obviously a quote from an anonymous Greek male chauvinist!




Personally, I think you're looking at it wrong. Any society that can get an old man off the couch away from the remote control long enough to plant a tree is doing great!
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Nov 15, 2019 6:10 AM CST
Different times, for sure lol! Women weren't thought very highly of through the ages (still struggling in some respects).

Here is another Greek saying. I don't like this guy Grumbling Talk about male chauvinism!

A woman should be good for everything at home, but, out of the door, good for nothing.
— Euripides, 480-406 BC, Ancient Greek tragedian ‐ Meleager

I know this is off topic, but I am enjoying it and I started the thread, so hey, if anyone reads and enjoys this, then it was worth it.

I have another one and this is true: My grandfather had three sons. My mom and her sister married two of the sons. After my aunt and uncle had three boys, Grandpa used to say, "one boy's a whole boy, two boy's is a half a boy, and three boy's is no boy". My mom got so sick of hearing that, that one day after he said it she replied, "so that's why Tom, Dick, and Harry never amounted to anything?" (real names of his sons omitted). According to my mom, he never said it again.

I understand that he may have been speaking from experience, but my mom just got sick of him putting down her three nephews. My mom evidently was still mad enough about it years later to tell her five girls this story when they got old enough.


May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown

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