Rooting apple tree cuttings is a great way to start a new apple tree. You don’t need to buy the seeds from a nursery or pay for expensive starter plants, you can simply root your own cuttings from a healthy apple tree. You can root apple tree cuttings in one of two ways: rooting in soil or water.

How To Root Apple Tree Cuttings

Growing apple tree cuttings is an easy way to add new trees to your garden. You can propagate new apple trees by rooting them in water or soil, with or without rooting hormone. Apple cuttings are easy to root and give you more control over the variety of apples you have in your yard. Not only do they provide fruit for eating, but they also make nice shade trees that look beautiful on any property. In this article we will discuss how to root apple tree cuttings, varieties of apple tree and rootstock, and other apple tree management practices.

Rooting Apple from Cuttings

Apple trees are propagated from cuttings. The best time to take apple tree cuttings is late fall or early winter, when the tree is dormant and the bark can be easily scraped away. However, if you don’t have access to a dormant tree or are just starting out with your own orchard, you can also root apple trees from spring-dug rootstock (the roots of which were planted in late winter).

There are several ways to root your apple tree cuttings. In a small greenhouse, you can root cuttings in the spring or early summer. Hardwood cuttings will root more slowly than semi-hardwood ones. To encourage faster rooting, use a natural root hormone. Harvest cuttings in early summer, and then plant them when they are six to eight weeks old. Softwood cuttings should be rooted indoors in a moist, dark spot.

There are two main options for rooting fruit tree cuttings: softwood and semi-hardwood. The method you choose will depend on the type of fruit tree and the time of year the cutting is taken.

-Softwood cuttings: Softwood cuttings are taken from the current year’s growth on a fruit tree. They are typically taken in the spring or early summer, when the shoots are still flexible and green. Softwood cuttings are easy to root and will typically produce roots within a few weeks. However, they are also more fragile and can be more susceptible to damage or disease.

-Semi-hardwood cuttings: Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken from the current year’s growth on a fruit tree, but they are allowed to mature slightly before being taken. They are typically taken in the summer or early fall, when the shoots have started to harden and turn woody. Semi-hardwood cuttings are more resilient than softwood cuttings, but they may take longer to root. However, once they have rooted, they will typically produce stronger, healthier plants.

Both softwood and semi-hardwood cuttings can be used to successfully root fruit trees. The method you choose will depend on the type of fruit tree and the time of year the cutting is taken. By providing your cuttings with the proper care and attention, you can help them to root successfully and produce healthy, vigorous fruit trees.

Various Apple Varieties

There are a number of different types of apple trees and rootstocks available. The type you choose depends on your purpose for growing apples, whether it is to use the fruit itself or to grow them for other purposes.

There are many different varieties of apples, and each one has its own unique flavor, texture, and appearance. Some popular apple varieties include:


Honeycrisp apples are known for their crisp, juicy texture and sweet, honey-like flavor. They are a popular choice for eating fresh, as well as for baking and cooking.

Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious is a popular variety of apple tree. The Golden Delicious apple is sweet and juicy, with a yellow skin and a crisp, tender flesh. It is a versatile apple that is great for eating fresh, and is also commonly used in salads, baking, and cooking.Golden Delicious apple trees are medium-sized, with a mature height of 15-20 feet. They are self-fertile, which means that they do not require another variety of apple tree for pollination. Golden Delicious apple trees are disease-resistant and easy to grow, making them a popular choice for home gardeners.

Red Delicious

Red Delicious apples are one of the most recognizable apple varieties, with their bright red skin and oblong shape. They have a mild, sweet flavor and are commonly used for snacking and salads.

Granny Smith

Granny Smith apples are a tart, crisp apple variety that is popular for baking and cooking. They are known for their bright green skin and tart, tangy flavor.


Gala apples are a sweet, crisp apple variety with a thin, smooth skin. They are a popular choice for snacking and salads, and are also commonly used in baking and cooking.

Apple Rootstock

In addition to the variety of the apple, the rootstock that the tree is grafted onto can also affect the growth and characteristics of the tree. Some common apple rootstocks include:


M9 is a semi-dwarfing rootstock with a mature height of 8-10 feet. that produces trees that are smaller and more compact than standard apple trees. Trees grafted onto Malling 9 rootstocks are well-suited to small gardens and orchards.


M26 is a dwarfing rootstock with a mature height of 12-15 feet that produces trees that are even smaller and more compact than those grafted onto Malling 9. Trees grafted onto Malling 26 rootstocks are well-suited to gardens with limited space, and are also commonly used for training as espaliers or cordons.


M27 is a dwarf rootstock for apple trees. It is a type of rootstock that is grafted onto the root system of an apple tree to determine the size and growth habits of the tree. Trees grafted onto M27 rootstock are very small and compact, with a mature height of only 6-8 feet. This makes them ideal for growing in small spaces, such as a backyard or patio.

M27 rootstock is known for producing trees that are highly productive and disease-resistant. The trees are also easy to prune and maintain, making them a good choice for home gardeners. However, M27 rootstock is not suitable for all apple varieties, and it may not be well-suited to certain climates or growing conditions. Before choosing M27 rootstock for your apple trees, make sure to research the specific variety you plan to grow and determine if M27 is a good fit for your climate and growing conditions.

MM 106

MM 106 is a semi-vigorous rootstock that produces trees that are larger and more vigorous than those grafted onto Malling 9 or Malling 26. Trees grafted onto MM 106 rootstocks are well-suited to larger gardens and orchards with a mature height of 12-15 feet.

The most common variety is the Golden Delicious apple tree which produces large fruits with yellow-green skin and sweet flesh. It requires an M27 rootstock to grow well in most climates.

Another popular choice is the Red Delicious which comes in two varieties: ‘Stella’ and ‘Royal Gala’. Both have red skin but Royal Gala has a more intense flavor than Stella does as well as being sweeter when ripe than Stella can be when not fully ripe (it also ripens earlier). Both require an M9 rootstock for optimal growth conditions since they tend not do well on other types of roots due to their small size being unable to support large amounts of fruit growth while still remaining healthy themselves; however, some growers report success using other kinds with care taken so that they don’t get too heavy on one side or another so check out what works best before deciding if you want something else instead.

By choosing the right apple variety and rootstock, you can grow apples that are well-suited to your garden or orchard. With proper care and attention, your apple trees can produce a bountiful harvest of delicious apples for years to come.

Rooting Apple Cuttings in Potting mix soil

Rooting apple cuttings in potting mix soil is a great way to start a new apple tree from your own apple tree. The best time to do this is in spring, when you see new shoots coming up from the ground.

What You Will Need

You will need the following items to root apple tree cuttings:

-Apple tree cuttings of young and vigorous stems (1-2 inches) taken from healthy, vigorous trees with a minimum diameter of one inch.

-Sharp knife or pruning shears to remove the cutting from the parent plant. Make sure that you do not damage any buds on the stem with your tool as they will be needed for root formation during rooting.

-A flat surface large enough for you to work on comfortably with space for your containers and water container nearby.

-Potting mix soil or composted leaf mold mixture that drains well but holds moisture; we recommend 1 part peat moss or coco fiber, 1 part compost or leaf mold soil mixture and 1 part sand (available at most nurseries). The ratio should be 3 parts potting soil per container size 8” x 12” up to 12” x 20” in size; larger than this needs slightly more soil added as they grow quickly after rooting so don’t skimp on volume when choosing a container. You can find these materials at any local nursery shop such as Walmart or Home Depot where they sell gardening supplies like Miracle Grow which contains fertilizer already mixed in (you may have some left over).

Collecting The Cuttings

When you’re collecting cuttings, it’s important to pick healthy trees. Cuttings should be at least 3 inches long and include two sets of leaves. It also helps to take the cuttings in the spring when the sap will flow more freely through the branches. Lastly, try taking them from lower branches instead of higher ones: these are typically younger shoots that haven’t yet grown thick with woody bark and might have better rooting potential than older ones.

Preparing The Cuttings For Rooting

When you take the cuttings, remove any leaves from the bottom 1/2 inch of each cutting. Then make a diagonal cut on both ends of the stem; one end should be cut at an angle so that it’s longer than the other and you can see it clearly. This is called “scarification,” which helps your new tree root faster after you plant it in soil.

Once your apple tree roots have formed, fill your pot with a well-draining potting mix (purchased or homemade) and place one to three small stones inside to help improve drainage and aeration of the soil. Place your rooted apple tree cutting in a bright location out of direct sun but still receiving plenty of indirect light throughout most days for best results.

Once you’ve acquired some hardwood twigs from a friend’s orchard, it’s time to prepare them for rooting. First, sterilize your tools by washing them in hot water with dish soap; then wash each twig thoroughly under cold running water and pat it dry with rags before collecting any leaves that may still be attached. Next cut off any leaves at their base with sharp scissors; then use a small paring knife to scrape away all trace of bark until you hit green wood underneath (a white-colored layer). The goal here is simply to expose the green cambium layer so that it can breathe oxygen after it’s been buried in soil, and this step takes only about five minutes total.

Potting The Cuttings And Caring For Them

Next, mix peat moss or perlite into the bottom of the pot. Place the cutting in the pot and cover with plastic. Keep it moist and warm for about 3-6 weeks. When the leaves appear on the top of the branch, you can transplant them into a small pot. Once the roots are visible, the cutting is ready for transplantation.

Once all of your cuttings have been potted, place them somewhere warm and protected from drafts. The ideal temperature range for apple trees is between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celsius), so anywhere around this range should work just fine for most climates. However, keep in mind that if temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), your apple trees may start losing their leaves prematurely; this doesn’t necessarily mean anything about whether or not they’ll survive though.

Source: Homesteading Off The Grid

Rooting Apple Cuttings in Water

Rooting apple tree cuttings in water is a great way to start a new orchard. It’s also a great way to start a new orchard if you don’t have any rootstock available, or if you want to grow trees that are genetically diverse but don’t have the time or space to wait for seeds.

To root apple tree cuttings in water, follow these steps:

-Select a healthy, mature apple tree that is at least 2-3 years old. Look for a tree that is free of diseases and pests, and that has a good crop of apples.

-Take cuttings from the tree in the winter, when the tree is dormant. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut off a 6-8 inch long piece of healthy, non-flowering shoot.

-Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Rooting hormone is a plant growth stimulant that helps to encourage root growth.

-Fill a jar or vase with water, and place the cutting in the water. Make sure the cut end of the cutting is submerged in the water.

-Place the jar or vase in a location with indirect light and moderate temperatures (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit).

-Monitor the water level in the jar or vase, and add more water as needed to keep the cutting submerged.

-Monitor the cutting for signs of root growth. After a few weeks, the cutting should start to produce roots. Once the roots are 1-2 inches long, the cutting can be transplanted into soil.

Source: Haven Hill

With these steps, you can successfully root apple tree cuttings in water. However, it’s important to note that this method is not as effective as rooting cuttings in soil, and the roots that are produced may be fragile and may not support the growth of a healthy tree. Additionally, cuttings that are rooted in water are more susceptible to diseases and pests, and may not survive transplanting into soil. For the best results, it is recommended to root apple tree cuttings in soil instead of water.

Other Methods of Apple Propagation

The two most common methods of propagation are grafting and budding. Grafting involves joining the tops of two different varieties, or scions, together to create a new tree with the characteristics of both parent trees. Budding involves attaching a portion of one variety’s stem directly onto another variety’s rootstock. While grafting is usually done in early spring, budding can be done at any time during the year that’s convenient for you.

Another way to grow an apple tree from cuttings is known as “mound layering”; this involves digging an area about 3 feet wide and 6 inches deep near your apple tree (or some other source), shoveling soil over it until it’s completely covered, then piling mulch on top to keep it moist until roots form, usually within three months depending on local conditions such as temperature and rainfall levels. If these methods don’t seem like they would work well in your garden setting then try rooting apple cuttings directly into water instead. This method takes longer than other options but can produce lush trees without any special equipment required other than pots filled with soil plus containers filled with water–no fancy tools needed here.


Grafting is a technique used to combine a rootstock and scion. The rootstock is the part of the plant that connects the plant to the soil. It’s also what supplies nutrients to the rest of your tree, so it’s important that you choose one that will thrive in your region and condition (i.e., sandy soil versus rocky).

The scion is the part of your tree that grows above ground, this is what produces flowers, fruit, and leaves. If you want apples on your apple tree then go ahead and graft an apple scion onto a crabapple or hawthorn rootstock; if you want pears then graft them onto quince rootstocks; if you want cherries then grow them from kirschwasser stock plants instead.


Budding is a form of grafting that can be done at any time of the year. The most common method is to use budding in winter, but it can also be used to propagate new plants from one or more varieties of apple in spring or early summer.

Budding is often used when you want a plant that has certain characteristics and you don’t have access to seeds or cuttings from the variety you desire. For example: You may want to grow an apple tree bearing fruit that tastes like your favorite heirloom variety but isn’t available as seedlings anywhere; or perhaps there’s an apple variety with desirable traits that hasn’t been propagated by cuttings yet. In both cases, budding will help get these special fruit trees off the ground.

Mound Layering

Mound layering is a method of rooting apple tree cuttings, and it works well with most fruit trees, including apples. To begin the process, you’ll need to find an area around your home that has a lot of sunlight. Then dig a shallow hole about 2 feet deep and fill it with compost or manure. Plant the cutting at a 45-degree angle in this hole so that its tip is down near the bottom of the hole and its base is slightly raised above ground level. Cover up your newly planted cutting with soil so that only about half an inch remains visible above the surface.

How To Care For Apple Trees

Apple trees need a lot of care, but they’re worth it. Here’s how to get them growing and thriving in your yard:

Start with a good apple tree. Buy one from a reputable nursery or garden center, and make sure it’s been grafted onto a rootstock that will be suitable for your region. If you can’t find one that’s already been grafted, ask about grafting your own tree for an extra fee.

Plant your apple tree at the correct depth. When planting your apple tree, make sure to plant it at the same depth it was growing in the pot or nursery. This will help to prevent the tree from becoming stressed and will give it the best chance to grow and thrive.

Plant the tree in a sunny location that gets five to six hours of sunlight each day during winter months and eight hours per day during summer months (or more if possible).

Water regularly, at least once every week, but don’t overdo it; overwatering can cause root rot and other problems that may kill your tree before it has time to bear fruit. Water your apple tree regularly. Apple trees require regular watering, especially during the first few years after planting. Water the tree deeply, soaking the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely, as this can stress the tree and reduce fruit production.

Prune regularly throughout the year; this helps keep your tree healthy and attractive by removing broken branches, dead wood, and suckers (new shoots arising from old wounds). Pruning is important for maintaining the shape and size of your apple tree, and for promoting healthy growth and fruit production. Prune your apple tree in the late winter or early spring, removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches.

Keep weeds out of the area around your apple tree by mulching around its base with leaves or grass clippings during the growing season (about once every 3 months).

Fertilize your apple tree. Apple trees benefit from regular fertilization, which provides them with the nutrients they need to grow and produce fruit. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

FAQs About Rooting Apple Cuttings

How long does it take for apple cuttings to root?

Apple trees of all varieties, both young and old, can take 6 weeks for semi-hardwood to root and 6 months for hardwood to root. The time it takes for an apple tree to root is based on your location, the variety of apple you are using, and the weather conditions during rooting season.

You can expect an average of two years for an apple tree cutting to root in colder climates like New York or Canada. In more temperate areas such as Florida or California it will typically take about three years for cuttings to become established enough to produce fruit.

In general, apple tree cuttings will start to produce roots within a few weeks, and will continue to grow and develop over the course of several months. It’s important to monitor the cuttings closely and provide them with the proper care and attention to ensure that they root successfully.

Can tree cuttings be rooted in water?

Tree cuttings can be rooted in water, but this is not the most effective method of rooting. While tree cuttings may produce roots in water, the roots that are produced will be very fragile and may not be able to support the growth of a healthy tree. Additionally, cuttings that are rooted in water are more susceptible to diseases and pests, and may not survive transplanting into soil.

The best method for rooting tree cuttings is to plant them in a pot filled with well-draining potting mix. This will provide the cuttings with the support they need to develop strong, healthy roots. Additionally, planting cuttings in potting mix allows for better control over the rooting conditions, including moisture and temperature. By planting tree cuttings in potting mix, you can give them the best possible chance to root successfully and grow into healthy trees.

What helps cuttings root faster?

There are several steps you can take to help tree cuttings root faster, including:

-Use rooting hormone: Rooting hormone is a plant growth stimulant that helps to encourage root growth. By dipping the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone before planting, you can help the cutting to produce roots more quickly.

-Provide the cutting with the proper conditions: Tree cuttings need the right conditions to root successfully. This includes plenty of indirect light, moderate temperatures (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit), and moist, well-draining soil. By providing the cutting with the proper conditions, you can help it to root more quickly.

-Light also plays an important role in how quickly your cuttings root, or don’t root at all. If you want your cuttings to form roots, they can’t be kept in total darkness. However, they don’t need as much sunlight as they would if they were still attached to a living tree (you’ll know why when you learn how apple tree seeds grow). For this reason, it’s best if your newly rooted cuttings get four hours of sunlight per day at first but no more than eight hours per day after that point. If possible, try using artificial lighting instead of natural light during the winter months when days are shorter and temperatures tend toward colder temperatures outside anyway.

-Keep the soil moist: Water is essential for root growth. Make sure to water the cutting regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. This will help to keep the cutting hydrated and encourage root growth.

-Avoid stress: Stress can inhibit root growth. Make sure to protect the cutting from extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, and other stressors that can slow down root growth.

You can help tree cuttings to root more quickly and successfully. with the aforementioned steps However, it’s important to remember that root growth is a slow process, and it may take several weeks or even months for a cutting to produce roots. Patience is key when rooting tree cuttings, and with proper care and attention, your cuttings can grow into healthy, vigorous trees.

Do cuttings root faster in water or soil?

Cuttings will typically root faster in soil than in water. While it is possible for tree cuttings to produce roots in water, the roots that are produced will be very fragile and may not be able to support the growth of a healthy tree. Additionally, cuttings that are rooted in water are more susceptible to diseases and pests, and may not survive transplanting into soil.

On the other hand, tree cuttings that are planted in soil will typically produce stronger, more resilient roots. Soil provides the support and nutrition that cuttings need to develop healthy roots, and it also allows for better control over the rooting conditions, including moisture and temperature. By planting tree cuttings in soil, you can give them the best possible chance to root successfully and grow into healthy trees.

If you’re looking for a quick way to grow an apple tree, then rooting cuttings in pot is your best bet. That said, if you plan on keeping the tree after it’s grown up (which we hope you do), then planting it in soil and letting it develop roots there is your best bet because the roots will be able to grow better and spread throughout the ground more easily than if they were just stuck in some sort of plastic container or jar.

What can I put in water to stimulate root growth?

Apple cuttings root faster when they are put into water than when they are planted in soil. You can even use a rooting hormone to help them root faster.

To stimulate root growth in water, you can use a rooting hormone. Rooting hormones are plant growth stimulants that help to encourage root growth in tree cuttings. They are typically applied as a liquid or powder, and are applied to the cut end of the cutting before it is placed in water. Rooting hormones contain compounds that stimulate the production of roots, and they can help tree cuttings to produce roots more quickly and successfully.

The most common commercial rooting hormones contain the same type of rhizobium bacteria that naturally occurs on apple trees, which helps roots grow quickly and strongly.

In addition to rooting hormone, you can also add a small amount of liquid fertilizer to the water to provide the cutting with the nutrients it needs to grow and develop. Make sure to use a fertilizer that is specifically formulated for rooting cuttings, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and applying the fertilizer. By providing the cutting with the right nutrients, you can help it to root more quickly and successfully.

What is the best homemade rooting hormone?

When rooting apple tree cuttings, a commercial rooting hormone is best. You can also make your own homemade rooting hormone using a combination of water, sugar, and molasses. To do this:

One of the best homemade rooting hormones is a mixture of honey and water. Honey contains natural plant growth hormones that can stimulate root growth in tree cuttings. To use honey as a rooting hormone, mix 1 part honey with 4 parts water in a small container. Dip the cut end of the cutting into the honey mixture, and then plant the cutting in soil or water as usual. The honey will help to encourage root growth, and will also provide the cutting with the nutrients it needs to grow and develop.

Another effective homemade rooting hormone is willow water. Willow water is made by soaking willow branches in water for several days. The water absorbs the natural plant growth hormones that are present in the willow branches, and can be used to stimulate root growth in tree cuttings. To use willow water as a rooting hormone, simply dip the cut end of the cutting into the willow water before planting it in soil or water. The willow water will help to encourage root growth and support the development of healthy roots.

Homemade rooting hormones, such as honey and willow water, are natural and inexpensive options for stimulating root growth in tree cuttings. They are easy to make at home, and can be just as effective as commercial rooting hormones. By using homemade rooting hormones, you can help your tree cuttings to root more quickly and successfully.

In conclusion,

When choosing a piece of wood for rooting an apple cutting, look for pieces that are healthy and have buds on them so that the plant will be able to grow even after being cut off from its parent tree. Avoid using wood from dead branches because these could harbor diseases that could infect other plants later down the road when conditions become favorable for their growth again (like during late spring). I hope this article has helped you decide whether to try rooting apple cuttings at home. If so, I wish you the best of luck with your project.

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