propagation problems

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by night hawk, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    I have several problems that would appreciate help with, as I don't know what I am doing wrong.


    First problem-- I have an older apple tree out in the bush that I would really, really love to save the genetics from. It came up by itself, it has survived minus 50 F. with no help, it is not grafted and produces medium-small sized sweet apples.
    One lady told me to raise another tree from it, to simply pick the apples, and bury the apples in a bucket of dirt or potting soil in the fall. I tried that approach,- nothing grew.


    I have tried clipping a few new stems off of the tree, on 2 different occasions and tried rooting them. I looked on the internet, and it said to put the small twigs in a plastic bottle with a little water and rooting powder, I tried that, so far nothing and that was about several months ago. They look like they are basically dying…


    I tried using willow leaves in the water, nothing…


    I talked to local lady, and she said she wasn’t sure you could take cuttings on an apple tree and expect it to grow.


    I thought about trying to dig a small root stalk up, but it is so rocky that is almost impossible..


    Would really love to hear you folks thought on the matter.


    -Problem number 2


    I wanted to try and raise some " cherry plums" and regular plums from seed, Most were frozen in the freezer most of the winter , so figured they should be okay to thaw and sprout. I looked on the Internet, and they said to break the hard surface shell off and put them between two layers of damp paper toweling. And to keep it moist, Well they molded, and only one basically tried to sprout and it seems to have died..


    .We do grow a regular garden, so I am not totally messed up when it comes to growing things.


    I am not doing too well on propagation.. Any thoughts would be appreciated.


    thanks
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2016
  2. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member

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    You could simply grow the seeds from your apple tree. The fruit rotting around it might help in some conditions, but is probably more of a problem than an aid. Just water and protect from anything that would nibble at the young shoots.
    Growing from year old growth is possible, and not so difficult. Willow water is a marginally useful old farmers trick that may not really provide anything more than a little salicylate in the water that might inhibit bacterial growth. You won't find serious propagators using it. Rooting hormone is good, but it must be fairly fresh. Get it from a reliable nursery and use it right away. Rooting green wood or hardwood is entirely possible, but if you have watersprouts or shoots coming up from the roots, I'd prise one out of the rocky soil and then nurture that into a well-rooted shoot.

    I don't know about growing plums or cherries or any stone fruit from previously frozen stones. Of course they sometimes freeze in nature, but probably would be in leaf litter that would freeze and thaw over and over. For hard seed covers, nicking is usually sufficient. You could tap with a hammer, saw a notch, or drill just through the shell. Sometimes commercial fruits will not have viable seed. I don't know which or when, but especially if your fruits came from grafted stock, you might not have any luck.
     
  3. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    First of all, you should be aware that raising apple or plum trees from seed is unlikely to produce fruits that are identical to the original fruits. The seedling apple tree fruits may even be inedible. Seedling plum trees usually produce edible fruits, but they may be quite sour and only fit for preserves. If you are not successful with grafting, you could try ground layering the trees by bending a low-growing branch down to the ground and burying part of it under a couple of inches of soil with a rock on top to keep it in place. Shaving a small piece of the bark and cambium off the branch at the lowest point underground and applying rooting hormone will help the root to develop faster.

    Apple trees on their own roots are likely to grow very large, but plum trees are naturally rather small.
     
  4. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    This apple tree is out in the bush, it is a volunteer, it came up by itself and it is NOT grafted. I already tried planting several full apples in a bucket of soil and leaving it over the winter, and nothing ever came up, I have put cuttings in rooting powder / water several times, and so far nothing has ever rooted. Being a seedling and not a grafted tree, the tree should produce "true".
    It is incredible in its toughness and ability to survive incredible cold, and produce decent fruit. I thought about digging around and trying to find a root and trying to get a start that ways, but the ground is pretty rocky.
    Any further advice is welcome and appreciated.
    thanks..
     
  5. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    I found a different video on on youtube, on propagation where the guy clipped a stem and leaves off a lime tree, scrapped the bark where he wanted roots to develop,
    clipped the leaves back small, and put a rooting compound on the scraped area and put the cutting in potting soil and placed a zip lock bag over the top and placed a rubber band around the pot. He then put the pot in a "drip" saucer and filled the drip saucer with water so the water would "wick" up to the cutting in the pot.
    I have tried this method of rooting some apple cuttings, almost a month ago, and the cuttings are still alive and green. although some of them might be getting too much water, as some times the upper tip of the cutting looks maybe a bit blackened and a bit soggy, but still no wilting, anyways.
    I have not taken them out of the pot to look for roots, and not sure if I should, cause I don't want to disturb them, but not sure how long I should leave them sitting in the pot with water in the drip saucer..
    Has anyone tried this method of propagation? If so how long should they sit in the wet pot with water in the bottom? Any thoughts?
    Thanks
     
  6. Margot

    Margot Active Member

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    I hope you will persevere - this sounds like and interesting and worthwhile apple tree.
     
  7. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Air layering may be be another option, if convenient.
     
  8. MikeH

    MikeH Member

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    You could try an intermittent misting bed but you'd have to determine whether the cost and complexity of setting one up was worth it. What I would do is to graft some scion wood from the tree onto rootstock and then trench layer the grafted tree to get clones of the original. You can get rootstock in BC from Apple rootstocks from BC Canada. Grafting is quite cheap - a box knife, electrical tape (remove VERY carefully to avoid ripping bark off as well), rootstock, scion wood. If you go this route, I'd try a dozen grafts if you have no grafting experience. All you need is one to take. I'd use a really simple cleft graft which will give you the highest probability of success. It's not the prettiest graft but it's easy.

    grafting-process.jpg

    Here's some info on trench layering - Propagation & Nursery Production. The soil in the layering bed should be very good soil and friable. I use finished pure finished compost.

    You could also try some softwood cuttings - Picasa Web Albums - portage perennials - Edible Blue H.... This isn't a great way of trying to clone apples but all you need is one to take.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
  9. ThorFinn

    ThorFinn New Member

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    First off i wouldnt recommend propogating any fruit from seed. You never know what kinda genetics will show up since you cant control the pollination.

    As for your apple tree cuttings, it shouldnt be too difficult. First wait till early spring cut off a 6" pencil thick piece of new growth, make sure it has between 2 and 4 buds on your cutting. Dip the bottom end of your cutting in a number 3 rooting hormone or any hardwood rooting hormone powder. You can also dip your top end in wax to keep the wound from drying out. Keep your cuttings under a plastic dome and spray with a water bottle often. Keep the humidity high and mist regularly especially if leafs begin to develop. Bottom heat will greatly increase and encourage root growth.

    Hope this helps! Happy growing and good luck!
     
  10. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    A few of these cuttings are attempting to push tiny leaves out, so am thinking of cutting back the water in the saucer , and leaving the plastic zip lock on and watering by misting, to try and encourage the roots to grow further seeking moisture. It will be a month tomorrow that they have been in the potting soil. Do you think this is a proper approach?
    Thanks for the ideas and support
     
  11. ThorFinn

    ThorFinn New Member

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    If leaves are beginning to push then misting will be essential. The leaves will intake moisture and make up for what the new root growth cant do. Its important to make sure the soil your cuttings are in doesnt dry out, just as its equally important their not sitting in water devoid of oxygen. Its a good idea to keep it inclosed and keep the humidity high.

    Sounds like your doing good, hope your cuttings push lots of roots soon!
     
  12. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    well I am not very happy, after almost 2 months. and what appeared to be tiny leaves. I took off the plastic bags off the pots today and the leaves had fallen off of all but 2 plants...
    grrrrrrr!
    Not sure what happened. For the time I am going to leave the plastic bags in place and the water in the saucers and see if maybe-just maybe--- they might put on new leaves-might be wishful thinking though...
    I have 2 left that are still looking okay....
    It was mentioned earlier that maybe a misting bed might work. Is that a reference to aeroponics??
    If so how well does that work for rooting fruit trees?
    Can that be done over the winter with dormant cuttings?
    I am totally green in this area so this is a new learning curve for me....
    thanks all the input...
     
  13. Margot

    Margot Active Member

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    Even though new or old leaves drop off cuttings, they still may have rooted. Why don't you very gently remove one from the pot to see if roots have formed; if so, you can replant it. (I know not everyone recommends transplant fertilizer but I like to use a brand that contains rooting hormones for plants whose roots may have been damaged when dug up - just as insurance.)

    If there is no evidence of roots and there are no leaves, I'd probably discard the cutting and try again at the appropriate time of year (late winter or early spring.) I have found bottom heat can make a big difference in getting cuttings to root. Good luck - don't give up yet.
     
  14. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    I checked one cutting that the leaves fell off and didn't look too good, and there was no roots.
    I haven't had time to check some of the others yet...
    Frustrating..
     
  15. MikeH

    MikeH Member

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    The chances of getting apples to root from cuttings are pretty low. You find little or no reference to people successfully using this technique. There are Youtube videos showing growth but these are just the leaves that result from the energy stored in the cutting. I've yet to see a follow up video with true growth, ie, more than just emerging leaves. You could experiment and you might get lucky but you will have a high failure rate. From experience, using intermittent mist or a cloner (bubble or aeroponic cloners) is expensive and has a long learning curve with no guarantee of success with apples.

    As I said your best and cheapest bet is to graft and then trench layer when you have good growth if you want the tree on its own roots. If you don't care whether it's on its roots, then just graft. If this is an old tree that has had little care, it probably means that new growth each year is minimal. To get some good scionwood (at least 2 bud nodes), you want to induce water sprouts so you need to do some pruning. Find a branch that is a couple of inches in diameter and cut it off entirely being careful to make a clean cut. If you use a saw, undercut the branch first to avoid damaging the tree. You could try summer pruning but spring pruning would be better.
     
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  16. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    I looked at a fair portion of the cuttings I took, and most showed no sign of rooting, at all, one had a faint hint of something happening at the ground level, but the top was trying to rot, and so I clipped it off, re dipped it in rooting gel and put it back into the ground.
    I have wondered about the things I have seen on the internet about apple tree cuttings and how successful they really are, and whether or not they really rooted. I don't think I have actually seen a video where they actually show the roots, just some nice leaves.
    The area where the tree is growing is quite rocky, and I have wondered if I scratched around and managed to dig up a piece of the roots if I might be able to successfully start a second tree from a portion of root. I have no idea if it could be started this time of year or not, even if I brought it indoors, and put it under lights or tried a "cloner"
    If this is tried what would be the procedure?
    Any thoughts on the success rate?
    A question , Any idea why apple trees are so difficult to propagate by cuttings, and are all fruit, nut trees, and evergreens this difficult?
    I tried a couple of hazel nut cutting, only one looks okay. I have wondered if the straight potting soil might be too wet, as some of the tops looked like they "dampened" off and died..
    Like I said this is a learning curve, and maybe the root cuttings idea might work better??
    Thanks for the input...
     
  17. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    A few ornamental cherry trees are supposed to be easy to grow from cuttings (or at least, I remember being told that 'Akebono' is one that is easy to grow). Generally, they are grafted. UBCBG has got some trees to grow from cuttings and is growing some others propagated by tissue culture. You can read a bit about them in Douglas Justice's blog at Early Spring in the Botanical Garden | UBC Botanical Garden. The article is really more about the trees than about propagation.
     
  18. MikeH

    MikeH Member

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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  19. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    well it sounds like it is difficult and rarely successful , but doable..
    I am always the curious one, wondering if maybe the technique changed it might be easier and work better such as
    maybe if a cutting were taken during the dormant winter stage, and maybe a using clone box and lights might work..
    Anyone ever try it that way?
     
  20. MikeH

    MikeH Member

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    There's more discussion here - Propagating apple tree cuttings

    The attached "Propagation of Apple Rootstocks by Hardwood Cuttings" might be helpful. Note that all rootstocks did not give the same results which suggests that your mileage may vary depending on the cultivar never mind the species.

    Going back to the OP's statement "I would really, really love to save the genetics", I wouldn't waste time messing around with cuttings. Take the tried and true path and graft. It's not difficult. You don't even need rootstock although that's preferable. You can graft scion wood from this special apple tree onto any apple tree although the vigour of the host will affect the growth of the scion.

    When you have the genetics protected, then mess around with other propagation techniques.
     

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  21. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    So, does everyone think air layering would have better results than cuttings?
    Or taking a root cutting would be better?
    Has anyone ever tinkered with root "cuttings",? Either trying to get growth from a piece of root, or a piece of root
    in a misting chamber?
    I see lots about trying to sprout cuttings on the internet, but haven't seen much about sprouting plants from root cuttings.
    Any thoughts on time of year to try it, or procedure?
    Thanks..
     
  22. Jose-Albacete

    Jose-Albacete New Member

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    Hello night hawk.
    I will try to shed some light on your questions (although your fellow forum have done very well).
    You have two well-defined problems.

    1º- How to multiply your apple
    2ª- How to stratify seeds of plum

    answer to the first question:

    The best way to multiply your apple is by grafting , for apple a very basic technique used is the "Cleft Graft", would suffice with choose a suitable rootstock your ground and make this graft as shown in this video ( it is very important that the rootstock and cuttings have identical caliber for intimate contact between the cambium)



    The air layering system is very simple, but has a drawback, is that the lack of rootstock, the resulting apple tree will be large, and it will take many years to enter production ( grafting in a suitable rootstock in three years it begins to produce ) , the air layering is performed as you can see in this video



    "NEVER" must be multiplied by seeds, since for the laws of Mendel, there is a loss of genetic load, and the resulting variety not be equal to the mother plant, this technique is indicated for obtain very vigorous rootstock.

    answer to question number 2

    if you want to germinate seeds of a plum ( the plums of the resulting tree will not be like the original), but will have a good rootstock.
    To make the germination of seeds you have to imitate nature, through a process called stratification.
    The most aseptic method and gives better result is with a material called perlite.
    In winter the moist perlite is introduced into a container and seeds inside the moist perlite a plastic film with the container is closed and left in the refrigerator for at least 3 months.
    In early spring, the seeds have begun to germinate in the moist perlite, just enough to put them in pots with substrate , It is that easy, with other materials different to perlite can be problems with fungal contamination.

    Best regards
    Jose
     
  23. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    Success?? I think so..
    I am back- trying again to get a start off that apple tree, and I sort of have success!! after so many years of trying!
    Anyways, this spring I went out and dug down around the base of the tree, and found a decent root and followed it back to the base of the tree, I even took a flashlight and looked to make sure it was attached to the tree and also felt around with my fingers and was not some stray root system from another bush. I moved out away from the base of the tree and cut a section of root about 6-8 inches long and stuck it in potting soil and plopped a zip lock bag over the top of it and have been watering it. Now I have about a 4 inch green shoot with leaves coming out of the top of the "rootlet"!
    So I am excited after all these years of trying. We also have tried an air layer on the tree, and will see what happens. That doesn't seem to be budding at this point, although other branches are budding.
    The one thing I am not happy about is around the edges of the tiny leaves on the cut "rootlet" it looks a bit brown. I spoke to a fellow and he said it is probably the potting soil is deficient in nutrients, so I put a bit of granular miracle grow around the little "tree".
    Would really appreciate any thoughts, as I have came this far and don't want my ""rootlet" to crash. I did put it in the direct sun--wasn't that hor ,for a couple hours, butit had brown before that.
    Am basically pleased so far other than the brown around the edges of the leaves..
    Don't have any pictures. been too busy...
    thoughts about the brown anyone??-
    thanks--
     
  24. ThorFinn

    ThorFinn New Member

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    Sounds like your doing good! Taking a root cutting was a great idea. Browning on the edges of leaves is typical of a nutrient deficiency, but is more common a sign of sun damage. Suckers and seedlings in nature generally grow beneath the canopy of the parent tree and so are adapted to growing without direct sunlight. Id keep it somewhere where it can get cool morning sun but is shaded from hotter evening sun. Careful not to over fetilize. A little bonemeal would encourage further root growth or something like a 0-0-4 fertilizer. Sounds like your doing great tho! Keep it up hawk!
     
  25. night hawk

    night hawk New Member

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    The "rootlet" has been in indirect sunlight in the house, and at one point it got way too dry, am trying to correct that.
    This morning put it in the morning sun for a couple of hours, and then back in the house in the indirect light.
    I did give it a little bit of miracle grow, but it is still looking pretty rough on the tiny leaves, although the stem seems ok, and it seems like another sprout is wanting to break out of the rootlet, but doesn't seem to be able to..
    not sure what to do...
     

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