Like most fruit trees, cherry trees come in a variety of cultivars. Ornamental cherries, also called flowering or blooming cherries, differ from orchard cherries. Grown mainly for their blossoming characteristics, ornamental cherries produce low-quality fruits. Blooming cherry trees propagate readily from stem cuttings, allowing you to grow many new trees from a single parent tree.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Pruning shears
- Peat pots
- Potting soil
- Rooting hormone
- Peat moss
Prune twigs from your cherry tree branches in the summer to harvest softwood cuttings. Select healthy end tips from the current season's growth. These softwood cuttings feel moist and resilient when you bend and release them. Avoid cutting into the older wood, known as hardwood, by making your cuts beyond the area that looks and feels brittle and cracks when bent. Cut healthy sections about 8 to 16 inches long, using a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears. Immediately place each cutting in a glass of water.
Fill peat pots with loose, loamy potting soil. Remove one cutting from the water and gently snip off the lower one-third of the leaves and any blossoms. Use the edge of a sharp, clean knife to wound the stem. Hold the knife blade at a right angle to the stem and scrape off a thin strip of bark near the bottom of the cutting, leaving a shallow wound that measures approximately 3 inches long.
Dip the cutting into a rooting hormone and insert it into the prepared peat pot. Gently press the soil around the embedded stem to hold it firmly in place. Water deeply until moisture appears against the bottom edges of the peat pot. Repeat this procedure with each cutting.
Place the cuttings in a sunny, protected location. Keep the soil slightly moist while the cuttings begin to form new roots. This may take three to eight weeks. The development of new leaf buds signals rooting success.
Transplant rooted cuttings into their permanent location in the landscape at least six weeks before the last anticipated frost in your region. Choose a sunny location that provides light throughout the day. Dig holes that measure at least twice the diameter of the peat pots. Mix equal amounts of potting soil and peat moss to form a rich backfill around the young plants. Press out air pockets and add backfill to bring the level of the soil even with the surrounding soil. Continue to keep the soil slightly moist near the depth of the roots.
Tips and warnings
- Fertilise your young flowering cherry trees each spring. Use a plant food formulated for ornamental, flowering trees.
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