Try, Try, Try Again: Fruit Tree Cloning

Sweet Cherry Cuttings

Sweet Cherry Cuttings

A few years ago, I learned how to clone grape vines. Ever since then, I’ve tried the same approach to clone other plants. I’ve managed to clone an Elderberry bush, a Lilac, countless Weeping Willows, even a tomato; but there is one category of plant I just can’t seem to clone: Fruit Trees. If I had the option, I would just give up cloning and resort to Grafting or starting plants from seed. Seeds are out of the question because the genetics of apples vary so widely that a seed from the best apple in the world will usually develop into a crab apple tree. Grafting would require that I have the proper root stock, something I haven’t found a way to order yet.

My only option left is to try, try, try every possible  method to clone these trees. It’s something of a winter obsession for me.

Pear and Apple Cuttings

Pear and Apple Cuttings

Red clips -> Pear;      Blue clips -> Apple. The side with the colored clips are treated with root growing solution.

In the winter of 2009, I tried to use Miracle Grow as my rooting medium, with good initial success. The cuttings grew new leaves, but no roots.  This year, I’m trying two rooting mediums, Sand and Garden Dirt. I’m also trying two planting styles, one with bare cuttings, and another with a solution that encourages roots to grow. I’ve moved my setup from my seedling room where the light was very bright in the morning, to my kitchen where the lighting is a constant shade. I’ve also used much less water in the base rooting medium, in an attempt to keep the cuttings from rotting.  I’ll only add water with my misting bottle.To top it all off, I’m applying a small amount of Anti-Fungal agent, something I apply to my trees during the summer months.

I’ve started very early this year, and I hope to try three different approaches by spring time. My newest concern is if I will have enough cuttings for further experiments, as I’ve pruned three trees already.

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