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I have been requested by several websites to remove the information below. They don’t think the end-user should know how to make more trees or bushes from the ones they already have. They feel he/she should just buy more. I feel differently: everyone has the right to know how to do it, so, here it is.

Depending on when you take the cuttings, they are called differently. These particular cuttings are called hardwood cuttings and are taken only when the trees are dormant.

This is only for the homeowner, the person who wants to duplicate some of his plants. If you want to make thousands of trees and/or sell cuttings for the next 6 months, then you need much more information. Please purchase my 3 page ebook. It is $9.95, down below.

Timing is most important. The cuttings can be taken only when the plants are dormant. In the Northern Hemisphere is it between November and March. If you live in a place like Florida or Texas where it does not get cold enough for the leaves to drop, then do this in February which is normally the coldest month.

The information I am giving you relates to hybrid poplars, however, it can be used with many other plants, willows, perennials, etc.  So, you  want to make some cuttings from your hybrid poplar tree. Wait until the tree is dormant (no leaves). As the trees grow, every year they will make new branches on top which will be about 10 ft. tall. If your tree is only one year old, then all the branches will be 1 year old and every one of them will be good to be made into cuttings. If your tree is 2 years old, you would have to reach up and use the 1 year old branches which are good to make cuttings. The problem with “old” branches is that the buds will not be spaced 1.5 inches apart, sometimes they are every 3 inches, sometimes you find the buds 3 in one inch. I use only 1-year-old branches which means, I cut all my trees down to the ground every year.  Not to worry, next year they will grow  taller. Using 1-year-old branches you know what they are going to look like, most of the buds are spaced 1.5 inches apart. the cuttings  I make have 2 buds each.  Sometimes, if the spacing is too short, I make them 3 buds.  I have tried making cuttings with only 1 bud, believe me, it does not work.

The cutting has 2 buds which are pointing in the same direction. The bud which points away from the cutting is the top bud. That is the one that will grow.  to plant, dip the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone and put it in the soil so that only the top bud is showing out of the soil. This soil can be outdoors, or in a container of some kind. Water it and you are done. Keep the soil moist but not wet. The cutting will start growing when the temperature and light are appropriate. Most trees require about 65 degrees and at least 14 hours of light daily to germinate.

Once it germinates, keep the soil moist. If the tree is growing very skinny, it is not getting enough light. If it grows too slow, or not growing at all, temperature is too low.

If you are growing several cuttings close together, you may experience what is called “Damping Off” which is a virus that attacks all plants at the same time killing them overnight. To prevent this from happening, either, give the cuttings more growing space, or add a small fan to gently add air circulation around the cuttings. If you are still having problems, make sure you are not reusing containers, and keep the place clean.

When the plants are about 10″ tall, they should be transplanted either to larger containers or outdoors. Do not transplant if temperatures are below 40 degrees or there is a chance of frost. Many poplars can be propagated by this method, as well as willows. I have done it with Spirea plants, American Beautyberry, Figs, Rose of Sharon, Forsythia, and many others.

If you want to, you can use longer cuttings. It will require that you prep the cuttings to plant them so they do make roots quickly. If you have a 3 ft. cutting scratch the lower 3″ of the cutting with a dull knife until you see green. If you see tan, you are scratching too deep. Prepare a hole in the ground, about 6″ deep. Dust some rooting hormone on the scratched part of the cutting and the bottom. Put the cutting in the hole, back fill, water and you are done. Yes, as long as you do this when the trees are dormant, they will grow.

The longer the cuttings are, the more you have to scratch and the deeper the hole should be. For a 12 ft. cutting you want a foot deep hole and you want to support that cutting with a bamboo cane parallel to it and tied so the cutting does not sway  at all with the wind. The support does not have to be too long, 3-4 ft. tall will do it. Support can be removed a few months after the tree starts growing.

What to do once you are done taking the  cuttings? They must be packaged in sealed plastic bags and put in a freezer at 28 degrees.  Remember these are not seeds which should be dried thoroughly before you put them away. Cuttings must remain moist until they are planted, and the only way to do that is with sealed plastic bags.  That is what I do, and they remain viable for about a year.  28 degrees is not easy to get, all freezers are set at 0 degrees while the refrigerators are set around 40.

About 15 years ago before I had a regulator for my freezer I put the cuttings in the freezer for a few months, Yes, they grew but that is not what the Agriculture Department tells you to do. 28 degrees is just below freezing.  Today, I have two freezers running at 28 degrees.

Do you want to try something different? Four years ago I tried this as a test. In November, I tilled a 25 ft. long trench about 5 inches deep and laid on it  several long cuttings end to end. I had scratched the surface entire length of these cuttings from end to end.  I then covered them completely with soil and watered them. That year it rained, snowed, iced and all in between. In April I started seeing little green leaves coming out of the ground.  It had worked. I ended up with a bunch of little trees that grew anywhere from 2 to 6 ft. I did not watered them at all or added any fertilizer. At the end of the year I removed all those branches to make cuttings. I cut them down to about 4 inches. NO, I did not dig anything. I just cut them.

2022 My trees grew 20 ft.   all this from April to the end of October.

Information on how to keep your cuttings viable for a year after you take them, is included in the  3 page ebook which you can download here.


 Requirements for cuttings.  I have received all kinds of cuttings, most of them are not usable at all, so, I decided to give you the requirements that I use to make and ship cuttings.

Every cutting should be 2 to 5 inches long, 1/8″ to 5/16″ in diameter, have 2 or 3 buds, try to get the top bud about 1/4″ from the top.


eBook – Propagating Hybrid Poplars


In this book I cover everything you need to know If you want to make thousands of trees and/or sell cuttings from the time you take them up to a year afterwards.