Rooted Branch: Best Time To Plant

damnyankee36(6)December 31, 2012

Last spring, I tried to root a branch from a White Ash tree. The roots weren�t quite filling up the five gallon bucket it was in, so to "help" get it acclimated to soil a friend suggested adding potting soil to the water. Eventually, enough soil was added to make a nice damp mixture. Apparently, it didn�t like that and in about a month it was dead.

About two months ago, I tried it again. The 5 gallon bucket isn�t quite filled with roots. I�m not sure when I should plant it. I�m afraid my timing is off as I feel it needs more roots but now the water is freezing.

What do you suggest?


Larry DuBois

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I would love to see a picture of this if you can. Otherwise, now is a great time to plant in your location. Depending on how the root system looks, you may want to pot it up in potting soil for a year before planting if it is inadequate to support the tree.

Are you going to irrigate the white ash forever after you plant it in southern New Mexico?


ps And I love your screen name

Edit: Oh, and the way you added potting soil to the water is not the way you will want to pot it up if you choose to do so. Don't hesitate to ask for advice if that is the direction you take :)

This post was edited by j0nd03 on Mon, Dec 31, 12 at 16:15

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:10PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you plant deciduous trees.. when the are leaf-less and in dormancy ...

i surely know nothing about NM..

the next question.. is what is the soil??? ... if sand.. just plant the darn thing ... if the ground is NOT frozen..

a dormant tree needs little water .. so whether or not the water freezes is not relevant ... if it thaws ... then the ice thaws.. and the tree is happy ...

if you have clay.. i have no clue ...

why in the world.. are you rooting in 5 gallon buckets.. most of us would root a small piece in a one gal pot ...

how big is this thing????

see link for general planting guide .. do NOT amend the hole.. and probably.. bare root it .. and set it in native soil ...


Here is a link that might be useful: well looky there.. the first topic on point.. lol

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:37PM
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now isnt the time to plant depending on the part of NM your in. The ground is most likely not warm , very cool perhaps. Have you checked to see if there are any roots? I would plant it in February or March if the water is freezing find a way to keep it from not freezing, maybe put it near the heater? or somewhere were a bit of heat generates from

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 4:39PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Larry, If I understand your post, you rooted the limb in a bucket of water and then tried to acclimate it to soil. You really went about rooting that limb the hard way, for you and your branch! I can't think of any woody plant that is best rooted in water. Even if you do get the limb to successfully grow roots in water, those roots are next to useless in soil and moving the cutting into potting-mix/soil can be a challenge. Numerous threads can be found, especially in the Plant Propagation Forum, that go into this in more detail.

I would not suggest planting your new tree (rooted branch) in the ground now. The main reason for that is that the root system is not at all suited for dirt (and, as I mentioned above, is just about useless). If you had rooted the branch in potting soil or other suitable medium, now would have been an absolutely excellent time to plant it out into your yard. But now, you'll probably need to baby your plant until at least spring and hope it grows "real" roots. Maybe since your plant is dormant, it can overcome the root issue more easily than it would have in warmer months.

Do NOT place your plant near a heater! It needs to remain dormant. If you have an unheated garage or out-building/shed, that might be a good place to keep it. Pot it up in potting soil and hope for the best. If it leafs out in the spring, you are probably in the clear. If not, try rooting one the right way next year. IF your plant makes it, see the link at the bottom of Ken's post, above, for instructions on planting it out in your yard.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 7:08PM
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The tree I got the branch from was rooted in a 5 gallon bucket and planted the same as I am doing now, except for adding the soil part. It was planted straight from the water to the ground. Maybe I was lucky? I planted another one at the same but it didn't make it. The tree now is 4 years old and very healthy. This past year I haven't been watering it all, other than from the sprinkler system.

I didn't think a branch could start roots in soil. I didn't think it would be wet enough. That's another reason why I didn't think typical transplanting guides would apply to my situation.

See what you think of the root system.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 5:47PM
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    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 5:52PM
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Root system

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 5:54PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If it worked before, what do you have to loose by trying it again? The branch certainly looks like it has plenty of roots. Roots that grew in water don't usually work well when planted in soil, BUT growing more roots in water isn't going to improve the situation one bit. And, like I said above, the fact that the cutting is dormant is a big plus.

I would try to straighten out the roots as much as is reasonably possible when you plant it to avoid future girdling roots and encourage the roots to grow out in a more natural fashion (better support, better water and nutrient supply, etc). If it worked before, try it again.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 6:29PM
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Holy mother of --- that is even more awesome than I had pictured in my head! Put it in the ground already and do straighten the roots as best you can.

I had no idea a branch that large would root LOL

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 8:13PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


A large "cutting" like that is called a truncheon. The method is fairly common and works well for some species (willows, poplars, figs, mulberries, olives, etc), not so much for many others.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 9:16PM
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Ah a nice topic to kill some time researching at work tomorrow. Thanks, Brandon

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 9:29PM
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So my ash isn't in that category of species that do well as a truncheon cut?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 9:51PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Based on your results (regardless of the rooting medium), I'd say it definitely belongs in the list of trees that would lend themselves to this method of propagation. I had never heard discussion of truncheon propagation for this particular genus, one way or other, until now. But, given that it's in the olive family, I guess these results are not too surprising.

This post was edited by brandon7 on Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 0:05

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 10:50PM
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From the photos I see, looks more like a willow. In New Mexico, probably something like Salix matsudana 'globe'.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:56PM
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I agree that it looks like a Salix. The way the new growth is thin and bendy doesn't look like any Fraxinus out here.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:00PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Nice looking dog! :-)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:43PM
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