Can You Root Pine Branches – Conifer Cutting Propagation Guide

Pine Tree Cutting With Roots
pine cutting
(Image credit: akinshin)

Can you root pine branches? Growing conifers from cuttings isn’t as easy as rooting most shrubs and flowers, but it can definitely be done. Plant several pine tree cuttings to increase your chances of success. Read on and learn about conifer cutting propagation and how to root pine cuttings.

When to Start a Pine Tree from Cuttings

You can take cuttings from pine trees anytime between summer and before new growth appears in spring, but the ideal time for rooting pine tree cuttings is from early to mid-autumn, or in midwinter.

How to Root Pine Cuttings

Growing a pine tree from cuttings successfully isn’t too complicated. Start by taking several 4- to 6-inch (10-15 cm.) cuttings from the current year’s growth. The cuttings should be healthy and disease free, preferably with new growth at the tips. 

Fill a celled planting tray with a loose, well-aerated rooting medium such as pine bark, peat or perlite mixed with an equal part of coarse sand. Water the rooting medium until it is evenly moist but not soggy. 

Remove the needles from the lower one-third to half of the cuttings. Then dip the bottom 1 inch (2.5 cm.) of each cutting in rooting hormone. Plant the cuttings in the moist cutting medium. Be sure no needles touch the soil. Cover the tray with clear plastic to create a greenhouse atmosphere. 

Cuttings will root faster if you place the tray on a heating mat set to 68 F. (20 C.). Also, place the tray in bright, indirect light. Water as needed to keep the rooting medium moist. Be careful not to overwater, which may rot the cuttings. Poke a few holes in the covering if you see water dripping down the inside of the plastic.

Remove the plastic as soon as new growth appears. Be patient. The cuttings may take up to a year to root. Once the cuttings are well-rooted, transplant each one into a pot with a soil-based potting mix. This is a good time to add a little slow-release fertilizer.

Put the pots in partial shade for a few days to allow the cuttings to adjust to their new surroundings before moving them into bright light. Allow the young pine trees to mature until they’re large enough to be transplanted into the ground.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.