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Propagate a bird cherry tree?

I've mentioned this tree (prunus padus species I think) several times but for some reason I just haven't been able to bring myself to cut it down yet. I think I feel sorry for it because it's a native tree, but it's never been very happy (no flowers, usually covered in aphids). It's a volunteer and is growing in a rather inconvenient place. 

I had half a thought to try and propagate it and plant the descendant in a more suitable location before cutting the parent down. Has anyone tried this with a tree in the cherry family? I know it works well with willow but I haven't tried anything else. 


  • pinutpinut Posts: 186
    I call them rogues instead of volunteers.

    Cherries are very easy to propagate by air-layering. I've done it on wild cherries, on ornamental cherries cultivated for their magnificent cherry blossoms and on cherries cultivated for their fruit.

    They are even easier to propagate if you happen to find root suckers. These are tree roots which produce sucker growth when the roots are near to the surface of the soil. You just need to chop the root in order to separate it from the parent plant and, hey presto, you have a young rooted tree.

    When air-layering, choose a position on the main trunk or branch that, when cut off, already resembles an interesting tree but smaller.

    If you air-layer now in August then it won't be ready to be separated until probably next July - the layered part of the branch needs that time in order to form roots as there is not enough of the growing season remaining.

    Here's another thought after creating the offspring by air-layering. If the main trunk is, say, six inches in diameter or less then do a severe trunk chop and replant the stump elsewhere. You can then regrow the whole tree - this is a common bonsai technique for creating the right proportions for a small tree.

  • ManderMander Posts: 335
    Wow I had not thought of trying to replant the trunk! The tree is only about 3 inches diameter at most. Fortunately I don't see any signs of suckers. 

    Ideally I'd dig it up but it's very close to the fence and awkward to reach. 
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