We often receive an E-Mail from a Mom who says that her tearful three year old loves their Christmas Tree and wants to keep it forever.
She asks, can she propagate a new Christmas Tree from a cutting taken from the cut tree? What can we say?
Perhaps the best thing she can do is to take a photo of the Christmas Tree or have the child draw a picture to keep forever.
Many evergreen trees used for cut Christmas trees, often members of the pine family, are difficult or impossible to propagate from cuttings. Tree companies, like Lawyer and Musser listed below, propagate most of their trees from seeds. These seedlings grow 1-2 feet in a year or two. After transplanting they become 6 footers in 5-8 years.
Consider the problems of taking cuttings from a tree which was cut down some weeks before. The cuttings from any plant must be carefully taken from the proper part of the plant and treated in an appropriate way. See: TAKE CUTTINGS. Suitable evergreen trees which can be propagated from cuttings must have the cuttings taken from the current seasons growth and near the base of the plant. It is better to have a young tree as the parent stock.
From the plant list for evergreen varieties which can be propagated from cuttings the following are selected varieties:
False cypress (chamaecyparis) family. These are propagated from winter cuttings which are treated soon after taking cuttings using the long soak method with Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablets at one to two tablets per liter water, for four to six hours, then stored in a plastic bag in a refrigerator until the spring.
Spruce (picea) family. These are propagated from late spring to early summer cuttings using Rhizopon AA #3 by the dry dip method.
Douglas fir (pseudotsuga). These are propagated from winter cuttings which are stored in a plastic bag until spring then treated before planting using Rhizopon AA #3 by the dry dip method.
Another plant which is often used as a potted Christmas tree plant is the Norfolk Island Pine (araucaria). a tropical plant that looks like hardy pines. The Norfolk Island Pine can be propagated at any time of the year using the current seasons growth, using Rhizopon AA #1 by the dry drip method.
From Lawyer's list and Musser's list of conifers selected for specific uses,
favorite varieties used for Christmas trees in the US and Canada are:
Fraser Fir - a top choice
Douglas Fir - a top choice
Eastern White Pine
Southwestern White Pine
Balsam Fir - a top choice
Colorado Blue Spruce
Eastern Red Cedar
Eastern White Pine
Some the the most beautiful Christmas trees are the living trees in pots or balls. After the holiday season simply take the tree outside and plant it at the appropriate time for your area (subject to frozen soil to dig the planting hole).
There are many suppliers of Christmas tree stock grown from seed. We do not recommend any particular supplier. Two well known tree farms are:
950 Highway 200 West
Plains, MT 59859
1880 Route 119 Hwy N
Indiana, PA 15701
For information on propagation of plants from cuttings download the (free)
Hortus Plant Propagation From Cuttings book.