How To Grow a Tree From a Branch: Guide To All 10 Tree Types & Locations

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 7, 2024

Woman holding a pair of tree trimming snip tools looks at a branch above her head and wonders how to grow a tree from a branch and how to propagate a tree, asking can you grow a tree from a branch?

Have you ever wondered how to grow a tree from a branch? Growing a tree from a branch, or propagating, is an interesting process that allows you to witness the miracle of nature in your own backyard.

It’s simple and cost-effective and helps you preserve the genetics of a particular tree species.

You only need some basic tools, a little bit of patience and materials to grow a small cutting into a beautiful and thriving tree.

Growing trees from cuttings is an environmentally friendly and fun way to engage with nature. It also allows you to learn more about the art of plant propagation.

So, whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or just curious about how plants grow, growing a tree from a branch is fascinating.

This guide outlines how to grow a tree from a branch and includes 10 popular tree types and the locations where they grow best.

Growing a Tree From a Cutting: How To Grow a Tree From a Branch

When growing a tree from a cutting, make sure to remove the cutting after the leaves have fallen for deciduous trees.

The first step is to find a healthy branch and cut it at a 45-degree angle below (closer to the trunk) a bud.

The cutting should not have leaves and buds on the lower half and should be dipped into the rooting hormone to help with root growth.3

Planting the cuttings in well-draining soil and under indirect sunlight ensures that the cuttings get the best growing conditions.

Graphic description of how to grow a tree from a branch using illustrations to show each step.

After a few weeks, roots will start to develop, indicating successful propagation.

As the cutting grows, you should transfer it into a larger container or in the ground to give it enough room to mature. Regular watering and fertilization are also important tasks to do when learning how to grow a tree from a branch.

How To Propagate a Tree

There are two different ways to propagate a tree. You can either grow it from a seed or a cutting from an existing tree.

The first method involves planting a seed in the soil and providing adequate water and sunlight.

How to grow a tree from a branch is not so complicated either. Start by selecting a healthy branch (approximately half inch diameter, which is about the size of a Sharpie) and cut it at a 45-degree angle.

Then remove leaves and buds from the lower half of the cutting (try to choose branches that don’t have additional buds on them), and dip the cut end in a rooting hormone.1

Insert the cut end of the branch into peat material. Like when using a seed, the growing conditions for a cutting-propagated tree are important.

NOTE: Do not sprout roots under water. The lack of oxygen can be detrimental to development.

Plant the cutting in well-draining soil, keep it moist, and provide indirect light. After a few weeks, you should see new growth, indicating successful propagation.

Continue to move the seedling to larger containers until it is ready to transplant into the ground.

Growing a Tree From a Seed: Growing a Tree From a Seedling

The first and most important task when growing a tree from the seed is to choose a seed from a healthy and mature tree. You also need to soak the seed in water for a few hours or overnight to help break down any barriers to germination.

The seed should be planted in nutrient-rich soil and watered regularly to help it grow. Also, it is important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged and provide sufficient light.

Closeup of watering a newly planted tree seedling in the ground.

(Image: Karolina Grabowska14)

Germination may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.12 The time it takes depends on the type of tree.

Once the seedling has grown to a few inches, you can transfer it to a larger container or the ground.2 Follow-up care includes regular watering and fertilization to keep your new tree healthy as it grows into maturity.

When planting a seedling, knowing the best practices for how to plant the specific tree species will come in handy. Some tips include:

  • Choose the correct location (where sun or shade is required).
  • Fortify the soil, if needed.
  • Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to ensure the tree remains well watered in the first and second growing season.
  • Monitor the bark and leaves for any sign of fungal or insect infestation.
  • Aerate the soil each year and apply nutrients as needed.

#1. Apple: How To Grow an Apple Tree From Seed

The first thing is to save the seeds from an apple and clean them. Dry the seeds for a few days and plant them in a pot with well-draining soil.

Remember to water and fertilize regularly, as you provide plenty of sunlight.

Note that Apple trees grown from seed might take several years to produce fruit, and for most varieties, you’ll need at least two trees for cross pollination.

#2. Cherry: How To Grow a Cherry Tree From Seed

To plant a Cherry tree, start by collecting Cherry pits and preparing them for planting. Stratify the seeds by storing them in the refrigerator for several months and then plant them in well-draining soil.

You should keep the soil consistently moist.

#3. Mango: How To Grow Mango Tree From Seed

First, remove the flesh from a ripe Mango seed and let the seed dry for a few days.

Plant the seed in well-draining soil with the sprouted end up, and keep the soil consistently moist.

Mango trees require warm and humid climate and can thrive in a pot or directly in the ground, depending on the species.

#4 Peach: How To Grow Peach Tree From Seed

Start by removing the pit from a ripe peach and preparing it for planting by cracking the shell without damaging the seed inside.

Like Pine trees, you should plant the seed in well-draining soil and cover it with a thin layer of soil.

Peach trees can be grown in warm areas.

#5. Pine: How To Grow Pine Tree From a Pine Cone

You need to collect mature Pine cones and bake them in the oven to open the cones and release the seeds.

Then plant the seeds in well-draining soil, cover them with a thin layer of soil, and keep the soil consistently moist.

Pine trees grow in well-drained soil and in a sunny location.8

Can You Grow a Tree From a Branch? (How To Grow a Tree From a Branch)

It is possible to grow a tree from a branch through softwood cutting.

The process involves selecting a healthy branch from the succulent stem in the spring, cutting it into a section 6 to 12 inches long and then removing the leaves on the lower half.

A person selecting a healthy Willow tree branch to propagate a tree from cuttings.

(Image: Goumbik15)

You also treat the cutting with rooting hormone before planting it to stimulate root growth.

The branch method is used for many species including shrubs and bushes.

How Do I Go About Placing the Cuttings Into the Ground After Rooting?

Taking cuttings and planting them directly into the ground or in a container with well-draining soil is the first step. Create a hole in the soil and gently insert the cutting.

Firm the soil around the base of the cutting and water the cutting thoroughly. You also need to provide partial shade until it establishes roots.5

How To Start Roots on Branch Cuttings

The first step is to always select a branch free of damage or disease and cut it at a 45-degree angle. The bottom part of the cutting should not have any buds or leaves either.

The magic ingredient here is the rooting hormone,11 which helps stimulate root growth in a cutting. Dip the cutting in it and plant it in well-draining soil for the roots to grow.

The cutting only takes a few weeks to develop roots in the right conditions. Once the roots are visible, you can transplant the cutting where you want the tree to grow.

#6. Dogwood: How To Grow a Dogwood Tree From a Branch

Like every other tree propagation process, a Dogwood tree from a branch must be healthy to propagate successfully. It also needs to be at least 12 inches long and has a diameter of about 1/4 to 1/2 inches.

The cutting angle is also 45-degree, and all the leaves or buds should be removed from the lower half of the cutting.

The rooting hormone will stimulate root growth, and you can plant the cutting, moist and well-draining soil away from direct sunlight.

#7. Cherry Blossom: How To Grow a Cherry Blossom Tree From a Branch

A cutting-propagated Cherry Blossom tree has the same process as a Willow tree. Start with selecting a healthy branch that is at least 1 year old and has a diameter of about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

The branch should be cut at a 45-degree angle, and all the leaves and buds should be removed from the bottom of the cutting.

Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant the cutting in well-draining soil.

#8. Willow: How To Grow a Willow Tree From a Branch

The branch you choose from a Willow tree should be healthy and at least 1 year old. Cut it to a length of about 12 inches and remove the buds.

The next task is to dip in the rooting hormone and plant the cutting in the right conditions.

It takes about 4-6 weeks for the cutting to start growing roots.

Explain How Long It Takes To Grow Tree: How To Grow a Tree From a Branch or Seed

Growing a tree does not have a specific timeline as it varies depending on the types of trees species you have. Are you cloning a softwood or cloning a hardwood?7

There could also be other factors affecting the growth time of a tree including the growing conditions and the desired size of the tree. Some fast-growing trees can reach maturity in as little as 10 years.

However, slower-growing trees can take centuries to reach maturity, such as Oak trees.

Other minor factors that determine how fast a tree grows are soil quality, sunlight, water, and nutrients. Most trees have a growth rate of about 1-2 feet per year, but that may vary depending on the tree and its growing conditions.

When To Plant Tree for the Best Yield

The best time to plant a tree for the best yield is different for each tree species. What type of tree are you trying to plant, and what is the climate in the area you live?

Generally, the best time to plant a tree is in the dormant season. That is in the late fall or winter.

Late fall, a man carrying a young tree with no leaves to replant it in the ground.

(Image: Valley Forge National Hist Park16)

That is when the tree is not actively growing, which allows the tree to focus on root growth before the growing season begins. However, some trees do better in the spring when soil temperatures are warming and rainfall is more abundant.

The best way to know the best time to plant a specific tree is to research the tree species and understand its requirements.

You could also consult with a local tree expert to determine the best time to plant for optimal yield.

Growing Zones for Tree (Where To Grow)

Growing zones for trees are geographic areas classified based on climate conditions. That includes factors such as temperature, rainfall, and frost dates.

These zones help you determine which trees are best suited for your area, as different kinds of trees have different temperature and moisture requirements.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come up with a map that divides the United States into 11 different growing zones. The zones range from Zone 1, the coldest, to Zone 11, the warmest.

You can use these zones to select trees adapted to your area’s climate. That gives the trees you choose a better chance of thriving because the conditions are right in that specific growing zone.

Companion Plants for Growing Tree

Companion planting refers to growing different plants together to create a mutually beneficial environment.

Certain companion plants can help to support and enhance the growth of trees. They do so by attracting beneficial insects, providing nutrients, or improving soil health.

Some of the common companion plants for growing trees include:


Chives repel pests and insects that can harm trees.

Once you plant them together with your trees, you can protect the trees from common pests and insects that destroy the trees.

Herb, a closeup of Chives green foliage in different hues of green.

(Image: Lischka17)

White flower and three-leafed Clover plant with water dew

(Image: ASSY18)


Clover is a nitrogen-fixing plant that can help to enrich the soil with nitrogen.

Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for trees, which is why clover makes an excellent companion plant for trees in any growing zone.


The deep roots in Comfrey help bring up nutrients from deep within the soil and make them available to the tree.

With Comfrey as a companion plant, your tree will always have access to all the nutrients you put in the soil.

bell-shaped white and pink flowers of Comfrey plant.

(Image: LeneA19)

A field of Daffodil, showing its green stems and bright yellow flowers.

(Image: Hans20)


Like Chives, Daffodils also help keep your trees safe from pests.6 However, Daffodils also deter rodents, which helps protect your trees from damage.


As much as insects can be awfully bad for trees, some are beneficial to the trees. Insects such as bees help pollinate trees and improve overall ecosystem health.

Lavender is known to attract bees and other beneficial insects to your trees.

Meadow full of Lavender plants with its flowers.


Best-Growing Conditions for Tree

The best-growing conditions for trees are specific to the species of the tree. However, most trees thrive in well-draining soil with plenty of sunlight and water.

The following tips will help you provide the best-growing conditions for your trees:


Your trees will grow best in well-draining soil rich in nutrients. However, you can improve poor soil by adding compost or other organic matter.


Trees require regular watering, especially when they are first planted. The soil should be thoroughly saturated but not water-logged.

You should avoid letting the soil dry out completely.


Some trees prefer cool, moist conditions, while others thrive in hot and dry conditions. It is important to choose species that are well-suited to your local climate.

Determine that by finding out the best growing zones for your tree species.


While most trees prefer full sun, other species only thrive in partial shade. Choose a location that receives the appropriate amount of sunlight according to the specific requirements of your tree species.


Trees need nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to grow.9 A balanced fertilizer will help you keep the right nutrients in the soil for the tree.

Watering Needs for Tree

Watering needs for trees depend on the species of the tree, the climate, and the soil conditions. Most trees require deep watering, but less frequently than other plants.

Here are some tips for watering trees:

The Frequency

Trees require deep watering about once a week. However, it varies depending on the tree species and the climate.

For example, trees in hot, dry climates may require more frequent watering than trees in cooler areas.

The Amount

Trees require a large amount of water to thrive, but it is important to avoid overwatering. If you give your trees too much water, it can lead to root rot.

However, water your tree deeply so that the soil is thoroughly saturated. Also, avoid letting water pool around the base of the tree.

The Timing

Water your tree in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. That is the time when the water is less likely to evaporate.

Watering during the hottest part of the day can cause water to evaporate quickly and reduce the effectiveness of the watering.


If your area receives regular rainfall, you may not need to water your trees as frequently. However, that changes during dry periods.

Water your trees more frequently when its hot and dry to keep them healthy.

Planting Tips for a Tree

Planting a tree is essential for the environment as it beautifies your landscape and provides shade and habitat for wildlife. However, it takes time and effort to grow a tree.

Below are a few tips to help you plant and watch a tree mature:

Choose a Suitable Location

Consider the mature size of the tree and choose a location that provides enough space for it to grow. Ensure the location has appropriate sunlight exposure, good soil drainage, and protection from strong winds.

Create the Planting Hole

Dig a hole two to three times wider than the root ball of the tree and deep enough to accommodate the entire root system. Also, remove any grass, weeds or debris from the planting area.

How To Plant the Tree

Place the tree in the center of the hole and fill the space around the root ball with soil. Ensure the tree’s root collar is level with the soil surface.

Watering the Tree

You need to water the tree thoroughly after planting to help settle the soil around the roots. That also ensures that the tree has adequate moisture.

Apply Mulch

A layer of organic mulch around the tree’s base is important for the growth of the tree. You should be careful not to cover the root collar when doing that, though.

Applying mulch helps retain moisture and suppress weed growth.

Stake for Stability

If the tree is top-heavy, it may need to be staked until its roots establish. The staking keeps the tree upright in its early stages of growth.

Is There a Rule About How Far Apart To Plant Tree Saplings?

The spacing for planting trees depends on the species of the tree. Other factors include its mature size and the intended purpose of the tree.

However, all trees should be spaced far enough from each other to allow full growth and prevent overcrowding. Here are some spacing recommendations:

  • Small trees: At least 6-10 feet apart
  • Medium-sized trees: At least 10-20 feet apart
  • Large shade trees: At least 20-30 feet apart
  • Windbreaks & privacy screens: 4-10 Feet apart, depending on the species13

When making spacing decisions, think about their mature size and how they will fit into your landscape over time. Give your trees enough space to thrive and avoid overcrowding as it could lead to competition for water and nutrients.

How Much Sunlight Does Tree Need Each Day?

The amount of sunlight a tree needs each day highly depends on the species of the tree and its natural habitat.

However, most trees require at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to thrive. You will find that some species can also tolerate partial shade.

Pathway in forest, with sunshine shining on the tall trees lining both sides.

(Image: Skitterphoto22)

Research the specific requirements of the species of tree you are planting to ensure it gets the appropriate amount of sunlight to thrive. Providing the right sunlight requirements is crucial for a tree’s growth and overall health.

#9. Lemon: How To Grow a Lemon Tree

Planting a lemon tree requires a warm and humid climate. They can grow in a pot or directly in the ground.

Choose a sunny and well-draining location and then water and fertilize regularly. You should also protect the tree from extreme temperatures.

#10: Banana: How To Grow a Banana Tree

The planting location is very important for a banana tree. Choose a sunny and warm location to plant a banana sucker or tissue-cultured plant.

The soil should be moist and well-drained for optimal growth.

Also, fertilize regularly and protect the tree from strong winds and extreme temperatures. Banana trees will grow perfectly in a humid and tropical climate and can be grown in a pot or directly in the ground.

How Much CO2 Does a Tree Absorb?

Trees can absorb CO2 through factors like the species of the tree, its size and age. The pressing question, however, is how much CO2 does a tree absorb?

Averagely, a mature tree absorbs more than 48 pounds of CO2 annually.4

Common Pests To Watch Out For

Trees can be susceptible to a variety of pests that cause damage to roots, leaves, bark, and branches. These pests include:

Emerald Ash Borer

An invasive pest that can kill any ash tree by burrowing into the tree’s bark and interfering with its ability to transport water and nutrients.

Top shot of an Emerald Ash Borer showing its metallic dark green wings on black background.

(Image: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab23)

Tiny green aphids on a tree's branch and flower buds, infesting a tree by taking its sap.

(Image: PollyDot24)


Small insects that feed on the sap of trees, causing leaves to curl and wilt.


Caterpillars that spin protective bags around themselves as they feed on tree needles and leaves.

Bagworm moth in a cocoon-looking bag made of twigs and dried leaves, hanging on a leafless branch of a tree.

(Image: koshinuke_mcfly25)

Tent Caterpillars infesting a flowering Buttonbush plant by forming a silk-looking tent.

(Image: Scottslm26)

Tent Caterpillars

Insects that can defoliate entire trees by building large silken tents in the branches & eating the leaves.

Japanese Beetles

Beetles feed on the leaves and flowers of many different tree species.

Japanese Beetle on a leaf, with brown wings and tinges of metallic dark green on its head and body.

(Image: Richard65527)

Managing pest infestations in trees involves proper tree care and maintenance and using insecticides or other treatments. Early detection and intervention can help prevent widespread damage to trees.

How To Stop Tree Disease (or Fungus, Rot, Whatever Is Applicable)

The following tips will help prevent and control tree diseases:

  1. Planting disease-resistant tree species.
  2. Providing adequate water and nutrients to the tree to maintain its overall health.
  3. Avoiding injury to the tree, such as pruning during wet weather or damaging the tree’s bark.
  4. Removing infected branches or plant parts and disposing of them properly.
  5. Using appropriate fungicides or other treatments to control the spread of the disease.

Identify the type of disease affecting the tree before taking action. Better yet, consult with a professional arborist to develop a treatment plan.

Natural Pest Control for Tree

There are natural pest control methods that can help reduce the impact of harmful insects and pests on trees. Below are some effective natural pest control methods for your trees:

  1. Encourage beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and praying mantises, to help control pest populations.
  2. Introduce nematodes or other natural predators to feed on harmful insects.10
  3. Use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to suffocate and kill pests.
  4. Use physical barriers, such as row covers or sticky bands, to prevent pests from reaching the tree.
  5. Use companion plants such as Garlic, Chives, Daffodils or Marigolds to help deter pests.

Using natural pest control methods helps maintain the tree’s health, and minimize the use of synthetic pesticides that harm the environment.

Tree branch growing can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Whether you’re propagating a Cashew tree, Acorn tree, or Avocado tree that you already have or creating new ones, the process is the same. It requires patience, attention to detail, and a bit of luck.

With the right knowledge and care, anyone can learn how to grow a tree from a branch, and take a small cutting that will transform into a magnificent tree, providing beauty, shade, and even food for years to come.


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