Apple Trees

Miracle Cutting Still Alive, Please Help!

dkamarinos added on January 30, 2018 | Answered

I have one last surviving apple tree cutting that a friend sent to me from Europe, all of the others, many of them showing promise, ultimately didnt make it. Most likely due to my inexperience or, lets face it, brown thumb. This cutting has been through it all. It was first tried in a rooting hormone/growing medium experiment where I scraped the outer bark off of the bottom tip, dipped it in a rooting hormone (clonex) and placed it in a tray with a lid. This tray had a heating element underneath it, along with a light which attaches to the top of the lid enclosing the tray.. Long story short this method pretty much killed all of my cuttings, probably from too much moisture.. This apple cutting appeared to bite the dust so I took out to garage to leave it for dead. Two weeks later, no light, no water, as I was throwing away the dead cuttings I realized this one was still alive. One by one I was one scraping the outer bark of each one to make sure they were dead, and when i scraped this one it was still very much green! I quickly took it inside and cut off the bottom tip that appeared rotten, then quickly stuck it into a small cup of water with a few newly trimmed willow cuttings. I recently learned that cuttings from willow species can be used as natural rooting hormone. So, I gave it a try and stuck the glass of the apple and willow cuttings in the window. One week later there was new growth emerging from the top tip!! I was beside myself, and ecstatic! Fast forward now three weeks and the leaves at the top tip have turned brown, and the bottom 1/8"/3mm of the bottom tip has turned brown. I took it out of the glass tonight and trimmed off the bottom 1/8"/3mm which was brown. I then changed the water, trimmed three new willow cuttings and placed the apple cutting back into the glass with three new willow cuttings and a drop of rooting hormone. Does anyone have any advice or feedback for me on how to save this cutting? Please help!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on February 1, 2018

I admire your persistence!
It sounds like your cutting was dormant and now is being forced to open.
It's energy is going to the bud and not root formation.
You can retry placing in a pot with the information below.

Stir together one part sand and one part peat and fill a flowerpot with this mixture. Another growing medium mixture is one part peat, one part perlite and two parts sand.
Remove buds and leaves from the lower half of the cutting from the apple tree, leaving at least two buds. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone.
Stick the cutting into the growing medium in the flowerpot about halfway and press the medium firmly around the cutting so it stands upright on its own.
Moisten the cutting and growing medium with water from a spray bottle. Cut the bottom from a clean, clear, two-liter plastic soda bottle. Screw on the cap and set the bottle over the cutting in the flowerpot, creating a mini-greenhouse. Alternatively, set the entire pot inside a clear plastic bag and seal it closed. It is important to keep the bottle or bag from touching the cutting.

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