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In August, whilst lightly pruning my old apple tree, my sister told me she'd read somewhere that if you put apple cuttings in a little water and leave them in some warm place, in time, they would root.

I had never heard of this particular thing before, but I tried it.

Today I had a look at them.  I cannot see roots as

such but the cuttings have grown some tiny white stuff that I imagine could be embryonic roots of some kind?

The trouble is I don't know what I should do next.  Do they have some potential or should I throw them out?


I'm sorry, Alex, but I think these are fungi; the roots would have grown at the end of the cutting...


I don't think they will root at all. They'll probably be rotting soon and will not be safe to grow into soil. You need to check your tree is not on a rootstock too, as sometimes, the cuttings you take may not grow in the same way as your original tree. But if you want to try, push them into pots of half sand and half compost. Keep in a warm environment with cover. Mist or water lightly during this time, they are likely to root that way. 

Last edited: 05 October 2017 17:58:20

Thank you DW and Borderline. 

I think I will try your idea, Borderline, of putting them in sandy compost and misting them.  Who knows?  They might decide to... play ball!  Nothing to lose!

As for rootstock, I really don't know.  The tree is VERY old and tall but the fruit is good, huge apples that are good to eat and cook.

I will be sorting the cuttings out first thing tomorrow morning!


If you are taking cuttings tomorrow, I think at this time of year, you need to pick more semi-hardwood cuttings. Any leaves near the tips can be trimmed off. The area buried needs to be at least 1/3 of the length on your cutting. Choose preferably slightly bendy at the tips and hard near the area where it will be rooting. Also, look into getting some rooting hormone too. Don't need to rush. 


I don't have any rooting hormone, so I better get some before...attacking the tree.  I will follow your advice to the letter, wish me luck!


Alex91, I will wish you luck! Others may come on later with some differing advice, so let's see. 


Hi Alex, I remember reading about this method of "rooting" trees in water in the Which? magazine a long time ago.  I think it was in the late 90s. 

I believe they took lots of them and kept them in a bucket with a little water over many weeks.  Most of them grew those odd looking white things, which were, apparently, an indication that when planted, these cuttings would actually grow roots. 

So, I don't think yours have mould, either; plant them up, and as Borderline suggests, keep them warm and moist. 

I will my fingers crossed for you!


I envy your perseverence, Alex.  You deserve success, so I'm crossing my fingers for you too!

Danae dan-Ah-ee
DimWit says:

I'm sorry, Alex, but I think these are fungi; the roots would have grown at the end of the cutting...

See original post

 Sometimes I find that cuttings I root in water don't sprout roots at the end of the cutting but a few cms further up, usually where a "wound" was formed when I removed some leaves.

Danae dan-Ah-ee

Hi Alex, I googled how to root apple tree cuttings in water hoping to find the Which? article Phaidra mentioned, above, but without success.

However, I did find several others and I think the one, below, proves exactly the point Phaidra was making.  It's perhaps a tad languorous (!), so you can fast forward it to about ten and a half minutes down the line and, if what you see is what you've experienced, perhaps you could then watch it from the beginning?

Thank you, Danae.  Absolutely the same sort of thing.  That's good to know.

The reason I wanted to take cuttings was that because the tree is very old, according to the neighbours probably over 60 years old, and as I like the fruit it produces, it seemed a good idea to try.

Imagine a younger tree that produces apples like this!

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