How to Replant a Tree the Easy Way

Learn how to replant a tree by cutting off a healthy branch from your damaged tree and replanting it to grow a new tree.

  • propagation
    Choose a fairly straight, smooth branch that has about two or three years of growth.
    Photo by Adobestock/somrerk
  • Learn how to replant a tree using the healthiest branch available.
    Learn how to replant a tree using the healthiest branch available.
    Illustration by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

  • propagation
  • Learn how to replant a tree using the healthiest branch available.

Discover how to replant a tree. Pruning the best part of a damaged tree and replanting may produce a healthy tree.

How to Replant a Tree

When that freakish May snowstorm passed through our neck of the woods last year, one of the first "casualties" on the farm was our favorite apple tree (the one our two young sons had called their "sourapple"). The old tree had had a bad crotch (that the person who'd planted it about 50 years ago had either ignored or failed to notice) about three feet from the ground, and sure enough, one real he-storm was all it took to send a fissure clean through the weakened area.

Not that the loss of the tree mattered all that much where our homestead's fruit production was concerned. (I'd been planning to plant a new orchard of dwarf pear and apple trees soon anyway.) Nonetheless, it seemed a shame to have to let a perfectly good half of an apple tree go to waste. "Surely," I told myself as I cut branches off the storm's victim to give to my goats, "there must be a way to salvage this proud old apple-bearer."

As I looked at the fallen tree half, I happened to notice that the force of hitting the ground had buried one branch fairly deeply, and the leaves on that particular branch seemed greener and in better shape than the rest. That's when it hit me: "Maybe there's a way to propagate a part of this old tree!" I exclaimed.

My Uncle Paul — an old farmer from way back — had the answer I needed (it seemed he'd been saving storm-damaged orchard stock all his life). He described in detail how I could save my apple tree, and the minute I got back from visiting him I began putting his advice to work.

The first step is to choose a fairly straight, smooth branch that — when looked at with two or three years' growth in mind — has no bad features about it . . . such as a weak crotch (where two or three branches come out of the trunk at the same place), a scar where the bark is missing, or too long a stretch with no smaller branches on the sides.

7/14/2016 12:27:19 AM

Hello, I sorry to be dumb at this but I don't understand about your illustration on making a 6-8 inch cut to form the upside-down T. Do you make that cut where there is a little branch coming out from the straight branch you cut? You would have a pretty small tree, right? I'm sorry to be so dense about this, but I want to get it right as I lost my beautiful maple tree in a storm and I don't know what kind it is for sure and I can't find another that looks like it to replace it. Thanks so much for you help.



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