Rooting beech tree


I have had to take down a 150 year old beech tree…I am very eager to root it. I have saved some branches and hope you can assist…I also have some seeds from last fall which I tried to root but was unsuccessful….thank you in advance.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your 150 year old beech tree. It is a real loss.

Your best bet to propagate another beech tree was with her seeds. It is too bad that you were not successful. If you still have a few seeds around, I would try again. Put one seed per pot with drainage holes in a good potting soil. Place the pot in a bright location until it sprouts. Keep the soil damp not wet. After about a year, transplant the small seedling into a larger pot until it reaches about 1-3 feet in height. At this point is is ready to transplant it into the garden.

Unless your beech tree hardwood branches are from the young branch tips, I am not sure you will have much success trying to root the beech tree hardwood branches. Beech tree are slow growing and not easily propagated using stem cuttings. Hardwood propagation is done from live stem cuttings at the tip of the branch where the tree growth is most vigorous. The wood needs to be new wood no more than a year old.  Assuming that your branches meet this criteria, here are the steps to propagate a tree from the stem cuttings:

  1. Using clean and sharp pruners, take 6- to 10-inch cuttings from the tip of the branch, from wood no more than a year old. The fall is the best time for this process.
  2. Remove the bottom leaves and soak the cut end in a bucket of water. While the branch soaks, fill a small pot with a mixture of potting soil and wood-based compost.
  3. Dip the cut end of the branch in rooting hormone. Using a pencil to make a hole in the soil, plant the branch in the prepared potting mix.
  4. Moisten the potting mix and cover the pot with a loose clear plastic bag. Place the pot in a bright location and continue to grow it until roots begin to develop and new leaves begin to sprout.
  5. Once the cutting is rooted, remove the plastic bag and continue to grow it indoors over the winter.  By the following spring, the cutting can be planted in the landscape to grow into a tree.

Good luck.