3 Steps to Successfully Propagate an Ash Tree for Greener Future
Propagating an ash tree is a simple and enjoyable task for those interested in gardening and landscaping. There are a few different methods for propagating an ash tree, each of which has its advantages. These include gathering seeds from the tree followed by stratification, planting suckers from the roots or lower trunk, or using root grafts. Here we explore these three ways in further detail.
Gathering Seeds and Stratification
Gathering seeds from an ash tree and then stratifying them is one of the most common ways to propagate an ash tree. Gathering the seeds requires only that you collect more than a handful of seeds from under the tree. To check to see if the seeds are viable, you should “float” them. Seeds that sink to the bottom of a large container of water are usually viable and can be used to grow ash plants.
Once the viable seeds have been gathered, they need to be stratified in order to hasten the production of hormones that encourage germination. To do this, place the collected seeds in a plastic bag and cover with peat moss to replicate soil. Let the seeds sit in a warm room for a few days before placing them in the fridge for a period of 4 weeks to 3 months. Take the seeds out of the fridge, and place in a warmer area, such as a linen closet. Continue this process until signs of germination are visible.
In older ash trees, “suckers” which are small branches that emerge from the roots or lower trunks, can be found. Though these tend to be removed during pruning season, they can also be used to grow new ash trees. The best time for picking these is during the summer months, between June and August. Once selected, take a newly grown sucker and plant it in a well-drained pot with soil and mulch, and optionally add a rooting hormone to encourage growth.
Root grafting is another way of propagating an ash tree. This involves obtaining a piece of ash tree root and a cutting, either from a leaf node or from a sucker. Make sure to cut the root so that a piece of bark will peel away. Next, insert the cutting into the peeled away bark, wrap both the root and cutting with tree paper, and plant the root in soil up to the cut mark. Leave the root in the soil and water regularly, and the cutting should eventually take.
Propagating an ash tree is a worthwhile experience, either by using ash tree seeds or by using sucker or root grafts. Just remember to collect your seeds when they are ripe and to stratify them in order to speed up the germination process, or to harvest suckers in the summer to propagate via that method, or to use root grafts for larger and older ash trees.