Propagating Native Cherries

Native Cherry gets some new companions, Newstead Natives Nursery, 23 August 2016

Native Cherry gets some new companions, Newstead Natives Nursery, 23 August 2016

Native Cherry Exocarpos cupressiformis which is a local species semi-parasitic on the roots of other plants is proving very difficult to propagate from seed or from cuttings. In February 2004 I set cuttings from actively growing suckers found where a grader had damaged the roots of a roadside Native Cherry, and although one of the cuttings struck roots that same year the resultant plant wasn’t strong enough to plant out until November 2010! I planted it 1m away from the mature Yellow Gum tree favoured by the Tawny Frogmouth pair who are familiar to readers of this blog. Close to it I planted 4 or 5 small local species including Wattle Mat-rush and Chocolate lily for it to latch onto until it found the Yellow Gum roots.

Six years after planting it out the Native Cherry has only reached knee high, and is so spindly you can’t even see it in the centre of this photo. Today I have planted some extra companions around it: Sticky Everlasting Daisies, Running Postman, Nodding Saltbush, Small-flowered Mat-rush, Gold-dust Wattle and Wallaby Grass. The soil was very dry despite a rainy winter so perhaps it just needs more regular watering? I am interested to hear from anyone else who has successfully propagated and grown on this species. It is frustrating not being able to include it in local revegetation projects when it is obviously an important component of local ecosystems: providing shade for resting roos, food for larvae of butterflies, and yummy berries for many species including humans.

9 responses to “Propagating Native Cherries

  1. I would love to give it go, was just thinking about giving it whirl before I headed out last week. Great work Franky!

  2. Hi Frances,
    I’ve been investigating Exocarpos for a while now, but haven’t actually tried to propagate them. My long-delayed research project into their ecology is now finally taking off, so might have some interesting results to report in a while.

  3. Frances, I have had success, once!, transplanting the Cherry Ballart. A small shrub, half a metre high was carefully dug out years ago and put into my backyard where it now stands 8 or 9 metres high. A few failed before this.

    • francescincotta

      I would only attempt this if the area was being cleared for some good reason and the Native Cherry could not stay. We don’t want to encourage people to dig them up – remember readers it’s illegal to remove native vegetation from public land.

  4. Talk to Marilyn Sprague, she was selling commercially at Goldfields Revegetation about 10 yrs ago. Propagated on a??? Danthonia host from memory. I was only sold some after she was satisfied I would plant in an appropriate place! My one good survivor is about 4m tall now and an absolute delight!

  5. Years ago our daughter brought home a mystery plant about 8cm high in a concrete flowerpot. As those who know Cherry Ballarts know, they don’t really look a lot like the mature plant at all, but enough like one for me to try taking it out of the concrete tub and planting it in our bush garden. I knew it had to have found the roots of something as it thrived, and grew to about 6 or 7 metres after about 20 years.. Eventually our old self-sown Acacia decurrens died, and so did our lovely Cherry Ballart.
    Apparently the wattle was the host in this case. The A. decurrens was a young tree about 3 m high and about 5m from the newly planted Ballart, So I wondered if perhaps the Ballarts are more independent to start with than we think?

  6. Love reading this website and wonderful photos.
    I think I would plant the cherry ( in the same hole ) with a young gum tree to help the parasitic root habit. I have seen them near wattles but mostly under gums where they are possibily longer living.
    I quite often plant wattles and gums together and the fast growing wattle seem to get their roots down into the subsoil, especially in the dryer areas, and both thrive.

  7. Barbara Buchanan

    When we lived at Myrrhee I used to get the occasional Native Cherry seedling in the garden and in my pots. It took a while to recognize them as at first they are soooo spindly. I have been in Benalla for 18 months now and have a seedling in a pot, don’t know quite when it first appeared but it is making progress though probably needs to be moved on soon. There isn’t room here for a full grown plant, but by default I will probably try it out as a pot plant.

  8. Hello Frances, My only experiences with Native Cherry are: – In about 1967 I transplanted two root suckers about 300mm high (in a decent block of soil) from a cemetery north of Tower Hill to the triangle of trees and shrubs directly in front of the TH residence in Lake Road. One survived and I expect is still there. A River Red Gum was about two metres away, put there when a well-meaning donor brought it along, as we were attempting to stick to indigenous flora on the rest of the reserve. – About 1975 one Native Cherry popped up on the inside S-W wall of the main crater (LHS of the road) on Tower Hill island. It was more than 50 m away from the only indigenous trees or shrubs within the crater, a couple of small regen blackwoods, and even further from trees we had planted outside the crater. I had some planted near it, following advice that they die without anything close to parasitize. It is possibly still there. – Farm wind break plantations on the plains north of Tower Hill had Native Cherries that had clearly not been planted there. They occurred sparsely, as they do in the bush; about 300 to 400 m apart in the Mount Eccles stony rise country for example. – The best stand I know of is on the south side of the Western freeway about one to 1.5 km east of Gordon overpass. Many have a neat conical form, as if they have been pruned. It is always a pleasure to see them.

    Thanks for your contributions Gavin Cerini 0417 135 218

    On Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 1:07 PM, Natural Newstead wrote:

    > francescincotta posted: ” Native Cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis) which > is a local species semi-parasitic on the roots of other plants is proving > very difficult to propagate from seed or from cuttings. In February 2004 I > set cuttings from actively growing suckers found where a ” >

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