Sassafras Propagation Methods

What You'll Need
Shovel or hoe
Sunny spot

Growing Sassafras trees isn’t very difficult as they are typically a hearty tall species. They are a beautiful tree with colorful blooms and leaves that change colors in the seasons from green to gold or orange in the fall. They are an accent to any yard or lawn. The roots of this tree are also good for making into teas or a spice.  

Starting from a seedling is best since this type of tree doesn’t like to be transplanted often. Before planting the seedling remember to keep it in a cool place where it can stay moist, but not completely wet.

Step 1 - Find a Sunny Place with Lots of Space

Sassafras trees can grow to be over thirty-five feet tall so be sure you have enough room before planting. Even though you need space the tree will need protection from the wind or heavy rains while it is young so it might be best to have the tree planted near a building, so that it can be protected, but still have room.  

Step 2 - Drainage

Make sure the place you are using has proper drainage. Sassafras trees need plenty of water, but they are vulnerable to root rot, so there can be no standing water or overly muddy conditions where they are planted. For this reason, they do best in a sandy type soil.  

Step 3 - Choose a Planting Time

Choose a planting time that allows for cold dormancy to promote germination. This can best be achieved by planting the Sassafras tree during the fall and allowing it to remain dormant throughout the winter. If this is problematic then place the seeds in a damp towel or soil and put this in a plastic bag which can then be refrigerated over through the winter months.  

Step 4 - Give it Room

Planting the seedling means giving it as much room as possible from the start. Loosen the soil in the area you wish to plant the tree in first. Dig the hole to be twice the size of the seedling you are planting then place it down covering it with at least half the soil. Do not tap or pack the soil too tightly as this will make it hard for the plant to take root.  

Step 5 - Mulch

Mulching or adding compost around the root system is a good idea, especially for the first couple of season as the plant is putting in roots. If any signs of root rot begin to show up however, stop composting.  

Another common method or transplanting of Sassafras propagation is using the suckers as a transplant source.  Since Sassafras trees produce seedlings at their roots these can be harvested and used as for planting as you would as a seedling.  Be careful to choose the smallest and farthest most seedling to take from so you don’t want to shock the older tree by cutting away too much of the root. Plant this seedling as you would any other.