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  • How long can lignified cuttings stay in vwcuum sealed bags in the fridge?

    My 3+ yr old potted CH is getting pretty tall. After all the figs are ripe, I will have gotten about 6 dozen fruit (they are soooo yummy). Its gotten pretty tall so next spring will be my first attempt at lignified cuttings (need to reduce its height a bit). I want to keep a couple for myself but I have friends and family anxious to root one also.

    I have read up on what to do and when. Quick highlights...
    1. cut a few weeks before the tree wakes up.
    2. cut 8-12" of lignified branch.
    3. cut 3+ nodes - top cut is flat and farthes from node below. bottom cut is angled and as close to lower node as possible.
    4. branch should be thicker than a pencil but not too thick. it should also be no more than a 1st or 2nd season lignified branch.
    5. sanitize cuttings for a couple min in hydrogen peroxide or 10/90% bleach/water mix. allow to air dry
    6. protect ends of cuttings with beeswax. lable branches with variety.
    7. vacuum seal cuttings and store in fridge.

    any suggestions or advice would be helpful. my main question has to do with storage and acclimating. do the cuttings just think its winter as long as they are in there? how do i acclimate them into the house? do i unwrap them and start rooting them right away (i learned rooting lignified cuttings this year and did well with it).

    Thanks so much!

  • #2
    Long time
    CJ in Memphis 7b/8a….tight eyes, nonsplitters...Pons figs, French figs, Mario figs & tasty Cali seedlings!


    • Ktrain
      Ktrain commented
      Editing a comment
      lol......as they say here in Georgia, Your cuttings will keep "for a good minute".

  • #3
    When properly stored in the refrigerator healthy Cuttings can be viable for up to 18 months (in my experience over 80% rate). The bottom cut should also be straight across just below the bottom node.

    They can be be placed into your rooting procedure straight out of storage or can be soaked (in sealed bag in or out of refrigerator) for up to 24 hours before rooting. Good luck.
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


    • #4
      People have rooted cuttings that were refrigerated more than a year with good success. Personally, I would not vacuum seal the bags. You need to check frequently, at least monthly, for any sign of mold or rot. I like to be able to open the bags and get some fresh air into them when I'm checking on the cuttings.
      Last edited by arachyd; 08-21-2021, 03:31 AM.
      7B Southern NJ


      • #5
        Point about storage capacity rather than time. I’ve rooted 2 year old cuttings. Not as good as fresh for sure, but ok …. But I had loads of problems with vacuum sealed cuttings. They seemed to lock in moisture and rot. Ziploc bags seem to work much better
        Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6


        • #6
          try to get the thicker branches when taking your cuttings
          Toronto, Canada USDA Zone 5. Wish List: Azores Dark, Malta Black, Sucrette, LSU Hollier and Violet Sepor. I'm always interested in trading cuttings if your in the Southern Ontario area. Thank You!


          • #7
            I would suggest when making your bottom cut, if storing...make it about an inch lower so when you do go to root them you can make a fresh cut near the node.

            At least have 2 or more under the media and at least 1 above

            Other than that you're on it!

            Happy Growing!
            Kevin, N. Ga 7b Cheers!

            Wishing all of you a bountiful harvest!


            • #8
              Glad you're thinking ahead! You're mostly on the right track, but a few things consider:

              You don't have to wait until the tree is almost ready to wake up. Anytime after dormancy will work.

              Most cuttings that I've received over the years have had a slanted top cut and flat bottom cut. I adopted that as it seems to be the standard.

              Look at node spacing when dividing a branch into cuttings. As said above, the ideal is to have at least two nodes close enough on the bottom that they can both sit under the mix in a rooting cup/tree pot.

              Leave about 1/2" of wood below the bottom node as many will want to make a fresh cut at rooting time. Plus, if you're waxing the ends it's easier to prune off the excess waxed wood than to scrape the wax off before rooting.

              Current year wood tends to root more easily than two year old wood, so go for that as much as possible.

              I personally prefer to individually wrap each cutting very tightly in plastic wrap after air drying, then I put them in a freeezer ziploc bag and put them in the fridge. I also toss in a sheet or two of paper towel to soak up any condensation that may collect in the bag. And I do visually check them about once a month to make sure they still look dry and mold free under the plastic wrap. Longest I've kept any before rooting is nine months, but they could easily go longer based on appearance at that point.
              “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
              – Source Unknown
              MA 5b/6a


              • JoePAFig
                JoePAFig commented
                Editing a comment
                Spot on, excellent advice.

            • #9
              Awesome advice... Thank you all. Sounds like being later in the season and how long they are stored in the fridge is as problematic as keeping them dry (lower humidity in the drawer or shelf).

              Ktrain I hadnt thought about giving the bottom enough room for a fresh clipping. I also clipped off a bit when I purchased a few clippings earlier this year.

              ginamcd I had originally intended to use parafilm on the ends instead of buying and melting beeswax. I used the parafilm for the exposed ends of the cuttings while rooting. It worked great. Can that be used instead of the beeswax?

              I dont really have a preference for which side flat/angled cut. A few of the articles had the bottom angled which made sense bc thats how I cut flowers.

              Those of you using ziploc bags... when using ziploc bags, do you still squish as much of the air out as possible or just leave them loose in the bag?


              • Ktrain
                Ktrain commented
                Editing a comment
                When I store them in zip locks...I wrap them in damp paper towels, I actually do push out most air, not all....but I open the bags every couple days to let some fresh air in.

                I have never let cuttings sit more than a couple weeks
                Never really get more than I'm going to root in the season.
                Small time compared to some of these figgers....I have about 30 varieties.
                I work too much to go much bigger than that.

              • AscPete
                AscPete commented
                Editing a comment
                ... https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...ng-and-storing
                The cuttings should be surface dried before storing. The straight bottom cut before rooting prevents rotting from the exposed hollow Pith section.

              • CaliGirlInKY
                CaliGirlInKY commented
                Editing a comment
                I didnt realize the cut made a difference in holding off rot. Thank you!

            • #10
              Thats a whole lot more than I have. I just bought 5 more varieties this year and a 6th that was gifted to me. They are all doing really well but they are all potted. Southern KY can get really cold and I almost lost my CH the first winter so i dont want to attempt planting them. 30 varieties would take up way more potting space than I have available (in the sun/partial sun). I would love to have that many though.


              • Ktrain
                Ktrain commented
                Editing a comment
                Once they get more mature they will be able to handle being in ground.
                At least some varieties....there is a lot of info on which ones will do good in your area.
                The Fig Frolic is next weekend....Chattanooga, if you can make it.
                You'll go home with another one, or two...lol

              • CaliGirlInKY
                CaliGirlInKY commented
                Editing a comment
                Wow... sounds like so much fun (only about 3hrs away). I couldnt have gone this weekend though. Maybe next year.

            • #11
              Given the trees can survive temperatures below freezing, has anyone tried freezing cuttings for indefinite storage?
              Zone 6a/b - west of Boston
              Waiting for climate change to bump me to Zone 8


              • venturabananas
                venturabananas commented
                Editing a comment
                Freezing them kills them.

              • CaliGirlInKY
                CaliGirlInKY commented
                Editing a comment
                I would think it would kill them since my 4ft lignified trunk died the first winter I had the tree. Luckily, the part of the trunk and roors under the soil survived.

              • TahomaGuy2
                TahomaGuy2 commented
                Editing a comment
                No, never did.
                Come winter, sellers of cuttings should postpone mailings until a below-freezing cold snap is over at the buyer's location. No need to assume an additional risk.

            • #12
              One comment that came to mind: vacuum sealing does not mean no air. It means the pressure in the package is less than the pressure outside of the package.
              I would assume that a light vacuum seal is good for the cuttings. Less air inside means less places for the air to go.
              That said, here is my breakdown of bag choices:
              Ziploc bags have an imperfect seal => you can lose moisture
              Purely plastic vacuum seal bags actually let air diffuse in slowly.... but in insignificant quantities over the course of a year or more. My guess is the material blocks moisture completely (larger molecule through the same sized holes)
              Metalized plastic vacuum seal bags can be considered perfect seals. They let air through, but at such a slow rate that you will forget you have the cuttings long before any appreciable air enters the package.
              Zone 6a/b - west of Boston
              Waiting for climate change to bump me to Zone 8