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  • Healthy cutting that refuses to put out roots

    I have had my eye on a fig tree that had bad winter damage from the 2013-14 winter and then sent up some thin shoots from the roots last summer. In early January, 2015 I took cuttings from the thickest shoot I could find. These cuttings have been very difficult to root probably because the cuttings are thin, they might have had some cold damage and/or the tree didn't have a lot energy left when it sent up those spindly shoots. I suspect the tree may be dead now so this is my last hope.

    Long story short the cuttings have been very difficult and I am down to my last one. I have been trying to root it in potting mix in a mini-SIP. Right on schedule it sprouted a small leaf but then nothing. No roots have appeared. It has been this way since late February and I even transitioned it to part sun hoping that the outdoor conditions would jumpstart it. Yesterday I removed the soil around the cutting to see what was going on. The cutting looked healthy but there were no roots; just rooting initials. It's amazing it was able to maintain the one leaf. I don't have any rooting hormone and I don't really want to buy rooting hormone for just this cutting. I have been having good luck with not using rooting hormone this year (with the exception of this cutting). Beyond buying rooting hormone what do you all think about the idea of trying to root it in water? Any other ideas? Or is rooting hormone my only option?
    Steve
    D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
    WL: Nantes Maroc

  • #2
    Just let it be. I have a couple cuttings that I started in December that just now are showing around 1/8" long root.
    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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    • drphil69
      drphil69 commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm no expert but I agree... patience. I have a Fico Preto that took all of 16 weeks to show roots. It had 2 tiny leaves for at least a month before it showed roots. It's still in its cup from early November, about ready to pot up to a 1 gallon.

      You may want to try misting the leaves with a very weak fertilizer solution, like MG.

  • #3
    Man, I feel your pain. My one and only preto cutting is the same... at least it's still alive. I just watered it using a little rooting gel today. Good luck .
    Shailesh, Pennsylvania, ZONE 6B

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    • #4
      Thanks for your advice. I don't have as much patience as some of you so I think I will do something to shake things up. I'll report back with the outcome.
      Steve
      D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
      WL: Nantes Maroc

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      • #5
        Let us know what you do to shake things up.
        Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

        “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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        • #6
          Steve, I feel your despair.
          I grow my cuttings in a "hot box", and though I seem to have gotten a good technique for myself (smaller massacre) I still had one or three varieties that sat quietly for months.
          It seems to me that these cuttings stall because they don't have enough moisture to go from root initials to roots.
          Maybe it's the variety, or how they're stored...
          Anyway, because I have the luxury of high humidity and grow lights, I figured I had nothing to lose:
          I went ahead and potted these cuttings in 1/2 gallon pots with MG, gave them a good soaking, and put them back in the hot box.
          Most have begun to get a second wind.
          Maybe all this talk of overwatering has me UNDERWATERING, and that's why some of the cuttings just hesitate after that first good month of moisture begins to evaporate.

          I'm "rooting" for you, and I hope that if this last cutting doesn't take, you'll have access to the mother tree this Fall. I know some more root suckers will be ready for you.

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          • drphil69
            drphil69 commented
            Editing a comment
            I tried Pete's method of soaking in wet sphagnum for a day with a few of my cuttings, and most of them really took off. Last year I tried soaking in plain water overnight, and all of them grew mold like no tomorrow and eventually died.

        • #7
          Rui, I have had that problem too: underwatering. This is a topic for another thread but what I have noticed this year when using mini-SIPs there is a lot of inconsistency between different mini-SIPs as far as how much water gets wicked into the medium. A couple cuttings were lost or almost lost because of underwatering.

          Anyway, what I decided to do with this cutting is put into water with Dyna-Gro K-N-L rooting solution at the rate of 2 teaspoons per gallon. I read about some forum members really liking this stuff then ordered it and forgot I had it! So as soon as I see roots forming I'll move it back into potting mix and that's where the critical step will be I'm guessing.
          Steve
          D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
          WL: Nantes Maroc

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          • drphil69
            drphil69 commented
            Editing a comment
            Is there a risk of Dyna-Gro inhibiting leaf growth to the point you don't get any? I recall Pete mentioning that in a rooting hormone thread.

          • Rewton
            Rewton commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, that is always a risk with using products that have rooting hormone in them. This can be mitigated by only using moderate amounts of hormone. But this is the reason why I decided not to use rooting hormone this year, until now at least. Desperate times call for desperate measures!

        • #8
          It will be interesting to see what it does. Are you going to put a fresh cut on the bottom or injure it another way?
          Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

          “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

          Comment


          • Rewton
            Rewton commented
            Editing a comment
            I decided not to do that since the cutting already has rooting initials and the fresh cut that I put on a few months ago has been calloused over and it is no longer an entry point for rot.

        • #9
          Heat seems to be important in the rooting process. How about bottom heat or a heat mat? I remember my Dad running around the yard checking the soil temperatures with his favorite soil thermometer. He refused to put a seed in the ground until the soil temperature was high enough.
          I'm having the opposite problem with cuttings that develop extensive root systems but no green or top growth. I put my cuttings directly into cups with 50/50 coir/perilite and Buddy tape the tops. I went to a hydroponics/gardening store and bought a heat mat. I mentioned to the salesman that I was trying to root fig cuttings. He gave me a small free sample of a rooting hormone that turned out to be helpful. The combination is giving me some nice roots on most of my cuttings. For me, it's hard not to over water, even with a moisture thermometer, and kill off the healthy roots that develop. I was told to water the cups until water drips from the bottom, but that makes the cups too wet.
          Mara, Southern California,
          Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

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          • #10
            best rooting temperature is 70-72 degrees

            I have quite a few Kadotas rescued from a similar fate on a very old tree nearby. I was determined to get as many rooted as I could so I cut them to short, 2-3 node cuttings and gave her my best....just today...I noticed the first, solid, normal sized roots...and the tops have held with 1 or 2 leaves all winter through the spring....

            A quote from "Jose Jimenez" (Bill Dana) when asked what he intended to do in space comes to mind....."I plan to cry alot"

            That's how I'm feeling about some of mine while I've been waiting all winter into early spring
            Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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            • #11
              Good luck Steve. I was going to say, don't water root. But it looks like you've opted for a good method.
              Rafael
              Zone 10b, Miami, FL

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              • #12
                When nothing happens for a while (4-5 weeks) I always change my medium. Also. the KLN will be absorbed better if you make a small wound, like scraping the bark if any or making a new bottom cut. Keeping the cutting between 72-78 is good, I think varying that temperature helps, too but I haven't set up any studies. Without photos of the "root initials" I can't be sure but if they've lasted a month without growth they may be lenticels which is a sign of not enough air getting to the cutting. I would get them into a 90+% perlite medium, being sure to rinse or sift the perlite so the dust doesn't trap too much water. The other 5% or so would be peat moss.
                Bob C.
                Kansas City, MO Z6

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                • #13
                  I received this cutting in late December and kept it in my living room in this SIP. It took over four months for growth to start, a record for me. The other two cuttings left in my garage never made it. The lesson learned was that temperature and moisture go hand in hand with patience.
                  Overwatering would've killed this cutting before it had a chance to start growing. That's why I like to use those SIP's for rooting now. I don't have to guess as to how much water to add.
                  I usually check the water level every couple of days an add as needed from the bottom and try to keep the SIP in a daylight environment around 74 degrees.
                  You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
                  Last edited by Sas; 05-12-2015, 05:25 PM.
                  Sas North Austin, TX Zone 8B

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