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  • Biggest challenges in rooting this year

    So far, this is where I'm going wrong (but not with dramatic negative results):

    - Under-watering, which I should be able to correct because it's just paranoia of over-watering. I need to give the rooted cuttings a deeper soak each time because I am using heat mats. In a couple rooted cuttings, the leaves shriveled, but I think I'll be ok because the roots are still healthy. I can probably also leave the plastic drop-cloth open so it stays a bit cooler on my shelves.
    - Fat hands/fingers. A couple times, I've knocked off buds or leaves.
    Arne - Northern NJ - Zone 6A

  • #2
    My biggest challenge was figuring out that the humidity was far to high in my bins, once I cracked them a bit, my problem went away. My second problem is I still have cuttings that are in the rooting boxes and my bins are full. Time to expand my operation! !!!
    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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    • #3
      So far, I've lost quite few cuttings and I believe it's due to overwatering.
      Otmani - Dallas, TX - Zone 8a
      Wish List: Col de Dame Blanche, Brogiotto Bianco, Sicilian White, Panache

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      • #4
        Where to begin? I've never done this before this year, and I'm inventing new ways to screw things up.

        a) Too much moisture in initial rooting media (sphagnum)--Resolved
        b) Trying out Rich's prop method--Didn't work for me, even with screened perlite. Resulting perlite was always saturated and I ended with root/cutting rot. Not saying it doesn't work, just not in my hands--Resolved
        c) Overwatering...this one hurt bad. Even after initial struggles, I had a lot of good growth in an orchid mix/perlite medium, and was looking at 75-85% success rate overall. Then BAM...too much water. Make that a 40% success rate--somewhat resolved
        d) Root gnats. Oh, you thought your overwatering was your problem? How about an infestation of bugs to kill off another 6-8 cuttings, and cause the rest to stall out?--controlled, not resolved

        How do you escape this problem: I have root gnats...so I use gnatrol, but I have to drench the plants for it to work, which leads to saturation and root rot. I can't win?!

        Out of nearly 30 cuttings to start, I'm down to 9 remaining. 2 are in rough shape, but seem to be stabilizing, 4 are doing absolutely nothing (hey...better than dying, right?), though to be fair I potted them up into dark pots, so I can't see if they're growing new roots or not, and it may just be transplant shock. Finally, 3 more are actively growing good roots. No top growth at the moment, but the roots are building steadily.

        I just got 7 more cuttings (2 varieties) thanks to the kindness of forum members, and I'm trying to re-root 3 or 4 cuttings that died from either overwatering or root gnats. We'll see how successful I am with that...a couple of them are particularly rare cuttings, so I'm REALLY hoping I can get them to re-root.
        Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a

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        • newnandawg
          newnandawg commented
          Editing a comment
          Hey Brett, glad to have you here. You have got to be a "dawg" living in Athens. I can get you some more cuttings if you need them to learn on. Just let me know. Over watering IMO is the biggest obstacle to overcome. It causes so many other bad things to happen. Two years ago I switched to Root Riot Cubes. It takes a little to get use to them but now I love them. You can get them off the internet or up there at Flora Hydroponics, 195 Paradise Blvd
          Athens, GA, (706) 353-2223. Enjoy the forum.

      • #5
        Brett - I can send a few cuttings, too, if you want. I have Sicilian and Lattarulla. Let me know.

        I think I officially over-watered after having under-watered... haha! Checked with my moisture meter.
        Arne - Northern NJ - Zone 6A

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        • #6
          Everything besides my Domnick and Malta Black aren't doing much of anything for some reason. Never had things stall like this but I am trying to be patient.

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          • #7
            I have improved over last year, having pretty good success with aqua cloner method. Most of my cuttings are in perlite w a little peat in humidity chamber. Have a couple of cuttings stalled, little progress, but not dead. Two very prized varieties died on me-I am not saying I did nothing to kill them but I do believe they fizzled because of some defect in the quality of the cuttings. The weirdest thing of all is that I have easily successfully rooted 2 difficult varieties: Black Madeira and Ischia Black. Anyway, plenty of work still to be done. I have struggled with adding too much peat to the perlite (easier to have saturation issues) and with drainage issues in clear plastic cups. Cloner: only issue was the exposed part of cuttings drying out. Solution: grafting tape.
            Rafael
            Zone 7b, Queens, New York

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            • #8
              In keeping with the theme here, I've also noticed "stalled" cuttings. I've tried to keep things even across the board - heat, light, medium, watering - but after a flush of roots appearing for several weeks, it stopped for about a week. Then started again for about a week, then stopped again for about a week. And it didn't really seem variety specific, even though there are a few in there that do take longer to root. Right now, I'm in a lull again. Same with you Rafa - the cuttings seem healthy, but don't seem to want to push roots, even if they have leaves. When I gently pull the cuttings, they seem anchored, so I'll leave them - and it's only been 6 1/2 weeks.
              Arne - Northern NJ - Zone 6A

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              • #9
                Arne-ditto, ditto and ditto. How frustrating is it, after 6-8 weeks, to see a few roots, and teeny green buds just sitting there, 6-8 weeks and now just stasis, day after day of no change. Arghhhh
                Rafael
                Zone 7b, Queens, New York

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                • #10
                  I appreciate the cutting offers from a couple of you, but I think I'm okay. I've got a UCD order that will hopefully be on its way in the next month or two (they are still doing that...right? I haven't heard anything in a long time). If I somehow kill all my cuttings, perhaps I will be more inclined, but as for now, I'll just keep my fingers crossed and appreciate what I do have, even though its sad that none of them are pushing new green right now.
                  Brett in Athens, GA zone 7b/8a

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                  • #11
                    My biggest problem seems to be shoots and leaves developing before roots do.

                    Might try something a little different on my next batch. I'll put them in the furnace closet for a week or two where it's dark and warm before placing them in the window.

                    If I lose all my Improved Celeste cuttings... grrr!
                    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                    SE PA
                    Zone 6

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                    • #12
                      My biggest problem is the same as Kelby's - leaves before roots. I am rooting in a perlite box. When the leaves emerge first, I usually try to keep them in the box a few more days but when they start getting bigger and stay a pale green color from lack of light, I worry about them. So far this year, I have just potted them up same as those with roots in a cup (32-44 oz) with my current mix of 2/3 ProMix Ultimate / 1/3 perlite and put them in my humidity chamber under lights, and pray for roots. My chamber is about 85-90% humidity, 75-80 degrees. So far about 1/4 of those have gotten roots, some have persistent small leaves but no roots seen yet, and some the small shoots or leaves have withered after 2-4 weeks, and the cutting looks dead. Wish someone had a better solution.

                      I have lost just one cutting that started with roots. I lost a couple cuttings that rotted as soon as they went into the perlite box - I think that was a problem with the cuttings, not my method.
                      Ed
                      SW PA zone 6a

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                      • #13
                        I'm having relatively good luck except for I-258 I seem to be cursed with rooting this one. Being away for a week at a time is somewhat challenging, if I don't overwater my help does. I've been rooting in cups using coir and now the problem seems to be what to do with all of these plants.
                        Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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                        • #14
                          This is my second year of rooting different kinds of cuttings and I should have stuck with what I did last year (potting mix/perlite). I tried rooting in moss before potting them up but my moss was way too wet and by the time I realized that some cuttings had rotted but some pulled through and are now in pots with some growth.

                          This is the first year I had a propagation chamber and I ran into the same issues as some where the humidity was too high and some leaves/cuttings molded. Now every morning and night I open the chamber and "flush" the air in the chamber and the issue appears to have been resolved.

                          With my second batch of cuttings, I'm doing a test between just perlite and potting mix/perlite. It's too early to tell which is better but i'm seeing some activity from both setups.

                          I have another batch of cuttings yet to root and a bunch of miscellaneous leftovers that are still waiting to be rooted. Maybe end of March/April when the first batch move to the greenhouse.
                          Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Kelby View Post
                            My biggest problem seems to be shoots and leaves developing before roots do.

                            Might try something a little different on my next batch. I'll put them in the furnace closet for a week or two where it's dark and warm before placing them in the window.

                            If I lose all my Improved Celeste cuttings... grrr!

                            I've had that issue as well, when I see an open bud I cup the cutting regardless of not having roots. So far, I typically see roots on the side of cup with in 7 to 10 of cupping, and the cuttings are all doing as good or better than cuttings that roots first. I added 6 more cuttings to the bids yesterday, and the 8 I added a couple weeks ago are all rooted and growing strong.

                            For me, I now need to add another bin and light..... oh darn!!!
                            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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                            • #16
                              d) Root gnats. Oh, you thought your overwatering was your problem? How about an infestation of bugs to kill off another 6-8 cuttings, and cause the rest to stall out?--controlled, not resolved

                              How do you escape this problem: I have root gnats...so I use gnatrol, but I have to drench the plants for it to work, which leads to saturation and root rot. I can't win?!

                              Brett,
                              This is what I have been doing this year, seems to be alright so far. When I mix up the ingredients for my cup mix, I put all the dry ingredients in plastic bag and shake to mix. I then moisten the mix with a fairly stout mix of Gnatrol (I use about 1/4 tspn per cup), sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the solution and shake the bag to mix(bag sealed-up of course). I repeat the process several times to thoroughly distribute the Gnatrol solution throughout the cupping medium. I use enough of this solution to make the medium universally just slightly moist, not enough moisture to cup the rooted cuttings up and call it good. My cupping method is slightly different than most so I stop without adding any more moisture to the medium at this point. If you entirely premoisten your medium before cupping, you would want to add more water or dilute hydro-fertilizer after the Gnatrol solution has been distributed.
                              Good luck.

                              I stopped doing the bottom soak, killed some roots and pretty much lost one cutting to rot, I went back to adding only as much moister as need with a spray mist through the bottom holes and on top.
                              IMO, stalled cuttings are all just part of the game.


                              Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
                              Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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