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  • Rooting Dormant Fig Cuttings: Pre-rooting in Bag and Direct Plant in Containers

    After trialing most of the published dormant fig cutting rooting methods with hundreds of cuttings I've settled on 2 methods that I consider to be the simplest which gets the best and fastest results they are Pre-rooting in bag and Direct Plant in containers. The only difference between the two methods is the added "Pre-rooting in bag" step 2A before potting. Since I'm a gardener\hobbyist and not looking to propagate hundreds of cuttings at a time, I can perform a few additional steps that usually insure a very high rooting success rate often over 98% with the Pre-rooting in Bag and 95% with the Direct Rooting. The following steps are my current practiced rooting procedures;

    Steps:
    1. Preparation the cuttings; 1 - 3 days
    a. Clean with a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water)
    b. Trim the ends of the cutting if needed and seal the top cut ends with wax or pruning sealer.
    c. Pre-hydrate the cuttings by placing them in soggy Coco Coir initially 120F (or hot water with a pH of 5 - 6) in a sealed container for 1 - 3 days. The container can be stored at room temperature or placed in the refrigerator.
    d. The bottoms ends are freshly cut just below the bottom note to expose the cambium layer (ring) then Dip n Grow hormone at a 10X dilution (1 part Dip N Grow to 9 parts water) is then brushed on the bottom node and the fresh cut.

    2A. Hydration of the dormant cuttings: Pre-rooting in Bag only; 3 - 30 days
    a. The Coco Coir mix is hydrated with a dilute fertilizer solution (1 Tablespoon/5-gallon or 1/2 teaspoon/gallon)
    b. Up to 12 cuttings are placed in a 1 gallon ziplock storage bag with approximately 5 cups of barely damp hydrated coco coir potting mix, the Coir used for Pre-hydration (1c.) can be reused for this stage it only needs to be squeezed out until no water drips from the Coir.
    c. Plastic bags are inflated, shaken to "fluff" the Coir, placed in a dark location and should be maintained at a temperature of 72F to 78F to promote callusing and root initials. They should be checked for mold and reinflated every 2 days.
    d. Once roots appear the cuttings can be cupped following the procedures in Step 2a and 2b.
    2. Hydration of the dormant cuttings: Direct Plant; 3 - 30 days
    a. Cutting mix of sifted and rinsed pine bark fines, Coco coir,Perlite and Calcined Clay (4-1-1-1 ratio) is pre-watered with a dilute fertilizer solution (1 Tablespoon/5-gallon or 1/2 teaspoon/gallon)
    b. Cuttings are placed in individual cups or nursery pots and placed in a 1020 seedling tray.
    c. The trays are sealed in a black garbage bag, placed in a dark location and should be maintained at a temperature of 72F to 78F to promote callusing and root initials.
    d. The trays are checked every 2 days, misted with water or with a 25% Hydrogen peroxide solution (1 part 3% peroxide/3 parts water) if there are any visible signs of mold.
    e. Once there are signs of root development the trays are moved under clear humidity domes and the cuttings' humidity is decreased daily to match the rooms ambient humidity as quickly as possible.
    f. If there are any cuttings with buds and without roots they can be placed under individual humidity domes, inverted 32 oz clear cups with 1 (3/8") hole in the top.
    g. The cuttings can be placed in indirect sunlight to continue growth.

    3. Growing out the rooted cutting; 31 - 90 days
    a. Rooted cupped cuttings are placed in ambient conditions in a south facing window to continue growth.
    b. When the mix is almost dry they are watered with a dilute nutrient solution (2 TBS/ 5 gallon or 1 tsp/gallon of water). The 2 liter containers with five (5) cups of cutting mix are always watered with only 6oz. - 8oz. of nutrient solution.
    c. The cuttings are trained as single stem plants, the most vigorous shoot is trained vertical and all others are pinched.

    4. Transplanting to larger container; 91+ days
    a. When the cups are full of roots, almost root bound they are planted into 1 gallon containers with the same well aerated mix.
    b. cupped root plugs are left undisturbed when planting into 1 gallon containers and can be planted deeper below the soil line
    c. 1 gallon pots are up potted to 5 gallon containers with a growing mix made with Pine Bark fines, Peat and Calcined Clay (2-4-1 ratio). My 5 gallon container of choice for cuttings are single bucket SIPs made from 5 gallon buckets with inverted 10" diam. colanders.
    d. the 1 gallon plugs are scored in half (down one side across the bottom and up the opposite side) with a utility razor knife to stop circling roots. and planted in the 5 gallon buckets.

    The Methodology and links to other techniques of rooting fig cuttings are explained in another previous topic, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...ow-s-and-why-s
    * This seasons Photos will be added later...
    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
    Last edited by AscPete; 11-15-2015, 11:12 AM.
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

  • #2
    Excellent write up Pete. Thanks for taking the time for putting this together. Very detailed and not vague as many can be on different points.
    Question derived from your preparation steps. During your pre-hydration phase, I assume that you do not maintain the temp at 120F because you use the word initially and now, have you noticed any difference, from lessening to curing, cuttings that are thought to be infected with FMV?
    PPP
    Eatonton, GA zone 7b/8a

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks.

      That is correct, I've used hot water to hydrate the Coir and before that the Sphagnum Moss but had only included this step in a few posts, it does help speed (pre) hydration. The pre-hydration phase can then continue at room temperature or in the refrigerator for several days.

      No I haven't noticed any difference, but providing early dilute fertilization helps to get the cuttings off to healthier starts and reduce or eliminate some of the visible symptoms that others have associated with FMV.

  • #3
    Pete

    For step 1 (c) do you heat the water that hydrates the coir before combining or do you heat the coir itself to 120F? Thanks
    Rafael
    Zone 10b, Miami, FL

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      It's Hot Tap water which has a pH of ~ 6.5. The water is heated not the Coir itself.

  • #4
    What a great timeline, thank you! This will be very helpful this winter.
    Zone 7a in Virginia

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      You're welcome.
      Good luck with your rooting adventures

  • #5
    Hi Pete
    In step 1.d. do you then let the Dip n Grow dry on the cutting before proceeding? I have tried this method and felt that putting the cutting immediately into the media of the next step would basically just wipe it off.
    Ed
    SW PA zone 6a

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello Ed,
      No, its doesn't need to dry on the cuttings, its absorbed by the exposed cambium cells in (3 - 5) seconds.

  • #6
    In Step 2A, you talk about pre-rooting in a bag. Do you think there would be any difference between a ziploc bag and a plastic shoebox or other plastic container?

    thanks again for another write-up.
    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      You're welcome.

      There is actually a big difference between zip lock bags or garbage bags (for larger cuttings) and the plastic shoe boxes. The shoe boxes are not airtight and lose humidity and moisture to the room much quicker and may not maintain the needed 85% - 90% RH at the cuttings. Airtight tupperware containers will work similar to the zip lock bags.

      That's the reason why I use plastic bags for the first 30 days of rooting and or pre-rooting, no additional moisture or water needs to be added, which also decreases the chances of 'over watering' before the roots are hardened and the bottom of the cutting is fully callused (which sometimes takes 60 or more days).

  • #7
    Invaluable information Professor
    Thanks for your time, experience and knowledge
    Coop

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      You're welcome...

  • #8
    This is great stuff Pete. Clear and easy to follow. Thanks for passing on your experience.
    Bill - Long Island, NY 7a
    Wish List: Glacia Negra and any fig from Bari.

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      You're welcome.

  • #9
    Hi Pete,
    Last Fall, I propagated about 15 cuttings using water and dirts in a 16 oz see-thru plastic cups (7 cuttings in water and 8 cuttings in dirts and the successful rate was almost 90%) I found those cuttings propagated in water performed with better and healthy leaves than those cutting in dirts during rooting, but when I transfered to the large pots filled with dirts prior to place in outdoor, the surival successful rate (being in water) was lower than those propagated in dirts. Why ? Also when some cuttings for rooting in dirts got mold due to too much moisture etc should consider as died right and I can throw them away right ?

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      Were the cuttings taken as green or dormant?
      When you say dirt do you mean soil from the ground or potting mix?

      Although water rooting will work for dormant cuttings its best suited to green or stem cuttings.
      I was given a water rooted cutting in July 2015 that was cut green in November 2014 (an unknown from Long Island, NY) I potted it in July but it only had 2 - 6 inch long brown spindly branched roots. Its still alive, but barely grew this summer.

      Soil has beneficial microbes but it also has harmful fungi and bacteria, starting the cuttings in a clean inert well drained mix will only increase your chances of success.

  • #10
    I took the cuttings from dormant last Fall. Dirt means organic potting mix + perlite.
    This August and Oct, I proceed some cuttings again given by members using potting mix + perlite, For now about 50% are to be disaster due to too much moisture and got mold (it was my careless to spray more water in between)

    Comment


    • AscPete
      AscPete commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the reply.

  • #11
    Pete I have a question on the coir.. Do you use a specific brand? I bought a brick of Cocotek (I now have enough coir for years lol) and it seems like there are particles of other "stuff" in it after I hydrated it according to directions on the plastic wrap it was contained in. It also said that it needed to be soaked & rinsed (sometimes repeatedly). From your description, it seemed so much simpler. I now have a mountain of soggy messy coir (with bits of sand? Or salt maybe?). At what point do I add these nutes that the bag suggests a light dilution of (I have CalMag, FoliagePro, & Epsom salts on hand)? And once I add them my coir will obviously be even more soggy.. So is it okay to squeeze it out with a potato ricer? Or would I end up causing the ph to go up that way?

    I'm learning I have a way of over complicating pretty much everything I get my hands on lol, please help me as I sure am confusing myself.. So far I've earned a big fat "F" for rooting dormant cuttings.. Can't even tell ya how many I've killed in the past month ;(
    My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY

    Rooted Cuttings Available 2021:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...fxsT1DuH8/edit

    Comment


    • #12
      Jamie,
      I use Plant It Coco Coir Mix by Hydrofarm, https://www.hydrofarm.com/p/JSCCM25 . Its a Potting mix and has already been processed. There are other Coir products on the market that are used for bedding material etc, not Potting Mix.

      Cocotek Coir by General Hydroponics is a potting mix, there are 2 different types of bricks, green label with coir fines and red label with larger chunks etc, but I've never used it. The green label Cocotek or Coir Fines is whats required. The dilute nutrients are added to the water used for hydration, I use Miracle-Gro All purpose @ 1/2 tsp / gallon of water as the hydration solution.

      I place my coir block in a large garbage bag and add the recommended amount of (hot) water then seal the bag. After the water is absorbed its then mixed until all the dry chunks are hydrated. When using it for the rooting in a bag I squeeze it in my cupped hands until no water drips out, its then fluffed and added to the ziploc bags with cuttings. Its a simple process with few steps. Good Luck.
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you Pete, it probably is a whole lot more simple than I am allowing it to be. My Cocotek is the green labeled coir fines that you mentioned above (wheeww lol) so at least I got that part right Okay so no ricer on the squeeze, just good ole hand strength for this job.. Check! I'm thinking I will maybe try the pre-soak in the fridge this time, it may take longer but I may have better luck warding off mold.. I keep getting this sweet foul smell from each one of my cuttings whenever I open up the bag to air it out.. It's happened to each one of my cuttings that went bad in the past month or so.. Using different bags & fresh media too.. I even tried different kinds of sterile media (long fibered moss, perilite, pro-mix HP) but whatever is causing this foul sweet smell gets them every time. Hopefully the coir in the fridge does the trick.. Also my DipNGrow just came in so I will be following your method to the T (10 to 1 dilution, no scoring just making a razor thin fresh slice at the bottom to reveal cambium layer & painting a small amt of RH at the bottom only.. Fingers are crossed, thanks again Pete! One of these days ill get it!

    • #13
      Jamie,
      I have no idea the pH of the Cocotek Coir, but it should be between 5.5 to 6, you should check it if you can. Also rinsing the Coir is not required as I mentioned because its already been processed (rinsed to remove salts) for use as a potting mix.

      If you follow the steps and the timeline, approximate days required for each step you should be able to increase your rooting success rates.
      Pre-Hydration, 1 - 3 days

      Rooting in Bag, 3 - 30 days (or until root growth) at 72F - 78F
      Or Rooting in Cups, 3 - 30 days (with a well aerated cutting mix) at 72F - 78F

      and Growing in Cups, 30 - 90 days (or until cup is full of roots and ready for up potting)

      Note the Dip N Grow dilution is 10X, 10% or 1 part DnG / 9 parts water and the cuts at the bottom of the cuttings should be just below the lowest node. Good luck.
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the reply Pete I think I should check the ph of the coir, because this particular bag said the coir should be washed thoroughly & repeatedly "if necessary" Perhaps my water is very alkaline and could be raising the ph of the coir. I do have a small kit to check & adjust the ph of water if necessary, but I'm not sure if that would work for checking the coir? Would I measure the ph of the water that I squeeze out of it? I'm sorry I have so many questions, I'm really want to learn & have very limited experience in this area

      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, you would check the pH of the water that's squeezed out...

        The water that you use to hydrate the Coir could also be adjusted to approximately pH of 6 since its only a few gallons. The lower pH for rooting is not something that's discussed much on the fig forums, but is important to reduce fungal growth in the early stages of rooting.

        My initial rooting experiences were with Long Fibered Sphagnum Moss as the pre-rooting medium, which were extremely successful, I hydrated the Moss with small volumes of hot water. After measuring all the variables involved I found that the initial pH was low at 5.5 (the water had a pH of 6.5) and that continual reuse, rinsing or hydrating in large volumes of water and squeezing it almost dry (for rooting) only increased the pH and incidences of fungal growth, which may explained why some members were unsuccessful using this method.

    • #14
      That's really interesting Pete, and it makes great sense. The owner of the hydroponics store I purchase from did explain some of this to me when he noticed I was purchasing coir & asking about other growing media considered to be "inert" & without naturally occurring nutrients like soil has. He also explained that since I use well water, the ph fluctuates quite a bit hence making it even more important to test the water's ph level often or risk having the fertilizer you are adding become "locked up" & unavailable to the plants you are trying to nurture. I was much more religious, so to speak, when checking the ph of the water earlier on in the summer due to more frequent use of fertilizer. I see now the value of checking ph level remains high when trying to root cuttings in order to prevent creating the right environment for mold to flourish instead of our cuttings! The run off of my coir looked to be about 7.5 (or maybe higher) according to the color chart of the ph kit! Thank you for helping me trouble shoot my streak of rotting cuttings lol! At least this is one element that I can easily control for
      My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY

      Rooted Cuttings Available 2021:
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...fxsT1DuH8/edit

      Comment


      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        You're welcome.
        I believe the way to fix a problem is to know what it is, otherwise you're only treating the symptoms.

        The requirements for successful rooting, A-D posted in, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...ow-s-and-why-s actually came from comparing and applying universally accepted Hydroponic rooting requirements with those that I measured while learning to root fig cuttings.

    • #15
      Fantastic job describing your process, Pete! Detailed yet easy to follow. Thank you!
      USDA Zone 9b Wish list: Abruzzi, Pasquale, Filacciano, Tagliacozzo, Zingarella, Godfather. Any, including unknowns, from Abruzzo, Italy.

      Comment


      • AscPete
        AscPete commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks,
        It was my intent. Although there are dozens of (man made) steps its actually a simple natural process
        You're welcome.

    • #16
      Hi Pete,
      Will you please elaborate on the following steps?
      2d is the cut across the Steen entirely, or is it a removal/peeling of layers to expose cambium?
      4c SIP, inverted colander?
      Also how do you maintain the 72° temperature?
      Thanks

      Comment


      • #17
        Hello Chrissy

        Welcome to our figs forum community.

        1d. is a fresh cut at the bottom of the cutting just below a node, a square perpendicular cut, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...ng-and-storing . If the old cut was already just below the bottom node a thin slice (like slicing an onion) should be made to expose the fresh cambium ring (layer). Never peel away any bark or layers because it exposes the "tender" layers to microbes.
        Click image for larger version

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        The singe bucket SIP is made from a 5 gallon bucket with an upside down colander in the bottom that forms the reservoir, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...8857#post48857 and attached is a photo of the root ball pulled out of the bucket.
        Click image for larger version

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        The ambient temperature is maintained by raising the room temperature if its cold or a space heater in a closed space. I usually root my cutting in a cabinet and sometimes place a small personal space heater in the bottom and slowly adjust its temperature setting (warmer - cooler) to maintain 75F at a thermometer near the cuttings at the top of the cabinet.
        Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by AscPete; 11-15-2015, 08:23 AM. Reason: added photos.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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      • #18
        Seriously Pete, this is a great (easy to follow) and useful post! Thanks!
        Location: USDA Zone 9b / Sunset 13. Chandler, AZ

        Comment


        • AscPete
          AscPete commented
          Editing a comment
          You're welcome.

      • #19
        This rooting flow chart may also be helpful with the rooting steps and stages (of cutting development) it was developed in a discussion with another forum member Pino

        When Rooting hormone is used the Pre-rooting timeline (1 to 30 days) is usually decreased by 1 - 2 weeks, since root formation occurs in 14 - 21 days and occasionally sooner.
        You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

        Comment


        • #20
          A wonderful article Wish I had all this consise information when I first started. Thank you

          Comment


          • AscPete
            AscPete commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks and you're welcome.

        • #21
          To clarify there are 2 separate methods described in the OP...

          Pre-rooting Method; Pre-rooting in bag (Coir Potting Mix)
          1. Prep cuttings.
          2A. Place cuttings in bag to pre-root @ 75F and check every 2 days.
          3. Cup cutting when roots start to develop @ 75F.
          4. Grow cuttings providing light, water and nutrients.

          Direct Plant Method; Rooting in cup (Coir based Potting Mix)
          1. Prep cuttings.
          2. Cup cuttings @ 75F check every 2 days (in an initial virtual pre-root "stage")
          3. Continue the growth of rooted cupped cuttings @ 75F (stages #2 and #3 are actually the same)
          4. Grow cuttings providing light, water and nutrients.

          The difference is the additional handling that's required with the Pre-rooting method, but the benefit is usually increased rooting success rate due to the extra attention to temperature, humidity and aeration in the first 30 day period.
          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

          Comment


          • #22
            Originally posted by AscPete View Post


            a. Cutting mix of sifted and rinsed pine bark fines, Coco coir,Perlite and Calcined Clay (4-1-1-1 ratio) is pre-watered with a dilute fertilizer solution (1 Tablespoon/5-gallon or 1/2 teaspoon/gallon)
            What fertilizer do you use? I feed outdoor plants with fish emulsion but I can't imagine using that for cuttings, especially if they will be indoors.

            Tempe AZ
            Zone 9b

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          • #23
            Coconut coir may be processed using sea water. Hence the recommendation to wash multiple times to remove the salt residue. For the better grades it may not be necessary. Countries that produce coconuts produce the coir.

            A conductivity meter could be used to test the coir wash water for salt residue. Hand held pen types are available. Think Britta water filter ads. No, the Britta won't remove salt.


            Johnson1
            Zone 9b
            S of Tampa Bay, FL

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            • AscPete
              AscPete commented
              Editing a comment
              Coco Coir Potting Mixes are ready for use right out of their bags, no washing or additional processing are usually required.

              Coir that is sold for other uses, like animal bedding may require the additional processing for use as a potting mix.

          • #24
            Pete, thank you for sharing your vast knowledge of growing figs with other members of the forum. You mention calcined clay as an integral component of most of your mixes. I have been researching calcined clay, that has just added to my confusion. Do you use any specific brand or type? I presently use calcined clay as an absorbent, is it the same?
            New Milford, CT, Zone 6a
            Wishlist: Smith, Sucrette, LSU Purple

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          • #25
            Not quite Pete, but...

            Tractor Supply's Oil Absorb and NAPA Floor Dry are two brands. I use the Oil Absorb in my potting mix
            Ed
            SW PA zone 6a

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