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  • The One, The Only, The World Champion, UNIFIED ROOTING METHOD!!

    I've now tried about every single method out there for rooting cuttings. I've done direct plant into various mixes, fig pop with peat/perlite, and cup pop with various mixes. I've tried pre-rooting in peat moss, long strand peat moss (that stuff is amazing at forming roots, but a disaster for transitioning and up-potting IMO), and D.E. Of those methods, rooting in D.E. has yielded the best results, but still, I lost some plants after up-potting from the D.E. The transition out of D.E. wasn't really the problem, though. A few of my first year plants struggled and/or died a while after up-potting to a 1 gallon and acclimating them to the outside. I think this is due to the fact that the callus may have not fully formed and they were still susceptible to rot at this stage. If they get caught out in the rain for too long, or even simply over watered, it's gonna be a bad time for them. Post-mortem on a few of my 1 gallons showed me that there was rot in the area where the callus should be and the bark around the roots was rotted and falling away from the wood. So, how can I set my young figs up for success with rooting and also out into their first year of life? I just kept thinking and wishing that my cuttings had a protective "barrier" of some type of very coarse mix this would help the cutting to continue to form it's callus, while keeping the excess moisture away from the wood. I started out using equal parts D.E. Perlite and Reptibark. This mix is very effective for rooting, but I still have a problem. When up-potting from this mix, almost no matter how well rooted, you're going to have a lot of the mix fall away and possibly damage roots in the process.

    So! Here it is gang. I was waiting a while to share this till I felt really good about it. It's going so well, so I feel like I need to share it going into this winter so perhaps some of you can give this a try on a few of your cuttings. Make your mix with either coir or peat moss and perlite/d.e/whatever you like to use. Pre-moisten the mix, but keep it fluffy! Get it in the cup and use a chopstick (or other similar tool) to pull the mix to the side of the cup. the mix should hold together. Now, grab your coarse mix, (I used about 50/50 D.E. and perlite to make sure it won't be too heavy when we try to up-pot later) and pour some in. Stick your cutting and back fill with your coarse mix. ALL DONE!! Your cutting is essentially rooting in D.E. but it will not need to be transitioned out of it, and since we have our other mix on the outside it will hold everything together when it comes time to up-pot this to a 1 gallon. The coarse mix will stay in contact with the cutting, allowing the callusing to continue and hopefully it will prevent losses due to rot later on in the process. Also, this may just be me, but it seems that roots like growing into the peat mix better than just in the coarse mix. I'll include a pic to show at the end.
    Last edited by Lucrative; 11-21-2019, 06:51 PM.
    -Luke S. at Keesler AFB, 9a
    -SAH Dad, gardener, fan of comedy, philosophy, and the deep dive on YouTube
    -W/L: JN, CCN, Thermalito

  • #2
    Well that’s a new one. Well done.
    Evan....I mean Eric. W/L - Angelito & Sugar Smite
    SoCal - Zone 10a
    Current Varieties

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    • #3
      Clever, I like it! I’m going to give it a go, thanks for sharing.
      Wish list. White Baca, Rigato de Salento PB, Iranian Candy, Nerucciolo D’Elba, Saint Martin

      Comment


      • #4
        Very nice Lucrative!
        Check out my Fig Channel on YouTube and
        FigBid for the latest Sales!
        Mike - Zone 7, CT

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        • #5
          I've been wanting to try this, but haven't yet so thanks for sharing. I've also got some rooting in 50/50 DE and sifted perlite. I've lost a few in 100% DE so I'm hoping the perlite helps. You could use a piece of PVC pipe to "plant" then pull it out and fill with your DE mix. Are you adding any controlled release fertilizer or anything to the soil mix so it gets some nutrients, or just feeding with a weak fertilizer solution?
          Travis - Zone 5a, Central WI
          Wish list - Green Michurinska, Yellow Neches, Any good breba producers or early varieties

          Comment


          • Lucrative
            Lucrative commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, I have a little bit of slow release fertilizer in with the peat mix. Also, when I'm pre-wetting the peat mix, I'm using gnatrol in the water.

          • WIFigger
            WIFigger commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks, does the gnatrol work well? I've been wanting to try that this year. Do you think there's any benefit to letting the cuttings callus well before even planting like with the paper towel method?

          • Lucrative
            Lucrative commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, the gnatrol has been very effective. If u have other houseplants as well, it's good to treat everything.

        • #6
          Hmmmm.

          I have a challenger that wants to take down the World Champion !

          This method grew cuttings from Galicia negra, CdDB and Sangue Dolce. All first time, no rot, no failures!

          Who wants to be part of this smack down?
          Ian

          Looking for Sodus Sicilian and Constantine de Algerie

          Comment


        • #7
          Best of luck with your new technique. Looks like a winner to me.
          One of the biggest tricks when up potting is to let the pot dry out a bit first.
          This prevents roots from being ripped off at the up pot.
          Took me a while to figure this out.
          Zone 8B - Cottage Grove, Or
          Wish List - Raspberry Tart to be common!

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          • #8
            This is the kind of stuff we all need to hear, thanks, As an innovator myself, using pure DE for now in panyhose or organza bags, I may try one or two 3 gallon pots with a quart of chunky rinsed DE all the way down the center for the cutting to root in and my usual potting mix around that. am not real sure air will be able to access the sides of the DE through the potting mix, however. But am quite aware what I think does not always prove to be correct! So some free cuttings go in that for my next move. If they root can just stay in the 3 gallon pot all next summer before in ground planting day. Will eagerly await YOUR reports on your results.
            Z8A NC SANDHILLS

            WISH LIST BURGAN UNK, ZAFFIRO,

            Comment


            • Lucrative
              Lucrative commented
              Editing a comment
              Well, I haven't up-potted yet, but the initial rooting results are very good. I'll definitely post updates. Did u see all 8 pics?

          • #9
            I thought up this same rooting method. My outer mix is equal part of coir, peat, and compost. Currently rooting mulberry instead of fig cutting.
            Sacramento, CA 9B
            WL: More space for fig trees!

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            • FigHopeful
              FigHopeful commented
              Editing a comment
              Let us know how your Mulberry do!!! I want to try them for the first time this year and interested to see how that goes. I’ve heard success varies wildly based on variety.

            • jessup42
              jessup42 commented
              Editing a comment
              I tried mulberry last year. It leafed out but never rooted. Goner. Curious to hear results. Didnt realize difft cultivars may root better.

          • #10
            Thank you for sharing your innovative solutions. Perfect timing I start setting up for rooting tomorrow. Guess I'd better get to the auto parts stores for the DE first.
            Northern CA 9b W L- Ponte Tresa, White Madeira#1, Lampiera Prusch, Thermolito, Calabacita, Prat st. U. Rigato del Salento Pb

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            • #11
              Why use 50/50 mix of DE and Perlite? Why not 100% DE? What does adding Perlite do for the mix?
              Worcester, Massachusetts, Zone 6a - In containers 1 gal - 15 gal. Wish list: Dore' de Porquerolles

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              • jessup42
                jessup42 commented
                Editing a comment
                Lol was thinking same about DE. 1 or the other seems fine. Sand/perlite or a sand/DE mix could also be something

            • #12
              When saturated, perlite is much lighter than d.e.. The goal is to make it so I can up-pot it easily. If it was 100% d.e. it might be too heavy, causing issues when eventually removing it from the cup.
              -Luke S. at Keesler AFB, 9a
              -SAH Dad, gardener, fan of comedy, philosophy, and the deep dive on YouTube
              -W/L: JN, CCN, Thermalito

              Comment


              • Bellefleurs
                Bellefleurs commented
                Editing a comment
                What about 100% perlite?
                Newbie question, I know.....

              • Lucrative
                Lucrative commented
                Editing a comment
                100% perlite is an option as well. It has been used for rooting by others before. There seems to be something about d.e. that is an improvement, but I can't say that definitively or scientifically.

            • #13
              Looks great. Roots looks good, where do you buy DE from.
              MJ
              Chicago Zone 5a/5b

              Comment


              • ginamcd
                ginamcd commented
                Editing a comment
                Look for Opti-Sorb at O'Reilly Auto Parts or Fastenal.

            • #14
              O'Reilly Auto parts
              -Luke S. at Keesler AFB, 9a
              -SAH Dad, gardener, fan of comedy, philosophy, and the deep dive on YouTube
              -W/L: JN, CCN, Thermalito

              Comment


              • YATAMA
                YATAMA commented
                Editing a comment
                MJA Please check my and others prior posts on washing DE and using water upon first opening the bag to prevent breathing toxic dust and eliinating small clay like particles tet clog up wet DE and reduce drainage and air circulation. I think Gina has joined me in posting about that. She is the DE Queen y'know!

              • ginamcd
                ginamcd commented
                Editing a comment
                I actually do not pre-wash, but have learned that the lower you get into the bag, the higher the amount of fine particles that can gum things up. I do use a mask when working with it dry. If you pre-wet, then the air born dust is less of an issue.

              • Bellefleurs
                Bellefleurs commented
                Editing a comment
                I purchased some Optisorb this past weekend.
                Per YATAMA, I placed a hose in a corner and allowed the bag to rinse outside in order to minimize hazardous dust. I’m comparing DE vs seedling mix+ perlite.
                Fingers crossed.

            • #15
              For this application, I have been just barely wetting it(pretty much just to keep down the harmful dust, but I haven't fully rinsed it out. This makes it so I can pour it in the center and pour it when I backfill around the cutting. If using dry perlite and/or dry d.e. it is recommended to wear some type of face mask.
              -Luke S. at Keesler AFB, 9a
              -SAH Dad, gardener, fan of comedy, philosophy, and the deep dive on YouTube
              -W/L: JN, CCN, Thermalito

              Comment


              • #16
                Lucrative, great work. Love it when people come up with innovative ways to root cuttings.

                One thing i am concerned is when you do up pot to a 5 gallon and the pot is in summer heat and if you dont regularly water the DE that is right next to the core roots will dry out and suck the water from the roots? Maybe its not an issue as the roots are bigger and they will be pushed out from the core as the plant and roots grow out?

                Have you thought of also maybe adding maybe half inch of DE to the bottom of the cup to help with drainage and help wick out too much water in the soil if you happen to over water?

                Now that i can think about it, if someone over waters the soil, would the water pool at the DE core? Also wouldnt that prevent airflow around the DE and cause a anaerobic env? Just thinking outloud here. Maybe if you are careful with watering you are ok?

                Thanks again for sharing this method
                Najam from Sugar Land, Texas, Zone 9a

                Wishlist: white madiera #1, cdd mutante

                Comment


                • Lucrative
                  Lucrative commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The d.e/perlite mix goes almost to the bottom of the cup. There are drainage holes cut in the bottom, so there won't be pooling.

                  I like it having the peat mix at the bottom because I can water from the bottom as well as from the top. I can put water in a bowl and set the cup in there and it wicks moisture up into the mix. No matter which way you water, this method will keep excess water away from contact with the wood.

                  Also, by the time you get to a 5 gallon, the d.e./perlite area will likely already have filled in with smaller particles. At this point it would also work to top dress with a little compost, water it in, then mulch. That should finish filling in the area and prevent any concerns of that area drying out too much

                • Najamm
                  Najamm commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ah makes sense if you bottom water, de isnt watered directly but will wick moisture from surrounding mix which provides the humidity for the cutting. I need to try this vs pure DE vs pure soil. Will be interesting experiment. Just gotta find some test cuttings

              • #17
                Am I the only one who does not know what "D.E." stands for? Diatomaceous earth? The auto parts store reference sounds like folks are referring to calcined clay but want to be sure.
                Steve
                D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                WL: Zaffiro, Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

                Comment


                • Rewton
                  Rewton commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks for the info!

                • Bellefleurs
                  Bellefleurs commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Isn’t this also used (in finer form) to kill insects?

                • Lucrative
                  Lucrative commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yep, same stuff, just used in powdered form to kill insects. My father in law now uses the Optisorb as a mulch of sorts on almost all his plants, as even Optisorb contains fine bits of dust that helps keep some insects at bay.

              • #18
                Rewton O'reilly sells Optisorb, which is D.E. not calcined clay. Usually in the same pile as the calcined clay.
                -Luke S. at Keesler AFB, 9a
                -SAH Dad, gardener, fan of comedy, philosophy, and the deep dive on YouTube
                -W/L: JN, CCN, Thermalito

                Comment


                • Rewton
                  Rewton commented
                  Editing a comment
                  OK, thanks. That didn't answer my question but at least I now know which product is being used.

                • Lucrative
                  Lucrative commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Haha, my bad. I guess I misunderstood what you were asking. It seemed like you thought we were talking about calcined clay instead of d.e. because most auto parts stores only carry calcined clay products, not the d.e. counterparts.

              • #19
                Thank you for sharing! I will be headed to O'reilllys after work.

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                • Vladimir
                  Vladimir commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Is O'Reilly's a bar?

                • Ctown
                  Ctown commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Haha, well played!

              • #20
                Sounds and looks like a great idea. I'm thinking however, if you're going to attempt this using treepots, you may want to make some small holes on the side of them.
                South Florida - 10b

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                • Lucrative
                  Lucrative commented
                  Editing a comment
                  How come?

                • Rigo007
                  Rigo007 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I was just assuming for aeration.

              • #21
                Really similar to something I stumbled onto. Using a peat/perlite mix for the top 2/3 of a cup with wet DE on the bottom. The cutting sits directly on the DE. I’ll take pics when I get home in a couple days. Seems to have worked very well so far.
                Willamette Valley Oregon, zone 8b. WL: zaffiro, Black Tuscan, rodgrod, campaniere, CLBC, de la Gloria, thermalito, del sen juame gran, Sangue dolce, Black ischia, Jack Lily, vincenzo, verdolino, Syrian dark, rubado

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                • #22
                  Can someone explain what type of diatomaceous earth has been used in the cups in the photos above? All I can find over here is a very fine white or brown powder...
                  Don, Danmark

                  Comment


                  • Lucrative
                    Lucrative commented
                    Editing a comment
                    https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b...t/8925/4525777

                    The particle size is about that of your standard perlite mix.

                  • Jake-ZA
                    Jake-ZA commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Same here... all I can find (so far) are small packets of fine d.e. powder/dust at nurseries, presumably for insect control. Optisorb doesn't seem to be a thing in South Africa - the auto parts dealers just look at you and shrug if you describe what it's supposed to be used for.

                    Maybe I need to ask at the pool shop instead?
                    Last edited by Jake-ZA; 12-22-2019, 03:37 AM.

                • #23
                  Wonderful.

                  I've been performing similar experiments but I'm not sure any have been better than going straight from 100% DE to up-pot after 4 weeks. I've had pretty good success lately in my living room grow light situation going from 100% DE to my homemade potting mix after about 4-6 weeks in DE (roots typically visible after about 2-3 weeks). DE has been dramatically more successful than peat moss/perlite for me lately (peat moss/perlite was very successful in the summer however but not so much this fall). Recently I up-potted a 100% DE cutting via a method similar to the one employed here: I put some potting mix in the container, carved out a central depression in the mix similar to the images above, put my rooted cutting in so only the bottom roots contacted the mix, poured in DE around the stem so that the cutting bottom was in contact w/ DE and not the potting medium, then poured DE in the rest of the way so that the cutting only contacted DE but the roots could grow into the soil medium all around. Cutting seems to have survived the up-pot process so far, but it is still early.

                  I previously washed all the DE off my roots (dipped them in water after pouring the DE out of the cups), but going forward, I'll probably not mess with trying to clear the roots of DE.
                  Zone 8b, College Station, TX
                  Wish List: Maltese Beauty, CLBC.

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                  • UKE4U
                    UKE4U commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I had better results when NOT washing DE off roots when up potting last season.👍

                  • BrandonP
                    BrandonP commented
                    Editing a comment
                    UKE4U Great. Thanks for the input.

                • #24
                  I've decided there is no best rooting method. If you can get 2/3 success you're as good as anything has done for me. So accept that and try more cuttings.

                  My methods now all employ an initial weight when set into what I think is ideal water level. That tells me how much the media has dried out and gives a return point whenever watering becomes necessary. It has reduced rotting to almost nothing. Some just don't root, unlike common belief the media can be too dry. Some root but never grow. So I'm happy with 2/3 success.
                  Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7
                  http://growingfruit.org/

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                  • VaFig
                    VaFig commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Ok so I hear you but how does that work in practical application. Is this a "sense" you have lifting the cup or are you scaling each one? And then at what percentage do you add water?

                  • fruitnut
                    fruitnut commented
                    Editing a comment
                    With small numbers weight each cup/pot after setting the cutting into ideally moist media. In 3x3x8 inch pots those weigh about 250-300 g. I then use a sprayer with nozzle set to throw a bit of a fine spray at each rewetting. Rewet to original weight after about 20g lost water. With large numbers of pots I weigh a few and use those as a reference point as to when to water. It's pretty easy to give each a somewhat equal shot of water. A gallon is nearly 4000g so that gives 200 pots 20g each.

                • #25
                  Lucrative Thanks for the link. I see that it's granular DE I should be looking for....

                  Some cat litter here is made of one type of coarse DE, and I've often thought of using this, as it's very cheap. Most of it seems to be perfumed, though, so it's probably not a good idea to try that. But maybe it's available 'raw', I'll have to look into it.

                  It seems to me that products designed specifically for gardeners are often way overpriced. The expanded clay referred to in other posts here, for example, is far cheaper in Denmark when bought as building material than as a gardening product. The builders' stuff, however, is not suitable for gardening as it is 'coated' i.e. it has gone through an extra process, which makes it non-absorbent: but this ought to make it more expensive. (I'm not comparing bulk buying with consumer quantities, or 'trade' prices - just ordinary 50 liter sacks available in stores like Home Depot). We gardeners are being ripped off.
                  Don, Danmark

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                  • Jake-ZA
                    Jake-ZA commented
                    Editing a comment
                    There's an unperfumed cat litter available here that looks about right, i.e. granular, but after much searching on the packet, I spotted the word "Bentonite". It's certainly absorbent, but when wetted (with water!) it goes mushy and sort of slippery. Other types of so-called "green" cat litter are compressed perfumed saw dust... cat litter of any sort is not that cheap, green is the most expensive.
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