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  • Cuttings - advice?

    Got a group of cuttings in my temp controlled incubator box that mostly look like the first picture after being in a ziplock bag with moist paper towels @ 77 degrees F bottom heat for a month. I just move them to spag moss/perlite mix because it seems the right thing to do at this point. First picture is a close-up of a representative cutting (seems like they are drying out - brownish roots). Second picture is where I put them for now - about 8 inches of spag moss and perlite that I'm keeping moist (with lid) and in the shade during the day, and inside at night, till I plant them out.

    Any thoughts on how I could do improve on my care, or a simple "they'll be fine", would be appreciated. I have the "better" varieties rooting in my incubator now - these were sort of a test (Kadota, Mission, and a couple unkown cuttings).

    Merci beaucoup.

    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.
    Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.

  • #2
    And I'm really not liking the look of those roots. Not all of them are like that. Most have at least a few white roots. If anything, moving them away from the incubator seems wise. Perhaps it's warmer than the thermometer indicates. Will try to calibrate it or at least lower it from 77 to maybe 70 to be safe. Thank you!
    Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.


    • #3
      This is what they looked like right after I pulled them from the incubator (a box with a small mylar heating pad on the bottom, thermostatically controlled). The bottoms are looking a bit "funky", though I re-wrapped each one with new paper towels every week.

      Not an expert; open to any corrective action for the well-being of my future cuttings.

      You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
      Last edited by Caricature; 04-29-2016, 06:26 PM.
      Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.


      • #4
        Here's one that I just started rooting in the same environment, not more than 2 weeks ago. It's already rooting out, at least from the top. I'm thinking that the incubator set-up is effective, but is cooking the roots after more than a few weeks. I have turned it down to 73 degrees F.
        You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
        Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.


        • #5
          They may be fine...

          Usually the transition from pre-rooting to cupped / potted, http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-ho...ow-s-and-why-s should be made as quickly as possible because the stored nutrient resources of the cuttings could be depleted before they can start absorbing nutrients from the potting mix (fertilizers) or photosynthesis (from the sun). I don't use the paper towel method or heating pads, but bottom heat sometimes cooks the cuttings that are closer to the heat source.
          Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b


          • #6
            Thank you, Pete. Timing is everything, and I surely messed up with a few of these. I'll be moving the rest to a suitable substrate now that there's no need for heating (or towels). Live and learn. Best wishes - we are having a beautiful spring here and it will be nice to get the cuttings going outside soon.
            You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
            Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.


            • AscPete
              AscPete commented
              Editing a comment
              You're welcome.
              Thanks for the great photo...
              Our day temps are also warming up, but its still cool at nights.

          • #7
            And I held the phone crooked for that picture. I can't do anything write! :-(

            Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.


            • #8
              They look like they were too wet in the paper towel. I would try long stranded sphagnum moss, they can stay in there a lot longer. Wet the moss, and then ring it out. If not air tight it may dry out. You can add some water. Moss will inhibit mold too. Sometimes some cuttings just will not root, it can take from 3 weeks to 8 or 9 weeks to root. Open container every other day to let fresh air in. Those brown roots are dead rotted roots. I like heat and just put them in a shoebox sized plastic container with moss, stuck in the middle of the moss. I put them next to the house furnace vent in the winter. I also have a heating mat and a thermostat. I have had success planted directly in soil. No humidity. I wrap them in parafilm, and put them under my 4 foot, 4 lamp T5 light. It throws heat and plenty of light (leaves are super dark green under it). They need heat for sure using this method. Here are some I have rooted. Picture taken 30 minutes ago. The one wrapped in parafilm was rooted directly in soil. the others were first rooted in moss with 7 to 25 root strands before being put in soil. The more roots the better, leave in moss longer! Be careful not to pull roots off. They often get stuck in the moss. Leave them alone in the moss. Check for roots at 4 weeks, 6 weeks, and 8 weeks. If none yet, it's probably not going to root in the moss, try direct planting.

              I have tried numerous rooting methods, and will continue to experiment. I know others have their own way and it works for them. I'm giving you ideas to try. Adapt them to fit your conditions. All gardening is local!
              I tried plastic bags but much prefer the shoebox sized plastic storage container. They are very cheap! It's way too easy to damage roots in plastic bags. In the containers they don't move at all, just what you want!

              Last edited by drew51; 04-29-2016, 08:24 PM.


              • #9
                Thank you, Andrew. I like the idea of getting roots (or just nubs) in the plastic bags (so I can see there is progress). But then I need to quickly move them to a healthy substrate ASAP after that. It's kind of like germinating seeds. I like to see that they are sprouting (viable), but then need to plant them right away.

                I received a couple collard trees (yes, trees) cuttings last year. Instructions were to simply to put them into a well-draining mix and keep them moist (not wet) and in filtered shade. They both did fine, grew huge!

                I will be moving my cuttings tomorrow and will report back with what I hope will be great success later. There is a matter of feel to all this, and this is my first try. I will get the hang of it, and SO appreciate your help.

                Many thanks.
                Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.


                • #10
                  Unlike seeds you don't need to remove them immediately, they should if all is well grow more roots. Yours turned brown indicating conditions were not ideal. Fig cuttings should be able to stay in the medium weeks after they form roots. If they don't have ton's of roots chances are they will fail. I have had a hard time getting sparsely rooted cuttings to take. They have died on me. At least 15 hairs will be a for sure take. Any less best treat plant perfect, not to much water, not too little.
                  Last edited by drew51; 04-30-2016, 09:34 AM.


                  • #11
                    I use long fiber spahgnum moss as well, only difference is I root then in gallon zip lock bags now. I can fit a good number of cuttings in a gallon zip lock and after I push the air out and close tight the bags can be stacked 5 or 6 high and not take up as much space. As soon as I see enough roots I remove them from the moss and put them in 16oz clear plastic cups with plenty of drain holes the I put with a hot ice pick, I use a well draining potting mix in the cups and place them in full shade. Luckily here I don't have to worry about the humidity bens. This is my method that works best for me. You can take a little from each person and put together a system that works for you, it's a lot of trial and error. Good luck and welcome, and that is a heck of a view you have there Andy!
                    Ryan- CenLa, zone 8a/b


                    • #12
                      Appreciate the feedback.

                      I almost certainly overdid the moisture with the paper towels. A couple Lebanese cuttings had dry/not moist looking bark, so I re-wrapped ALL cuttings with extra-moist towels. Doh!

                      Here are a handful of Marseilles Black VS cuttings that I received on April 16 (two weeks ago). I have moved the one with the most roots to potting media. Possibly prematurely, but live and learn (one is upside down in the picture). The rest are going back into my incubator, but with very lightly moistened moss. We shall see if I've got the hang of it yet, or not.

                      Thank you again.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.


                      • #13
                        I may have had the misconception that the bark should look moist. If you look at the bottom two cuttings in the above picture, you can seem the cambium (green layer under the bark, at least as I understand it to be). I had the idea that the bark should be moist like that for the best root development.
                        Andy, Zone 8A (Sunset 10), 4000 ft elevation, high desert.