cutting rooting on wrong end

genecolin(Zone 9, LA)December 16, 2009

I'm posting this again because the other post is locked and I couldn't add any comments. So I'm trying again.

I'm a novice but I have read a lot of posts and looked at hundreds of pictures of rooting cuttings but have never seen one like this or saw it discussed. Since a picture is worth a thousands words, take a look and then I'm open to suggestions as to what my step is. First is the top of the cutting with initial growing above the buds and the second is the bottom end with a bud showing and some swelling bumps. The cutting is about 3/4" diameter and about 3 1/2" long. Thanks for any comments.

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genecolin(Zone 9, LA)

Thanks gorgi and Paully for your replies to the other post. I thought about putting it horizontal but the root is also on the wrong side of the cutting. I guess I'll watch it for a few more days and then put it in a cup.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 6:05AM
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Hi Gene,

My cuttings often do that too. I'm researching single node rooting and that's what I like to see....a root on every node.

Your picture shows both root initials (those round white freckles near each bud/node) and some cutting barking (those white raised areas between the nodes). Also, if you look at the bottom cut of your cutting you can see the callous that has formed. Whenever I see a well developed callous on my baggie cutting (even if no roots have grown out), I will move it into my rooting cups.

Working on a reliable single node rooting method.....

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 11:02AM
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genecolin(Zone 9, LA)

Dan thanks for your input. My plan of attack is to watch is for a couple of days. I took it out of its wrapping in damp paper towel and put it in a baggie with some sphagnum, hopefully to keep the budding leaves from coming into contact with the wet towel. When I get home this evening I will stand it up in a cup of sphagnum with the top bud exposed. I will be able to watch it progress like that and hopefully learn a little more of the rooting process and put it in potting mix when I see roots at any point below the top bud.

Dan, wishing you well in you quest to consistently root single node cuttings.

From the bayou,

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 3:32PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Dan, I have a question. I found a very bizarre-leafed fig of about 2yrs-3yrs age at the edge of a vacant wooded lot in my neighborhood.

It had one very thick (1" diameter+) horizontal shoot from the base, a horizontal woody root, really. It has no nodes, and shows potential for root initials all over.

I have a spare 3" section now which is showing dozens of initials. I wonder: how deep do you plant when planting horizontal? I want to put this in soil soon.

Here are pictures of the leaves:

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 4:51PM
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That doesn't look like a fig cultivar to me.

What does the inside look like on a branch of current year's growth? Do you see a pith like you would expect to see on a normal fig branch? On a fig tree that is not being fertilized, or experiencing rapid growth due to pruning, etc. I would expect to see nodes at least every inch or two on a normal vertical you see close nodes on the vertical branches?

You may already know this but to clarify........Root initials are those small ROUND white dots that appear near a leaf node. Barking is that raised skin area that lies between the sectional nodes. It too is often white and often turns darker later. Barking is not round in is more angular, but, raised too like a root initial. Barking and root initials are not the same thing and both can appear during the rooting process.

When I've rooted horizontally, I placed the cutting at a slight angle where only a bud tip was showing. Otherwise, burying the entire cutting one inch below the soil surface has worked fine for me.

From the Sugar Cane fields of South Louisiana.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 6:14PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Yes, initials are the white "freckles" that form, you can see a couple of them below the node line in the pics above, opposite the node line from the buds. (larger white dots)

I can take a picture of the exposed root so you can see the initials.

Also, there is pith like a normal fig branch, and all vertical branches have nodes as expected. I took several branches for cuttings. There is a leaf scar typical of figs when the leaves dropped, and the bud position in relation to mid-node is exactly the same as a typical fig.

The leaves also have the same leathery texture and general shape as a fig, with certain characteristics. True, this could simply be in the ficus family, but I kid you not - I am most certain this is an actual fig as we know it.

The leaves are not any more strange and not-fig-looking as, say, Brunswick, or maybe Stella. In the wild, a normal person would probably not believe those two were figs without seeing the plant fruiting.

I will post pictures later so you can see what I see. I could talk all day, but a picture is worth a thousand words.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 6:51PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Here you go Dan. And sorry to Gene if I am hijacking your thread, I actually have the same question with the section in pic #4 below, so it's on-topic.

I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures, they are taken with my blackberry with terrible lighting.

First picture is the bottom of the bundle. It shows many things: Callous has formed. Root initials are starting in clusters. Pith is clearly visible. I have some mold issues.

Second picture shows the most adanced initials of all, along with a shoot. You can see the center of the node and the leaf scar very clearly here.

Third picture - general shot of several cuttings. Again, leaf scars and buds clear. Please ignore my mold problem on the center cutting. I did not soak these in 10% bleach.

Fourth picture is the horizontal root/shoot. I've never seen any of them like this. You can see swellings of root initials starting. This was apparently initially under the ground at some point.

Last picture is terrible, but it again shows node, with leaf scar below and bud above.

If you want some cuttings of this, let me know. I will clean a couple of them up and get them out to you. Some are smallish, twiggy actually. The last photo is one of the thickest sections that was growing up from the horizontal root in the 4th picture.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 9:24PM
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genecolin(Zone 9, LA)

I don't mind you hitching a ride but one question, are these cuttings from the tree with the strange leaves. Those ends look very calloused, how long have they been cut and did you move them immediately into a rooting situation. None of my cuttings ever put on such a callous, but then again I've only done about 40 of them. I'm assuming you didn't find evidence of fruit on the tree.

I assume you were asking Dan if he wanted a cutting, I would be willing to give it a try if you have extras. I'm always interested in growing something and the stranger the better.

From the bayou,

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 10:26PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

No evidence of fruit, I didn't find the tree until the leaves started turning. This is the tree with the strange leaves (leaves are above). The pictures you're seeing above are deceptive because the lighting is bad and the lighting is poor.

As for the situation with the cuttings. These cuttings were taken 4-5 weeks ago, and they are really really skinny, top growth. They put out a lot of "milk" when cut off the tree. I took them immediately without washing and wrapped them and put them in a bag, blew it up and stuck it in my entertainment center, which is mostly enclosed and sits around 80*-85*. I neglected them for several days at a time without airing them out. I've literally just pulled them out last night for the first time in 8-9 days, so I had no idea they had all the nubs/"pimples" on the base as you see.

I have seen this kind of growth before, with the swelling at the callous, and subsequent rootlets forming. Here is just one example from the basics/rooting section at F4F:

These cuttings are NOT in a rooting medium yet, but I have two 1" thick suckers in 2gal pots, and a few tips stuck along with them. I took a wishbone shaped section and stuck it in the ground on the shady side of my house as well, just as a "test".

I am about to clean up the cuttings in pic#1 above carefully with antibacterial soap and 10% bleach solution and hope it doesn't hurt them, then put them in the bag for a couple more days to wait for some rootlets.

I have more cuttings where these came from. The parent tree is about 4" thick at the base, about 6' tall, and has several branches still. I plan to leave it alone and watch over it during the winter, then wait for fruit next year. It is in a wooded area with lots of squirrels and birds, though, and it's entrenched in poison ivy (ask how I found out), and the lot is possibly going to be developed in the coming year. So ... there is a lot riding against this guy!

For these reasons, I am hoping some take!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 10:57PM
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I have never seen a fig like yours. Please keep us updated on your find.

I'll have to pass right now on your kind offer for cuttings. Soon I will be rooting several hundred cuttings. I really do not have enough space for many more until I start removing some from my collection.

Specializing in the LSU bred figs........

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 5:35AM
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captainjohn(Z 9 La)

The leaves appear to be from a variety of "red" oak tree. I'll bet the fruit produced will be acorns rather than figs.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 11:50AM
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When you're rooting several hundred cuttings, how often do you check on them? Will you give them a grace period once you clean/prep/bag/bin them of a week or two, or do you check on them daily?



    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 1:26PM
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sergnic(z9 Italy)

I'm writing from Italy, ,,,and I'm not sure to have well gone onto.
However I say some things, ....relating or not.
- branches in some pictures are young (when internodes distances are high and skin is erbaceous and smoots) and for so rooting are a bit more difficult, and moist disease easier.
- Leaves from young branches (and/or from a youg tree) are many different from an old one: I've a tree that have the same (young age) leaves really narrow shaped (picture of "satellitehead"), but the the (very old) tree where I've found the cuttings, has leaves less narrow! This tree gave me last year first very good dark blue brebas (in my climate, in hotter ones produce a second later).
- If in LA temp. drops not lower than 16°F (-9°C) may be that a "wild" plant are from natural (by seed) reproduction, (if Blastophaga is arrived), however this is an adventurous enterprise, really, and may be difficult, because good or bad surprises are possible.
Ciao, Sergnic

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 5:41AM
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I think that captainjohn is right.
Even the twigs look non-fig-like to me.
Time (fruit) will soon tell true.
Hoping that we are wrong, and if so, I would like a twig...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 6:21AM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

I have red oaks all around my propert. I undertand the skepticism, but....this is not an oak tree. These leaves are much larger, with much different texture.

When was the last time you cut an oak tree and saw white "milk" come from it?

Ah well. We shall see.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 4:43PM
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price403(Zone 6b, WV)

Here's a link to a fig leaf that looks similar to the leaf pictures you posted. I'm not sure if it's the same one or not as I haven't seen pics of the wood on the Figs4Fun site...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 10:31AM
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It will be interesting to see what your tree turns out to be. I still have doubts that your find is a fig tree.


I will be rooting most of my cuttings in batches of 100. The batches are staged three weeks apart. I use Sterilite latch-able plastic containers.....both the 27 quart and 64 quart boxes. These boxes are stack-able, so they don't take up too much room. I'm retired and have the time to check my baggies daily........also necessary for me to make observations on some of my newer experimental techniques. Once the cuttings are moved to their rooting cups, they usually require little attention until they are placed in their final potting mix.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 11:02AM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

I am going to send some cuttings in your general direction - I plan to get them out to Gene C in the next week or two. Let's keep our fingers crossed it is something good.....

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Great. Gene lives not too far from me. I am rooting a couple of fig trees for him at the moment and when I give them to him in the spring maybe I'll get to see a rooted one of your unknown. I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of you.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 9:26PM
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genecolin(Zone 9, LA)

Dan, thanks for wishing us luck. Wouldn't it be nice to find something delicious growing from those cuttings. Jason thats the time frame I plan to start a bunch more so they would have company to grow along with.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 10:14PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

How did Adam cover himself with those leaves?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 10:17PM
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Very Funny!
Thinking hard, he/she were ALONE; so why bother?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 10:47PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

I have a few more pics to share of this wierdo.

After playing with figs for a couple of years, I must say, the only thing that is not very fig like on this is the leaf bud, most buds are less round and more triangular, but the leaf and shoot is verbatim what I'm seeing from my Carolina Dark and Negronne varieties which are breaking now, and the structure of the stalk (cambium, center, joints, bark, milk, etc.) is precisely the same as ficus carica, and so is with the leaf veins and general leaf shape, texture, smell, everything. Even the shape of the teeny tiny leaf as you see pictured here is correct.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the cutting, the odd leaf bud prior to bursting, and a little teeny tiny leaf. I will take some more pictures in a few days when the leaf gets larger. All of them decided that they would break buds before rootlets except the one pictured, but I have some huge whip suckers I've started as well.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 11:56PM
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Wow.........thanks for posting pictures.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 1:25PM
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satellitehead(z8 ATL Metro)

Man, talk about crazy leaves that don't look like a fig. I have been digging through Ficus genus pictures to find a ficus that has this strange triangular bud, but otherwise shares characteristics of the common fig... and I came across Ficus Johannis var Afghanistanica, found this GW thread, check out the pics posted by Saltcedar! Doesn't look like a fig either, but apparently it fruits also.

Dying to figure this one out.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 6:32PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hey Satellitehead!

I was going to just say SH, but I thought you might think I was calling you something else...

So, how did those strange cuttings turn out this season? You must have been able to tell something by now. Perhaps you did post about it and I didn't see it, but I'm curious.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 12:54AM
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