Cold period to stimulate growth?

nrawlins(6)February 5, 2014

I have a cutting that I have rooted from a ornamental "prunus" bush. The cutting had a hard time, but it did establish some good roots. I took the cutting as a semihardwood tip cutting in mid summer just as the growth was slowing down. The cutting did not ever produce new growth this year. It has just recently dropped the 2 leaves that I left on the cutting. It looks like it has some buds that are set to hopefully send out new growth.

However, I was wondering if the cutting needs a dormancy period to begin new growth. Does the cutting need lower temperatures to induce that dormancy? Or, will the daylight hours getting longer alone stimulate the plant to begin growing? (The cutting has been indoors the whole time, and is currently in a west facing window)

Thanks!

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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I can't tell you for certain what you should do, only what I, personally, would do.

I would not have kept it indoors all winter but it is too late to change that now. If the cutting is definitely rooted I would start to harden it off i.e. put it into cooler and cooler locations over the next few weeks in order to try and get it back into synch with outdoor Prunus in your area. Do you have a cooler porch or something where you could put it?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 4:08AM
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nrawlins(6)

Floral,
Yes, I was afraid of that. I think I was scared to put out alone in the cold hard world! Anyway, yes I could put it out in a north facing porch to try and harden it off.
The other thing that I was thinking about doing was to put the cutting in the refrigerator for a few weeks (i.e. 6 weeks?) before bringing it back out. Would that give it the cold period that it needs?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:56AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

No, I would not put it in the fridge, if it has definitely rooted. It's dark in there! Just harden it off gradually. Keep it cool with plenty of light. It's dropped it's leaves which is what it should do in Winter. I don't know your climate but I should think it should be able to go outside full time in three weeks max. if you harden off thoroughly.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I did the same thing with Blueberry cuttings and kept them in a container with bottom heat and artificial light all Winter.They were put outside when freezing weather was over and did fine. Brady

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:26AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Plants deprived of a cold rest to release them from a normal dormancy often go dormant at some point in the next growth cycle, which usually results in the death of the plant.

Try this for your cuttings:
Take a half dozen tip or intermodal cuttings of about the same length. Identify polarity, bundle them so proximal/distal ends ere together, and bury them outdoors in a bed with the proximal end up. When you start to see bud movement in related trees in the landscape, lift them and pot them up, or plant out. Just make sure you mark where you buried them. You can also over-winter the cuttings in damp sand in a container on the floor of an attached/unheated garage.

Burying the cuttings upside down is a little like applying bottom heat. The warmer soil close to the surface promotes root development, while the cooler temp below the surface keeps buds dormant until roots form. I use it a LOT on deciduous stuff.

Al

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:37AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Plants deprived of a cold rest to release them from a normal dormancy often go dormant at some point in the next growth cycle, which usually results in the death of the plant.

Try this for your cuttings:
Take a half dozen tip or intermodal cuttings of about the same length. Identify polarity, bundle them so proximal/distal ends ere together, and bury them outdoors in a bed with the proximal end up. When you start to see bud movement in related trees in the landscape, lift them and pot them up, or plant out. Just make sure you mark where you buried them. You can also over-winter the cuttings in damp sand in a container on the floor of an attached/unheated garage.

Burying the cuttings upside down is a little like applying bottom heat. The warmer soil close to the surface promotes root development, while the cooler temp below the surface keeps buds dormant until roots form. I use it a LOT on deciduous stuff.

Al

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:39AM
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