Tips for higher sucess rooting rate

dmaivn(NSW Aust)January 27, 2008

I have not been around for a while. Looks like we continue to a stream of new people coming (as the older ones leaving). Here are some tips for better success rate.

I think there is some difference between Southern Hemisphere (where I live) and the Northern hemisphere where the climate is more severely cold in Winter. Also in warm season, the Southern hemisphere is more severe (20 degrees Celcius temperature difference between morning and afternoon). So many techniques need fine adjustment to work.

Many people in Northern hemisphere seem to employ indoor rooting under artificial light to avoid the variable weather. However I think this strategy is not green (using too much energy) and the plants are weak. They need gradual hardening to survive. Also success should be counted as from canes to blooms rather than from canes to having roots. The success rate from canes to blooms is much lower.

1/ Most reliable method, work in all climates, cope well with extreme variation in weather

Nothing beat a set up with an electronic timer misting system that mists the cuttings under full Sun. It's easy to set up. A wooden frame with clear plastic covering. The timer should allow under 1 minute timing. The misting nozzle should give a misty fine spray. This set up will allow the rooting of softwood stems where a couple of sets of leaves can be left on the cutting. The photosynthesis process happens at normal rate and will help the cuttings to root within 2 weeks. Sand is the best medium and reusable indefinitely. This process is very environmental friend as there is no need for any chemical at all. A jet of water will hose away the sand leaving the rootsystems completely intact.

Cons: water quality can be a problem. Wasting of water can be a problem unless the wasted water is collected at the base and used to water other plants

2/ A variation of full Sun misting

Dig a small rectangular hollow on the ground, line with plastic. Same set up as above but using a pond pump instead to spray water via normal fine garden nozzles. This is not quite fine misting but it works. As the pump is used to create pressure, we can recycle water. Only top up the loss of water into the air which is negligible. The pond pump should be around 200W to create enough pressure for a set of 6 nozzles

Pros: save a lot of water

Cons: loose electricity.

3/ Working with nature

One can use hardwood rooting procedure to beat variable climate. It's best done late Winter when all things "want" to grow. In moderately cold climate, at pruning time the cuttings can be saved. Keep only the cuttings that are between 3-12 months old. They have a lot of carbonhydrates already converted into a more dormant kind of energy. In this sense they won't ever rot due to the late Winter cool temperature and lack of ready carbonhydrates for bacteria to attack. In much colder climate, the cuttings can be saved in the basement in Winter to avoid freezing temperature inside a blackplastic bag. Washing them clean before storage will also help.

Late Winter, stick them down in a mix of sand and dirt about 50-50 ratio in a bed located at a spot where there is plenty of morning Sun and a wall to shade them from the afternoon Sun. This method will strike even the hardest roses.

Pros: great success rate

Cons: need to wait until the time is right.

People often get sucked into using a plethora of chemicals, potting mix, ... but my experience tell me that these things while helpful, not the essentials. I always get great success rate without using any chemicals or commercial mix. If you get the conditions right, all of these additions can be ignored.

The essentials

- Never let the cuttings dry out (misting or do it late Winter. The Pop-bottle method is well-known but it limits airflow and tend to promote fungus attacks).

- Use mature cuttings so that there is not enough carbonhydrates available for bacteria to attack.

- Avoid extreme of temperature by picking the best time of the year where the temperature is moderate and going from cool to warm slowly.

- Stick with medium that is void of nutrients to avoid bacteria attack at the base

How to avoid depletion of nutrients?

It's easy to find the cuttings striking root then die because of lack of nutrients or transplanting shock. The best way to avoid this is to use two layers in the rooting medium. The top layer is just plain sand with 10% peat to keep moisture. It's clean and relatively free of all nutrients. The bottom layer is rich soil with all necessary nutrients. The base of the cutting should stay entirely on the top layer. As the roots strike and make their way to the 2nd layer, the new plants will get all the nutrients needed.

I have a comprehensive home gardener guide to rose propagation available as a PDF file on the Internet. Just google "Rose Propagation" to look for my PDF document.

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jim_east_coast_zn7(z7 East Coast)

Is that you? Nice to see you back. Was on the aquarium forum yesterday and someone put some clematis cuttings in a jar of water and they sat and grew but no roots. Then she stuck an airstone hooked up to a pump into the jar and roots came out in about a week..I was thinking it was the air bubbles intermittently touching the roots. Then, I was going through my old emails last night and there was your email to me about the roots need to be above the water but kept humid (you had them in an aquarium)and you referred to those rooter setups that were popular on here about 2 years ago which suspended the cuttings above water which had air bubbling up in it. Thank you for that letter. Am going to play around with it in the future with an aquarium pump and airstone.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 5:08PM
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dmaivn(NSW Aust)

Yes, it's me. I suppose after spending over 5 years on this hobby, rose propagation is no longer a novelty. What you refer to was Aerocloning popular here a while ago. I think it's fun to play with all sorts of toys as we get pleasure out of doing them rather than getting the high sucess rate. All the pampering we tend to do to get them strike roots eventually fail at the end to create really healthy and tough plants that will grow well into the future.

I have done so much rooting and budding with rootstocks. Eventually I got to the stage where every time I budded a rose, I knew within 20 seconds if the job is sucessful or not by judging the look of it. But then nature eludes me at the end. I can get 100% sucess rate but only some of the plants would peform amazingly well. And they would likely outperform commercial roses. The rest get given away or trashed.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 11:01PM
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george_mander(5 to 6)

Good to see your name again dmaivn,

I make my own root cuttings under lights (as you know from a few years ago) all winter long. It only takes me 8 to 9 weeks from the time I start my cuttings to have the first bloom. Then I can make 2 to 4 new cuttings from cuttings from the first stem if I need to have lots of new plants in a short time period.
For those of you who are just starting to make own root cuttings, read my article :"Cuttings from Cuttings, from Cuttings..." on my articles page.
Good luck George Mander

Here is a link that might be useful: Roses of Excellence

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 1:31AM
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