Cutting Exchange: How to?

TNY78(7a-East TN)January 26, 2012

I've been poking around the cutting exchange on HMF today. There are a few cuttings I would like, and some of my plants seem to be on their list as we could possibly make an exchange. My question is, having nevger done this before, how to I go about mailing the cuttings? Do I wrap them in damp newspaper, or in a ziploc with soil...what is the norm? Also, how may cuttings are normally sent and how long should the cuttings be?

Thanks for any help :)


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Hi Tammy, check with the person receiving the cuttings to find out if they prefer them with, or without foliage. Some use methods benefiting from foliage. I prefer wrapping which doesn't require leaves on them.

I use Priority Mail to send cuttings and seeds. The small and medium boxes are useful for most needs. They are free at the Post Office. You have a choice of regular or Flat Rate boxes, or you're supposed to. At my local Post Offices, they only stock the Flat Rate small boxes, but both types of the medium size.

I attempt to cut the cuttings to fit the size box I'm planning to use. Normally, you can fit quite a few in a small box so most of the shipments I've made have used this size box. Most have wanted them without leaves, so more pieces of wood can fit than if the foliage was left on them.

I tie and label each variety together so several can be stacked together while keeping them separated. I like to wrap them in damp newspaper then insert them in enough plastic shopping bags to seal them against drying out and prevent any moisture from leaking through and into the box.

I'd pick up a few of the boxes and experiment to see how much you can pack in the sizes so you'll have a good idea what size to suggest when someone asks you for cuttings. As I said, most will fit in the small box, which, for Flat Rate, usually runs around $5.20, perhaps a little more now that postal rates have just increased. Using Priority Mail, most get delivered in two to three business days.

For cuttings, you don't want soil as it isn't "hygienic", and probably not legal, plus it adds weight unnecessarily. You don't have to use ziplock bags, either. Simple produce bags wrapped and tied around a bundle of cuttings wrapped in damp newspaper have been completely fine being mailed across the country, and even to Europe.

As for how many, that depends on what you have available and how many you want to send; how many varieties you wish to fit in what size box; how proficient the recipient is in rooting them; etc. I've sent one or two of a variety because that was all there was due to the plant size, and I've sent a large bundle to make sure they were successful, and I had it to send. You probably know how much material is necessary for you to have takes and can likely use that as a guide. Feel free to discuss that with the person receiving your material. Often, they can tell you what works for them and whether they would prefer receiving a lot, or a little of each variety. You'll quickly learn what to do and find it isn't written in stone. As long as they are kept damp and received in a relatively short time (less than a week), they'll usually be just fine. Kim

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 11:03PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Thank you sooo much Kim for your detailed response! I'm going to practice rooting some of my own cuttings soon, but I want to also get involved in the cutting exchanges (and didn't want to look like a complete newbie!)...Thanks as always!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 11:51PM
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You're very welcome Tammy! It's easy and you'll quickly develop a rhythm, plus, it varies a bit from person to person. Many won't have any idea so you'll be able to guide them. Have fun! Kim

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 1:06AM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

HI, i have a bunch of roses i can swap for cuttings. I have:

Cl. Cecile Brunner (spelling?)
new Dawn - reblooming one.

Some David Austins
Marie Pavie

i'm mostling looking for HT's, floribundas and climbers. Not much into antiques.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:27PM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

Great! I would be interested in Ispahan or Marie Pavie. As for what I have available for cuttings off of modern roses, I would have enough for about 8-10 cuttings on any of these:

Balinda's Dream
Queen Elizabeth
Paw Maw (maybe only 5-7 on this one)
Distant Drums
Golden Princess

Let me know if you're interested in any of these..Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:51PM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

Hi Tammy. I will send you an email now.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 1:19PM
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