Burrito cuttings - the Advanced Burrito Modification.

overdriveJuly 23, 2012

It is really nice that new ideas are being developed. The Burrito method for cuttings is a really nice idea: it uses principles of etiolation (darkness) and high humidity to induce rooting in a semi-ripe stem. However, some people are getting failures, and this has led to disappointment and abandonment of the method.

In order to keep the ball rolling, and avoid going backwards, I have been doing some studying and sticking of cuttings. I use peat pots with peat based medium / sand covered with a plastic dome, which is easy for the home amateur gardener. I have experience with the Austin "Mary Rose", which roots quite easily for me. This year I have decided on Hansa, due to the total cast iron resistance to extreme cold (zone 3). My first set of cuttings in June (conventional cuttings) were stuck in Pro-Mix (peat/perlite/vermiculite) mixed with sand. These failed, due to damping off. I pulled out the failed cuttings and used the exact same used pot and medium, but this time poured straight laundry bleach into the medium, then washed it out five times with my garden wand. I let the peat pots drain overnight, and then I stuck another set of cuttings, and this time they rooted! Within 10 days there was callus, and in two weeks tiny roots. I noticed the root is at the middle of the cutting, and not the base, which tells me the base was still too wet, and I need more air in the medium. My readings found out that air is essential and sometimes straight perlite works best for some plants, and peat does not, and also some people say that with too damp it never roots, but slightly dry is never a problem. Also, some people are using ground up tree bark. So I bought a bag of perlite, and got some ground up tree bark (bark is quite cheap). I used 3 parts bark, one part regular perlite, another part medium perlite, one part Pro-Mix (mainly peat). I wetted this mix and added a bit of Southern Ag copper ammonium (1 tbsp per gallon). I did this because the British are using Cheshunt copper to keep off the damping off, so I figured why not.

Now for the cuttings part. The burrito is basically like totally burying the stem, and this is similar to a leaf-bud cutting, except the leaf-bud keeps a leaf. The online pictures show clearly the roots are forming at the node/bud area. So that means the burrito is just a leaf-bud without the leaf. Keeping this in mind, I decided to try the leaf-bud method for Hansa. I already know I can root it conventionally, and I know that it needs air to root, and I know that it can be killed with wet and with damping-off, so I used the bark/perlite/peat medium to provide lots of air, tiny bit of copper ammonium for insurance, and I stuck 4 dozen Hansa leaf-bud cuttings yesterday. I used green wood with a flower bud, or semi-ripe wood that had just flowered. I avoided anything that was too woody, and used those for conventional cuttings. So there was another one dozen of conventional cuttings using the more ripe semi-ripe. The less ripe semi-ripe was all stuck with leaf bud method.

I suggest a new name for this leaf-bud method, calling it the Advanced Burrito Modification, because 1. - people have not been doing leaf-bud with roses 2. - it has similar principles to the Burrito 3. - it does not require a transplantation step like the Burrito does, so I call it the "advanced" Burrito.

Cheers and I will report back in two weeks to see if there is any action down below.

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donaldvancouver(cool wet z8)

Very interesting. How long were the cuttings? Just one node or more? I have also wondered about skipping the burrito step and just burying a length of stem for a while. Can you post photos?
My endless saga of unsuccessful cuttings continues. I am learning that in this coastal environment, keeping the media dryish and airy is very important. I'm using equal parts coir, barely moistened, and dry perlite. So far I've slowed down the rotting process- no real successes yet.
I am also using the burrito method right now on green (just finished blooming) cuttings. They are callusing very well in our cool temps here. It's the rooting step that confounds me. Zero successes out of at least fifty attempts. I used to be able to do this, back when I lived in a dry climate.
Anyway- thanks for the experimentation. Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:04PM
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The cuttings are just one node, about 3/4" to 1" (2-3cm.), but you can use up to 3-4 cm. depending on the size of your peat pots and the particular rose strain. It's just that with Hansa, the nodes are close together, so I get 2-3cm. maximum size with no trimming.
I'll take some photos and try to figure out how to post them in a few days.
I use a clear plastic dome over the tray to keep it at 100% humidity, and I have chosen the medium (bark/perlite/peat) so that it has a lot of air. Also, I use 15ml copper ammonium/ 3.8l as a fungicide - I have never done this before, so I am not sure what will happen, but the British have been using that for over 100 years, so I have a feeling it will work. Also, the bark is very rich in tannin, and I'm hoping this might inhibit molds.

They are under fluorescent lights right now, 24/7. I'm keeping a close eye on them, and at 10 days I'll start looking if there is any callus (assuming they live that long - lol) - Paul M.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:19AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi Overdrive: I'm very interested in your result. Folks in England also have little luck in rootings due to the damp weather.

Here's my exeriment with Paul Neyron, notorious for blackspots. Regarding the fungicide properties of lime: I bought Paul Neyron on purpose to do experiments 1) alkaline clay soil with alfalfa meal: lots of blooms, a few blackspots 2) I watered him with acidic water, blackspots got worse 3) Moved him to clay soil made acidic with peatmoss, HORRIBLE blackspots!

4) Moved him to lime with composted pine, peat, and perlite potting soil - he sprouted 100% clean leaves, not a trace of diseases for the past month. I also have "Heirloom" mauve HT rose, notorious for blackspot. It is also in the same lime-pine compost potting soil, it's 100% healthy even in humid and rainy weather.

We had all night rain, all morning rain today. I went out to check Paul Neyron and Heirloom - both are still clean.
Kim Rupert's obervation: "Interesting. So the soil borne lime killed the infecting spores, preventing them from infecting the leaves?"

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Thank you for experimenting and pushing the envelope further! The leaf bud cuttings are commonly used under mist for commercial production, also. Sequoia produced probably millions of plants over their seventy years. Originally, they rooted traditional cuttings, planting multiples per pot to produce fuller, bushier plants faster. Toward the end of their run, Mr. Moore had them using single bud cuttings, with one per pot, and it worked. It took appropriately longer to produce a product closer to their original standard, but it required far less material to produce that crop.

It's interesting reading your method and results. It would be really fun if my climate permitted me to succeed with it, but the heat, wind, sun patterns, pathogens, swings from humid to arid, etc., prohibit covering anything. Only burying them in the soil produces success. Hopefully, this will attract some attention and add to the knowledge base, enabling more people to succeed in propagation. Once you hit on the method suitable for where you are and what you grow, it's honestly pretty easy! I'm enjoying your experiment. Thanks! Kim

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Thank you for the wonderful replies and interest.

Strawberryhill: I believe the composted pine is full of micro-organisms that will eat the fungal spores. I have used partly composted shredded Christmas trees both worked into the soil and as a heavy mulch, and the health of the rose has been excellent.

Rosegeek: thanks Kim, for the post from the super-star of the Burrito. Your activity in the discussion forum is really appreciated.
I also, cannot do this outdoors, because the conditions are too difficult to control - all of my cutting work is done indoors, in the cellar. My cellar is about 70 - 74F year round, which is perfect for rooting the cuttings. I have two separate banks of 10 x shoplight fixtures (2 banks of F32T8 x 20 lamps) with space for up to 16 standard 10x20" horticultural trays, or about 160 one gallon pots - I turn on the appropriate number of lamps, as needed. The lamps are wired for overdrive (32 watt lamp driven to 54 watts) for when the cuttings have rooted and can use that intensity. I only need the high intensities in the fall/winter/spring, when the heat from the fixtures also heats my house, Rooting of cuttings during summer only requires smaller light intensities.

I'm really flattered with this interest - I believe I am working on standard conditions that can be reproduced anywhere, and hopefully can add something useful.

Sincerely, Paul Moz.

Here is a link that might be useful: This link shows my conventional cuttings from 5 years ago, and my fluorescent fixtures.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:06PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi Paul M: Nice link, I like the set-up you have. One time I grew basil herb down the basement with fluorescent light - it shot up my electric bill. When I moved to a new house with 20 windows, my indoor herbs still got black stems from MiracleGro potting soil (green bag).

My outdoor mini-roses also got blackspots from the green bag MiracleGro potting soil. Then I mulched the pots with horse manure (has lime), and the blackspots went away. Now my roses in pots are clean in this hot weather with 70% humidity, and more rain to come.

The potting soil I use outdoor for Paul Neyron and Heirloom with zero blackspots is Ball II potting soil, with 55% composted fine pine. It has neutral pH and is used to grow petunias INDOOR in Ball's greenhouses in my zone 5a. Ball is an international nusery that supplies annual flowers. The ingredients are: composted pine bark, peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, lime, and gypsum. Ball makes many variety of potting soils, some with coir. Here's another good report on Ball's potting soil.

Posted by elkwc 6b (My Page) on Sun, Apr 1, 12 at 13:53

I thought I'd post this for those who can't find Pro-Mix or any other potting mix they have used previously. I have used 4 so far this year. One is a special mix for a nursery in Amarillo and would have to be purchased there so won't say much about it except it is real good.
The three brands I used were Ball, Berger and Metro-Mix. I have used the Ball potting on mix for several years and it continues to be my favorite. One I would recommend to anyone....plants do well in it from germinating to potting up and growing in it.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:35PM
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seven days later, and no action down below. a few stem cuttings are showing callus, but the leaf bud cuttings are all green with no rotting, but no callus yet. will check back in another 3 days.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 11:27AM
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overdrive, the Burrito Method resembles the leaf bud cutting or simply totally burying the stem, EXCEPT, the Burrito Method requires dormant cuttings which contain sufficient nutrients to carry them over until they root.

Leaf bud cuttings maintain a leaf, which continues feeding the actively growing cutting. Wrapping actively growing cuttings most often results in failure because they receive no light for the two week period, so no photosynthesis takes place in any of the green wood and there are no leaves. Using dormant material (hardwood cuttings) can work using the other methods (bottle, baggie, etc.), but it will take significantly longer than soft wood (actively growing) material which is in the growth state, rather than dormancy. Kim

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:09AM
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So the original Burrito involves dormant cuttings which have more stored carbohydrates, whereas this method uses green/semi-ripe stock, so another good reason to call it a "modified" Burrito. I just read that it is better to have a maximum amount of leaf on the cutting, so I put up another 3 trays of cuttings this past weekend, using as much leaf as possible, and also I read that it is good to open the trays to room air daily for a few minutes, so I'm going to start doing that as well. best regards, Paul Mozarowski.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:46PM
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very exciting news folks! - today is day 9, so on a whim I pulled up a leaf bud cutting - the medium is all stuck to the cutting, and there is obvious large amounts of callus. I'll be picking it up again tonight, with photographic evidence, and i'll start a new thread for pictures. I can't believe it is working so well - paul mozarowski.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 9:32AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Congratulations, Paul - I'm happy for you. I'm a bit confused, what's the difference between burrito and advanced burrito, and how it relates to soft wood versus hard wood. Please clarify. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 4:00PM
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The Burrito Method requires hard wood, dormant cuttings, after winter when they have sufficient stored nutrients to hold them over while they are leafless, wrapped in damp paper in the dark.

The "Advanced Burrito" has nothing to do with wrapping, therefore is a misnomer. I coined the "Burrito Method" in an effort to give folks a mental image of what I meant. Advanced Burrito is simply a softwood cutting, actively growing, but a single bud one, instead of longer, multiple bud lengths. "Leaf Bud Cuttings" would be a much more appropriate term to use for it. If one were to attempt to used the Burrito Method with actively growing, leaf bud cuttings, they are pretty much guaranteed to fail. Too many people tried it at the wrong time of year, with the wrong type of material, under the wrong range of temperatures and repeatedly reported total failure. It takes a long time for a dormant, leafless cutting to root when processed and used as softwood cutting. Softwood cuttings fail when all foliage is removed and they are wrapped in dark, damp, cool wrapping because they don't contain a sufficient store of nutrients to permit them to develop, and, since there are no leaves and they are in the dark, they can't create their own resources.

Each method is appropriate for different types of material, at different times of the year. Both can be used by virtually anyone, just at opposite ends of the calendar and with opposite types of cuttings.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 7:00PM
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donaldvancouver(cool wet z8)

I am enjoying this thread.

I agree that "Advanced Burrito" is perhaps not the best term- this method takes the burrito (paper wrapping) out of the process altogether. Now, I don't mean to diminish your method or your progress, @overdrive, by suggesting the name isn't appropriate. It is still an exciting method and another way of approaching rose cuttings. And I for one am happy to try anything new until I find the system that works for me.

Interestingly, I am having remarkable luck getting calluses and even roots this summer using the original burrito method. I am taking canes that have just finished blooming, as one would for normal cuttings at this time of year, stripping the leaves, dipping the ends, wrapping in (barely) damp paper, storing away etc etc as per the original method. They are "incubated" at about 18 C or 70F, and many of them are callusing and I even have a few rooting now. Whether I can get them to leaf out remains to be seen; this is where the lack of stored energy might work against them. Or the endless, ubiquitous, unstoppable black rot that accompanies my coastal climate; take your pick. At any rate, I am trying every method in the book this summer and so far all I have to show for it is one little Bonica cutting that is half-heartedly progressing as we speak.

Overdrive- I'm still hoping for a couple of photographs so that I can try to replicate what you're doing.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:13PM
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That's interesting Don. I wonder if your success with wrapping right now means perhaps your roses still have more stored nutrients at this time of year because of your climate? I'm intrigued you're getting them to callus at 70 degrees. They wouldn't callus here this far into summer and at those temps, but you're not as far along into summer as we are (haven't really even had WINTER yet!), so there may be some logic to it after all.

You may want to try chip budding, if you can obtain a suitable rootstock which roots sufficiently well for you. It is much easier than the usual "T" budding and is working like a charm! Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Burling's Chip Budding Method

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:04AM
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donaldvancouver(cool wet z8)

Roseseek- I wouldn't be surprised if our plants have more pent-up energy than yours right now. It was a late spring followed by a cool summer and our roses are just finishing their first flush.

I have always wanted to try budding. Thank you for the article. What understock would you recommend for a cool, wet Zone 8 climate?


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:36AM
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You're welcome Don! Canadian nurseries seem to favor multiflora for a root stock. Pickering tests and treats ever variety they offer for RMV. They bud on multiflora and laxa, so both of them should be quite good for your area. I'd contact them to see about buying at least one of each to grow on as mother plants. Once you have clean plants, you can root all you want (or, are able to!) from them, producing all the stocks you want. If you're working mainly with modern roses, perhaps even some of your own seedlings, the multiflora should work fine. If you're interested in older garden roses, such as they types they bud on laxa, get that.

Fortunately, multiflora is EXTREMELY easy to root. So much so, it is considered an invasive weed in many places. I've linked Pickering's FAQ page below. Scroll down to where they discuss root stocks. From there, you can navigate anywhere you want on their site. Who knows? You may be able to buy seedlings stocks from them in the years you want to bud. It's definitely worth a try. Good luck! Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Pickering Q&A

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 1:19AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Hi Kim: Thanks for those links. I looked over Burling's Chip Budding Method. No way I can do it without mutilating my fingers! That's way-too-complex for me. I have better luck throwing tomatoe seeds (the size of sesame seed) against the house, and they sprout all over in the spring. I hope to do the same with rose seeds.

How big is a rose seed? Is it bigger than a sesame seed? Thanks for any info.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:01PM
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Rose seeds can vary from as small as a pin head to huge things the size of a large, shelled peanut. It will depend upon the type you consider. Of course, a micro mini with teenie hips won't give you peanut sized seeds.Kim

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 4:47PM
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