Cuttings in Newspaper Burritos

hartwoodNovember 16, 2011

I opened up the crisper of my fridge the other day, and I found a gallon-sized Ziploc baggie full of packets of newspaper wrapped cuttings. It had been there at least a MONTH.

Whether it's the time of year, or the varieties I chose ... this method just isn't working for me. Cuttings would callus, then die when planted. I originally had this baggie in my basement, where the temps were around 70, and I brought it upstairs so I could unwrap the cuttings and stick them ... and I promptly forgot it. After a couple of days, my husband says that he put the bag into the fridge ... since he'd seen me put cuttings into the fridge and that's where he thought they should be. (I do this when I have cuttings that I'm not processing immediately, and I have held them in the crisper for up to a week.)

I practically held my breath as I unwrapped each packet of cuttings, expecting the worst. To my surprise, only about half of the cuttings were dead (Paul Neyron, Dainty Bess, Red Radiance, Jeanne Lajoie, and Sanguinea, off the top of my head.) Two of the varieties that lived, Alida Lovett and Marchesa Boccella, had sprouted roots ... in the REFRIGERATOR! I posted about this on my blog last night. Use the link below to see photos of the Marchesa Boccella cuttings ... I didn't think to photograph Alida Lovett before I planted those cuttings.

I still plan to process my cuttings and wrap each variety in newspaper, but only as a means to prepare the cuttings to be planted ... not to try to get them to root or callus in the newspaper. Stripping the leaves, treating with hormone (I use Hormodin #2), and wrapping them for short-term storage has simplified my propagation, and it allows for a much cleaner operation that I can do in my kitchen without making a horrendous mess.


Here is a link that might be useful: Marchesa Boccella cuttings

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seil zone 6b MI

Wow! That's great, hartwood, congrats! I've never tried to refrigerate cuttings but it's good to know it can work, thanks.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 8:01PM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

I'm frustrated as I am not having ANY luck with these newspaper burritos at all. I had 3 or 4 bags with multiple burritos started in september in room temp of low 70a. They all turned out black and rotted. 2nd indoor batch was done drier and the end result was green black rotted stems. Then in late october I tried 2 bags filled with about 10-15 cuttings and thery were in 72 degrees garage hidden under a dark shelf. End result black rotted sticks. 4 or 5 callused but not rooted ends. I planted them outside in shade and it was a little cooler in FL in late October but 4 died and one is struggling. I just checked another batch of 2 bags with 10-15 cuttings and they were all dead. Maybe I'll have to try the refrigerator method or just go back to my older practive of cut off the lower bud eyes, dip in rooting hormone and stick many(50-60 cuttings) just to get 1 or 2 viable plants.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 12:56PM
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As I blogged, this method really seems most appropriate for dormant to semi dormant wood. Material which has gone through the "winter" and contains sufficient stored nutrients to permit it to break dormancy, or what it normally endures as 'dormancy' in its climate. Material used from too late in the year, in too active a growth state seems to not contain the required stored resources to permit it to root. It rots or simply refuses to root, instead.

In retrospect, the material I had such success with after the initial batches, earlier this year, was mostly of the wood grown the previous year, which had gone through its winter "rest", with any nutrients the rose stored for later use. My thought is that wood grown this year, material in a more active state of growth, simply does not contain a reserve of nutrients to enable it to succeed in the wrapping method. That kind of material is more suited for mist propagation and other methods people have found successful over the spring through early fall with newer growth in their climates.

I haven't seen evidence that refrigerating the material is successful. Most refrigerators are set about twenty degrees too low for the cuttings to callus. Instead, they appear to store like fresh produce, rather than differentiate and form new plants. That would be an excellent method of storing bud wood for next year's use, and is, in fact, very similar to how it's commercially stored, but not for rooting the cuttings.

My best suggestion and what I plan to do, is to wait until closer to the end of "winter" when material which has hardened off (or hardened as much as can be expected in my climate) is available, then resume wrapping. Here, that appeared to continue being successful until nearly June, but that was last year with a very mild, later spring in comparison to most "normal" years.

You are welcome to use whatever method you wish, but my suggestion is to wait until late winter, early spring before wrapping anything else, when you should be able to find wood containing the necessary stored nutrients to maintain it while it develops.

Years ago, when Arena Roses experienced a high percentage of failure with their bare roots, they determined they were the stock grown in Arizona where a mild winter prevented the roses from shutting down and storing the required nutrients to break into growth when planted. The fields were harvested and shipped, with the majority failing to grow, simply turning black and dying, instead. It's what they called, "the creeping, black death". No pathogen was ever found. Mild weather preventing the roses from storing food, remaining in active growth instead, was the only logical explanation. Your description of what you have experienced with more actively growing material impresses me very much of their experience. Kim

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 1:42PM
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For Virginia, where freezing weather comes in October most years, and roses shut down completely by Thanksgiving in most cases, taking cuttings in winter just isn't possible most of the time. I'm at the tail end of my cutting season right now, and I'm WAY late doing it because of non-rose things that required my attention for the past few months.

For me, wrapping my cuttings in newspaper is a good way to stage my processing of them ... but I only leave them in the newspaper for a few days at most. I can snip and score and dip the cuttings in the warmth of my kitchen, without having to worry about the mess of potting soil. As soon as it is convenient, I plant the cuttings (which goes lickety-split fast since the cuttings are prepped and the label is already written) and I take them down to the basement to rest and grow roots.

This fall, I have been remodeling my greenhouse. This meant that I had to disassemble my mist system to make way for construction, and I missed my opportunity to grow next year's inventory plants using mist. So, I have gone back to my old-school method of propagation using milk jug bottoms and soda bottle tops, and I am pleased with the results so far.

As of now, with the milk jugs and soda bottle greenhouses that are holding the cuttings that I referenced in the beginning of this thread, the Marchesa Boccella cuttings are still hanging in there ... as I would expect them to. That rose roots VERY easily. The Alida Lovett cuttings are mostly still alive. I only have one cutting left from Maggie and Honorine du Brabant. I know there are others, but these are the only ones that I can remember off the top of my head.

If you haven't seen my milk jug method, follow the link below. Without leaves on the cuttings, I have been squeezing nine cuttings into each container.


Here is a link that might be useful: Click on How to

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 7:47AM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

Roseseek, late winter early spring here in SW Florida, south of Tampa, there is no real winter or dormancy period unless we get a freak hard freeze one day a year which has happened a few times the last couple of years. I have blooms all year long. By early spring, temps are already back in the 80s. Heck today was 82 here. My hands are tied to find a stretch in Florida at all where the highs are under 70 for 2-3 weeks straight. This is why this is the only time of the year to make this happen unless I have a way to keep cuttings in a 60's-70s temperature zone.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 9:24PM
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OK, that's valid. We're having high thirties at night with low sixties during the days, with intense winds. For your climate, if there is no slow-down, the method may not be suitable. For areas where there is "dormancy" it works quite well. These are some of the things which no one knew at first as no one had experienced it. I began exploring the method at the prime time and it was accidentally. If you experience a longer period where there are lower temps, and want to try it then, go for it, but I don't think, from all I've seen and from what's been reported to me using actively growing material will work well. Kim

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 11:54PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Since your roses never go dormant you may have better luck sticking cuttings in soil instead. For that you'll have better luck with green canes that have just finished blooming. I cut sticks about 10 to 12 inches long with several bud eyes on them. At the bottom of the cane I very carefully scrap off the green bark to expose the white inside. You need to only take off the very thin green part. Then I dip them in rooting hormone and stick them in clear plastic drink cups with drainage holes in the bottom filled with seed starting soil, not regular potting soil. I try to get at least 2 bud eyes under the soil. They go outside, uncovered, in the sun with all my seedlings. I don't mist them but I do keep them well watered never letting the soil completely dry out. I have finally had much better results in rooting cuttings using this method. My friend Mike Gleason taught me the trick about scraping off the green and I think that's really been the key to having better luck at it. He uses shredded coir in his cups and he has a great misting system but I can't afford a mister and I made a mess with the coir so I switched to starter soil and it seems to work really well. It can take several weeks before you see anything but with the clear cups it easy to see when you have roots! No tugging needed! They stay in the cups until I see a lot of root showing in the bottom and then they go into 1 gallon pots.

That's my method but there are probably as many as there are roses so look around and see what you think might work for you. I've tried the stick them in the soil and forget them method and only ever got one rooted that way. I tried the glass bell jar too and got exactly nothing except a lot of dried up sun fried canes. The soda pop bottle wasn't any better either except they rotted instead of frying. You might want to experiment with some different ones until you find one that works best for your needs.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 8:03PM
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