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When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

Posted by tony_c_m 5b/6a (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 29, 12 at 15:33

I was finally successful in rooting some cuttings. I have them in clear plastic cups to check for roots, which there are many. I know that as of now it's not a good time to up pot them since they are newly rooted and are just sending out new leaves but my question is "Should I leave them in the cups til they go dormant this coming fall or could they be transplanted into larger pots this spring without killing them." I'm worried that the small cups are too small for the root system and they will be root-bound resulting in stunted growth and or death to the little guys. I don't want to take chances and lose these cuttings.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

  • Posted by gorgi z6b_NJ (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 29, 12 at 17:09

I move/pot-up my cup-fig-starters to an ~1 gallon pot when (similar to) quote:
"I have them in clear plastic cups to check for roots, which there are MANY."

I trasplant the whole rootball paying attension not
to (much) disturb the still very fragile roots.


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

Ditto.


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

Gorgi,
I'll give it a shot and transplant them VERY VERY carefully when they're ready. I'll keep my fig leaves crossed and hope for the best. Thanks for the info.
Tony


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

Tony,

I went directly from the cups into the ground a couple of years ago. I know you are in a much colder environment that I am and cannot do that. One thing I did that might help you is I made 4 cuts running down the side from the top to the bottom. Then I nested the cut cup into a non-cut cup then added cutting and growing medium.

When the cutting is ready to be potted up, add enough of your growing medium to the larger container so when the cup is set in, it is at the right height. Remove the cut cup from the non-cut cup and set it directly into the larger container. Add a little growing mix around the bottom of the cup, then start pulling the sides of the cut cup away from the root-zone of your tree. Add growing mix between the cup and the roots as you also fill in the larger container until you reach the top.

This will minimize disturbance to the root zone. There will be enough space between the slits in the side of the cup for the roots to grow through and into the container. The following year, you can bare-root and move to a larger container or into the ground.

~james


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

Look on the f4f forum. It describes using the 3 inch Jiffy peat Cups as a start for initial roots or popping buds, within your clear rooting glasses.
Then, after well rooted, as you described, gently repot to 2 gallon pots, awaiting the next Spring.
Maybe, this will help ?? Fredfig


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 2, 12 at 22:08

If you're looking to maximize growth and stave off future issues related to problem roots, this is a good guide:

You should pot up before or at the point when the root and soil mass can be lifted from the container intact. Almost ALL future root problems related to their formation center around plants left in containers beyond that point. Additionally, growth slows and vitality begins to diminish at the same point. This is the rule of thumb used by greenhousemen and nurserymen in their search for best growth and healthiest plants. IF you happen to leave the plant in a pot longer than this and the roots become very congested, growth and vitality are permanently affected until such time the root issues are corrected by a full repot, which includes bare-rooting and root pruning. That is to say the limiting effects cannot be corrected or reversed by potting up OR planting out, only by repotting and root pruning.

Al


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

I up pot my cuttings when I see nice branching coming off of the main roots. I find it best to start my cuttings about 6 weeks before warm weather arrives in my area.

The "peat pot method" (3 inch peat pot inside of a plastic cup) works great!! Very few plants are ever lost when using this technique.


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

Is it ok to pot in a larger pot like a 2 or 3 gallon or should you go to a 1 gallon first? How long can you keep one in a 1 gallon before it needs a bigger pot?


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

I routinely went from my rooting container (1/4 gallon) to a 3 gallon container without issue. The cuttings would stay in the smaller container for a season. By then the roots are established and can take a lot of pruning without worries. The roots would be cut back to about 2.5" and the cutting would be planted in a three gallon container. Use a good draining rooting medium which will maintain it's integrity and ON AVERAGE you can get 2 years in a 3 gallon container. Many varieties will out grow a 1 gallon (and a few a 3 gallon) container in a season.

This is one year of root growth on a second year LSU Purple. When potted it had a handful of short (~2.5") roots. There is a bamboo chopstick on top as a reference.
Photobucket

I have had other varieties that did not produce this volume of roots even after 3 years. Generally those were the varieties that people complain are slow growers.

~james


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

Thanks James for explaining that.


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RE: When to transplant newly rooted cuttings?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 12, 12 at 14:00

There's an important clue in James' post that shouldn't be overlooked. It's impossible to have a healthy plant w/o healthy roots. James' plants have healthy roots because of the soils he uses are well-aerated and drain freely. Your soil choice is also what determines what is appropriate insofar as what size container you choose.

For instance, it may be entirely inappropriate to pot a freshly rooted cutting in a 1 gallon container of Miracle-Gro or any number of other highly water-retentive soils marketed as container soils; while it may be entirely appropriate to plant a fresh cutting in a 3 gallon pot or larger, filled with a soil that supports no (or very little) perched water.

Something I wrote about what determines appropriate pot size. Most of it should be on the mark, but forgive me if it doesn't address the question directly in all its parts:

How large a container can or should be, depends on the relationship between the mass of the plant material you are working with and your choice of soil. We often concern ourselves with "over-potting" (using a container that is too large), but "over-potting" is a term that arises from a lack of a basic understanding about the relationship we will look at, which logically determines appropriate container size.

It's often parroted that you should only move up one container size when "potting-up". The reasoning is, that when potting up to a container more than one size larger, the soil will remain wet too long and cause root rot issues, but it is the size/mass of the plant material you are working with, and the physical properties of the soil you choose that determines both the upper & lower limits of appropriate container size - not a formulaic upward progression of container sizes. In many cases, after root pruning a plant, it may even be appropriate to step down a container size or two, but as you will see, that also depends on the physical properties of the soil you choose.

Plants grown in slow (slow-draining/water-retentive) soils need to be grown in containers with smaller soil volumes so that the plant can use water quickly, allowing air to return to the soil before root issues beyond impaired root function/metabolism become a limiting factor. We know that the anaerobic (airless) conditions that accompany soggy soils quickly kill fine roots and impair root function/metabolism. We also know smaller soil volumes and the root constriction that accompany them cause plants to both extend branches and gain o/a mass much more slowly - a bane if rapid growth is the goal - a boon if growth restriction and a compact plant are what you have your sights set on.

Conversely, rampant growth can be had by growing in very large containers and in very fast soils where frequent watering and fertilizing is required - so it's not that plants rebel at being potted into very large containers per se, but rather, they rebel at being potted into very large containers with a soil that is too slow and water-retentive. This is a key point.

We know that there is an inverse relationship between soil particle size and the height of the perched water table (PWT) in containers. As particle size increases, the height of the PWT decreases, until at about a particle size of just under 1/8 inch, soils will no longer hold perched water. If there is no perched water, the soil is ALWAYS well aerated, even when the soil is at container capacity (fully saturated).

So, if you aim for a soil (like the gritty mix) composed primarily of particles larger than 1/16", there is no upper limit to container size, other than what you can practically manage. The lower size limit will be determined by the soil volume's ability to allow room for roots to 'run' and to furnish water enough to sustain the plant between irrigations. Bearing heavily on this ability is the ratio of fine roots to coarse roots. It takes a minimum amount of fine rootage to support the canopy under high water demand. If the container is full of large roots, there may not be room for a sufficient volume of the fine roots that do all the water/nutrient delivery work and the coarse roots, too. You can grow a very large plant in a very small container if the roots have been well managed and the lion's share of the rootage is fine. You can also grow very small plants, even seedlings, in very large containers if the soil is fast (free-draining and well-aerated) enough that the soil holds no, or very little perched water.

I have just offered clear illustration that the oft repeated advice to 'only pot up one size at a time', only applies when using heavy, water-retentive soils. Those using well-aerated soils are not bound by the same restrictions.

Al


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