Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wrapping cuttings

If you haven't already discovered it, The Rose Hybridizers Association and its Forum are great places to learn about many things concerning roses. The site is populated by a very nice group of people from across the globe and all have great imagination and experiences. One very interesting "discovery" I've gleaned from the RHA and from Paul Barden's Rose Blog concerns wrapping cuttings to callus.

I formerly lived in a hotter, more arid climate, and I had figured out how to root roses there with little difficulty. I have since moved to a more humid, a bit less hot, area and I have sacrificed MANY cuttings to rot before hitting on this wonderful advance. The initial introduction was made by Simon Voorwinde , an Australian member sharing what George, another Australian member had shared with him.  Rose Hybridizers Association Forum
Photographic instruction and mention of the method was further shared by Paul Barden on his great Rose Blog. Paul Barden's Blog  It looked and sounded simple enough!

I'd discovered part of my problem was it is too humid here to enclose rose cuttings in anything. The air is sufficiently "close" for them to root without rotting as long as they are protected from extreme wind and too hot sunlight. Using this wrapping method further increased my chances of success by keeping them moist while they callus and begin forming roots, greatly shortening the time required for them to actually become plants.

I "streamlined" the proceedure shared on the other two sources and found it worked! I took cuttings as I would normally, removed all the foliage and processed them with my rooting hormone of choice. Several sheets of plain old newspaper were thoroughly soaked then wrung out as dry as I could get them. Here is your first chance of failure. There should be NO dripping wet paper. Wring out as much water as you possibly can. The cuttings are going to be securely wrapped in this paper. Soggy paper WILL cause them to grow mold and turn into slime. You want moisture, dampness, not soggy, so squeeze out as much water as you possibly can so the paper no longer drips when squeezed.

I placed the pile of cuttings all together in the center of the paper, then wrapped them as you would to make a burrito. It looks something like these, though the longer ones shown are actually longer than traditional cuttings. More about those, later.
Instead of wrapping the "burritos" in Saran Wrap and rubber banding them as Simon's method suggests, I found simply wrapping them in plastic shopping bags then tying them tightly, kept them sufficiently damp for the callusing period. As long as the bags are sealed to prevent the loss of the dampness, it will work. I placed the bags in a drawer in a chest in the garage where they remained cool and dark for the required two weeks.


At the end of the two weeks, this is what I found in the "burritos".

I removed them from the "burritos" and potted them individually in 16 oz. foam cups with drainage holes poked through the bottoms and placed them where they would receive half day, morning sun, surrounded by other plants where the humidity remains fairly high. I deliberately planted them deeply, as deep as possible in the cups, to provide them more protection from moisture loss until they rooted.
I kept them watered so the soil remained damp and within a few weeks, new sprouts were growing from most of the cuttings. I had gone from 100% failure, to over 80% success with 135 cuttings. This was with a variety of different rose types, from polyanthas, climbers, species crosses, HTs and floribundas, not just a few varieties which root fairly easily. I am certain pre callusing the cuttings in the dark, damp, cool newspaper before planting them was more than half the key. This was accomplished during our rainy period, so temperatures were lower than "normal" and there was higher humidity, so everything stacked the deck in my favor.


Next installment...Longer wrapped cuttings for standard trunks, and in warmer weather!Paul Barden's Blogspot

16 comments:

  1. Love your new blog, Kim! Thanks for letting me know about it so I can glean from your extensive rose experience in this fun way!
    --sally

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  2. Thank you Sally. To experiment further with wrapping, I just put up a large bundle of Mutabilis. We'll see in two weeks how they work this time of the year! Kim

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  3. Will be eager to see your results!
    --sally

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  4. Oh, Kim, how timely your new blog is! I had just decided to try to root some cuttings of Mme Abel Chatenay, and now I see your 'burrito' method. I will definitely try it, since my record is only about 50% using band pots or sticking them in a shady garden spot. I'll let you know in a few weeks if this method works in Florida - where humidity is king, but not until next month. :))

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  5. Wonderful Sherry! I'm glad it can help! Honestly, the main thing is to make sure the newspaper is wrung out thoroughly. If it's too wet, everything will rot. If you have an old wringer washer, run the wet paper through it to remove any excess. It really does need to be that "dry". I have cuttings in right now to test warmer weather results. I'll post how they do. Good luck! Kim

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  6. Kim, I'm so glad to see you have a blog now. I am going to try rooting this way next time. Gean

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  7. Hi Kim, stumbled across your blog via a link on GardenWeb. Tried this "burrito method" this tonight and hoping to have something positive to share in two weeks. I'm very new at gardening but did try propagating roses a couple months ago and it was a complete FAIL. Tried the traditional way, get cutting, dip in rooting hormone and put in soil with pot and plastic bag cover. To be honest, I really don't know if it ever rooted because after a few weeks, I stuck it outside and kind of forgot about it , so it dried out. At least with this "burrito method," I can see two weeks from now if I'm on the right track. Even if my cuttings don't root; getting them to callus would be a big bonus for this newbie!

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  8. Hi DD, welcome! I know the frustration of "sacrificing cuttings"! And, I know the thrill of having the things work. I'm happy this can give so many others the opportunities for success. Just don't forget the 'burritos' in two weeks! If you follow the thread as it unfolds, it will give you suggestions for how and why the method works. I'm sure you'll discover tweaks to it to make it easier and more efficient in your climate and conditions.

    I have a bundle to check tomorrow. I look forward to your reports of how it's worked for you. Thanks! Kim

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  9. Any updates as far as rooting in warmer weather (Florida here)? Thanks!

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  10. Kim, just a quick question---I love this method and will try it when we prune our roses. Do you cut the thorns off and do you put rooting powder all over the cuttings or just at the bottom? Please enjoy the roses in my garden--I have Brandy, JFK, Gemini, St. Patrick,Barbra Streisand and Leonides. Just do a search for them at www.mysisterdalesgarden.com Look forward to your reply so I can root these roses.

    Thanks,
    Miriam

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  11. Hi Miriam, I guess it's time to do a little refresher. I'll try to answer all the questions in a new post I'll do today. Thanks!

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  12. This method does work really well. Plus, I've found the rooting hormone to be optional. I don't use any hormones and last season I got 175 plants out of one shoebox full of 'burritos.' Thanks for the blog, Kim.

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  13. You're welcome Jude! I'm glad it's helped and folks have enjoyed it. It's been great fun taking something shared with me and offering it to others for their successes. I'm glad there are so many roads to success with roses and that I've been able to help share one of them! Thanks!

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  14. Oh, congratulations on your successes! It's a great rush, isn't it?

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  15. what time of year do you cut for rootings?
    Cindy

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  16. Hi Cindy. I find in my climate, waiting until the end of "winter", any period where the roses have shut down as much as can be expected so they have the greatest chances of actually storing nutrients instead of using them as they are generated, works best. I can get them to callus any time I can maintain them at the proper temperature range, but they often fail after being potted. What seems most logical to me is unless they have gone through a recent period of storing resources, they don't contain enough to carry them through the callus period in the wraps. While wrapped, they are using stored nutrients to maintain themselves and accomplish the callusing. Too late or too early here and they appear to simply run out of stored nutrients before they can put out the roots. Of course, this needs to be explored in YOUR climate as it could vary greatly (or, not at all). Here, it is so hot, so dry and the sun so intense, the plants may well use as many resources as they can absorb and generate. In milder climates they may actually be able to reserve some while they use the excess. That might permit you to succeed with the wraps for longer periods than I've been able to here. Please experiement with it and add to the knowledge base. Thank you!

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