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“Own Root Cuttings Setup” Gallery Explanatory Text

Following is detailed explanatory text for each photo (#1-30) for my “Own Root Cuttings Setup” Gallery. You can [enter] the gallery also - it will open in a new window and you can then refer back to this window for the image descriptions.
  1. See photo for explanatory text.
  2. See photo for explanatory text.
  3. New mini varieties under grow lights end of Feb. -- Long stems on left, middle with  
    colour showing, and far right are ready for starting own root cuttings.
    NOTE : You don’t have to wait for blooms to fully open or show colour. (See note in image # 2 )
  4. These 2.25 inch square pots filled with “Sunshine Mix # 4” and watered, ready to stick cuttings into. 
    Note: Use thoroughly cleaned or new pots, disinfect pruners & other tools. Mix“# 4” is a professional mix, which contains, Peat Moss, Perlite, PH Adjuster and a Wetting Agent. Also the “BEST” for starting seeds, for growing seedlings etc. Also note: Don't pack mix in tightly - put in loose and water thoroughly.
  5. Before sticking prepared cuttings into pots, dip into Hormone Rooting Powder to a depth of approximately 3/4 inch. Tap lightly to remove excess powder & stick cutting about 1 inch deep. Use powder for softwood or semi-hardwood. My powder contains fungicide to prevent rotting. The “BEST” you can buy is Rhizopon AA#3 powder (0.8% IBA in talc). Cuttings are now ready to go in dish pan and under lights. Basement temp. is 66 F or 19 C.
  6. Boards in bottom of dish-pan have 3/4 “ space underneath filled with 1/2 “ water.
  7. Ready to put clear plastic cover on. Note misting (plain water!!!) on leaves !!
  8. Plastic cover on, temperature probe in pot without a cutting. NOTE : Temperature is only 66 F (19 C) but will be raised to 70 to 74  MAX with bottom heat in 8-10 hrs.
  9. After one hour under lights with bottom heat, water evaporation starts.
  10. After 12 hours, temperature inside tent now 22 C or 72 F. Notice the heavy condensation now.
  11. After 11 days. Some top eyes are starting to grow already. Opened clear plastic cover only once after about a week. Notice, how clean the foliage looks without any air circulation at all. Misted with plain water before plastic went back over.
  12. After 18 days. Never opened cover since day 11 !!!  Some new shoots are already several inches long. Misted with water before cover went back on.
  13. After 25 days, they are ready for bigger pots ! Some shoots are hitting the top cover.
  14. After 25 days. From different angle. Notice the rhododendron names on tags! I am using discontinued Rhododendron tags and writing my notes, dates, varieties etc. on back. Also note that marking pens will fade out in a few months, lead pencil will last for years!!!!
  15. To show the roots after 25 days. The longer roots will be cut off before planting into one litre pots. If lots of roots, I cut 1/4” off across the bottom with a knife.
  16. See #15 above.
  17. After transplanting, a cut off 2 litre clear pop bottle goes over for 5 - 7 days. Note: Bottle cap can be removed after 3 days.
  18. Showing the 7.5 watt, old Christmas lights I use for bottom heat.
  19. Only 18 days. A fast rooting variety, roots are coming through the drain holes already. At one time a “SUPER FAST” rooter came through drain holes in only 12 days.
  20. Same as #19. This one transplanting after 18 days. Long roots get cut back.
  21. I threw out all regular pots as these are too low. See the height of the Yoghurt pots.
  22. After 12 days only. Another fast rooter. Roots are almost down to bottom and cutting is ready to transplant into a one litre pot in 5-6 days.
  23. My set up for bottom heat. If basement temperature is 68 to 70 F, only one bulb is turned on to start new cuttings. If the room temp. is 65-66 F, 2 bulbs are on. A dish-pan will fit over each cutout. I can lower the temp. 1 or 2 degrees by moving the dish-pan sideways one inch to let some heat escape through the top. Always keep temperature between 70 and 74 F.
  24. Box is 7“ high to fit 12 one-litre pots. Each of the 4 bulbs has an aluminum cover over the top to prevent any water from dripping onto the bulbs.
  25. Transplanted cuttings ready to go under grow lights.
  26. After one night, the temperature went up to 82 F. That was a bit high, so I turned off one bulb. Now temperature stays around 78 to 80 F. Once cuttings are rooted, higher temperature does not do any harm and makes them grow faster.
  27. Side view. Front board open 3/4 “ on bottom for air and to check on bulbs. With room temperature of 65-66 F, 4 lights are on. I monitor temperature at all stages.
  28. See photo for explanatory text. Use the magnifier button to zoom and make the text easier to read!
  29. Two sets of double bottom heat boxes. The lower one with one regular light bulb socket in each is the first one I build. After experimenting with different wattages, I found that a 7.5 watt regular light bulb (which is more expensive than brighter bulbs) was sufficient most of the time. I monitor temperatures at all times !!!

    Eventually, I got the idea of using faded-out outside Christmas lights (that had 7.5 watt bulbs) of which I had lots - obviously much cheaper!! As you see in the upper box, I started with three lights. Three lights were too high for starting cuttings, but were OK after the cuttings had rooted and were transplanted. I now have a set up for 4 dish-pans side by side, 4 boxes in one with only 2 Christmas lights each - this just fits under a 4 foot double fluorescent light fixture.
  30. Information right in photo. Look at Image #28 and see the size difference only 6 days later!!

George Mander
March 2005


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