Avoiding fungal problems (cuttings)

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Avoiding fungal problems (cuttings)

Postby Systema_Naturae » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:59 pm

The key to avoiding many fungal problems is sterility at the time of setting the cuttings. I sterilize all my cuttings equipment in a 15 L laundry sink with a cap full of bleach added prior to use. Steep pots, trays and any other equipment for at least half an hour (I also sterilize seedling propagation equipment before reusing it too). Give them a good rinse and dry them in the sun. Sterilize secateurs or snips with a 1:20 bleach or detol solution before taking your cuttings.

The most crucial step is to disinfest your cuttings. Soak them for at least 10 minutes, but up to 20 mins, in the laundry sink solution with the bleach in it. Give them a good rinse by dunking in a bucket of clean water before following your preferred treatment and potting methods.

I have run experiments over the years that support the processes of disinfecting equipment and disinfesting cuttings increases your strike rate anywhere from a small to a large percentage (strike rate is taxa dependent, all other things being controlled for).

If a propagation nursery is using new cutting stock whose disease-free status isn't certain, they always disinfest them before setting cuttings - in my experience, too, it makes a big difference!

Happy striking!

John
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Re: Avoiding fungal problems (cuttings)

Postby Kieran F » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:15 pm

i usually use a 1:100 solution of dettol:water, mind you, all this disinfecting stuff is common knowledge in the industry =P
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Re: Avoiding fungal problems (cuttings)

Postby Systema_Naturae » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:51 pm

Kieran F wrote:Mind you, all this disinfecting stuff is common knowledge in the industry =P


Of course. Perhaps not to many that visit the forums though.

Cheers,
John
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Re: Avoiding fungal problems (cuttings)

Postby littlegarden » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:43 am

Well I for one can put my hand up as someone who never thought you could disinfect plants. I'd assumed that if you put any plant matter in even a mild bleach it would kill the plant! But it appears I'm wrong.
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Re: Avoiding fungal problems (cuttings)

Postby Systema_Naturae » Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:28 pm

littlegarden wrote:Well I for one can put my hand up as someone who never thought you could disinfect plants. I'd assumed that if you put any plant matter in even a mild bleach it would kill the plant! But it appears I'm wrong.


You're not wrong, little garden. Bleach will kill plants - even at low concentrations I mentioned earlier. If they're exposed to low concentrations of bleach (1:100) for more than 15-20 minutes (10 minutes is the recommended upper-limit) it will begin to burn plant tissues that will eventually lead to plant death.

The idea behind disinfesting cuttings is to destroy harmful pathogens on the cutting's outer surfaces, making for a sterile striking environment and, hopefully, a high success rate.

At such low concentrations and short time exposures, plant tissue remains intact but any nasties present are killed off.

Cheers,
John
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