Thursday, October 16, 2014

Journal October 16, 2014 - Olive cuttings

Since I switched to the new media for the olive trees there has been a spurt of new growth on all of the trees; that said,  it is not unusual for olives to put out new growth at the end of summer.  And, in the greenhouse, conditions are still summer like.

With all of the new growth I thought I would give traditional cloning another try, except this time I have made some major changes.

Instead of using sterile media, like coir and perlite, I used the same media that I am using for the mature trees.   Six semi-hardwood cuttings were taken, with the bottom leaves removed, leaving about six leaves and in some cases the growing tip.  Half of the remaining leaf sections were cut off to reduce moisture loss but still allow the plant to collect light.

Using a sterile scalpel I cut a one inch wound into the bark at the very bottom of the cutting just above the node.  The cuttings were sprayed with anti-wilt and dipped into Vita Grow rooting hormone for thirty sections before being placed into the media.

The top was cut from a clear plastic bottle to form a dome for the plant.  Several small holes were drilled in the bottle for ventilation and several vertical cuts at the base of the bottle allow it to compress to fit the container.

After watering the cutting the insides of the container were sprayed with water to increase humidity; when condensation is not visible on the inside of the plastic it it time to spray again. 

The cuttings are receiving sixteen hours of light per day and have been in process for exactly one month.   To date, not a single leaf has fallen or discolored, and, it has been only necessary to water the cuttings a few times.

On the first of November it will be 45 days since the cuttings were taken,  I expect to see new growth begin soon thereafter.  

Of all of my previous attempts at rooting olive cuttings without a misting system this approach appears to be the most promising.

One nice aspect of doing it this way, is that there will be no need to transplant the cuttings when they root,  they can be grown on in the containers they were started in.

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