Volume 9

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Author: Charles E. Hess

PP: 39

Since 1935, the use of plant hormones to induce roots on cuttings has received a tremendous amount of attention. However, 1935 did not mark the beginning of the use of plant hormones, since Dutch propagators used a form of root inducing hormone over 100 years ago.

The Dutch propagators split the base of a difficult-to-root cutting and inserted a wheat grain. The "prepared cutting" was stuck into a medium, and rooted faster and in higher percentages. Today, we know that the reason for this response was that as a wheat grain germinates it releases auxins or plant hormones. As the auxins were released by the germinating grain they were absorbed by the cutting and rooting was stimulated.

Auxin is another term for the natural hormone produced in plants. This natural hormone produced in the young leaves and in the buds of the plant, moves down the cutting to the base. If the cutting was left on the parent plant, the auxins would just keep moving down the stem. However, as soon as


Author: S.H. Nelson

PP: 67

Horticultural forms of most evergreens have been relatively difficult to propagate and slow to root. Because of the relatively long period of time cuttings must remain in the propagation bench, greenhouse production costs have been very high. With the introduction of mist propagation equipment, however, much of the labour cost could be removed and the time element diminished if this technique could be applied to the winter propagation of evergreens.

Accordingly, experiments were initiated in the greenhouse in 1956 with cuttings being stuck in late December or early January. Over the four year period the effects of bottom heat, type of cutting, size of cutting, wounding, interval of mist and shade were studied with the variables being adjusted on the basis of current results.

In addition to the intermittent mist bench, cheesecloth, and in some instances, polyethylene covered propagation beds were used for purposes of comparison. These propagation benches were installed on the standard


Author: Albert Ferguson

PP: 77

It was in 1954 that we started our first work with mist propagation. At that time we used constant mist which was applied to two parallel beds about five feet wide. We used the Florida nozzles spaced about 50 inches apart. I believe they should have been spaced closer together. Sand was used as a medium and it had a four-inch drain tile underneath it for drainage. Thirty-inch boards were used for framing the beds.

The following year we liked the system so well that we increased the facility to measure four lines wide, without dividers. Burlap was placed around the sides which let through a little too much air, thus giving us poor coverage along the edge. These were five foot beds with about a ten-inch walkway in between them.

The following year we changed over to the electronic leaf control. We had quite a little trouble with this system at times, so we changed over to the interval timer in 1957. We used Florida mist nozzles primarily, although we had to use a few John Rust nozzles.


Author: Donald Wedge

PP: 78

An article on propagation under mist by Edward J. Gardner, in the May 1st, 1941 issue of the American Nurseryman, was responsible for our starting mist propagation. From that date on, until the 1950's, when many articles on the subject started to appear, we were on our own, isolated you might say, as to what others were doing. The evolution of this idea with us resulted in a mist system which differs in some respects from any other system with which I am familiar.

In 1941 and 1942 we experimented on a small scale in a covered cold frame, using a constant spray from Hudson type spray nozzles. The results were just encouraging enough to continue experimentation.

In 1943 and 1944 we experimented with a small, head-high structure, completely covered with lath shade fencing, using a continuous spray from short throw greenhouse nozzles, fitted on two stationary pipes hung along the upper two sides. This time the results were more satisfactory and warranted the added expense of setting up for


Author: Hugh Steavenson

PP: 82

This is a very simple type of propagating structure and procedure, especially suited to folks like ourselves who have a bewildering array of other production and sales problems to worry about.

The system is essentially a cold frame type rooting procedure with provision to permit the rooted cuttings to grow on and develop a full season without disturbance.

Initially, let me say that just about every idea that we have incorporated in this procedure has been borrowed from other members of the Plant Propagators Society. I want to mention Harvey Gray, in particular. A few years ago I took rather vociferous exception to Harvey's poly tent device because of the problems which existed under my particular set of conditions. A year or two later Harvey got me straightened out and we have had good success ever since by applying his principles. You can, of course, see in our procedure ideas lifted liberally from Templeton, Wells, Fillmore, Coggeshall, Hancock, Van Hof and many other members.


Author: Harvey Gray

PP: 86

What I have in mind as a vaporproof chamber, I think was brought out a year ago in Cleveland. However, for those who were not there I would just briefly make a statement as to what my conception is of a vaporproof chamber.

A vaporproof chamber, as I visualize it, is made of polyethylene plastic, as was first brought to the Society's attention in Cleveland several years ago by Roger Coggeshall. I have modified some of the points that were originally presented by Roger in an effort to make sure that the area is really vaporproof.

I mean to say that if this case, which is rarely ever 12 inches high (the width and length of the case is immaterial but the height I feel is quite important) is down on the ground, as in the case of a ground bed, then we are only concerned with sealing this vaportight by stretching our plastic to the ground over the top, over the ends, and sealing it with soil.

However, if it is on an elevated structure, such as a bench, with wet pipes quite likely underneath for


Author: J.B. Roller

PP: 89

After seeing some of these polyethylene structures that Hugh Steavenson showed us, I am wondering what is meant by a polyethylene tent. In our situation we do not have any greenhouses as such, although polyethylene enclosures in a small measure serve as a substitute. We have had a little experience with juniper, yew and arborvitae, and quite a bit with broadleafs under what I would call a plastic tent.

This tent is constructed just as Harvey Templeton's tent is constructed, using the concrete reinforcing steel with plastic stretched over the top and sides.

We use beds that are made on the ground, and since our propagation is conducted under a lath shade structure, these tents are located underneath this unit. Now this works out quite well for us because we don't have the extreme cold to combat. We have used these tents both with and without bottom heat.

Now the medium that we use is made quite simply. We go out into the field and pick a sandy spot. This is hauled in and worked with about


Author: Henry Homer Chase

PP: 92

The beginnings of the field production of junipers from hardwood cuttings can be traced back to a wonderful old man who lived in Jeff, Alabama, whose name was Lawson Kelly. He was a part of the firm of J. O. Kelly and Sons Nursery. From discussions with old timers in our neighborhood such as Mr. C J "Pappy" Hayden of Athens and Mr. Lawson Kelly's nephew, Mr. Thompson Kelly, it becomes apparent that "Uncle Lawson" as he was known to all of us, first began his experimental plantings of hardwood cuttings of junipers as early as 1924. We can only assume that his first varieties were of the J. communis types such as ashfordi, hibernica and the J. chinensis types such as pfitzeriana and excelsa stricta. By 1928, Mr. Kelly was producing this kind of material in quantities approaching the 500,000 mark and was classing among his customers such people as D. Hill Nurseries of Dundee, Illinois, Onarga Nursery Company of Onarga, Illinois and our own concern, the Chase Nursery Company.

Two factors in our


Author: J.P. Mahlstede

PP: 94

The production of nursery stock in containers differs from general field production in that the volume of root medium per plant usually is greatly reduced. Because of this, the culture is similar to that used by florists for potted greenhouse plants. Depending somewhat on the plant being produced, the degree of culture may vary between systems, but in principle, the raising of pot plants in the greenhouse requires the same basic considerations which the nurseryman must take into account for the production of nursery crops in metal containers. Current systems of container production are further complicated by the inability of the operator to do much about modifying his environment during the summer and winter months. For this reason, the production of a quality plant product out-of-doors requires very exacting management by a grower who recognizes the complexity of the problem.

One cannot hope to cover the general topic of "media", without overlapping into the general areas of watering


Author: Paul Kramer

PP: 108


Everyone who grows plants appreciates the necessity of an adequate supply of water for good growth, but we seldom give much consideration to the reasons why water is essential. This is unfortunate, because the more one knows about the role of a factor such as water in plant growth the easier it is to manage it efficiently and deal effectively with the problems which arise in connection with it.

There are two principal aspects of plant water relations, that is the effects of too much water, and the effects of too little water. I will deal first and in most detail with the effects of too little water, that is, the effects of water deficits on plant growth, because this is the most common problem.

I will deal with the problem under three headings; (1) why water deficits injure plants, (2) why water deficits develop in plants and (3) how to measure and prevent water deficits.

Most of the illustrations must come from crop plants because little research has been done on ornamentals


Author: A.L. Kenworthy

PP: 125

When the plant propagator sows seed or makes cuttings as the initial step in producing new plants, he consciously or sub-consciously wonders whether or not they will grow properly. He may be concerned with seed viability, breaking of seed dormancy, seed germination, or the selection of wood or plant parts for cuttings. In the seed bed, propagation frame or nursery field, he concerns himself with soil texture, soil moisture, soil aeration, soil fungi, soil bacteria, soil insects, soil nematodes, etc. Sooner or later, he may become concerned with plant nutrients or soil fertility and wonder whether or not the plants will develop deficiency symptoms or show instances of toxicity while in the container or nursery row.

Years of experience has taught many of you the technique of preparing a seed bed, propagation frame or nursery field. You can prepare them in such a way as to insure most of the physical features desired for best plant performance. Obviously, we don't all do it the same way. We


Author: Charles E. Hess

PP: 45

Last year, as you will remember, we had a brief discussion as to whether the concentrated dip or the talc method would be better for the application of root promoting chemicals. As a result of this discussion we decided to see if there were any differences. We ran two experiments, one with Taxus and Pfitzer junipers and another one with Rosa manetti. In these tests we used talc and a concentrated dip at a concentration of eight-tenths of a per cent indolebutyric acid. The concentration was the same for both the talc and the concentrated dip.

We found very little difference in the per cent rooting between the no treatment, the concentrated dip, or talc applications. We did find some difference in the quality of rooting. We found that with no treatment we had an average of 6.2 roots per cutting. With the concentrated dip treatment we had 9.5 and with talc 6.5 roots per cutting. With the Pfitzer the same response was obtained, i.e. 4.4 roots per cutting with no treatment; 10.4 with concentrated dip, and 7.2 with the talc application.

In the rose, no treatment averaged 10.6


Author: Richard H. Zimmerman

PP: 131

A perennial problem in agriculture is the determination of the mineral needs of plants. In attempting to solve this problem, research workers have developed several different methods along the following lines (8):
  1. Soil analysis — in order to determine the supply of minerals in the soil.
  2. Plant analysis — in order to determine needed levels in plant tissue.
  3. Field and pot culture experiments — to compare effects of different fertilization rates.
  4. Direct treatment of the plant, by spraying or injection, in order to induce a growth response.
  5. Diagnosis of nutrient deficiencies by visual symptoms.

When a mineral nutrient element deficiency in a plant is shown by visual symptoms, the deficiency is quite severe. It has been established that low levels of mineral elements can cause a reduction in plant growth without the appearance of visual symptoms.

Before expanding this topic, let us briefly review our knowledge about the essentiality of the nutrient elements. Prior to 1900, ten elements


Author: K.W. Reisch

PP: 145

Damage from cold temperatures is probably the most important limiting factor in the culture of container grown nursery stock in the Northern parts of the country. To profitably produce plants in containers some form of winter protection must be included in the production program. In order to more clearly understand the reasons for using protective measures, some background on the causes of winter injury will be given.

Excepting unusual winter conditions such as floods or ice storms, winter injury may be directly attributed to either desiccation of above ground portions of plants, formation of ice within the tissues, or both.

Desiccation due to water loss from stems of deciduous plants and leaves and stems of evergreens without replacement from the soil, may be particularly serious in container plants. Soil volume and root extension is limited, the medium may dry out relatively rapidly, and the soil ball may remain frozen for long periods of time. This type of damage is most common on


Author: Bill Flemer, Roger Coggeshall

PP: 159

These gentlemen will take some five to seven minutes first to discuss the methods of propagation which they are following and then we will have a question and answer discussion. We will call first on William Flemer of Princeton Nurseries, Princeton, New Jersey, to discuss their methods of propagation by cuttings in the greenhouse.
Methods of Propagation: How we do it in a Greenhouse

Author: Bill Flemer

PP: 160

We use greenhouses with bottom heat in the winter and without it in the summertime for our softwood and firm-wood cutting propagation at Princeton Nurseries. We think that this is an economical method to use because the maintenance costs are so little.

Our houses, for those of you who have not seen them, are the old-fashioned kind of Dutch greenhouse. They are low double span houses, joined side by side. They are 100 feet long and 16 feet wide, I believe. The glass begins at the rear of the bench, at a point about 15 inches above the bench and then goes up to a gable overhead.

Methods of Propagation: Use of Polyethylene Enclosures

Author: Roger Coggershall

PP: 163

The use of polyethylene plastic by the plant propagator has certainly been discussed to a great extent here already. As you might imagine the use of plastic under our conditions is a little different. Our operation is relatively small and therefore the figures I will give pertain to a small operation.

Now we have two sash houses 25 feet long and they are 12 feet across. In addition to that, we have a lean-to house which is 178 feet square plus a pit type of house which also is 45 feet long.

Now in these houses we have a total propagating area underneath polyethylene plastic of 716 square feet.


Author: Leslie Hancock

PP: 165

This method has been described in two previous issues of the Proceedings of our Society, and in the short time at my disposal it would hardly be possible for me to fully describe it again. For those, however, to whom the idea may be new, it will be necessary to give at least a brief review of the principles involved.

It is a method of rooting summer cuttings in ordinary sandy nursery soil by using light portable wooden frames with burlap covers. From experience it has been found that the best practicable length for these frames is twelve feet, and the width three feet nine inches outside measure. Because burlap comes in forty inches standard width, it has not been practicable to have the frames any wider. The lumber used is 1" × 10" × 12 feet Pacific Coast cedar for both sides and ends. To give the frame rigidity, a cross bar of 1" × 3× lumber of the same material connects the two sides of the frame exactly at the point of balance, which also enables one man to carry a frame easily. Similar


Author: Henry A. Weller

PP: 168

At the present time our propagation program includes three methods, ie, greenhouse propagation, seedbed propagation, and outdoor mist propagation. These three methods are utilized for their specific primacy. The selection of one of these methods, in preference to the other, is determined by the quality of rooted material, that which is more suitable for transplanting.

During the past few years outdoor misting has taken a definite step in producing quality stock and is now our main method of propagation.

The propagation of perennial stock is done primarily within the greenhouse and seedbeds as it involves divisions, stolon cuttings, hardwood and semi-hardwood cuttings, hardwood, because of lack of material during the summer months and those varieties that do well from seed. Most of the evergreens, deciduous and broadleafs are taken care of under mist.

A schedule, dealing with a specific group of plant materials in production, is taken care of through a set pattern. For instance, the greenhouse


Author: W.F. Grampp

PP: 190

Some time ago there appeared in the American Nurseryman a list of comic definitions, in which a propagator was described as "the fellow who runs through the greenhouses pulling out the dead cuttings before the boss comes around. In the event the boss is the propagator then he does the same before his friends come around."

Now later in the season, at a winter meeting in Cleveland or Philadelphia perhaps, when this fellow is questioned on the results of a particular strike, he will calmly reply, "Oh, 85–90 per cent." What he really means, of course, is that he stuck 12 or 13 hundred, guessed it was a 1000, rooted 700 and figures he was doing pretty well. I am sure that any of you in this audience, who have had the experience of keeping an accurate record for one season, of an operation that was deemed highly successful in years past, can testify to the shock that is in store for the grower who has been guessing at his very comfortable percentages.

I feel that the main reason more records,


Author: Donald B. White

PP: 194

Incompatibility between stock and scion has been a basis for research in the field of plant propagation for centuries. The present techniques, for the most part, find their beginnings hundreds of years ago when ingenious plantsmen developed the double working method of propagation. John Parkinson (7) in 1629 wrote, "The green and yellow nectorin do best on plumme stocke" but that others should be worked on an "apricocke" that was previously worked on "plumme or they will die of starvation." In 1665 Austin (1) wrote, "Set graft upon graft for divers years together." Miller (5) in 1759 described double working pear and quince when the pear to be dwarfed was uncongenial with the quince.

More recently, Garner (3, 1) published a description of "Double Shield Budding" in which a blind shield of the compatible variety is inserted into the stock so as to be an intermediate between the stock and the varietal bud. He states, "The resulting trees have developed stronger unions


Author: Donald B. White

PP: 197

One of the major obstacles in producing interstem dwarf trees is the prolonged time interval between propagation and salable size. The present methods encompass a minimum of two growing seasons.

The techniques used today are essentially the same as the one described in 1665 by John Rea (1). He wrote "I have found out another expedient to help them (dwarf trees) forward, that is, by grafting the scion of the Paradise Apple in a crab, or other apple stock, close to the ground, with one graft, and when that is grown to the bigness of a finger, graft thereon, about eight inches higher, the fruit desired … and will cause the trees to bear sooner, more and better fruit."

Some of the schedules and methods in use today are as follows:


Author: Harvey Gray

PP: 47

My short discussion on the quick-dip alcoholic solution as an aid to rooting cuttings is based on the work that we have done with this method of application at the State Institute at Farmingdale. I must hasten to add that the bulk of our work is based on the report of Drs. Hitchcock and Zimmerman which appeared in the Contributions of the Boyce Thompson Institute, back in 1939. This material will be found in Volume 10 of this publication.

Our quick-dip liquid treatments make use of a two per cent stock solution made by taking two grams of indolebutyric acid and dissolving this in 100 cubic centimeters or milliliters of 95 per cent ethyl alcohol.

The indolebutyric acid is made available to us at approximately one dollar a gram from the Eastman Organic Chemicals Co., Rochester, New York.

A simple way of making up a stock solution of two per cent is to order a five gram quantity of the material and place it in a dark glass, stoppered bottle. To this would be added 250 c.c. of the ethyl


Author: Roy M. Nordine

PP: 201

The questionnaire inviting this topic asked for the "Propagation of Hawthorns." Because of the slow growth resulting from any method of grafting and the failures of cuttings we have selected the only prolitable method.

Crataegus phaenopyrum, previously called C. cordata or Washington Hawthorn is used for the understock. This species provides a good root system, it transplants easily, and the bark peels well over a long period of time. Seedlings are easily raised from fresh, clean fall sown seeds that have not been allowed to dry too much. Dry seeds may become dormant and require stratification for a year.

Seedlings can be lined out in the early spring and budded during August or the first half of September. Hawthorns vary a great deal in the size and shape of the buds making peeled buds difficult to lit and tie. Therefore, all buds are cut out with a sliver of wood attached to the bud, some refer to this as a wood bud. Buds are tied with a rubber band and waxed with paraffin


Author: James R. Feucht, F.L.S. O'Rourke

PP: 212

The widespread use of many superior selections of conifers is limited by the difficulty of propagation. While established clones of pine and spruce are commonly grafted on seedling rootstocks, the method is seasonal, costly requires special facilities. Several propagators and scientific investigators have reported on trials with both cuttings and air-layers but without any marked degree of success.

This report concerns an investigation started in the spring of 1958 to determine the influence of some factors which affect the formation of roots on marcots. Studies were also made toward developing a satisfactory technique that might possibly assure a fair degree of rooting with certain conifers.

Air layers were placed on terminal shoots of lateral branches of seven-year old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and nine to twelve-year old White spruce (Picea glauca). The needles were stripped from a portion of the stem on one-year old wood about six inches back of the apical bud. In the center of the


Author: Thomas S. Pinney

PP: 48

Since this discussion is limited to five or six minutes, my remarks will be brief and concerned with the generalities of our quick dip hormone program. If anyone is interested in further detail, I would be glad to discuss it with them at their convenience.

Through trial and error we have found that indolebutyric acid has been the most satisfactory chemical for our purpose. We have used alpha naphtaleneacetic acid and napthaleneacetamide in test work only. They have proved to have a very narrow effective range while IBA has a much wider spectrum. A wider range means less chance of injury due to inadvertent errors. The results obtained from the three chemicals were quite similar.

We use 95 per cent ethanol as the solvent but are endeavoring to find another carrier not subject to the beverage tax which will act as a solvent for IBA and still be miscible with water.

The general formula for making up the concentrate is one gram of IBA per 100 C.C. of 95 per cent ethanol. This results in a


Author: John B. Roller

PP: 50

We have been using this quick dip method for five years now, and the way we mix our solution is quite similar to that described by Mr. Gray and Mr. Pinney. The only difference is that we use two grams of indolebutyric acid and two grams of napthaleneacetic acid in order to get a little wider range for plants which might benefit. Now this is mixed in 200 c.c. of isopropyl alcohol, or the common old rubbing alcohol which costs about nineteen cents a pint. We went through the red tape to obtain ethanol and we finally came to the conclusion that we could see no difference whatever in the results between isopropyl and ethyl alcohol.

Although we have been using this quick dip method for a relatively long time I have had the same results as Harvey Gray has had, that is, inconsistent rooting.

For one of the concentrations that we use, I take 10 c.c. of the stock solution and mix this with 90 c.c. of tap water. We use five, ten, and twenty per cent solutions.

Our cuttings are made, dipped and


Author: E. Stroombeek

PP: 51

We at the Warner Nursery decided to give the so-called "quick dip" method a try in the summer of 1953. We had been using the Hormodin powders No 2 and 3 exclusively and had found their range to be quite limited. We were looking for a stronger concentration of growth substance, as for example, especially 2 per cent indolebutyric acid. Since this was not commercially available we bought a small quantity of pure crystals in order to prepare our own solution.

When this substance was obtained we made some tests, diluting crystals in alcohol in approximately the same percentage range as the Hormodin powders, namely ½, 1 and 2 per cent. It turned out that dipping in these straight alcohol solutions was not satisfactory and resulted in considerable burning. Adding small quantities of water to these solutions gave more encouraging results but we soon found out that adding too much water to the 1 per cent and 2 per cent alcohol solutions resulted in the recrystallization of the indolebutyric acid.


Author: Hoskins A. Shadow

PP: 54

It is my desire to give you as near as possible the procedure we follow in the field propagation of dogwood on a commercial basis.

Our source of seed is from the native dogwood, which is abundant in our area. These berries are gathered in the early fall and are brought to our packing shed where we buy them, from collectors, by the pound.

We prefer that the berries be well ripened and find that the best test is to press the berries between the thumb and fore finger. If the seed presses out freely, the berries are ripe and are ready to be cleaned. We use a Dybvig Seed Cleaner for this process and find it very satisfactory.

After the seeds are cleaned, they are placed in the open air and sun to dry for a few hours and are then stored in bags in lots of 25 lbs., which is a convenient quantity to handle, since it will not mold, if hung from a rafter.

When weather permits in late October and early November, we plant in a fertile, well prepared seed bed directly in the field. Our standard row


Author: Hubert Nicholson

PP: 58

I will not attempt to tell you how to propagate honeylocust varieties by budding, but rather will briefly describe a procedure that we are successfully using in Tennessee. Our soil is primarily a clay loam. In the past we have selected lower sites to take advantage of all rainfall, since we do not have field irrigation facilities available. However, in seasons of ample rainfall, such as we have had the past two or three years, our one year buds of honeylocust have become too large and therefore, this year, we budded on seedlings planted on higher soils. In either case, we try to select soils of high fertility, and with good internal drainage.

We do not produce our own seedlings but rather buy 18 to 24 inch, 3/16 - ¼", caliper seedlings. We prune the roots severely, leaving only four to five inches of the original root. Side roots, if any, are also pruned back severely. The tops of the seedlings are cut back with a band saw so that not over 18" of top is left above ground after planting. This


Author: S.H. Nelson

PP: 61

Conifer cuttings are usually collected in the winter months after sticking and root very slowly, even under greenhouse conditions. Rooting periods six to eight months in length are not uncommon for some species. In view of this, successful evergreen propagation outdoors in the relatively short summer season was not anticipated. Limited tests, however, with small numbers of cuttings gave encouraging results under mist during the 1955 to 1958 seasons. When the results were evaluated, it was apparent that this type of propagation had promise, but the data lacked the scope and continuity to establish definite trends. Accordingly, in 1959, experiments were initiated to establish hormone and propagation bed requirements.

There is some evidence in the literature to support the use of mist for the propagation of conifers during the summer. Fillmore (1) reported on the successful rooting of Chamaecyparis pisifera under mist outdoors in Nova Scotia. He also reported 100 percent rooting of Taxus media