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Thread: Overwintering Rooted Cuttings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Snohomish,Wa.
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    7

    Overwintering Rooted Cuttings

    Hi Everyone,

    While it is certainlly possible to root cuttings of many hardy shrubs this time of year, I wondered what to do with them over winter. I have a mist bed in a greenhouse but by the time they are rooted it will be starting to get pretty cold outside. Cuttings I rooted earlier are potted up and will be overwintered in a cold frame. I am in the Seattle area so while we don't get the bitter cold that much of you experience, we still get plenty of nights below freezing.

    Thank you for any info
    Bruce

  2. #2
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    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
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    Bruce thanks for posting. I dont want to ignore your question but again not give you the incorrect info.

    By the time that it gets cold there how well have the cuutings rooted. I think if they've rooted well by the time it gets cold I would leave them in there and cover them either with leaves or something like that. Im not familiar with the climate there, so I can try by if it was here.

    I wouldnt disturb a cuttings roots if its firmly rooted in the bed, not that late in the season unless you have a place that will protect these little guys. Unless it would be worth heating the greenhouse. Bruce hope someone else with your climate will respond. George.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    northeast Tennessee
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    Bruce, Welcome to Landspro.
    I agree with Jim. We put ours on the floor of the greenhouse and cover with leaves or pine needles. Have overwintered cuttings in trays that way many times.
    I am Zone 6b.
    tennessee sue

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies.

    The biggest problem we have here is not so much the cold during the winter, but the incessant rain. It leads to problems with rot. That is why I usually keep newly potted plants under some kind of cover. I think I will probably try to root some various broad leaved evergreens and leave them in the trays for the winter just to see how it goes.

    Thanks again,
    Bruce

  5. #5
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    Jun 2003
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    Bruce I agree. If you have a bed that is always wet then the roots will rot. Your previous question mentioned that the bed was in a greenhouse. If so there shouldnt be any rot. Correct me if Im wrong.

    Sue, Jim didnt add to this thread yet. I know! boo-boo.

    George.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2004
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    Snohomish,Wa.
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    Yes you are right. The misting bed is in a greenhouse but I don't have room in there to keep all that I start so I usually move them outside after they are well rooted. I suppose that I could leave anything that I started now in for the winter. I keep the house minimally heated. Just enough to prevent freezing and had problems last winter getting plants to survive in there. Too much humidity for one thing. I have raised plants all of my life as a hobby but find I have a lot to learn when it comes to larger scale production. I am going to be retiring from my current occupation in a couple of years and was hoping to produce some retirement income by wholesaling plants to contacts that I have in the nursery and landscape industries.

    Thanks,
    Bruce

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    9,934
    Bruce,

    I have used frost blanket (row cover) to overwinter newly rooted cuttings and plants outside. I have even been known to double the material on really cold nights (below 28 degrees F). You can purchase huge (wide) rolls of this material at nursery wholesale places like BWI Companies. It's worth the cost because it can be used over and over again.

    I only use this on plants that I do not wish to go dormant or are more subtropical in nature.

    A lot depends on what you have rooted and how much root system has been developed. I have some plants that weren't protected at all do just fine in pots and some of these were subtropical. If you are making a lot of cuttings of particular plants, you might want to let some of them try to make it with little protection outside and see how well they do.

    Your winters are probably a little colder than mne. Your summers are definitely cooler. Rainfall in Seattle is similar to here if I remember correctly. You get lots and lots of rain, but yours seems to be more evenly dispersed whereas ours comes in down pours except for summers which "normally" produce afternoon showers almost daily.

    BTW, Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever visited. I would not hesitate to live there except for the fact that I have so much family here.

    You can send some of your rain down our way. Since the hurricane, it has been really, really dry. I shouldn't complain without knocking on wood because there may be another storm out their lurking and listening.
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
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    221

    Overwintering in PNW

    Bruce--I'm an hour or two north of you but face the same dilemna this winter.

    Anything hardy in this zone 7/8 can overwinter okay in a container with a bit of help. Remember the container tends to reduce the hardiness by about a zone, so only zone 6 stuff is reliably coldhardy without any protection.

    Like you've already mentioned, our bigger problem is the rain overwinter. Stuff in flats will not drain unless it's pure sand or perlite. It has to be under some cover, even if unheated. The other option is getting it rooted into a deeper container, which will allow a bit more drainage. But it's getting late to be putting anything into pots, roots are growing well but won't for more than another month or so, and it seems a poor idea to just pop a plug into a big pot and let it face the winter. It just heaves the plug back up when it does freeze, better to be in the plug tray/flat still.

    Your situation is so like mine. Even for the desire to do the backyard nursery for some income later in life, after a lifetime of gardening. And I'm going into this winter with a greenhouse for the first time, so can do a lot more than I used to. Still, try to save that frost free area for the most needy, and valuable, subjects.

    What kind of plants do you have, a few of everything or a lot of a few things?

    Glen

  9. #9
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    Dec 2002
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    northeast Tennessee
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    George, Sorry bout that. Was talking to Jim on other post. One track mind you know.
    We don't have the problem with winter rain like some of you so not so much problem with rot.
    tennessee sue

  10. #10
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    Oct 2004
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    Snohomish,Wa.
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    Glen, Thanks for the reply. I have read most if not all of what you have previously posted and really appreciate it. Right now what I am growing depends mostly on what I can get my hands on for mother plants. I have a limited number of plants in my own landscape but being a residential contractor it gives me a chance to pinch a few from other people's gardens. I have had moderate to good success with this as many times I am at other people's places at less than ideal times for taking cuttings. The one problem with doing this is it is very easy to identify plants as to species but very difficult as to variety. Right now I have approx. a thousand plants started but we will see how they make it through the winter and start growing next spring. Mostly broad leaved evergreens, but a few conifers as well. So far I have avoided many deciduous shrubs because I don't see a large market for them in this area. Many of them I enjoy myself however so may do more of them next year. I am considering ordering in some rooted cuttings next spring from wholesale sources but am hesitating because right now I have next to nothing invested in this project and would like to keep it that way until I can generate some income.

    Bruce

  11. #11
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    Jun 2003
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    Bolton, Ont
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    Bruce I would hold the phone just yet. Your a contractor which I assume your busy. Get a plan listed to what you want to grow. Going around taking cuttings from unknown varieties is ok for now but not the way to go if you want to sell for longterm.
    Bruce I agree with the shrubs, their cheap but thats what new homeowners want.

    Bruce you know what you dont want to grow so theres a start.
    I would utilize the greenhouse to its fullest. Thats something a lot of starters dont have.

    What are the demensions of the greenhouse approx.

    George.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
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    149
    Bruce hope the other reply made sense cuz my 4 year old is bothering me. Playing with my calculator, keyboard, monitor didnt let concentrate at what I was posting.

    He wants a horse and he wants it now. Kinda reminds me of shrek.

    A buddy of mine was cruel to his. He took his child to the store asked him what he wanted. Child wanted a bike no problem, train! sure put it in the cart. Once cart was full,he had about 2000.00 worth.
    they go to the cashier and leave the cart beside cashier. He then tells his child `their going to deliver it'. Every time the door bell rang, the child said`its here!. this went on for a week. The child never went for it again. The father said it was a one time thing.

    Whether this was true, I dont know. It was a story he told us at a party. It was hilarious ANN.B would not like it. Im not saying I would do it either. I think this was worth posting. Get some laughter going.

    George.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    221

    What to grow

    Bruce--from my limited experience trying to do the same thing you're trying to do...

    I totally agree with holding off on buying plant material. Some of my biggest regrets over the past several years have been jumping into this or that plant and spending a lot of money getting stock. It might work for you, but the key is always having a market for the finished product. Also, knowing how to grow the particular plant. Two examples from my live and learn history...

    Buy hundreds of dollars worth of tissue cultured black mondo grass plugs. Big fad plant all of a sudden, slow growing, everybody wants em, can't get enough propagating material, etc. Plant them out in outdoor beds, and lost about 90%, rest hardly grew. Still haven't sold any, years later, as they are just sitting in their pots now. Meanwhile, everyone else has ramped up production and there's lots available everywhere. Have to sell them for so-so price, when they are properly sized up.

    Example two, buy fifty some #1 phormiums in May, plant them in garden, they grow like crazy, lift and pot them into #3/#5 pots next march and sell them all for 3-4x the price originally paid. Some of the easiest money I've made.

    The difference--being able to grow the plant well, or not. And being able to sell the plant at a good price, or having to basically give em away.

    Your biggest challenge right now, Bruce, is to establish your market. That has been far more important for me than growing plants. The contacts I've slowly made in the wholesale/retail nursery trade here have been way more valuable than all the work out in the backyard!

    This business is a ton of fun, so just enjoy the ride all the way. And unlike George and some others, we don't rely on it to pay all the bills, so we can relax and avoid getting stressed out. If it turns into a fulltime moneymaker some day, great!

  14. #14
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    Oct 2004
    Location
    Snohomish,Wa.
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    7
    Thanks for all of the replies. It really hellps to get my thinking straight.

    My greenhouse is 16'x20' and was actually built so that we could grow tomatos and eggplants etc. in this cool summer climate. I used part of it to build an 8'x3' propagating bench. It mostly sits empty during the winter except for my hobby plants like fuschias and begonias and citrus that can take near freezing but not below. All of the things I am currently growing for the nursery are normally perfectly hardy here and I am wondering if they don't need to be exposed to at least some cold weather in order to go through a proper dormancy and come out growing strong in the spring.

    I started out some 35 years ago with a degree in Landscape Architecture and spent many years in the nursery and landscape industries before wandering off into landscape construction. Decks,etc. All of those years I really had a desire to actually grow plants rather than just shuffle them around. Give me a plant that is adapted to here and I can plant it in a landscape and make it grow like crazy but I am finding that starting from scratch and making them grow in containers takes quite a bit more effort.

    I don't really get into the fad type plants. Just the basic landscape type material. I am really interested in the different foliage colors and textures. Flowers are great but they are fleeting.

    Glen- I wish we didn't have a border between us. I would take a few of those black mondo grass off your hands. I have been looking at them for an area of my garden but they want $10.00 for a four inch pot here and I am too cheap for that.

    Thanks again for all of your input.
    Bruce

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
    Posts
    149

    Mondo grass

    Hey Glen I'll take a whole order. Bruce if their going for 10.00 for a 4" pot then Ill be interested but I believe Glen, you clearified that Mondo grass wont grow up here in our climate. Reason why their not avail in the wholesale industry up here. TOO BAD!
    George.

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