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When it comes to your woody ornamentals and perennials, you always want the best method to keep your plants healthy. Using intermittent mist to root your cuttings is one of the most efficient means of asexually reproducing your plants in large quantities. Intermittent mist allows you to supply moisture automatically during critical periods of propagation, by way of timers that control when to release the mist onto your plants at a precise interval. Without the use of intermittent mist, cuttings would need to be kept in a humidity and temperature controlled environment in order to keep them from wilting and dying from overheating and transpiration.
Transpiration happens when the moisture from plants leaves, flowers, stems, and roots evaporates. Using intermittent mist helps raise the humidity levels around your cuttings, which will lessen the transpiration process, allowing the cuttings to form a root and callus, and reduces the temperature around your cuttings. All of which can be accomplished without the need for an expensive greenhouse that requires temperature and humidity controls. Under more ideal conditions, certain softwood cuttings will root under intermittent mist in as little as 2 to 3 weeks, allowing you to root multiple batches of cuttings in a single season.
There are lots of variations of misting facilities, providing a perfect fit for whatever needs you have. Larger scale propagators may be found using large misting houses with elaborate lighting and plumbing, while a more smaller family owned nursery may use simple hoophouses or root the cuttings in sand beds outdoors, using more simple misting systems and natural lighting. Proper location for outdoors misting areas are extremely importing. Too much wind or sun can be hazardous to your cuttings. The proper rooting media is also very critical when rooting cuttings under intermittent mist. Sand has been a widely used, a greatly successful and inexpensive element for many years, however a mixture of peat moss with an equal amount of perlite , vermiculite, or sand can be an even better rooting medium. This mixture will be more porous than sand alone, and is well aerated and better drained than sand.
Duration and interval of mist are also very critical elements to the ability of the cuttings to survive and be successful at rooting. Too little or too much time between mists can result in the cuttings drying out, wilting and dying. Too little mist can also result in the cuttings overheating, which can also result in your cuttings dying. Too much mist, or too little time between your mists, will result in a constantly wet cutting and constantly wet rooting medium. Another key aspect to remember when choosing intermittent mist, is temperature. It’s often overlooked while rooting cuttings, and should be kept between 50°F and 69°F. Once your cuttings have developed roots, the frequency of your intermittent mist should be gradually reduced, to begin hardening off the cuttings and to get them accustomed to a more normal growing condition. Over a period of a month or so, you should reduce the amount of watering to once a day. Your cuttings will now be ready to be transplanted into pots, grow beds, or planted into landscape, and should be established enough to be watered only during long dry spells.
Dwayne Haskell is the author of this article. Visit his most
interesting website, plantpropagationmistingsystem.com.