TOPIC: Effects of magnetic fields on plant growth


From: HS
Hi, I'm a junior form a High School in Pennsylvania and am currently undertaking a fun and interesting (well, that's what I think, anyway) science fair project. The first fair is this Saturday, so recently I've been thinking quite a bit about my project. However, today I sort of had a revelation (for a lack of a better word to describe it) concerning my results; it may ultimately affect my conclusion. That's where you come in. I don't have enough of a background in biochemistry, especially plant hormones to do anything but make educated guesses as to why my results occurred the way they did. I had asked my A.P. Chem II teacher her opinion and she wasn't able to answer me. So, if you will, kindly read my abstract from last year and then my summary of my research for this year so far. Perhaps you can give me some insights into the world of plant hormones and the like.

Thanks from a grateful student!!

Effect of a Magnetic Field on the Growth of Spinach(1996-1997 research)
-I ended up doing fairly well with this project---- 1st regional PJAS, 1st state PJAS, H.M. County fair, 1st H.M. del. val. science fair.---
This project in its present form is the result of magnetic field experimentation on the growth of the spinach plant (Avon Hybrid). The problem of this project was to determine if a magnetic field would have any affect on plant growth. To test the hypothesis, thirty spinach plants were exposed to a southern magnetic field, thirty were exposed to a northern magnetic >field, and thirty plants were used as the control. Ferrite based permanent magnets were placed 8 cm away from the plants. All the plants were placed in the same room and were exposed to ten hours of fluorescent lighting per day. Records of the heights of the plants were taken every five days until experimentation concluded after twenty-five days. At the conclusion of experimentation, the south group ended up having the greatest average height per plant of 4.8 cm. The control group followed with an average of 3.9 cm per plant, and finally, the north group with an average growth per plant of 2.3 cm.

In summation, therefore, the magnetic field did affect plant growth to both extremes. The northern field arrested life, while the southern field encouraged or increased life. The magnets might have in some way affected the production of growth hormones (auxins and cytokinin) within the plant.

The north pole could have limited the production, and the south pole could have increased production. In the future, scientists may be able to increase crop yields by subjecting their plants to a southern magnetic field.

As for this year, my research plan is below. It is a continuation from last year with a few significant changes( more plants--- to test validity of results, different light sources--perhaps they will have an effect, magnets suspended from above --- giving a more even distribution of the magnetic field).

Research Plan

Does a magnetic field affect the growth of a spinach (avon hybrid) plant?

If a magnetic field is placed in close proximity to a spinach plant, then the plant will demonstrate differences from normal growth properties depending on whether the field emanates from a south or north pole of a magnet. The plants exposed to the field emanating from the south pole will grow the tallest, followed by the control group, and lastly, the group exposed to the northern magnetic field.

Plant two different groups of plants numbering 198 total plants: Group one will be exposed to fluorescent lighting, while group two will be exposed to incandescent lighting. Each group will consist of three different subgroups. Subgroup S will contain spinach plants exposed to a magnetic field emanating from the south pole of a bar magnet. Subgroup N will contain spinach plants exposed to a magnetic field emanating from the north pole of a bar magnet. All bar magnets will have the same strength. Subgroup C will be the control, and it will not be exposed to any magnetic field.
Each subgroup will contain 33 plants, thus, each group will contain 99 plants; there will be two groups. Suspend the bar magnets 15 cm. above each group. Place magnetic field shielding around all plants so only the magnetic field assigned to that specific group can interact with it. Measure the magnetic fields around the plants. Grow plants for 40 days. Record height of plants and other observations of growth every 5 days. Water the plants daily. . Collect the data.. Analyze the data and prepare a conclusion (perform a T-test on the data, and calculate the mode, mean, and median of each group).

I am still collecting the data from this year, however, it seems that the north and south groups from both light sources are of almost the same average height above the soil, maybe the south is a little ahead( I haven't added it up yet) . The growth of the control plants is below that of the north and south groups. As for the next step in the experiment, I am going to eventually weigh the plants to determine the masses (another way to compare growth between groups) and to perform some statistical analyses. (Oh, by the way, if you wouldn't mind, could you give me a brief overview of how to perform a T-test[I have the software, but am uncertain what it will accomplish]).

So now you've read this, and you're probably asking yourself why in the world did this high- schooler send this letter to you. Right... Well, I believe that somehow the auxins in the plant was involved in the excelled growth of the south plants from last year and perhaps this year. Is indole3 acetic acid paramagnetic? Could that be the reason for my results? Would the magnetic properties of this hormone allow it to be produced more readily, thus affecting the growth of the plants? Anyway, I think that's it for now. I really appreciate the time that you took to read this. Thanks so much.



Dear H,

Before you can state that you have any effect at all, magnetic or not, you must do the stat's. You may have differences in height but if they are not statistically significant you have no effect. Any basic statistics book will tell you how to do a T test, to check for differences between your 3 groups an ANOVA would be better. If you have software for a T test you may have the capability for an ANOVA. This will tell you if there is a significant difference between groups and where these differences lie. Run these before you start looking for exotic explanations for effects which may not be there.

Dept of Biological Sciences
Dundee University


Dear H,

I've read the description of your research project on the effect of magnetic fields on plant growth and would like to give you some input on your work. The application and testing of magnetic fields is not an easy matter. One needs to understand whether you want to test the presence/effect of a magnetic field in general or of a magnetic gradient. When you want to test effects of magnetic fields the field intensity is relevant and the difference between the magnetic N & S poles is not important. If you want to test the effect of magnetic gradients then the situation is different because magnetic gradients can induce so-called 'ponderomotive forces' that affect biological material. However since biological material has a small magnetic susceptibility (regardless of their diamagnetic or paramagnetic properties) the forces are insignificant UNLESS you use a VERY STRONG gradient. Common magnets do not generate forces that affect biological systems. (There are exceptions to that rule and if you don't mind reading up on this, see Planta 198: 87-94 or Journal of Experimental Botany 48: 1951-1957). Your (probably more carefully designed) 2. Year experiment appears to show no difference between your treatments. This is in line with our experiments, (for different reasons) we have exposed plants to extremely strong uniform magnetic fields and not observed differences in growth. However, (strong) magnetic gradients induce curvature in roots and shoots. Unfortunately, there are many investigations on magnetic effects that are not appropriately designed but certainly fascinating. Most of the time some (irreproducible) result is attributed to the presence of magnets, magnetic fields or the direction relative to the earth's magnetic field at which plants are sowed.

Factors that could explain your observed differences (if statistically relevant) in your first experiment most likely have to do with shading since light levels strongly influence elongation growth. However, not knowing the size of your magnets and chambers this is difficult to assess.

Hope that helps!
Biology - Univ. SW Louisiana
Lafayette, LA 70504-2451

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TOPIC: Use of clay pots in propagation


Only one comment on years of rooting plants (usually successful). I have terrible luck with clay pots for rooting cuttings. When the plant has started rooting and my plastic cover is removed, I seldom water often enough to keep the soil moist. Often the soil changes from being noticeably wet (by appearance and touch) to dry in an hour or less. The plant immediately dies. I have never had this problem with plastic pots or flats.

Best Regards,


Dear B,

The rooting in clay pots is successful be course the rooting process needs very much air (O2). In the clay pot respiration is possible and that gives a good rooting result. When you take of the plastic cover the clay pot will evaporate and that means that it uses much water. So the solution is give your clay pots as much water as they need and transplant the rooted cuttings as soon as possible.

Please contact us if you need more info .

Kees Eigenraam
Rhizopon bv Holland


Dear B

This sounds like a problem related to sterilizing the clay pot before you plant. Perhaps you are carrying in pathogens. Are you successful using the plastic pots?
Three things might be happening:
The clay pots are used and are leeching salts back into the soil. 
The moistures leeching out the sides of the pots-clay acts like a wick.
Or like you said pathogens are invading from the clay.

Clay pots are made of porous material. They effectively wick moisture out of the soil. This is a common problem made more noticeable with the advent of modern commercial potting soil and the components that make it up. Change to plastic pots and the problem will be alleviated. Or if one is a diehard purist for traditional pots, paint the inside of the clay pot with a sealer that stops the porosity of the pot.

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From: DP
Greenhouse Nursery
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Subject: Re: Propagation of cuttings using clay pots. Can't help but wonder, have the plants gradually been removed from the moist rooting environment (i.e. the propagator, be it a plastic bag, or what have you)? You need to sort of harden off the rooted cuttings and once rooted, move to an area with a lower temperature. I have hundreds of seedlings started in the basement and I have to move them to a cooler area of the basement or I would have to water much more frequently. I have lost more than one flat to inconsistent watering.


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TOPIC: Plant tropisms and the hormone auxin


Subject: Plant Hormones
I am doing a project on the effects of dissorientation on plant growth. I am rotating the plant on its side on a rotissere skewer. What is the scientific proof of dissorientating the plant. Our teacher says it has something to do with Plant Tropisms and the hormone Auxin. Please help me with links or information.
Thank you


"Gravitropism", like "phototropism," is a differential growth response caused by a redistribution of auxin in the translocation stream. This is a rather complex subject that has been explained by many theories. The common theory (held by the general teaching staff here at OSU) is that starch containing membranes called "amyloplasts" will settle to the lowest side of the plant cell. The weight of the amyloplasts is great enough for gravity to draw them down through the cell cytoplasm. Here, on the lower side of the cell, the presence of the amyloplasts induces a response of auxin production which then affects growth.
The direction of growth depends on many things:
1. Type of cell: root, shoot, leaf, flower, etc.
2. Concentration of other hormones like gibberellin, cytokinin, abscisic acid, and ethylene.
3. Stage of growth: germination, vegetative, reproductive.
4. Availability of other important compounds: water, nutrients.

Some key words for gravity-related growth:
orthogravitropic: the parallel alignment of growth with the direction of the pull of gravity, roots down, stems up.
positive (ortho)gravitropism: the growth of plant tissue towards the center of the earth, primary roots for example.
negative (ortho)gravitropism: the growth of plant tissue away from the center of the earth, is in the principle shoot axis (top of the plant).
diagravitropism: the growth of plant tissue at right angles to the pull of gravity. These would be stolons, rhizomes, and some lateral branches.
plagiogravitropism: the growth of plant tissue at angles between 0 and 90 degrees to the pull of gravity. These would be lateral stems and lateral roots.
agravitropic: plants which show little or no sensitivity to gravity.

Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
The Ohio State University

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TOPIC: Germination of green coffee beans (and care of coffee plants)


Do you know if green coffee beans, those used by a coffee roaster shop, are viable and will they germinate? (Assume the coffee roasting shop has fresh stock.)
How long can a green bean be kept before they lose viability?
If so, what are the germination requirements?


The raw or green coffee beans will be viable for one year or more. Usually are sowed two beans per plastic bag (here in Brazil we use small 1/2 pint holed black plastic bags). Water them 3 times/week. Let them in the shadow until the first true leaves come out in the seedlings. Thereafter you can take into the sun. 8-10 inches seedlings are ready to be transplanted to their definitive site (the distance between plants will be 80 cm and 200 cm betwenn rows).

Good luck.
AC in Brazil
Subject: Re: Coffee bean
Sun, 05 Apr 1998 21:17:59 +0000

No they are not viable. Coffee berries are fermented right after harvest and this damages the beans. I know, I've tried.
Your best bet is to get seed from a tropical seed specialist like The Banana Tree in Pennsylvania. (Sorry. I do not have the address. Check the Internet Yellow Pages. I think they have a listing.) I germinated a few beans years ago and I remember that they were pretty easy.

Coffee plants make good potted plants with a little care. They do best in a bright room without direct sunlight. They like a moist soil but don't like overwatering. They are not really dormant during winter but you are right to keep watering to a minimum during this time. After they bloom and start growing again, they should be given a bit of dilute fertilizer from time to time. Also watch for spider mites. An occasional "pritzing" of the leaves is useful. The plants should never be allowed to become very pot-bound, otherwise their leaves turn *yellow and drop*.

California Rare Fruit Growers

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TOPIC: How old is a cutting when it grows?


A bit of an odd question: How old is a cutting when it grows? Eg., if I cut a 2 year old twig from a 5 year old shrub, is the cutting 0 years (just born), 2 years (the twig), or 5 years (the parent plant)?
The reason I ask, is that I grew a Gardenia thunbergia from a truncheon taken off a mature bush, i.e. flowering maturity. These gardenias don't flower when they're young. This cutting, small as it was, flowered within a year or two, simultaneously ...

Regards, M


From: MV
The principle that you are talking about is relative to the Cone of Juvenality which is discussed in all books about propagation.

Lets say you have a plant which is ten years old since it was propagated from seed or a cutting. Every year the plant sets out new shoots. We ask, how old are the various shoots? While all the new shoots have the same age of growth they are physiologically different in 'real' age. In terms of juvenality: The cuttings taken from the top are really 'ten years old'. The cuttings taken from the base are really 'this years age'.

What can we say about the ability to propagate from these cuttings?
Say you have a fast growing ficus tree. When you take cutting from the top of the tree they they *may* have less ability to root from cuttings then the younger cuttings taken from the base.

How do we have control?
One way is to *hedge* the plant ... cut it down to near the base then take cuttings from the lowered plant.
Another way is to *stool* as they do with malus and prunus root stocks. The plants are layed down and covered. New shoots form along the trail of the older shoots under the ground.
In propagation of poinsetta and chrysamthem and pot roses the cuttings are take from very young plants. The propagator takes cuttings from mother plant which are seldom older than half year. The mother plants are discarded after half a year and replaced with cuttings taken from the young plants.
One observed factor is that the more juvenile plants need more control of their environment yet produce roots faster and more evenly than the older plants. Many plants can not produce roots from cuttings from the upper parts of the plants since they are too old. In that case use the cuttings from the shoots taken from the base.
The general practice is to use as young a cutting as possible.
In the case that you site ... say you have a plant which flowers only after a certain number of years. It you take cuttings from the upper portion of the plant these cuttings are the same age as the mother plant therefore they will produce flowers on the freshly propagated cutting.

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TOPIC: How are tropical fruits commercially propagated?

This discussion page has had several requests for information on the propagation of citrus and other tropical fruits. The following discussion was written by Dr. Manners who teaches plant science and citrus growing. Perhaps I can at least partially answer your question about rooting tropical fruit trees.

To my knowledge, no one ever roots them from cuttings. Until relatively recently, even marcottage has been considered nearly impossible. In the magazine Tropical Fruit World, Vol. 1, No. 3, (July/August, 1990) is an article by Adriano Lambe, about work done at the University of Florida Tropical Research Center, by Roberto Nunez-Elisea and Tom Davenport, in which they successfully marcotted mangos, using a 2-3% NAA in lanolin paste, with good success. This is the only such case I'm aware of. Otherwise, mango seems always to be grafted to seedling rootstocks, or grown directly from seed.

Again, I've never heard of anyone successfully rooting cuttings. Marcots do work, but at a relatively low rate of success. Virtually all commercial trees are grafted or budded to seedling rootstocks.

To my knowledge, NO vegetative means of propagation has ever worked, for this fruit. That is most frustrating, since seedlings have a juvenile period of 10-20 years, before fruiting for the first time. A successful vegetative method would revolutionize mangosteen production!

These are easily rooted, but it's rather impractical, since the trees tend to have only one main trunk (like a palm) or at most a few branches, and individual stems are several inches in diameter. So the logistics of taking multiple cuttings of a plant without destroying the plant, are difficult to say the least. Nevertheless, papaya will root without difficulty, if you do take cuttings. I'm not aware of what, if any, plant growth regulators are used.

Like its close relative, the lychee, longans are extraordinarily difficult (practically impossible) from cuttings. No method has ever yielded acceptable numbers of rooted plants. On the other hand, marcottage in early summer, with or without any growth regulator, is highly successful, and is the basis for propagating these fruits commercially, in Florida. We make our marcots in June. Using [dry powder rooting hormone] get nearly 100% success that way. I suspect that the trouble with cuttings, here, is the long time needed to root (3-4 months), and the consequent difficulty with keeping fungi from rotting the cutting during that period.

Atemoya (hybrids of Annona cherimoya by A. squamosa):
I've never heard of anyone trying to root these. Surely someone has, but it isn't even considered in Florida. They seem always to be grafted or budded to seedling atemoya or A. squamosa rootstocks. Even marcottage doesn't seem ever to be used in Florida.

Well, those are the fruits with which I've had personal experience with propagation. By the way, the rose apple in your note had (name?) after it. It is Syzygium jambos. As far as I know, they are always grown from seed, as are all the Syzygiums and closely related Eugenias, genera which apparently have virtually no ability to produce adventitious roots.

I hope this will be helpful. Please feel free to contact me if I can help further. The propagation of tropical fruits has always been fascinating to me, and I've worked quite a lot in that area, especially in grafting/budding methods. So many of the tropicals are frustrating because they are so resistant to successful rooting of cuttings. We need some success stories!

Florida Southern College
111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive
Lakeland, FL 33801-5698

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TOPIC: I have a cutting from a walnut tree


I have taken a 1/2" diameter, 6-7" long branch (with no leaves or obvious buds on it) from the base of a black walnut I am trying to bonsai. I did not want to throw away the branch if there was any chance of rooting it again and at the moment have it just in water (2 days). Should I bother trying to root it or not? And, if so, how?

Chester Canada


Dear C,

Your cuttings are not suitable for rooting. Jurgans (walnuts) are propagated from seed or they are grafted onto suitable root stocks. If you have some walnut seedlings you might try to top graft the stem (scion) onto the seeding (root stock). Nothing to lose.

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TOPIC: Propagation of hosta


I would like a recommendation for the use of your product with hosta leaf cuttings. Powder or tablets? Media??

Thank you


Dear Wolf
Hosta are usually propagated from division of the clumps. Sometimes from seed ... however some plants do not produce capsules.
We do not have very much direct information on the use of plant rooting hormones to propagate hostas. When is the best time to plant, and/or divide hosta? Hosta can be planted at any time during the growing season, although most people try to plant hosta in the spring. The later in the season you plant a hosta, the more important it is to keep the plant adequately watered.
Hosta may also be divided or moved at anytime. However, given the increased shock to the plant caused by dividing or digging it up to be moved, spring is much preferred. In fact, it is recommended that dividing occur before the plant begins any substantial spring growth. Once the eyes are evident, the plant should be dug and divided by using a sharp knife. It is also recommended that the knife be dipped in a fungicide (e.g. 10% Clorox-water solution is a good substitute) before making the cut, and that the cut surface be dusted (or washed if using bleach) after the cut is made. We are not certain if rooting hormone treatment will benefit the fibrous root regeneration on the division. We will refer this to a hosta expert. Wolf, unfortunately the web sites related to hosta societies all recommend division. Where did you learn rooting of cuttings? Perhaps you can back track to the original source

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Thanks for responding. I am familiar with the standard way of separating the root rhizomes. I however also am under the impression that Hosta leaf cuttings will develop roots if left in water for a period of time. I was wondering if your root growth hormone would accelerate this process or am I under the wrong impression regarding root growth from Hosta leaf cuttings?
If my impressions are correct, what concentration should I use? Tablets/powder to volume of water??

Thank you

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TOPIC: I have some very old (80+ yrs) azaleas that I want to propagate.


I have some very old (80+ yrs) azaleas that I want to propagate. My reasons are partly emotional (the plants were planted by my grandmother) and partly subjective (they're a gorgeous color that I've never seen in stores). I would like to know the best ways to take cuttings of azaleas, including what's the best time of year to take them and what's the most appropriate rooting hormone. I'd appreciate any samples you can provide. After the bushes are (hopefully!) growing in pots, I'd like to know when is the best time of year to plant them.
Finally, do you know how I can find out exactly what type of azalea I have?

Thank you very much!
from New Jersey


Dear Julia,
To propagate any plant which is a bit old you must consider that the best part of the plant to take cuttings is from the youngest section. In the case of an 80 year old azalea the fresh sprouts on the top of the plant are the oldest ... they will be 80 years old even through they are physically only from this years growth. The cuttings which behave as the youngest part of the plant are those taken from the base of the plant. These are the ones to use in propagating new plants.

The following excerpt is an excellent description of juvenile plants taken from 'Donor Plant Maturation and Adventitious Root Formation' by Wesley Hackett in Adventitious Root Formation in Cuttings (Davis, Haissig and Sankhla), Dioscorides Press, 1988.

Quoting Mr. Hacket:
One of the characteristics which has been observed to change in many species with developmental age is potential for adventitious root initiation. It has frequently been observed that rooting ability of cuttings from many woody plant species, particularly tree species, declines with increasing age of seedling-derived mother plants. In 1929 the researcher Gerner observed "this inverse relationship between ontogenetic age and rooting ... and has since been observed repeatedly. High adventitious rooting potential, therefore, is considered a juvenile characteristic. The loss of rooting potential with maturation is particularly severe in many long lived tree species and limits the success or efficiency in clonally propagating desirable mature individuals (after the expenditure of much time and effort in the evaluation and selection process). In 1985 Mulling found that " In vitro microcutting propagation as well as conventional cuttage propagation is limited by this decreased potential for rooting. Where it has been possible to analyze changes in rooting potential associated with ontogenetic development, it has been shown that the upper and peripheral parts of a plant are the first to exhibit reduced rooting potential. Paton et al. in 1970 demonstrated that in Eucalyptus grandis seedlings that the cotyledonary node has a very high rooting potential but by the 15th node rooting capacity is almost completely lost. In Olea europaea L. (Porlingis and Therios 1976) and Picea abies (L.) Karst. (Roulund 1973), it has also been reported that cuttings taken from shoots formed in the basal region or lower portion of the crown of trees have a higher capacity to root than those from shoots in the more distal, upper portions of the same plant. As Hackett reported in 1985, these findings are not surprising in light of many studies showing that other characteristics such as phyllotaxis, leaf shape, leaf retention, thorniness, and pigmentation, which are associated with juvenility, are maintained in the basal portions of mature plants of many species. ... it is difficult to distinguish between the phenomena of maturation and physiological aging, and, therefore, some of the results of investigations involving loss or gain in rooting potential may be related to physiological age rather than maturation. Take cuttings from this years growth ... wait until the stems become a bit hardened ... perhaps late June or early July.

Use dry dip or solution methods:
DRY DIP METHOD: Try for early season- Rhizopon AA #1 or #2. Try for later in the season- Rhizopon #2 or #3
SOLUTIONS: Try the Total Immerse Method at 5 tablets per liter water

Be sure to carefully care for the cuttings;

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TOPIC: Transplanting success

Transplanting from pots to the ground can be done at any time if you are careful not to disturb the roots. Commonly most transplanting is done in the winter dormant season if the roots are to be disturbed. If you transplant during the active growing season you might want to improve root mass regeneration. Treat transplants already in the media by soil drench. Use one tenth to one half tablet per liter of water. You can also spray the plugs, balls or bare roots after taking the plants out of a propagation tray, or dip whole plug or ball in solution until fully saturated. After treating roots optionally spray the leaves lightly using one half to one tablet per liter of water.

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TOPIC: Survival of rooted walnut cuttings


I have a particular application, namely improving survival of rooted walnut cuttings. After much trial and error we have been able to obtain decent rooting in several genotypes of walnut rootstocks. The difficulty we face is that the rooted cuttings do very poorly when transferred to the field and many die. I think that it has something to do with poor root growth and wanted to try to get the roots growing quickly after transplantation. I believe that it would be worthwhile to try Rhizopon. The walnut industry has been looking for a method to produce clonal rootstocks for quite some time now and it seems a shame that we have gotten this far only to be disappointed at the end. I do not know which concentration of Rhizoponw would be best. In general walnut is difficult to propagate and we have been using 6000 - 8000 ppm IBA for rooting. Perhaps this will give you an idea of what concentration would be the best to try out.

Department of Pomology
University of California
Davis, CA 95616


Dear ES

Transplanting of rooted cuttings are more easy when you stick your cuttings in plugs or small pots (containers).To get a better result in rooting walnut cuttings we advice you to plant the cuttings you have now available in a 10 liter container. These plants will be your mother plants. Connect them to water and a fertilizing unit with drip-irrigation. When the cuttings start re-rooting and the new growth starts you take out the apical point. Now the plant will start making new young shoots. When these shoots are hard enough you can take them as cuttings and root them in a paper pot of other small container. Use Rhizopon #2 or Rhizopon #3. Harvest the cuttings from the mother plants constantly never let them grow to old. We hope that we give you a new stimulation for your research.

Best regards and success,
Rhizopon bv
Kees Eigenraam

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TOPIC: Rooting a Pussy willow


My wife and I are attempting to root several branches from a pussy willow that belonged to our recently departed Grandfather. We are following advice from several friends, but I am unsure of the proper procedures.
To this point we have done the following:

Cut several branches off of the original pussy willow
Placed them in a bucket of water in a dark, cool garage

All of the branches have developed roots below the water line, which have grown to a length of approximately two inches.

My question is, how do we proceed from here? All of the leaves on the branches have dried up and turned brown.
Do we cut the branches before planting, or leave them as they are?
How long should the roots be before we plant the branches?
Are there any special instructions for the planting process (how deep, how much water, etc)?
We appreciate any help that you might be able to provide.



Dear S,
If your cuttings have roots you can plant them out now. However, if after making a scratch in the wood and finding out that there is no green then it is likely the cuttings are no longer viable and will not grow. Plants need light to grow if they have leaves. If the cuttings are viable then they will soon set out new leaves and will grow. Water roots are not the same as soil developed roots so your cuttings will take the cuttings longer to take hold then if they had been planted. Pussy willow likes a moist soil. You can plant the cuttings low into the soil several inches below the level of the roots. If the plants are not now viable you still have some chance to take new cuttings from this years growth on the stock plant.

This time, whether you use rooting hormones or not, take cutting 6-8 inches long plant in moist media cover cuttings with plastic to prevent dehydration. For some ideas for protecting the cuttings take a look at

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