By Erik Biksa
Why Cloning Rocks
Cloning plants, or “asexual propagation”; the process where plants can be replicated without exchanging DNA, allows growers to replicate their favorite plant in the garden over and over again. This is a really powerful tool for growers for several reasons, including:
plants grow uniform and finish at the same time
know quality and characteristics
can select for traits that suit the market or season
faster cropping versus seeds
While in terms of producing a decent sized transplant for the garden, the process of rooting cuttings from a mother plant can be a source of frustration for new and veteran growers alike. Important things for success in the cloning process include factors like: sanitation, health of plant material, quality and intensity of light source, temperature, humidity and a real big one-that being OXYGEN (O2).
The Missing Link to Explosive Roots Systems
DO (dissolved oxygen) is quite frequently overlooked as a make or break point in how successful your next batch of rooted cuttings for the success of your next crop, or the crops of others, will be. Think of it like this; your plants have just had traumatic surgery-you lopped off plant limbs and expect them to heal and transform their tissue, or a portion of it, for growing a new root system to support the plant.
Recover, Repair, Rebuild: Cuttings at Work
Just like in major surgery or recovery, oxygen is important for healing. Oxygen is required for the respiration process, where plants use up stored energy for performing functions like healing wounds and growing a new root system.
Traditionally, your humidity dome has very little to do with Oxygen, in fact it may stifle the ability for plants to have ample amounts. What sets off or ignites rooting from the environment is the presence of oxygen, especially if it is in the form of DO versus ambient oxygen. With DO oxygen at the cut stem, the plant is able to sip up oxygen to signal a stronger and more explosive rooting response. It also means less stress during the rooting process, so you can take bigger cuttings that start healthier gardens faster.
Using a hydroponic media as your rooting media is an easy step to take in getting some of the advantages of higher DO potential for the rooting process, but there is another way that is considered best for producing the largest and most robust rooted cuttings possible, and that’s aeroponics.
Cloning Made EZ!
Aeroponics is not an entirely new process for growing out or rooting plants. It has been widely used globally, although usually by researchers where exacting results are important, and people are prepared to follow proven procedures rather than slap things together.
One of the biggest advantages to rooting cuttings with aeroponics is that the cut stem receives a constant gentle spray of oxygen infused water droplets via internal sprayers that are supported in the leak proof support system/reservoir that holds the cut stems. A small, ultra low power water pump pressurizes the internal spray manifold, creating a perfect pattern of oxygen infused coverage to tickle cut stems into throwing down roots faster.
And plants DO root faster with aeroponics, with other advantages including: the ability to take larger cuttings with full sets of leaves (they don’t wilt easily), no humidity dome is required in most situations (less chance of leaf mold vs humidity domes), no growing medium is required to replace or throw away, and most of all… huge, bare naked root systems that quickly fill up any container or system you put them in. Bare rooted plants take to fresh healthy growing mediums or systems like white on rice, as they say.