Failing clones

Is there anything attacking my clones?

I took clones four days ago from an AK-47 and a Cinderella plant. At first the clones were wilted, but by the second day they looked healthy. Then on the fifth day they wilted once again.
I have them on a timed watering cycle four times a day and was misting them three times a day. My grow room temp is 78-80?F (25-27?C). I have them under six fluorescent lights on a 24-hour light cycle. The lamps are placed 5-8 inches above the plants. What can be causing the wilting problem?

Unhappy Grower,
Internet

An infectious mold likely attacked your clones, which were at a very delicate stage. The stem turned weak, then mushy and the clones died. Some of the possible diseases are rhizoctonia, pythium and botrytis.

There are a number of things you can do to protect the cuttings. However, these are all prophylactic measures. Once the plant is infected, it's not salvageable.

A good place to start is hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is essentially water with an oxygen atom attached to each molecule. Its chemical formula is H2O2. The second oxygen atom is ready to jump from the peroxide to other molecules and to oxidize them. It readily jumps onto mold spores and bacteria and destroys them by burning them up. Peroxide is sold in different strengths. Indoor garden shops sometimes sell 10% peroxide, but drug stores usually sell the 3% strength.

One part of 3% hydrogen peroxide can be combined with two parts water, or one part 10% solution is combined with nine parts water, to make a 1% solution. This solution should be used for cuttings for the first week. Nutrient and amendments can be added to this mix. It can also be used in the sprayer if you mist the plants. It is a sterilizing agent, so your cuttings are much less likely to suffer infection.

Once the cuttings are past their critical stage, five to seven days after starting, the hydrogen peroxide treatment is lowered to a half percent solution and a combination of root protectants. There are many brands that use different microorganisms. Some of the organisms form symbiotic relationships with the roots. Others act in the planting medium. A few of them are Mycostop, Rootshield, and many brands of mixed endo- and ecto-mycorrhiza.

Mycostop's active ingredient is a bacteria naturally found in the soil and on plant roots: Streptomyces sp. This organism attaches itself to the root in a symbiotic relationship. The organism delivers nutrients to the roots and protects it from attack. The roots deliver sugars to the bacteria.

Rootshield is composed of a hybrid strain of fungus developed at Cornell University. Trichoderma harzianum strain T-22 colonizes plant roots and serves as a guard against two of the diseases most likely to attack cuttings, pythium, and rhizoctonia. It also protects against fusarium, but the cuttings are unlikely to be attacked by that wilt.

There are many brands of mixed ecto- and endo-mycorrhiza. Mycorrhiza are fungi that are plant friendly. There are thousands of different species. Endo-mycorrhiza colonize plant roots, then grow hyphae that effectively extend the roots? reach, harvesting nutrients in return for sugars produced in the plant leaves. Ecto-mycorrhiza are free-living, inhabiting the soil and extending their hyphae in search of prey.

I recommend a mixed bag of mycorrhiza species so that no matter what conditions the organisms experience, some of them will do well. Also, species differ in pathogens they attack ? a mix is more likely to provide protection against a broad range of pests. Some other brands that are effective include Mycor Flower Saver, PHC Biopack and Plant Success Endos/Ectos.

Readers with grow questions (or answers) should send them to Ed at: Ask Ed, PMB 147, 530 Divisadero St., San Francisco, California 94117, USA
You can also email Ed at AskEd@cannabisculture.com, and send queries via his website at www.ask-ed.net.
All featured questions will be rewarded with a copy of Ed's Marijuana Question? Ask Ed.. Sorry, Ed cannot send personal replies to your questions.

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