Protocol – Growing Media


growingmediaplugOASIS® Grower Solutions Growing Media

Rootcubes®, Rootcubes® Wedge, Rootcubes® Plus, Rootcubes® Plus Wedge® and Rootcubes® XP-System®

OASIS® Growing Media is a unique propagation media. It is engineered for optimal air water ratio to promote fast and uniform rooting. The unique cell structure allows the cuttings to uptake water easily, and as a result, the cuttings rehydrate rapidly upon sticking. This will help reduce the requirement for frequent misting and as a result nutrient leaching from the foliage can be minimized. The OASIS® Growing Media is very consistent and sterile when manufactured and shipped.

When it comes to handling, it is pretty much the same as any other propagation media. The universal dibble holes help the cuttings to stick easily.

Steps for Propagation in OASIS® Rootcubes® Wedge®growingmediaprot1

1. Initial watering/saturation

For initial watering, irrigate with a hose and a breaker (nozzle) to saturate the foam. It takes approximately three to four passes with a hose for complete saturation.

Saturation can also be achieved by running the strips through a watering tunnel where the water comes from bottom up and top down.

Note: Do not stick cuttings before saturating the medium.

2. Inserting the cuttings:

Once the medium is totally saturated, insert the cuttings. The insertion depth should be approximately 5/8″ (1.5 cm) deep if it is a standard 13-count Wedge® strip. The easiest way to achieve this is by holding the cutting with your thumb and index finger above approximately 5/8″ (1.5 cm) and insert the cutting until your fingers touch the media.growingmediaprot2

Mist the cutting immediately after inserting into medium. In the case of poinsettia cuttings, spread the leaves after sticking and avoid the large leaves covering other leaves or especially the shoot tips of neighboring cuttings.

Note: Rootcubes® Plus Wedge® is specially designed for poinsettia cuttings. Follow the same protocol as Rootcubes® Wedge®.

3. Mist settings

The frequency of misting depends on greenhouse conditions such as light intensity temperature, humidity, and also the air movement. Generally, mist for 8 seconds every 8 minutes. In the case of geraniums, run the intermittent mist system through the night for the first day. In the case of poinsettias, run the intermittent mist system through the night for the first two days.growingmediaprot3

After the initial crucial stage, it is suggested to mist between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. As the cuttings recover, the misting frequency can be reduced but be sure to avoid wilting. Around 12 to 14 days (for geraniums) or 16 to 18 days (for poinsettias) the misting can be stopped. From that time on, water once a day, or as required.

During the course of propagation, make sure that excess water is getting drained easily from the bottom of the media.

4. Humidity and Air circulation

Maintain high humidity (90 – 100%) levels and reduce air circulation to avoid wilting of the cuttings. Low humidity and high air circulation will increase the requirement for misting, which is undesirable.

5. Light levels

Light transmission into the propagation house should be indirect or diffuse. Whitewash on the glazing, or retractable internal shade curtains, or a combination of both will provide a good system for light modulation for poinsettia propagation during summer. In the case of geraniums, this is usually not an issue as they are propagated during cloudy winter months. However, if the levels are too high, consider using shade curtains.

growingmediaprot4The recommended light levels for propagation of both poinsettias and geraniums are 200 to 250 μmol·m-2·s-1 or a daily light integral (DLI) of 4 to 5 mol·m-2·d-1. Once the cuttings are 2 weeks old, a light level of 300 μmol·m-2·s-1 can be provided. It is a challenge to provide the above mentioned light levels to geraniums, but even small supplemental light can significantly promote the rooting and overall quality of the cuttings.

6. Temperature

In the case of poinsettias: optimal rooting occurs when root zone temperatures are maintained (usually with bottom heating) between 78° and 83° F (26° to 28° C). Maintain air temperatures between 76° and 82° F (24° to 28° C) during the day and 70° to 74° F (21° to 23° C) at night. For the first three nights after inserting, maintain air temperatures between 68° and 70° F (20° to 21° C).

In the case of geraniums: optimal rooting occurs when root zone temperatures are maintained (usually with bottom heating) between 75° and 80° F (24° to 26° C). Maintain air temperatures between 70° to 74° F (21° to 23° C) during the day and 68° and 72° F (20° to 22° C) during the night.

7. Fertilizer

The Rootcubes® Wedge® Medium contains fertilizer, but misting can lead to leaching of the nutrients. If there is a crop that shows nutrient deficiency within the first week after sticking, add a complete nutrient solution containing 50 ppm Nitrogen to the mist from the very beginning of propagation.

growingmediaprot5After 7 to 10 days into the propagation of the cuttings, the recommendation is to use a fertilizer with a complete nutrient solution containing 150 ppm Nitrogen via an overhead watering or sub-irrigation system every two to three days.

Field trials may be necessary to determine the best fertilizer protocol for your propagation requirements.

8. Rooting

Geraniums cuttings are usually fully rooted in three weeks and poinsettia cuttings are usually fully rooted in four weeks. Once the cuttings are fully rooted, water daily (in summer) or every alternate day (in winter) or depending on the greenhouse temperature. Inspect the liners on a daily basis to ensure that the media is not drying out.

Note: Once the cuttings are rooted in the foam media—because of the easy water availability—it can dry out faster than peat based media. Do NOT let the foam dry out. If the foam dries out excessively, it will be difficult to rewet again.

9. Packaging and Shippinggrowingmediaprot6

Fully saturate the foam media before placing in a shipping package. Sub-irrigation works the best for the complete saturation of the Rootcubes® Wedge® strips and at the same time avoids any water on the foliage.

Long distance shipments (3 days or more): For smaller shipments, place the foam media in a tray. Then, put the filled tray in a plastic bag before placing them in a shipping box. For larger shipments, place the foam media in a tray. Then, load the filled trays on a shipping cart.

10. Transplant

Thoroughly water the foam plugs before transplant and after transplant. Transplant the cuttings in the foam plugs into moist potting media. Cover the top surface of the foam with the potting media. No extra care and handling is required with OGS growing media when transplanted into a peat based media OGS foam media transplants can be handled in the same manner as peat moss based transplants.

Note: OGS foam plugs are not recommended for transplant into field soil. Under field conditions, the OGS foam media dries out too fast and the plant may die. For instances where the moisture can be carefully controlled using a drip irrigation system, then it may be acceptable to transplant the OGS foam plugs into field soil.

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If you have any questions or need further clarification, please contact your OASIS® Grower Solutions Representative.