Lilies forum: Forcing dormancy by premature cutting of stems

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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Sep 17, 2013 6:22 PM CST
Roosterlorn said: Anyone else use this technique [forcing dormancy by premature cutting of stems] on the later types like OT's, etc.?


Compared to me, Lorn, you are way too accommodating in your plant care. I am sure my plants would be very envious. nodding All my plant life gets what they get, and if it's not enough, well, that's most likely all they will get anyway. And it probably never would have crossed my mind to cut stems several weeks before transplanting. Hmmm. Time to start a new thread about same; I have some ruminations.....
[Last edited by Leftwood - Sep 20, 2013 7:53 AM (+)]
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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Sep 18, 2013 7:18 AM CST
Oh Rick, forcing dormancy like that is something I never do as routine. Since I have the opportunity though, I thought I'd experiment a little, make some observations and maybe learn something along the way. My objective is to determine if forcing premature dormancy might be better for mother bulb core survival when extensive scaling is performed (50%) Here's what I'm doing:

I had 6 Anaconda and 6 Moonlight clones fully grown and still in the green. 4 of each were cut to force premature dormancy, 2 of each were left to mature naturally (or until the last minute when I have to move them). My start date was Sept 16th. On or just before Oct 15, all 12 plants will be dug, cleaned and examined. I will then divide the 6 each into three sets of 2. I then will scale one of each set(s) halfway to the core and leave one of each set(s) fully intact. Survival and growth will be evaluated next Spring/Summer. For the sake of simplicity and easier understanding, I explain it this way. Actually, there is one Anaconda missing in the fully intact forced dormancy set.

I hope this will give me some kind of answer to a long standing question I've carried with me for many years: Would the mother bulb root faster and become better established by forcing premature dormancy and earlier fall planting?

Edit: Photos added dated 9/16/13. Height range: 31-36 inches. Stem diameter range: .500-.625 inch. Photos are typical of plants involved.


Thumb of 2013-09-18/Roosterlorn/606629


Thumb of 2013-09-18/Roosterlorn/339687

[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Sep 18, 2013 12:03 PM (+)]
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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Sep 20, 2013 6:54 AM CST
Rick, I like the way you say: "my plants get what the get, and if that's not good enough, that's probably all they're going to get anyway" Pretty much the same here too--a good way to determine stamina and garden hardiness. When it comes to transplanting, since I work with Trumpet and Aurelian types, I have it pretty convenient. Most, if not all, are pretty much dormant by mid Oct. That's perfect because my soil temperatures are still running in the 50's F. And if anything, the soil is a little dry--meaning the bulbs are a little more on the dehydrated side than waterlogged side. Around here, I have sandy loam base soil so the bulbs lift easily and clean too, so all I do is trim off any old dead anchor roots and replant in mid Oct. The same would apply to any A's, O's, LA's, LO's etc. that are dormant or nearly dormant by then.

But when it comes to OT's, it's a different story. If I wait around for them to go dormant, it would be late Nov. and then they only go dormant by a killing freeze. By then the soil is wet, the soil temps are trending downward into the mid to high 40's and the bulbs are what I call still 'green' with (I think) a pretty high moisture content. Hardly an incentive for rooting and not much time left before soil temps drop so low that very little rooting will occur. Not to mention a potential for bulb rot if we have a wet soggy winter. In your opinion, would it be better to cut these early to force dormancy so the bulbs are better conditioned to coincide with the optimum planting/rooting time? Readers need to keep in mind I live in zone 5A/5B, Zones higher than 6 may not have this circumstance.



Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Oct 12, 2013 8:48 PM CST
Today I dug 5 Moonlite clone and 4 Anaconda clone bulbs (the ones I had precut about a month early). 1 each were left uncut and are still in the ground--those are the ones I allowed to bloom for identification. As you may recall, I am short one Anaconda because it was received spoiled. These are all part of a study I'm doing on extensively scaled mother bulb recovery rates and the recovery rate of bulbs due to the affects of premature cutting of green stems. NOTE: All bulbs were planted 1 foot apart in the same row, alternating Anaconda/Moonlight/Anaconda, etc. These were planted around April 20th, 2013. Here then, are photos taken today.The first group of photos are Anacondas (dark purple) and the second is moonlite (pink rose)

Look familiar? It has basil rot just like the spoiled one I received in shipment. It did not grow any; it stayed the same size as received.
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/426e10

Spoiled one as received--I do have over 100 cloned bublets from it, though.
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/848a80
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/2c33c3
It's possible this bulb is the one in the upper left corner of the second photo

The other 3 bulbs had more than doubled in size, here are 2 of them. Note the strong anchor root system forming with quite a few stem bublets forming. Scales were somewhat loose and no offsets were forming. I'm wondering if there is a relationship between the growing of stem bublets and the looser scales. Had they not grown these bublets, would the scales have been tighter? Possibly.
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/611ce6

Another had a single offset forming between the scales and a tiny single stem bublet.
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/14913a
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/839c45

Next, the row of 5 on the right are the Moonlite clone bulbs. None had any stem bublets and only one had formed an offset. These bulbs had nearly tripled in volume/size, all measuring from 9 and 1/2 to 10 and 1/4 inches in circumference or about 3 inches in diameter. Scales were nice and tight and the skin/surface was bright and smooth. In spite of being cut about 6 weeks before full seasonal maturity, these bulbs still achieved good size.
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/b31ee1
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/f32865

Other interesting observations:

2 stem bublets growing anchor roots down between scales (could not be pulled out). Photo is looking down from the top of bulb. Note also the rough surface of the scales. All the Anaconda bulbs showed that to some degree. Humm--what could cause that?
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/8ce8ff

Note anchor root in center that healed and formed a more defused character
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/ec8aa8

Comparing anchor root systems: Anaconda/Moonlite
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/778fe9
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/1f0a29

Darn birds--turn my back, and--see what happens. Got to get those nylons on first thing in the morning. This pod has good seed, too.
Thumb of 2013-10-13/Roosterlorn/c5ec6a

Just by looking at the two cultivar clones, it initially appears that Moonlite is more garden hardy than Anaconda--at least in my garden , anyway. I'm running about 6.9 pH in this row. Maybe Anaconda actually needs a higher pH as some Europeans have said about Div. VI. Or maybe these are sick; the plants didn't show it though. From here they will be allowed to dry a day or two, then some will be scaled extensively, then dried for another day or two, then powdered with Captan and planted. Lots of extra scales if somebody wants them. However, I doubt the authenticity of both cultivars.

[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Oct 13, 2013 5:18 AM (+)]
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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Oct 13, 2013 7:50 PM CST
Today, an excellent Fall day for scaling and drying so I scaled 2 each of Anaconda and Moonlite. I removed about 2/3rds of the scales from each. Some interesting findings along the way, too. Here are some pictures. In preview I noticed the second picture below loaded up/down-vertically for some reason. The row should be horizontal so the bulb on the top is actually the one on the left in the second picture.


ANACONDA
Thumb of 2013-10-14/Roosterlorn/25fb08

Thumb of 2013-10-14/Roosterlorn/ea4a90

Bulb on the left had a big surprise; an offset completely hidden between the second and third layer of scales. See photos below. This IS NOT the bulb I showed yesterday with the offset protruding between the outer layer of scales. That bulb is, in fact, the control bulb in the center of the picture. I scaled short around the offset as I want to keep it attached to the core base and plant it that way.

Thumb of 2013-10-14/Roosterlorn/5e72a7
Thumb of 2013-10-14/Roosterlorn/b197a1

MOONLITE

Thumb of 2013-10-14/Roosterlorn/94e621
Thumb of 2013-10-14/Roosterlorn/c90232
Thumb of 2013-10-14/Roosterlorn/8f69ba

Also, all of these scales have now been asked for.

Edit: another photo of Anaconda added
Thumb of 2013-10-14/Roosterlorn/b6057b

[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Oct 13, 2013 7:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Oct 13, 2013 8:10 PM CST
Most of those broken off scales look like as though they could have been cut, so I was about to ask what your severing technique was. But your last two pics (especially the last) clearly show you have been carefully breaking them off. If you still have any of those "mutilated" bulbs, it would be interesting to see a cut through (vertical) cross-section of the basal stem. Martagons are clearly triangular shaped, even when rather small.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Oct 13, 2013 8:41 PM CST
Yes Rick, I gently slide a finger down between the scales until they snap. I prefer a break line rather that an incise, razor sharp cut. Although, my Dad always used a razor and he got plenty of bublets. Matter of personal choice, I guess. These 'mutilated' scaled bulbs are my test bulbs I'll be planting in a few days. They'll put up a smaller stem next year--about like a (n +2) with a few buds even, which I promptly remove. If you want to see a cross section of a Regale, I have plenty of everyday Regales; I could pull one and photo it.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Oct 13, 2013 8:58 PM CST
Thanks Lorn, but only if you are interested. I wrongly assumed you were going to toss the bulb(s) anyway.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Oct 14, 2013 6:45 AM CST
We're in luck because I've got two plain-Jane cull Regales growing right in the middle of my prized 'copper corner' (the result of leftover stem bulblets or scales from a previous planting). I'll be lifting this whole bunch and putting in 'row form' for easier pollenation in the next few days and these fully grown, healthy but off color Regales would have hit the garbage anyway. Not the kind I would pass out to anyone.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Oct 15, 2013 6:47 PM CST
The scaled bulbs were allowed to callus for 48 hours and looked like this:

Thumb of 2013-10-16/Roosterlorn/e9373b

They were then given a light dusting of CAPTAN and looked like this--then planted along with the control bulbs.


Thumb of 2013-10-16/Roosterlorn/cac8e1

The last two remaining control bulbs which were allowed to grow an additional 5 weeks until the leaves turned brown, will be dug, measured and replanted tomorrow.

Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
Image
Roosterlorn
Oct 16, 2013 8:21 PM CST
The final two remaining control bulbs which were allowed to grow to full seasonal maturity were dug, measured and replanted today. These are also the ones allowed to bloom for cultivar verification, The Anaconda on the left had a circumference of 10.5 inches or a diameter of about 3.3 inches. The Moonlite on the right had a circumference of about 10 inches, or about 3,2 inches in diameter. Both bulbs were in excellent condition.

The observation that these bulbs were not larger than those with the stems cut 5 weeks prematurely I attribute to the fact that these two were allowed to bloom for identification, while the others were disbudded. So far, it appears that from the standpoint of size achievement, cutting stems while still green about a month before full maturity has no more affect on size than blooming does. Putting it another way, conversely, had these last two been disbudded, their bulbs would have been significantly larger than all the others.

How all this cutting early and scaling affects overall stamina and next years growth and bud counts is what I'll be evaluating next Spring. In the meantime, I've freed up a prime garden location for some of my own higher priority stock.

Thumb of 2013-10-17/Roosterlorn/acdd6b

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