Lilies forum: Foil Caps

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Name: Patrick
Midland, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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auratum
Jun 7, 2017 7:24 AM CST
Anxious for the season to start here. L. martagon album looks like it will be the first to bloom in another few days. I am a bit of a stick in the mud - I don't like insects deciding which lilies cross with each other and so make use of the foil caps for controlled crosses. In previous years I would make up a couple dozen at a time while watching TV with the family but decided to step it up and get a little more stock ready - the picture shows a 16 oz Solo cup.

Thumb of 2017-06-07/auratum/4bfa7a

I have also gone from cutting the foil with scissors to using a rotary cutter on a cutting mat - not quite as precise but much quicker for me. I make two sizes - smaller ones like these made by wrapping around the base of a pen and larger ones made using a Sharpie for lilies that have a very large stigma.

Anyone else use these caps for hybridizing? I have heard discussion both for and against them, but as for me - I am a believer in them. I try lots of crazy crosses and I want to know if it made seed that the pollen parent was either what I chose or the seed is apomictic.
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
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Australis
Jun 7, 2017 7:37 AM CST

Plants Admin

I used these last year (first attempt at hybridising) after reading up on the process on the forums here. I think quite a few people use them.

As I typically don't get out early enough to catch the buds opening, I also use large organza bags, which I put over the buds after they colour up and I suspect they are due to open. Keeps the insects off the blooms until I can get to them on the day they open.
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Name: Patrick
Midland, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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auratum
Jun 7, 2017 7:53 AM CST
Thanks Joshua.

Australis said:As I typically don't get out early enough to catch the buds opening, I also use large organza bags, which I put over the buds after they colour up and I suspect they are due to open. Keeps the insects off the blooms until I can get to them on the day they open.


I also monitor when buds will likely open and gently open them by hand in order to protect them before they open fully. I also remove the anthers at this time to capture the pollen for use on other crosses.
Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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Nhra_20
Jun 7, 2017 8:34 AM CST
I never even thought about making a bunch of caps up ahead of time. Great idea.

Do you use the heavy weight Reynolds foil?

Still waiting here to see what blooms first. Of the 3 martagons I have, one is coming up blind, another seems to have stopped growing after the frost. Brocade is the only one Going strong. Meanwhile I have a few asiatics forming their pedicels.
Name: Patrick
Midland, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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auratum
Jun 7, 2017 10:24 AM CST
Nhra_20 said:Do you use the heavy weight Reynolds foil?


I use the light weight stuff. It doesn't need to be thick - just needs to create a barrier. I know another breeder that uses Parafilm instead of foil.
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Jun 7, 2017 3:22 PM CST
I use the back end of a pencil to make caps like yours but I use a modified method that I think works better when the caps don't fit as well. I will take picture when I make some pollinations. I also agree with knowing what crossed so I protect mine.
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
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magnolialover
Jun 8, 2017 3:39 AM CST

Moderator

I've made these since I started doing this with foil. I have also been known to be in a hurry, rip off a small piece of foil, and make its shape on the way out to the garden with my pinkie. My kids call this "foil season" as I also use foil to dry pollen inside as well as capping. The pollen doesn't stick to it and it remains intact for use when it is ready and fluffy.
Tracey
Name: Patrick
Midland, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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auratum
Jun 8, 2017 6:53 AM CST
Thanks Joe & Tracey for sharing! We all have our little systems that we develop. As an engineer by training I am always trying to find a better way...
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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Leftwood
Jun 8, 2017 8:51 AM CST
We all have our little systems that we develop.

Ha! I had started a response yesterday, but didn't post 'til now, and that's exactly what I said!
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I tend to be a stickler about knowing the exact cross being made, too. A lot more information can be teased out of known crosses regarding gene interactions.

Everyone will find the method that works best for themselves. For me, I use foil, but usually don't like the caps. Most of the time, I work with smaller flowers and smaller pistils that I deem too dainty for big, bulky caps. I usually don't pollenate the day I prepare the flower, rather, the day (or two) after, and how would you get one of those pollen caps off without damaging the pistil?

My method begins with rectangles of foil that are folded over the pistil ends. Because I grow many species, there is a large variation in pistil shape and size, and different size foils are required.
Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/054b2a Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/1ed8c9

I used to be out at the break of light to protect pistils in just opening buds in the early morning. It is surprising how much relevant insect life is already at work before the sun actually comes up. I'd hurry along, getting as much done as I can before I would be off to work - another reason I don't pollenate when first preparing a flower -- no time! (The stigmas are never receptive at that early stage anyway. ) Now that my work schedule always starts at 5 am, I can't be out at pre-dawn, so I use the organza bags as Joshua suggests.

I do use the heavy duty aluminum foil, but I agree that it is not needed (and wouldn't recommend it) for the cap method. For the single fold that I employ for prepollenation, the regular stuff doesn't reliably hold when a pistil points downward. Most of my lilies are down and out Big Grin (facing!). In addition, the pistils are not necessarily done growing when I protect them, and the slight expansion needs to be allowed for. You will see in my pics that my fold can accommodate an expanding stigma. Just another aspect learned through trial and error.

I have found that giving the fold a slight angle across the pistil that follows the natural form of a three finger fold, or even a small trifold helps to keep the foil in place. (The result, however, need not look like a Klingon warship Big Grin .) FYI, pictures here are of Lilium dauricum that opened a few days ago: always the first to open in the season, while L. pumilum buds aren't even coloring yet. Other pics are from previous years.
Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/d7cd48 Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/8097af
Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/ab9911

I've learned not to fold at the exact midpoint for the prepollenation stage: it makes it difficult to unfold. So I fold in an offset manner:
Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/09e27b Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/19702c

When it is time for pollenation, the foil is safely removed by grabbing the tabs and pulling apart, then placed back over the pistil with some extra folds to securely hold in place and distinguish the flower as already pollenated. (Of course, the pollenation MUST be labeled and recorded!)
Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/9babb7 Thumb of 2017-06-07/Leftwood/d0f890
Name: Patrick
Midland, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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auratum
Jun 8, 2017 9:59 AM CST
Thanks for sharing Rick!

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