Lilies forum: Tagging Crosses

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Name: Patrick
Midland, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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auratum
Jun 9, 2017 1:11 PM CST
How do you guys tag your hand pollinated crosses?

I use a color coded mini-zip tie system. Each cross is recorded in a spreadsheet with notes as to the pod x pollen parents, date of cross, other comments/notes, and color(s) of the zip tie used. I generally know where the pod parents are located so I only need to color code the pollen parent and I have a variety of color zip ties to use. At this point it has been more than sufficient to allow me to know what cross is which. The biggest challenge with this method for me is at harvest time where I then assign an accession number to pods collected for tracking. I take a paper lunch bag and write the assigned reference number for a cross and then drop the pods into to paper bag for final drying. The problem could happen if frost comes and I need to harvest early and I need a way to keep things straight before the pods are ready to be removed from the stems. This system is not perfect but it suits me well. The idea of hand writing tags that I hang on each flower/cross causes me to cringe.

What systems have you all developed for tracking crosses in your garden?

Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover Lilies Irises
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Nhra_20
Jun 9, 2017 1:57 PM CST
I have found that everyone has their own ways of doing things. For me, color coding would add to confusion and mix ups.

This year, I bought tags that fold over. Front side of tag gets labeled with both parents in marker. I have been using the brand Garden Marker. Back side I label in pencil. In case the marker fades. Last year, I didn't give any crosses a ascension number until I harvest and package. That way if the seed is bad, then I don't track it.

I'm logging everything in a notebook, then transferring to a spreadsheet to keep track of and future reference. All with the hopes of finding patterns and what seems to be fertile.
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Jun 9, 2017 2:25 PM CST

Moderator

I purchased colored wires some years back but have never used them. I have been using large "bread bag" tags or the slip thru-notch plastic tags and then the cringe-worthy writing (graphite pencil or paint pen only). I take the opportunity to add any necessary notes to the tag, including date of cross. For example if the cross wasn't protected the tag gets a "(D)" written on it.

Once the tag is on it is secured with a piece of tape. I have never lost a tag doing this but have lost them if I don't do it. It doesn't matter how secure the tag looks (or what the manufacturer claims) these tags can come off in a breeze.

Seed pods are collected when ready and placed into paper cups to dry. I use these cups over and over from one year to the next. Then there is the one very special cup labeled "Lily Duds". Just the labels go into this one to be documented later.

No smart phone here... I document at the end of the season in an old fashioned, er... notebook that I can haul around where ever I want. For each cross I usually (not always though) document days to germination and any special notes relating to germination. I document date of first bloom and a brief description of it. I save room between each cross to write these notes (more cringy stuff).

Needless to say, once the pollen is off the kitchen table the paper cups soon take up the space and once again I am standing to eat.
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 24, 2017 10:51 AM CST
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Ok so I used a Lorn method. I got a cheap set of blinds from Home Depot. Cut them up and punch holes with a hole punch. I will get plenty out of $10 blinds. Probably near a thousand.

I get a cheap bulk roll of twist tie and a garden marker. The garden marker is very important. Doesn't fade but a sharpie will.
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 24, 2017 10:55 AM CST
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Then I put my ties through my punched holes, write crosses and twist them up on the pollinated flowers pedicel.

This method works for me. Occasionally a tag will fall of if I didn't twist it right but it's usually easy to see which pod it came off.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
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Leftwood
Jun 24, 2017 4:12 PM CST
I track my crosses and make notes from the very start. For me, it is important to record if a pollenation is dirty or clean, unsuccessful, produces a pod, produces seed and how much, etc. From a scientific point of view, why wouldn't you want to know (and record) that while A x B was successful, that A x C was not? Seems like a lot of useful data left by the wayside, if info is only recorded from collected pods at the end of the season.

Tagging evolution is the name of the game for most of us. The way we started out tagging is always improved upon, usually many times over. My first pollenation attempts were marked with different colored bread bag ties, with the ends of the ties folded in various manners. I already knew regular markers would fade, so didn't even try that. So I started out with different color twist ties, but by harvest time, the blue turned to beige, the green turned to beige, the red turned to beige, the beige stayed beige, the yellow turned to light beige, but at least the white stayed white. Blinking It wasn't a total wash that year, though: I was still able to match the crosses up with a lot of detective work and deductive reasoning.

One year I did as Joe describes above. It worked well, but it was a LOT of work. I still use the "cringe-worthy" method, and like Pard, I mark only with pencil or paint pen, but I use these ↓. They hold up well, just long enough to last for the season.
Thumb of 2017-06-24/Leftwood/7da4f9

Also like Pard, I found that tags sometimes can maneuver themselves off the pedicels and onto the ground. Once the flower petals are gone, there not much to keep a loosely tied tag from blowing off in just the right gusty winds. Rather than tape, I wrap part of the wire tag around the central stem to keep it in place.

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Name: Teresa
Indiana (Zone 5b)
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TsFlowers
Jun 25, 2017 7:14 AM CST
This is the first year I manually pollinated any of my lilies wanting a true known cross. But I needed something quick and easy. So I used security marking tape that you can purchase in a roll at hardware stores:

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I was able to quickly tie around the bloom stem, and hope to be able to harvest quickly into a paper bag by snipping off that bloom stem (with a full seed pod Smiling ) with the labeled tape into the bag.

. . . it's always better to ask questions, than jump to conclusions.
AND . . . always hear both sides of the story before making a judgment.
Name: Patrick
Midland, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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auratum
Mar 31, 2018 5:17 PM CST
While visiting Lane Spence in New Zealand I saw a different way to tag crosses. He uses plastic bread bag clips where he has written a reference number on the clip. The reference number then corresponds to a written description of the cross in his hybridizing log. I am always looking for something better/quicker and this seems better than my current method as it would fit well with my current practice. Lane shared they are easy to put on and he has never had any blow off in his very windy climate.

Apparently Kwik Lok is the go-to for these and I will need to look at cost for buying these in bulk.

Attached is a picture of these things to make sure what I am talking about it clear. These clips are approximately 1" x 1" and semi-rigid plastic - I am sure everyone has seen these used in some form of packaging...

Thumb of 2018-03-31/auratum/44aa40

Name: Dave
Southern wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Region: Wisconsin Peonies Bulbs Seed Starter Pollen collector Plant and/or Seed Trader
Hybridizer Daylilies Garden Photography Dog Lover Lilies Irises
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Nhra_20
Mar 31, 2018 5:20 PM CST
I like the idea. My only problem would be they are too small for my handwriting. Lol. And it seems like using anything fine point, doesn't last until harvest time.
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator
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Australis
Mar 31, 2018 5:27 PM CST

Plants Admin

That's exactly what I use, Patrick, except that I recycle them off the bread I buy (I don't do enough crosses yet to warrant buying extra).

I use pencil to write on them, which survives the weather without any issues. The only negative I've found is that occasionally they can slip off once the tepals have fallen away but before the seed pod begins to form.
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Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Mar 31, 2018 5:50 PM CST

Moderator

I always use a piece of tape above any cross tag to keep it from coming off after the tepals fall. I call it my fake tepal to keep the label in place. I cut a length that, when folded over itself, it extends about an inch out. Have never lost a label this way, whether a bread bag type or slip through (I use both).

I'll add that I have done enough of these that I got pretty fast at it so is worth the effort. I just hate losing a tag.
Name: Anthony Gloriosoides[ sure!]
Rosetta,Tasmania,Australia (Zone 7b)
idont havemuch-but ihave everything
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Australia Lilies Seed Starter Bulbs
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gwhizz
Apr 8, 2018 2:18 PM CST
Flagging tape & white paint pen
lily freaks are not geeks!

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