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Effect of Peat Moss and Sand on Rooting Response of Cuttings

A. E. Hitchcock
Botanical Gazette
Vol. 86, No. 2 (Oct., 1928), pp. 121-148
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2470656
Page Count: 31
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Effect of Peat Moss and Sand on Rooting Response of Cuttings
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Abstract

1. According to their rooting response in peat moss and in sand, 96 varieties of cuttings (including 46 genera) have been classified into three groups. Cuttings which rooted readily in peat moss but poorly in sand are placed in group I; those which rooted readily in sand but poorly in peat moss are placed in group II; cuttings which rooted readily in either peat moss or in sand are placed in group III. 2. The fact that cuttings in all three groups rooted readily in a mixture composed of equal proportions of peat moss and sand (with the exception of five varieties in group II) indicates that this mixture is superior to sand as a general medium in which to root cuttings. Although the pH value of the medium was an important factor in determining the type of rooting response of some varieties of cuttings, it was not the single limiting factor. The critical acid value, at which injury to the cuttings listed in group II occurred, was found to lie between pH 3.6 and 4.1. For the same varieties of cuttings callus formation was inhibited at pH values more acid than pH 4.1. 3. Whether peat moss was furnished in its natural acid state, neutralized, or mixed with sand, a more rapid rate of root growth occurred in a medium containing peat moss than in one containing only sand. Good rooting occurred for most varieties of cuttings over an acid range of pH 4.5-7.0. 4. Uniformity of rooting response of Azalea amoena cuttings in peat moss is attributed to the efficient moisture-retaining capacity of this medium. An increased moisture content of sand, as furnished by auto-irrigation, showed that in many cases, but especially under conditions of high light intensity, a more favorable rooting response was obtained. 5. For Coleus cuttings the conditions in the medium influenced the rate of root growth rather than the time of root protrusion. Cuttings of Ligustrum japonicum which failed to root during two months in peat moss, rooted in two weeks when transferred to sand, indicating that root initiation had probably taken place, but that unfavorable conditions provided by peat moss prevented root protrusion. 6. The efficient buffer capacity of peat moss was found to be due principally to the solid material, and not to the solutes in an extract. Methods for preparing samples and for making pH determinations are described in detail. Extracts of peat moss were found to give higher pH values than heavy suspensions.

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