So dead sticks it is.

So remember when I said we’d see how this goes and I’d either get trees or dead, moldy sticks?

I got dead moldy sticks.

Let me explain why.

I put lids on these, added heat mats below and watered the cups from above. All of these things combined created the perfect medium for mold growth, which in turn kept my cuttings from rooting properly. I like posting my complete failures on this page alongside the successes, so that you might learn from my moldy sticks and not have moldy sticks of your own. Plants need four things to thrive: Sunlight. I had a grow light on them and they are right by a Southern window, so that was all good. Water. I watered AND misted them regularly, because this is what I saw on the YouTube video about starting cuttings and was following their example. Soil. They were planted in peat pellets inside sterile potting mix. Air. Plants need to breathe. Their roots need to breathe. I seriously neglected that last one.
Long story short, my cuttings suffocated. Then they molded because they were dead. So sticks and all went in the compost pile (not the plastic cups) and I started over.

I only had 4 survivors from this experiment. As of yesterday, I’m down to three. 😦

So, I’m doing what gardeners do. I’m learning from my mistakes and trying again. I replaced the plastic cups with peat pots. I don’t water from the top down with these, I just pour water in the bottom of the crate and let the pots soak it up. I still put the lid on at night, but during the day, it’s left off so they get maximum air flow. Some folks I’ve read put a small fan on their seedlings for air flow.

These are pear cuttings from Tom’s grandpa’s trees that he planted over 30 years ago. There are only three pears left of the orchard he planted back then and two plum trees, one of which had a very bad case of gummosis and is attempting to recover after having over 98% of the tree removed. The pears have fire blight. I’m treating them, but I’ve already lost one to the disease and I wanted to get starts of Pa Paw’s trees before I lost the rest.

This batch is looking much healthier, so I’m hopeful. I’ll keep you posted as to their success or failure- if this round doesn’t work, I’ll get some stronger rooting hormone and try one more time before summer hits.