Cloning is an essential technique for both small home grows and large commercial cannabis productions. To learn more about professional cloning, I interviewed two experts in the field – Kelly Smith, head grower at a California cultivation facility, and Dr. Reggie Fields, owner of a cannabis nursery providing clones to growers.
Interview with Kelly Smith, Head Cultivator
Q: What scale of cloning does your facility perform?
Kelly: We operate 25,000 square feet of canopy, so cloning is a huge part of our production cycle. At any given time we have over 5,000 plants in various stages from clone to harvest. I oversee cloning of about 2,000 cuttings weekly representing over 10 popular strains.
Q: As a commercial operation, what things are most important in your cloning process?
Kelly: Consistency, cleanliness, and tracking data are all crucial. We use precise environmental controls and sterile procedures so every batch of clones roots reliably in 7-10 days. Detailed records allow us to refine protocols and catch any potential issues early.
Q: What cloning methods and equipment do you employ?
Kelly: We utilize aeroponic cloning machines, propagation heating mats, and our own formulated cloning gel. Cuttings are taken from mature donor plants and immediately put into the aeroponic cloners. This provides a constant oxygenated mist to the stem while they root.
Q: How do you ensure healthy cloned plants?
Kelly: Starting with vigorous, well-fed mother plants is key. We also test the pH and ppm of our cloning solution daily and adjust as needed to maintain optimal range. Keeping detailed logs allows us to correlate practices with clone health and continually improve.
Q: Any other tips for large-scale cloning success?
Kelly: Have dedicated cloning staff focused just on that function. Meticulous sterile technique prevents disease spread. Monitor root zone and air temps constantly. And always take more cuttings than you need allowing for small losses.
Interview with Dr. Reggie Fields, Cannabis Nursery Owner
Q: What services does your nursery provide to growers?
Dr. Fields: We offer licensed growers verified clean clones of popular strains so they don’t have to maintain their own mothers. This allows them to get gardens filled faster with vigorous young plants ready to flower.
Q: What steps do you take to create quality clones?
Dr. Fields: It starts with carefully selecting mother plants from our library of elite genetics. We propagate only from the healthiest, most robust donors. Cuttings are immediately placed into humidity domes on heating mats for quick root initiation. And we rigorously monitor for any pests or diseases.
Q: How has cloning technique evolved over your 30 years in the industry?
Dr. Fields: The biggest changes have been in rooting media and environmental controls. We now use peat-based media solidified with agar to retain moisture better. And cold-cathode lights give us full customizable spectrum for strong growth.
Q: What common cloning mistakes do you see?
Dr. Fields: Rushing the process and taking cuttings too early before mother plants are mature enough. Also letting air and root zone temperatures drift out of optimum range. Good controls are critical to avoid issues.
Q: Any advice for starting growers purchasing clones?
Dr. Fields: Inspect carefully for any pests before introducing to your garden. Look for white healthy roots at least 1 inch long. Acclimate to your environment gradually. And don’t let plants get pot-bound in small containers too long.
Q: Where do you see the future of cannabis cloning headed?
Dr. Fields: Increased automation like robotic cutters, more preciseClean Stock disease indexing, and possibly reduced reliance on rooting hormones through techniques like air layering. But the principles of healthy mothers and controlled propagation will remain.
Conversations with veteran cannabis propagators like Kelly and Dr. Fields reveal that while techniques and technologies evolve, the keys to cloning success remain fundamentally grounded in plant health, cleanliness, precision, and care. Taking advantage of innovations without losing sight of basic principles allows professional growers to maximize cloning productivity and plant genetic potential for the benefit of cultivators and consumers alike.
Mr Clones offers detailed blogs related to Cannabis Clones.
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