Keeping a Mother Plant Long Term

Discussion in 'First Time Marijuana Growers' started by skinnyk, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. Hey GC, there's a ton of guides about nearly all aspects of growing but I have seen little information on taking care of mother plants.

    I plan on taking about 24 clones (3 clones per strains w/ 8 strains). I want to have 8 mothers that I can clone off of while my grow finishes. How do I properly keep them short? How do I cut it in a way that I can keep the mother as small as possible, like a foot or so?

    I've seen people prune mother plants so well they are essentially small trees. So can anyone provide me with more information on this topic? :)
  2. #3 Jellyman, Jul 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2011
    When you mention how pruning well produces "small trees" there at the end, it kinda sounds like you like the idea of mother plants being large enough to be considered small trees, even though the rest of the post says differently.

    The most important technique, specific to mother plants of a limited size, is Root Pruning. In a pot, roots can only grow for so long before becoming root bound and this problem must be dealt with in order to keep mother plants for a long time. Whenever a mother begins outgrowing the largest pot you're going to give her, she needs to be pulled out and root pruned.

    To prune the roots, you gently lay the plant sideways on a cutting board and slice the bottom of the soil & roots off. The average root pruning probably removes about 1/3 off the bottom. You then stand the plant upright & make four cuts down the sides to turn the cylindrical root ball into a cuboid. Only remove just enough with each cut so that the sides touch to form corners. Just how much is ideal to take off depends on many factors, not the least of which being how the grower wants the mother to grow & how skilled with caring for mother plants he/she is. The more you cut off, the harder it will be for the mother to soak up enough water, the longer she'll last before needing her roots pruned again, and the longer it'll be before the vegetation's growth rate returns to normal. Cutting off less is safer but the mother will need another root pruning sooner and so it's more work in the long run.

    What you accomplish with root pruning goes beyond just keeping the mothers alive, or at least it can. Keeping the root system small also encourages the rest of the plant to stay similarly small. This is where root pruning just to keep the mothers alive becomes root pruning to train smaller mothers. Actual bonsai plants aren't capable of yielding many clones very often. People grow the smallest mothers that meet their cloning demands in pots that keep them that size and use root pruning to do it.

    Some tips:
    It helps to have pruned the mother smaller & for all cuts to have healed by the time you prune the roots. The larger she is, the harder it will be for her to absorb enough water with a smaller root system.

    It's safer to put the mother into higher humidity until she recovers from root pruning. It's usually not necessary but the few cases where mothers have died from being unable to soak up enough water after root pruning, could have been prevented by higher humidity.

    Don't expect to take clones from the mother for a few weeks after root pruning. During this time, the plant will be recovering and the leaves will usually grow very slowly.

    Try to stagger the cuts you make on the bottom over time. Don't cut in the exact same place every time you chop off a mother's bottom.

    Don't use serrated blades if you can avoid it- they tend to rip up the roots. A sharp, straight-edged chef's knife is perfect.
  3. Sorry I meant the main stem is thick and they look like mini 1foot trees.

    Anyways thank you so much for all this information! Extremely helpful!
  4. Excellent info here Jellyman. Thanks for the in depth response.
  5. What size container would be necessary to keep a mother going with pruned roots and all?

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