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Deflasking Orchid Seedlings

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by marc, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    I've always wrapped the container in newspaper and smashed it gently with a hammer. Then I carefully take the seedlings and place them in a bowl of room temp water and gently agitate them. The glass sinks to the bottom. Down the garbage disposal it goes... A glass cutter seems like a PITA.
     
  2. marc

    marc deathray

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    great hint, jon.

    when you extract the seedling, do you do it as a mass, or singly?

    are they in general easy to separate from one another?
     
  3. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It has been a long time since I've seen any narrow necked flasks, many people have switched to polypropylene with wide tops or mason jars. If it is narrow necked glass, the newspaper/hammer works well. If it is wide mouthed the agar/seedling mass can be jiggled and will come out in one piece. I squish the agar a bit and tease the seedlings apart if the are good sized. If they are very small, I separate clumps and pot them up that way. I water with 160 ppm of fertilizer at every watering as soon as the seedlings are potted out. If there is mite contamination in the flask, a miticide would be appropriate, but otherwise, there is no reason to use a pesticide.

    When I was having a lot of trouble with mold and damping off, I used Subdue and another fungicide. It didn't seem to help a lot, I had 70 to 100% loss. When I switched who did my flasks, I no longer had the same problems and don't use anything to treat them now. I now have 0 to 15% loss on uncontaminated flasks and a bit worse on contaminated flasks.

    Unfortunately, my flasker is retiring and I am going to be doing my own from now on.
     
  4. marc

    marc deathray

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    marni -

    how can you tell if your flask is contaminated w/mites?
     
  5. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've not encountered it, but I know labs that have had contamination from mites. I'll ask.
     
  6. Candace

    Candace Kept Woman Supporting Member

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    Huh. I've never heard about this. A new thing?
     
  7. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    No, the first time I heard about mites in flasks was about 20 years ago. They aren't the same mites that one sees in the greenhouse, they are attracted to the agar.
     
  8. Candace

    Candace Kept Woman Supporting Member

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    Interesting. I was under the misperception that they were sterile environments where no critters could live. But it makes sense why the U.S. ag. department will only let you import clear agar flasks now.
     
  9. Jon

    Jon Mmmm... bulbophyllum...

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    I have done it both ways, Marc; left them clumped and split them out. I kind of prefer to get as many plants separated as possible (with as little damage as possible) so that I don't have to assault the plants later in life when decompotting them. But that's probably just preference. I haven't paid much attention to survival rates with each method, though.
     
  10. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Things thrive in the flasks, lots of sugar and humidity. The object is to keep only orchids in there as other things would and do overtake the orchids. There are lots of things that can contaminate a flask. As I understand it, most contamination occurs in a relatively short time after flasking and was present at the time of flasking. Later contamination can be from a leak in the seal, an imperfect fit in the lid, a bad filter, extreme changes of pressure that forces air through a filter, and on and on.

    The mites that affect flasks are present outside, particularly in grass, and are attracted to the agar. In a lab, if there is contamination of a flask that has been growing well for months, it could be mites. The mites travel from flask to flask, so if contamination is spreading to nearby flasks, mites would be suspected. The mold was described to me by Luarent (Pacome on OI) as 'Always the same kind of greenish-grey mold."

    As I think about it, the mites might not be harming the plants, but it is the mold that is the problem. If that is the case, a miticide wouldn't be necessary at deflasking.

    All of this is theory and hearsay on my part as I haven't started flasking yet.
     
  11. Candace

    Candace Kept Woman Supporting Member

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    Thanks Marni, I know all about the possible contaminants as I've seen those first hand. My sterile technique obviously needs the assistance of a laminar flow hood:< But, I didn't know about the mites. I'm sending my flasking projects off to www.naturallinkorchids.com which may be a source for you to think about? Fellow orchid addicts need to stick together;>
     
  12. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the link, Candace. Have you received material back from the yet?
     
  13. Candace

    Candace Kept Woman Supporting Member

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    No most of my flasks are in the replating stage, but I consider him a friend and he does a lot of Alan's flasking. I know a few other people here are using his services too.
     
  14. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Candace, I am waiting now for my carpenter to build the case for my HEPA filter/fan unit. I hope to be flasking in a couple of weeks. But it is good to know about a good flasker, they sound very amenable to serving their customers.

    Sorry, Marc, about drifting off from the deflasking topic.
     
  15. Posey

    Posey New Member

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    I do mine the same as already mentioned by Jon and others except I add some seaweed extract and superthrive to the warm water that the seedlings go into when they come out of the flask. I water the mix the seedlings go into with the same stuff (but a clean freash batch w/o all the glass and agar fragments). Same dilutions one would use if you were going to soak the roots on an adult plant you were repotting.
     
  16. marc

    marc deathray

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    excellent advice, posey.