You get one chance to select your clones so make it count. Sea Of Green (SOG) cultivation thrives in a vertical farming system however it requires a shift in propagation thinking to make it a success. Shifting from cherry picking 30 clones to develop into large plants to selecting 3000 clones starts with having enough mothers on hand to make ideal clone selections for sea of green application. It is important the clones are uniformed in size and that the stocks are strong which are usually located towards the top half of the plants canopy. Planting runts in with your all stars accounts for the biggest grid loss in yields when it comes vertical grow decks. This critical first step requires selecting only similar cuttings heights and stem maturity thickness to avoid the smaller clones from being overtaken by the stronger plants. SOG calls for more burst work, and step one of taking clones requires many more mothers to meet the increased plant counts.
Let’s start out with a video to hear from the horse’s mouth on how to clone for Sea of Green. SGS Talkin’ hosts Haley and Hayden visited Tokyo Starfish in Bend Oregon to talk with Chase about how this highly successful cannabis growing organization has developed and perfected their cloning process to meet the high density plant counts needed for Sea of Green.
Chase is the Tokyo Starfish head grower. He explains the importance of the mother plants.
In the Sea of Green process it takes a lot more plants. Cloning vastley increases the amount of mother plants. Tokyo Starfish in Bend Oregon has increased the amount of mothers from around five to feed a room to 18 – 20 mothers because there is no way to cut thousands of clones off 5 mothers to produce 3000+ clones.
Toyko Starfish has built an entire mother room to produce the 3000+ for resetting their vertical racking system with enough vibrant clones. To facilitate the amount of mothers was the biggest increase they’ve made. They get about 30-60 cuttings off each mother. The mother plants are mid-sized around 3 1/2 feet tall. They take the tops and mid clones off the mother, letting the lowers grow up to create more tops and mid clones. The mothers will constantly every 2 – 3 weeks produce more All Star clones for the next cutting session.
There is a lot of burst work that takes place in certain stages of the growing process. Chase from Tokyo Starfish says, “It’s 100% worth the extra work. There’s a lot of burst work, like one half the day we get the clones cut, then the second half of the day we cut 45’s, dip and peg clones. You cut the clones, then they do their cloning process, then watering which isn’t all that hard. Then transplant all those clones, then it’s sitting around waiting. After that it’s big leafing then waiting, then it’s watering time in between. It’s more work, just not as strenuous of work.”
There are many ways to clone and below is one example of a commercial cloning process used to propagate Sea of Green high density plant counts. The example below breaks up the daily process into two sessions for a more streamlined process.
- Phase One: Is dedicated to selecting and cutting the optimal clones from mother plants and then staging for phase two.
- Phase Two: Is largely made up of taking the staged clones and perfoming 45 degree cuts, applying clone solution, inserting into cubes, doming clone trays and finally placed under optimal cloning light intensity.
BEGIN PHASE 1 OF THE CLONING PROCESS
PRE-SOAK ROCKWOOL CUBES
Pre-soak rockwool cubes in 5.6 pH distilled water for minimum of an hour before using. SGS recommends adding Original CHO Orange formula to the soak water for improved results. Add one ounce of Orignal CHO Orange Formula per one gallon of water.
SELECT THE ALL STAR CLONES FROM THE TOP HALF OF MOTHER PLANTS
For all star level clones, look for ones that are more developed and located more towards the top half of the canopy of your mother plant. When taking the cuttings its important to keep in mind the need to plan and manicure for future growth of the mother. The optimal place to take the cutting is around the node or growth sites when making the cuts because there’s more growth happening around an actual node site rather then the dead space in between the node sites.
MOTHER CUTTING POSITION
Cut from the top down of the mother plant. The lower cuttings are skipped because they’re not as strong of a cutting. By taking the taller and midsection cuttings you get a stronger clone whereas clones from the bottom section of the canopy gets less light and not as thick of a stem. This process produces taller stronger more uniformed clones in your grow decks grids. The ideal height of the clones should be between 6 – 8 inches long and the final end cut should be no more than 3/4 inch away from a node site.
TRIM THE CLONE
Trim the end of the main leaves from the clone because it helps prevent what’s called necrosis which is the dying of cells at the end of the leaf tip. This creates a wider surface area so that doesn’t happen. The key to a good clone from the mother is selecting tall long cuttings.
STEM CUT AREA
Cut the stem near a node site. The clones need to be cut fairly quickly, at least within a day or two. For Sea of Green, you want all the clones to root at the exact same time. Four days is a huge space in cloning, a lot of growth can take place in that time which can effect the way they grow going into the rack room.
STAGE CLONES IN WATER
Place cuttings in distilled 5.6 pH water. Use filtered water to avoid chlorine and fluoride by which is common in city water. The clones are now staged and ready to start Phase 2.
BEGIN PHASE 2 OF THE CLONING PROCESS
45 DEGREE CUTS
Target area near a node site. Make the 45 degree angle cut about a quarter inch around the node site. Sterilization is most important, make sure to clean your tools before beginning. Fresh sterile scalpels, rubbing alcohol and wipe downs on everything three or four times throughout the actual cloning process, along with wearing gloves are crucial. Everything gets washed. It’s all very important.
USE BACK OF THE BLADE TO LIGHTLY SCRAPE STEM
After the 45 degree cut is made then scrape lightly with the top side of the blade over the little outer skin layer area at the end of the stem around the angle cut area. Can perform 360 degrees scrapes around the stem.
AVOID CUBES SITTING IN STANDING WATER
Get your clone trays ready. Keep the bottom of the plugs out of any standing water. As the plugs begn to dry out the roots will search for the water below. The standard clone tray used in this demonstration holds about 78 rockwool cubes. SGS recommends using another small tray between the cubes and the water which keeps an air space between the two. This is designed for roots to reach out for the water instead of sitting and soaking in it which would create them to rot. The roots need oxygen and this space provides it.
OPTIONAL – SPRAY CUTTINGS ENDS
After this a quick dip into the liquid rooting solutions then spray the clone tip with Clear CHO spray.
LOAD CLONE TRAYS
Insert Clones into rockwool cubes in clone tray. Once the full tray is filled, place the dome back over the tray of clones. It takes about 20 minutes for the plant to wilt, so this process should be done rather quickly. Standard tray holds 72 clones.
SPRAY YOUR LEAVES WITH H2O OR OPTIONAL CLEAR CHO
Before doming your clones lightly spray 5.6 pH water on the canopy of your clones. Optional enhancement is adding a few drops of Clear CHO formula to your spray bottle. This will help the clone environment in the dome create more humidity. After the initial spraying hold off from spraying the canopy again. If your cubes are soaked correctly and not in standing water the initial foliar spray usually is enough for roots to pop.
SET THE OPTIMAL LIGHT INTENSITY
Clones prefer lower light levels. Dial your par levels down to 55-80 micromoles at dome level by using a quantum meter.
MAINTAIN PROPER ENVIORONMENT
There are three main environmental factors to keep in mind in the cloning room:
– Keep humidity in the domes at 55% or above, ideally 75-80%
– pH at 5.6 is found to be the best where we see no defects in the plants from that level
– Usually keep room at 75 degrees and below 80 degrees
You may currently be cloning using a standard method of cloning on a smaller scale. If you are looking to increase your grow by using the Sea of Green method, this is the cloning method to use. This video interview with Chase from Tokyo Starfish shows a proven method in the transition from using the standard cloning process to the Sea of Green application using CHO Orange and CHO Clear. It’s simple, effective and proven, and the benefits are undeniable.
Special shout out to Toyko Starfish for letting us interview Chase. Also special thanks to Chase who is Toyko Starfish’s head grower.