Rooting Sanitation Recommendations

Selecta First Class is committed to producing and shipping disease-free plant material. To ensure the highest standards possible, a number of steps and precautions are taken throughout the process of cutting production to minimize the risk of contamination.

As the old adage goes, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” So it’s also important that good practices are followed in propagation to ensure success. The sanitation procedures I’ll outline are important to maintain a clean program and bring your propagation to a successful outcome.


– Keep all walkways and areas under benches free of weeds, as well as all plant debris.

– Drainage systems must rapidly remove all standing water within the greenhouse to decrease the pressure from water-borne diseases, fungus gnats and shore flies.

– When propagating cuttings from more than one supplier, a clear physical separation should be maintained throughout the production cycle. If you must mix production sites on the same bench, a minimum of four feet of separation is recommended between groups.


– Quality control tags, which arrive with cuttings, should be placed in propagation trays as cuttings are stuck. The barcode on Selecta’s tags, for example, represents a location on Selecta’s farm where cuttings originated. This information is very important for tracing forward or backward in the event of a problem.

– All crops should be scouted weekly by trained employees for early signs of insects or disease symptoms.

– At the conclusion of each rooting cycle, remove all plant debris from the propagation area. Benches and floors should be disinfected completely after each crop. Any equipment that comes in contact with rooted or unrooted cuttings, such as carts and tables, should also be disinfected weekly with quaternary ammonia compound (QAC).


– Cuttings should not be sub-irrigated at any time.

– Good sanitation protocols require workers to have a clean barrier between their clothes and plants to prevent unintended spread of diseases. Aprons and gloves should be used to create a clean barrier. Wash or disinfect aprons daily to prevent disease spread.

– With concrete floor production, recycled water should not be used to irrigate the crop. Propagation trays should be raised off the floor to ensure no water can be pulled up from the floor or bench. Footbaths, not mats, containing a QAC should be set up at the entrance to each greenhouse. The solution should be changed whenever it appears dirty, or at least twice daily. Rubber boots are highly recommended so the entire foot can be submerged and disinfected.

– All employees involved in unpacking, processing or sticking cuttings, including growers and general greenhouse workers, should wash their hands thoroughly with hot water, soap and a hand brush before handling cuttings. A thorough wash of fingernails and cuticles is critical to prevent the spread of diseases.

– Tobacco is known to carry plant viruses such as tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). Smoking should not be allowed anywhere near young plant production. Smokers must leave their cigarettes (or chewing tobacco) in their cars and not take any tobacco products into the greenhouse. Smokers entering the greenhouse should wash their hands with an antibacterial soap or use hand sanitizer before putting their gloves on.

Plant Maintenance

– Trimming machines are great for saving labor but are not recommended because they can spread virus or bacteria quickly.

– When using shears, soak shears in disinfectant between varieties. We recommend a 1 percent Virkon sulphur solution or reconstituted non-fat dry milk (20 percent weight/volume plus a wetting agent), or 1-to-10 dilution of 0.6 percent household bleach. Tools must be rotated to allow time (one to three minutes) for proper sanitization.

– When patching or fixing trays, make sure soil or plant material doesn’t fall on other plants and that all plant debris is cleaned up when finished.

Leave a Reply

More From Plant Culture...

October 13, 2015

Bayer CropScience And OHP To End Marketing Partnership In October 2016

The move allows Bayer to market its ornamental products directly to greenhouses and nurseries, although OHP will still service a limited line of Bayer products.

Read More

October 13, 2015

USDA Provides $17 Million To Support Beginning Growers

The grants are for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which aims to develop a strong, diverse next generation of farmers, and support efforts to bring veterans and socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs into farming.

Read More

October 13, 2015

Horticultural Propagation Company JRT Nurseries Purchases Provitro Bioscience

JRT Nurseries, a state-of-the-art propagation facility based in Canada, announced it has acquired Provitro Bioscience, located in Mt. Vernon, Wash. The purchase will position the company to better serve the horticultural market in the U.S. and Canada.

Read More
Latest Stories

September 20, 2015

Technology Improves Orchid Production At Green Circle G…

Green Circle Growers in Oberlin, Ohio, has a commitment to using production practices that are efficient and sustainable. The operation has been growing Orchids for nine years, and is entering its second full year with its current system, which entails three camera grades. “The camera grading — first at production into a 5-inch pot, then 12 weeks later and a final grade after the stem and buds have developed — is raising our overall quality,” says Wesley Van Wingerden, director of growing for Green Circle Growers. Greenhouse Grower visited the operation to take a tour of its facilities and learn more about its Orchid production. Read on for more details about the process. The first of the camera grades is incorporated into the transplant process, which involves placing the Orchids from a community tray into 5-inch pots. The plants are separated into three sizes with the smallest returning to the […]

Read More

September 15, 2015

Young Plant Growers Weigh In On Crop Gains, Sales Trend…

Almost 100 young plant producers participated in Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Young Plant Grower Survey, which asked growers questions abot crop categories, sales, order fulfillment and more.

Read More
Top20YPGrowers feature image

September 15, 2015

The State Of The 2015 Young Plant Market

Young plant growers in North America are changing their strategies to stay competitive in today’s market. Here is how 2015 shapes up in trends and statistics.

Read More
Vivero International_Endisch

September 8, 2015

Vivero Internacional Continues To Expand Unrooted Cutti…

The tenth largest cuttings farm in the world, Vivero Internacional was founded in 1991 and began exporting unrooted cuttings in 1993. Based in Tepoztlan, Morelos, just outside of Mexico City, Mexico, the operation opened with 2 hectares or 5 acres. With time and new customers, the farm has experienced rapid growth, now spanning 40 hectares or 99 acres, says Vivero’s Dennis Hitzigrath. “The first 10 years, production was doubling every season,” Hitzigrath says. “In the last three years, it’s been about 20 percent.”     The independent operation grows 100 million cuttings annually for several breeders, serving the North American market. Hitzigrath says consolidation among breeders has brought more of a focus on Vivero Internacional from third-party breeders in recent years. This growing interest is spurring even more growth. “We are planning for a minimum growth of 20 percent,” Hitzigrath says. “We are adding more production space and hope to be […]

Read More

August 19, 2015

Greenhouse Growing Recommendations For Lobularia

Modern-day Lobularias are garden classics with good vigor and long bloom times. These growing recommendations will help keep your crop in prime condition.

Read More
Mike McGroarty, owner of Mike’s Backyard Nursery

July 29, 2015

Backyard Success: Mike McGroarty Educates Aspiring Grow…

Mike’s Backyard Nursery sits on a long, narrow, 5-acre property located in Perry, Ohio. There, customers can find a variety of flowering shrubs available, all in 2-quart pots, and all for sale for $5.97 each. Owner Mike McGroarty, a lifelong resident of Perry, says the town has a lot of plant nurseries, including 100 wholesale growers within a 10-mile radius of his house. That doesn’t discourage McGroarty, because he knows that while there are a lot of nurseries in his area, no one else is doing what he is doing. McGroarty has learned about plants — and marketing them to his audience — through decades of experience. He has never hesitated to pass along his knowledge to other growers looking to start their own backyard operations, and has created an entire program to educate aspiring growers. McGroarty Likes To Practice What He Preaches McGroarty’s operation serves as the laboratory for […]

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

June 27, 2015

Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabi…

As most growers know well, the federal government regulates all insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other commercial chemicals used on agricultural crops. Therein lies the problem with use of chemicals on cannabis crops – so far, the feds want nothing to do with legalized marijuana. According to “Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabis,” a June 17 article on the National Public Radio (NPR) network by Agribusiness Reporter Luke Runyon, the lack of regulated chemicals for cannabis has left growers to experiment on their own. “In the absence of any direction the subject of pesticide use on the crop has just devolved to whatever people think is working or they think is appropriate,” said Colorado State University Entomologist Whitney Cranshaw in the NPR report. “Sometimes they’ve used some things that are appropriate, sometimes unsafe.” Denver officials held tens of thousands of marijuana plants earlier this year due to safety concerns, but […]

Read More

June 16, 2015

The Butterfly Effect: Insect’s Wings Key To Azalea Poll…

A researcher from North Carolina State University (NC State) has found that in the case of the flame azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum), all pollinators are not created equal. In fact, due to the flower’s unique reproductive structure, butterflies — and specifically, their wings — are the key to pollination. The flame azalea is commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains, ranging from as far north as New York to Georgia in the south. Like most azaleas, the flowers are large, and have an unusual structure: both the anther (male) and stigma (female) parts are very elongated and separated from one another. NC State biologist Mary Jane Epps was interested in how the azalea’s flower structure affected its pollination. “In order for a plant to reproduce, a pollinator — usually an insect — has to spread the pollen from the anther to the stigma,” Epps says. “In the case of the flame azalea, […]

Read More
Bee on a Sedum

March 17, 2015

4 Key Pollinator Research Projects To Be Funded By Hort…

The Horticultural Research Institute will grant $125,000 in financial support for four key projects as part of the Horticultural Industry Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. The Initiative has three primary goals. First, to convene a task force to develop a bee and pollinator stewardship program, including creation of best management practices for plant production. Second, to identify and fund research that will help answer key science questions and fill gaps needed to design and refine the stewardship program. Third, to seek to positively position the horticultural community and its customers by collaborating with other compatible groups interested in augmenting pollinator habitat and protection.

Read More

March 11, 2015

Pollinator Initiative Promotes Bee-Friendly Talking Poi…

AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists are working tirelessly with the ornamental industry's Pollinator Stewardship Initiative on a number of new projects.

Read More

February 11, 2015

Infusion Technology Boosts Seed Performance, Study Sugg…

Seven-year-old wheat seed germination can increase by as much as 83 percent, according to a Vital Force Technology Study that looks at the effects of energy infusion technology on plant vitality.

Read More

February 3, 2015

American Floral Endowment Accepting Research Pre-Propos…

If you are pursuing a floriculture research project, now is the time to apply for funding through the American Floral Endowment. Research pre-proposal applications for 2015-2016 funding are due to AFE by June 1, 2015.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Marijuana’s Trajectory And Ascent To Horticultural Cr…

Marijuana growing is poised for change as growers and researchers focus on improving production practices.

Read More

December 9, 2014

Greenhouse Production: Two Years Of Basics & Beyond…

Greenhouse Grower's Basics & Beyond articles cover some of the latest news and research going on in greenhouse production. Here are article links for the last two years.

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

November 24, 2014

GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile &…

The social garden app GrowIt! takes the Gold Winner award at the design100 2014 Mobile & App Design Awards.

Read More

November 10, 2014

The Perennial Farm Joins HGTV HOME Plant Collection

The Perennial Farm joins the HGTV HOME Plant Collection growers' network for 2015.

Read More

November 4, 2014

AmericanHort Publishes Revised American Standard For Nu…

AmericanHort announces the revised American Standard for Nursery Stock (ANSI Z60.1) is now available for industry use. The Standard reflects the consensus of the industry regarding how nursery stock — living plants other than annuals — should be specified and sold within the trade.

Read More

September 26, 2014

Master The Art Of Watering

Watering is elemental to healthy plants, but one of the hardest concepts for new employees to master in the greenhouse. Recommend these tips to start them off right.

Read More