• Using a Misting System to Root Softwood Cuttings

    Date: 2012-6-18 14:21:47
    Electronic leaves run well over $200 and are not really a requirement when rooting cuttings. They theoretically control the misting cycle by the rate of evaporation which can vary with any change in weather. The leaf gets wired into your misting controller so when it is activated it cuts off the electrical signal to the misting solenoid valve.

    When enough water has collected on this screen, the arm pivots downward. The other end of the arm then comes in contact with a small switch that will interrupt the electrical signal to the solenoid. When water evaporates off the leaf, it again raises and allows the electrical signal to operate the solenoid.

    When a misting timer is programmed, it will follow the program until the propagator makes a change or some other device tells the system to operate differently.

    While many propagators have had great success with electronic leaves, others have run into disasters. Something as simple as a bug or bird dropping will keep the leaf in the downward position, stopping ALL moisture from getting to the cuttings. Unless this is immediately noticed, the cuttings will surely die.

    Unless your cuttings are being rooted in a greenhouse or hoophouse, your misting system does not need to run during a rain event. The rain is keeping the cuttings moist and there is no need to waste water. The rain sensor has a small cup with a plunger inside. When this plunger gets wet it gets pushed downward and contacts a switch that interrupts the electrical signal to the solenoid valve. When the rain stops and the plunger rises, electricity can now get to the solenoid.The theory behind a rain sensor is to stop the solenoid valve from opening during wet weather. One drawback to the rain sensor is if a bird dropping gets into the cup and keeps the plunger down, but the cup is so small the likelihood of that is slim.

    If you do decide to use either a Mist-A-Matic type electronic leaf to control your mist or a rain/freeze sensor to keep it from misting during wet or cold weather, be sure you check your systems operation often. Something as simple as a bird dropping on the leaf or a stuck plunger in the sensor could wipe out the entire crop of cuttings very quickly under the right circumstances.

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