As commercial cannabis cultivation centers scale up in size, they are also discovering the need to optimize limited grow space. University of Connecticut researchers examined traditional methods and a new method called “retipping” and published the findings in HortScience. Retipping involves taking cuttings from healthy mother plants that were micropropagated in a sterile, laboratory-controlled setting.
Retipping can be the key to a commercial growing operation’s efficiency. As principal investigator Jessica Lubell-Brand, Ph.D., explained, “Retipping has the potential to produce nine-times as many plants in a similar amount of floor space as stem cuttings from traditional stock mother plants.” This method could help cultivation operators optimize floor space while maintaining the quality of their final product.” The researchers believe retipping helps maintain plant genetics, quality, and consistency.
The micropropagated mother plants used in this study were grown in a laboratory and produced identical, disease-free plants. The plants were grown in small containers that take up less space than conventional propagation methods. The UConn research team tracked cannabis plant growth in a greenhouse to assess differences between three methods: microcuttings, stem cuttings, and retip cuttings. The researchers found that all three methods resulted in similar size and growth patterns. The plants also had the same chemical profile for plants using the three methods. However, retipping required the least propagation space.
Currently, many cannabis cultivation facilities use large, conventionally grown mother plants and stem cuttings to clone. This approach takes up significant operational space, and a lack of proper spacing between mother plants can promote disease and pest infestation. This study suggests the alternative method of retipping can potentially increase the production of starter plants.
Commercial cultivation techniques will continue to feature technological and research-based knowledge infused into growing methods. Retipping is one of the many cannabis growing techniques used to promote plant health and high yield.
Sources: Eureka News Alert, HortScience, UConn Today