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Rooting old woody sections with cat guardians
Rooting hormone, time, patience
Old, woody base sections need all the help you can give them to root. Use Clonex rooting gel ($40/250ml). Paint it on the cutting's bottom soon after harvesting. Apply it up the sides about 2" from the end; cuttings can send roots out the sides, too, so make sure Clonex is there. Let cuttings dry until the cut ends are healed (calloused over like a scab). This may take 2 weeks in warm, dry conditions. An electric fan helps to dehydrate the ends.

In a 50% perlite/organic compost mix set the cutting without watering or compacting the soil; so air is able to reach the cutting's end. This helps to prevent harmful molds/fungus from inhibiting the rooting process.

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Set aside in a shady but bright location. Do not water. After a month or two you may gently lift up on the cutting--if you feel no resistance there are no roots yet so let go; try the tug test again in a few weeks.

Cuttings do not sprout roots like a seed; they may take months. When you feel a slight tug that signals the beginning of roots; if you lift it out they'll break off. So don't do that!

If the weather is hot and the ribs suck in indicating water loss, lightly mist them at sun down. Use a 1-gallon/minute misting nozzle quickly fanned over the plants to deposit some surface moisture that will be absorbed during the night when cacti open their stoma.

When you feel that slight tug from the first roots mist the cuttings regularly in the evening. As more "tug" is felt--there are more roots. With a good root system you can pick up the entire pot when lifting the cutting. Then you can begin normal plant watering.

Large tip cuttings root easily, but woody column sections from the base of an old San Pedro are slower. After 2-3 months they may only have a few weak roots.
Woody base columns will produce nice new growth tips that can be harvested for rooting into new plants.

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Cat guardians are essential to keep an eye on the plants. The natural love & affinity between felines and San Pedros is one of the ancient mysteries of the Universe.
Large tips are the "new growth" of the plant. As such they contain lots of growing energy to readily root into independent new plants.

You root them one year and the next up-pot so they rocket in height.

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Amazing growth rate
This Peruvianus is the most vigorous of all my varieties. 24" annual growth spurts are normal. This cutting rooted in 2007; in 12 months it doubled in size.
Fat ribs, swollen with water, indicate an excellent root system that is sucking up moisture to store in the tissues. In fact, a healthy plant should swell in diameter--growing out as it grows up.

Tall but skinny plants may have too little light with too much nitrogen.
Cat guardians can protect plants from evils you cannot even imagine. Protector felines know that anything with their human's scent on it is off limits; only deranged city bred cats would use your seedling trays for a litter box.

Cats love San Pedro so much they rub against them to scratch themselves. This leaves behind small tufts of fur on the cactus spines. These fur makings are a warning for rodents to beware.
Spiders love San Pedro as much as cats do. Never spray poisons on your cactus or you'll kill off the spiders.

Spiders eat thrips, tiny red spider mites, etc. Their downy webs lay over the San Pedro like Angels wings. This makes the plants feel loved, protected, and less lonely. Black widows will also be attracted to live here.

California Black Widows have enough venom to kill a cat or send you to the hospital, so its worth your time to hunt them down. Black widows are nocturnal, so you need to visit late at night to find any.

• A small blowtorch is one way to dispatch them. They turn crispy real fast.

• Using a long pair of hemostats (12") you can grab/squash them consistently with practice. But you have to be quick--Black Widows rabbit when spooked.

• Black Widows are not aggressive; thank God! They run away when spotted by a human. You just don't want to touch one accidentally--always wear leather gloves when moving potted specimens. Many times I've picked up a pot with a black widow hiding on the bottom. With leather gloves you can hand squish them.

Avoid using poison sprays or you'll also kill the spiders that are not harmful to humans/cats. Don't do that.
Organic rodent control in action
A well praised alpha male like Cougar (left) can harvest 2-3 gophers a day during the spring.

Gophers can and will eat cactus. So will rats. Cat praise is essential to ensure enthusiastic rodent control. Example: "What a good boy! Oh, Cougar! That's a nice gopher you caught! Such a good boy!" That is all it takes.

Cats love fresh meat and will devour it even with plenty of store bought cat food available. They prefer the taste. Wouldn't you?
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