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Re: HYB: observations


Seems like some pretty sound observations to me.  Some of mine vary a bit,
but probably not in any significant way except in one area.

> My technique for storing pollen from one year to the next needs work.
> The pollen collected from rebloomers last fall was still viable, but
> none of the early crosses using pollen collected last spring were
> successful.  Probably left out at room temperature too much during
> spring bloom season.

I haven't tried storing pollen from one year to the next, but when I steal
anthers I don't leave them out to dry.  I used to simply keep them in Dixie
cups at room temp.  Success wasn't bad, but the life of the pollen was
clearly increased by keeping the cups in the refrigerator.  When I collect
the anthers, the cups go in without any outside drying time.  That may be
successful for me because of the naturally low humidity here.  They may be
dry enough already.

> Contrary to what I read on the web last summer as a generalization about
> plants that the pollen is first to lose viability when a plant is
> stressed, I've been able to get viable pollen this year from absolutely
> wretched looking plants that clearly are much too stressed to set a pod,
> much less carry it to maturity.

This has been my experience except once in a while I've had a puny plant set
a pod as well (when healthy ones were refusing).  I've wondered if at some
point the survival instincts of a sick plant kicked and as a last chance
they will set and grow a pod even as they are giving up life.  Pollen,
though, has been present on some unlikely blooms and plants.  Finding pollen
seems to be more of a plant characteristic than a health characteristic.
They usually do or they usually do not, whatever they health status of the
plant.  Occasionally I find it where I haven't seen it before.

> Stressed plants are very unlikely to set pods, no matter what the
> temperature, humidity, or rain.

Generally true.  With occasional exceptions as noted above.

 > Weather conditions before, during and after the cross matter more for
> plants that are less than super vigorous.  This applies to pollen source
> as well, I think.

Weather conditions as presented here affect the success rate of pollenation
resulting in pods are crucial here.  Timing and weather cause success on the
puny plants occasionally and equally limit success on healthy plants when
conditions aren't good.  I think if only puny plants bloomed when the
conditions were good, you'd get more pods from them than on really healthy
plants if they bloomed when the weather was not good.

> Prying open blooms and pollinating them results in many more successful
> crosses than waiting for the blooms to open on their own, regardless of
> time of day.

I have yet to get a successful pod with this method.  I keep trying.

> Some cultivars open blooms in the heat of the afternoon, some at night,
> some early in the morning, some in the evening.  Each cultivar seems to
> be fairly consistent about the time of day it opens its blooms.  I
> think....

Yes, I think this is true.  Whatever time is most inconvenient for me to use
the pollen, that's when they'll bloom.  It would be so nice if they'd be
open early before I leave for work.  That's why I've pried open so many.
Didn't have time to wait on them.  Had better luck rushing home during lunch
and doing what I could after they were open.

> One thing for sure, I was definitely trying to make crosses in previous
> years when it was much too hot out.  By waiting for blooms to open on
> their own and by working mostly with late bloomers, it was usually well
> into the 80s and even 90s.

True.  But that can be the case all season long here.  Too late in the
season and pods are even harder to come by.  Most of my pods generally get
formed in a single week.  I daub the rest of the time, but in reality the
window for success seems a short one in the bloom season here.  That window
usually is one of high humidity after a rain a day or two before (or
supplemental watering) and not daubing in temps above 85F.

Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7b, USA

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