Cactus coring

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Cactus coring

Post Number:#1  Postby Agave Down Under » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:47 am

I had this Echinocactus Grusonii for years, recently i noticed the pups and the cored out head, i never did anything to the head it naturally cored its self and produced a heap of pups!
The cactus shows some sort of size guide to my Agave Id on other page, kinda big that Agave!
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#2  Postby Spination » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:51 am

I have one too that did that. On another site back circa 2013, I was told that what happened is the plant "lost it's growing point", so I'm passing on that explanation to you. Indeed, that plant's own growth halted, and instead the offsets grow. I was told I could remove them and root them, although I have not to date. I couldn't say what triggered the event. There was no physical damage as one sees with an actual Agave "coring" . Perhaps some sort of crown rot that only irreversibly damaged the tissue top center from where new growth emanates... not really sure.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#3  Postby mcvansoest » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:55 am

Tom, I think you are right with your hypothesis that it is some kind of crown rot - the top of the plant especially when it has developed the fuzzy/hairy flat area where the blooms does not drain as easily, or sometimes depending on growth form of the plant not at all so water can accumulate there and if it sticks around long enough that can cause all sorts of issues, internal and external.

I have surprisingly also seen birds do damage to growth tips on some cacti when they are picking at bugs, flowers or fruits.

If you leave the pups on the plant it will eventually form a very nice cluster. The parent plant might have lost its growth point, but its roots are still in place and obviously that is a great advantage for the small offsets.
It is what it is!
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#4  Postby Spination » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:09 am

Yes, and I think that's why a person's sense of symmetry and order may work against them in forcing such a plant to grow straight. When these things naturally lean, the propensity to collect water on the flat top is solved. Then again, in their natural habitat, it's probably not an issue as they probably don't get rained on very much.
I agree that the cluster look is attractive, and if nothing else, unusual so obviously of interest in that respect.
My cluster plant is just the normal yellow-spined type. The one above is a beauty which appears to feature the less commonly seen white spines. If it were me, I'd probably want to harvest a couple of those offsets just for that reason.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#5  Postby Azuleja » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:14 am

Uh oh, now you guys have introduced the possibility of coring a cactus intentionally. Look at all those pups, well over 20 of them and certainly faster than growing from seed.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#6  Postby mcvansoest » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:11 am

They do that to Golden Barrels commercially already. I have a nursery bought cluster that clearly had exactly that done to it.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#7  Postby Agave Down Under » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:07 am

I thought some form of crown/head rot, we had alot of heavy rain a year or so ago so im thinking that caused it, although I do worry when it rains as its a crater that holds water, so far its ok i just hope it doesn't completely rot out, its been a while so im thinking that it must absorb water from the core? Otherwise it would have rotted out completely?
I will wait till there fist sized before i think about removing them, much quicker than growing from seed,
I have heard about drilling the head out with a drill bit to damage the head causing it to produce pups, i guess the same theory with Agave
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#8  Postby Tony C » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:11 am

mcvansoest wrote:They do that to Golden Barrels commercially already. I have a nursery bought cluster that clearly had exactly that done to it.

I have see them for sale like that here in South Africa .I actually thought it looked like a community pot but after removing from the pots I found they are only one plant.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#9  Postby Spination » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:15 am

On yours, as with mine that did the same, but not nearly as prolifically, it was a situation that only affected the growing point. There was no rot that extended into the body of the plant. Hence, although it ceased growing itself, it sent out pups that grow, and as it appears to me, will eventually take over the original body and roots, and become for a time a multi-headed plant, until the new propagates are so large, they perhaps separate into individually growing plants. That's speculation as to what will happen, simply by observing what's happened so far, and trying to imagine the eventual state of the plant. As the new plants growing out of the body of the original become overwhelmingly large in relation to the original plant, and the original plant continues not to grow, but merely serve the function as the interim provider of the root system, I think eventually the original plant will become moot, or inconsequential.
Here's mine today. The pupping going on undisturbed since 2013.
2017 07 06 Echinocereusgrusonii #2 .jpg
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Regarding why the top rotted in the first place - here is my largest one, of flowering size. Last year, it flowered continuously for months and months. This year, nothing so far. However, if you look at this shot of the top center, one can see what appears to be a giant cephalium, from which around the outer edges new flowers develop in a ring, when the plant seems to be in flowering mode. Some interesting properties of this structure is that it seems to be hydrophobic - repelling water. If I blow on it, I get a face full of the loose dust-like material on the surface. Also, as can be seen in the photo, dirt and debris (such as the corpses of the Calandrinia spectabilis flowers which fell on it and I neglected to pick off), is surrounded and seemingly absorbed by that cephalium. This seems to be a structure specific to mature specimens of flowering size. Small plants are relatively round, and water doesn't collect on the top. Intermediate aged plants that are getting large enough to where the top flattens, are susceptible to water collecting or pooling, and therefor can be subject to crown rot, that only appears to ultimately affect the growing point. Once the cephalium has developed, it appears to provide protection from water collecting or pooling in that area.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#10  Postby Tony C » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:47 am

Slice and dice . What I thought was 7 seedlings in a community pot was actually only one plant. Store had a whole rack of them. Selling for same price as a single plant in the same size pot.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#11  Postby Spination » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:55 am

Thanks for the revealing photos, showing what's down there at the base of each head.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#12  Postby SC FM » Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:48 pm

I was inspired by these posts; so much so that I watched a video of coring a cactus. and then proceeded to get out the old electric drill with the wide wood bit and cored an Echinocactus grusoni. I wonder how long after coring before I will see any new starts appearing around the cored area??
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#13  Postby Viegener » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:44 am

I often see quite nice sized E. grusonii in gallon pots at Home Depot for $6 ($4 on sale once), so I wonder if it's worth setting back a plant when they don't cost that much in the first place.

That said, it is still one of the nicest landscape cacti to me.
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Re: Cactus coring

Post Number:#14  Postby SC FM » Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:37 pm

Wow, that is cheap for a gallon. They would be more like 30 dollars for one that size here.
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