Writing on the hip

Has anyone tried writing the cross directly on the maturing hip? I’ve lost tags or had them fade to unreadable so many times I tried it this year and it seems to work well as a backup. I’m assuming the ink won’t hurt the seeds inside. Any comments on this?

The china grease makrers I use (can buy a bundle at Office Depot) would work best, I believe. Theyre non-toxic and dont fade/wash/saturate out while remaining jet black in thin lines.

I use jewelry tags and write on them with pencil.

I don’t think writing on the hips would hurt them. I think it would be difficult to write on them.

I’ve often thought it would be nice just to have one pollen parent for each seed parent. This way any marked hip would be an intentional cross.

I recommend using paint pens and 2 inch by 2 inch clear plastic zip lock bags. In my latest modification of this technique, I immediately cut off part of the top of the bag in good weather and after several days in rainy weather.

When I first do my crossings I label a short length of masking tape and wrap this around the stem. Then after the hips have taken and begin to swell, I then use a black permanent marker upon the hips themselves … this method works very well and avoids confusion should a label otherwise fall off.

Ah, Terry that’s what I was looking for! And the ink doesn’t hurt germination? I did that with a few hips, it was easy and seemed to work well using a permanent marker. When the tag was blown off (lost a lot of them this year), it was still identifiable.

Henry, that method is good, but unfortunately wouldn’t work here in Tucson, as the plastic would fry the hip. Even open it’s not great, as the sun deteriorates the plastic quite quickly here making it brittle, and the microbursts we get that are in the 50-60 mph range quite commonly would probably rip up and blow away the baggies.

Jadae, are the markers at Office Depot actually called “China Grease Markers?”

My procedure is to twist a short length of electrical wire around each bloom when it is pollinated.

Electrical wire (16 - 18 Ga) comes in a multitude of colors.

Each pollen source is assigned a color; for example, Elina is yellow; Ramblin Red is red; Alex Mackenzie is two reds, etc.

Dave Wolfe

To amplify a tad on Dave’s wire bit. I use 4 " pieces of telephone wire which comes in a lot of colors, some solid some with two colors on the same strand. I do likewise - assign a different one to each pollen used.

So, John and Dave, you don’t date your crosses?

At present I put the pollen used, the date that the pollen was harvested, and the date(s) that the pollen was applied (the dates can be plural as for important crosses, I often pollinate on 2 days).

I may add other information like temperature when applied, chance of rain in next 4 hours, and whether hormone spray was used days after pollination. Since pollinations that do not take often result in dropped hips, I may also include the number code for the mother.

At one time I tried to use a cross referenced notebook for information like this, but I found that that was one more thing to carry; and my good intentions soon fell by the wayside.

Henry, that sure would be a lot to write on a hip, LOL!!

Judith, there is no worry at all regarding the permanent ink affecting seed germination. I’ve found this method to be very quick and effective! Even with large numbers of hips laid out in front of me, it’s an easy task keeping track of what’s what.

Yes, I do date my crosses, but do so in a small notebook for that seed parent. This way I don’t have to worry about rain, fading, etc. I typically do not make more crosses on the same seed parent with the same pollen. If I do, I use a double wire of the same color and record that. BTW - this idea of using telephone wire came from George Mander.

Judith, since our climate has a long ripening period, I don’t write dates on the tags, just pollen parent. Then I wait for the hips to tell me they are ripe!

Jim Sproul

Me too Jim

Jim and Robert, I find the comment about a long ripening period interesting. Some have said in hot climates the hips ripen more quickly. I’m finding the opposite, that most of my hips are not ripe until 4-5 months. Is it possible the hips stop maturing when the hot weather shuts down the plant growth?

Thank you Terry. I believe I’ll start doing this on a more regular basis. Sure helps when you find a hip on the ground, doesn’t it?

So far, it appears to me, that “critters” ignore the hips in the plastic baggies whether on the bush or on the ground. Conversely, often open pollinated hips show evidence that something was nibbling on them.

HI Judith, yes, they seem to take a long time to ripen here for some reason. I’ve been finding a number hanging from their Jewelry tag, green but obviously mature enough to drop from the plant w/out turning color.

This is keeping me on my toes as my dogs make short work of them. I have harvested nearly everything at this point. I have several I did late but I am going to take them soon regardless of color.

Every few days I try to cinch up my tag snug on the peduncle and wrap the attached string around a twig so as not to lose them.

I’ve lost many to early abscission in years past. One must be diligent.

Hello Judith,

I have no time to read all the replies. I had the same problem 30 years ago.

I have been using regular lead pencils for the last 20 years, as ink marking pens can fade out in a few month.

I have tested them on different plastic tags for 5 years outside and they are still readable.

For the last 15 years I now use very thin telephone wires which come in an array of colours which I get from our local phone co. maintenance dpt. for free.

Each pollen parent has a colour assigned and I twist the wire around just below the hip. This works the BEST for me and two local hybridizer friends do the same now and say that this is the “BEST” way to go. Good luck.

George Mander