Getting cuttings safely back to base
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CTA. 1994. Getting cuttings safely back to base. Spore 54. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49529
Vegetative propagation - grafting, rooting of cuttings and budding - is an invaluable tool for selecting and breeding trees. It permits the rapid capture of desirable heritable traits of a plant. The challenge is to get cuttings back to a central...
Vegetative propagation - grafting, rooting of cuttings and budding - is an invaluable tool for selecting and breeding trees. It permits the rapid capture of desirable heritable traits of a plant. The challenge is to get cuttings back to a central nursery when their transport can take several days or even weeks. Keeping material fresh and free of disease in transit is a serious problem, especially in the tropics. ICRAF has been conducting experiments using a semi-sterile method of caring for cuttings in transit. The essential objective of this work is to provide a medium to hold the cuttings in such a way that the cut surfaces are continuously moistened and aerated. An anti-oxidant such as activated charcoal is required to suppress tissue deterioration caused by organic acids discharged by tissue wounds. Furthermore a cleaning and sterilization routine is essential to minimize contamination from fungal and insect pests. Cuttings are sealed in poly thene bags in the field and taken back to the collectors' camp for thorough cleaning. There the cuttings are trimmed to allow 2-3 nodes per twig and all the leaves are removed. The prepared cuttings are then scrubbed with cotton wool moistened in tap water to remove dirt, insect eggs and fungal spores and subsequently soaked for 10 minutes in bleach (3% active chlorine). They are rinsed, in turn, in solutions of 1% acaricide, 1% fungicide and 10% sodium hypochlorite. Finally, the cuttings are dipped in Seradix powder and placed in bottles containing the special medium. The bottles are sealed in aluminium foil, secured with a rubber band and placed in a cool box. This method has proved to be successful. In early 1993 ICRAF researchers made collections of Markhamia lutea in Uganda. The transport back to the nursery at Maseno in Kenya took 8-12 days; it was a good test of the effectiveness of the semi-sterile method. The performance of the cuttings as grafts confirmed that minimizing contamination by cleaning and sterilizing cuttings increased their later success rates in grafts. ICRAF are cur-, rently experimenting with different compositions of medium and with types of cutting and cleaning routines in order to improve on and refine this technique. Agroforestry Today B Owour, F Owino, F Esegu ICRAF PO Box 30677 Nairobi KENYA