Planting techniques for the best results
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CTA. 2007. Planting techniques for the best results. Rural Radio Resource Pack 07/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/57276
The art and method of grafting.
Planting techniques for the best results Cue: An indigenous fruit tree that produces lots of fruits for which there is good demand is a valuable asset. Farmers may wish to grow more of them. But selecting and planting seeds and nurturing these young seedlings until they mature, flower and fruit, can take many years. However, there is a short cut for producing - or propagating- young trees. It is called vegetative propagation. Simply put, this means multiplying a plant from one part of the mother plant. Exotic fruit trees like mangoes, avocadoes and oranges are propagated vegetatively to multiply the best varieties. Now the same techniques are being used with indigenous fruit trees. Ebenezar Asaah of the World Agroforestry Centre in Cameroon has been working with farmers in Cameroon to vegetatively propagate their favourite trees such as bitter kola. When he met with Martha Chindong he was very happy to explain the basics. IN: ?We use a vegetative propagation technique?? OUT: ?time should be ready to plant.? DUR?N: 5?55? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Just like a surgeon doesn?t learn to operate on people by listening to the radio ? so it is a tricky skill to master the technique of grafting. So it?s a good idea to learn from someone locally. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Asaah We use a vegetative propagation technique which simply put is multiplying a plant from a part of that plant. It is a technique which has been used generally for the multiplication of some adapted exotic species like mangoes, like oranges, like avocadoes or pears, but today we have gone a step further to adapt it to our local species and I might just want to give two examples. I could take bitter kola, which is an indigenous fruit tree, or we can think about the kola fruit. So if we identify either a bitter kola tree or a kola nut tree, that has fruits of desirable characteristics. It might be in terms of the taste, or size or colour; it depends on the choice of the farmer. We can get a young branch or a twig from that tree and that is what we will take and graft onto a young seedling. And so that shoot grows down into an entire tree, and it is going to have the same characteristics as the tree the twig came from. Chindong Let?s be very practical. Which part of that mature tree do you take to graft on the young one? Asaah You have to get a corresponding young branch on a tree that is already fruiting, and bearing fruits of desirable characteristics. Now you get such a branch. The bud that develops into leaves is just at the verge of opening and getting into leaves, it is quite young. So when you get such a branch that is what you take out. Scientifically you call that part a ?scion?. You do a cut into the stem of the young plant at about ten centimetres above the soil level on the polythene bag. And you try to do a similar cut on the twig or the ?scion? which you brought from the tree of desirable characteristics as you are going to insert this tree into the grove that you have created in the young shoot. So once you bring the two together, and then you have to get a plastic band to tie, a plastic band can be made out of polythene, any polythene sheet, which you cut a small band. So you tie the two together, to form that, to bind and force that union. Once you have that union then you get a transparent polythene bag which you put over the scion which has been attached onto the young seedling. In about two weeks time, you have to be watching whether that scion remains alive. The sign of you identifying if this scion remains alive is the scion remains green in colour. And when it stays green you will find shoots start coming out. And as soon as you find the leaves develop further here, you finally cut off the initial shoot of this tree and let the new shoot develop. In that way you know your grafting is successful. Chindong Before we even go onto the advantages, I want to know whether you can take another species of tree and graft it on another species of tree and you will succeed? Asaah Actually grafting is successful for plants of the same family. So long as it is of the same family, there is no problem. Chindong Can grafting go with any tree or it goes with specific species of indigenous trees? Asaah The grafting technique goes for most species. Chindong So what are the advantages of grafting over other methods of propagation? Asaah The first advantage is that the young plant, the grafted material will give you fruits that resemble and have the same characteristics with those of the mother tree. The second advantage is that it cuts down drastically the time the young plant is supposed to take to mature. However there could be some disadvantages in grafting. Because it is vegetative propagation it means you are using just a particular plant to multiply. So if we have for instance a very good kola tree. And everybody wants to do grafting of kola, and everybody goes and obtains scions from that one tree, they stand a danger that if any disease comes that is capable of attacking that tree, it is going to attack every other plant that the scion was obtained from. So what we advise farmers to do, and what we encourage farmers to do is that identify as many trees of desirable characteristics within your community. We advise the farmers to function with a minimum of ten different best trees of their choice, if they want to use vegetative propagation techniques. Chindong With this grafting are there specific equipments used in carrying out the grafting or you can use any type of a knife? Asaah The equipment which you generally use is a very sharp knife. The knife is very, very sharp because you have to cut through the plant tissues, and it must be a smooth cut. Because it is just like conducting an operation, a surgical operation. The important thing is the knife should be a sharp one. And another danger is, the knife should be sterilised regularly as you move from one plant to the other. Because if there is a disease problem on one scion for instance, you can transmit to the other ones. We don?t want to carry disease from one plant to the other. You just run it over a flame, and wait for it to cool down a little and you continue your grafting process. Then you are in business you can start grafting and your grafted material in six months time should be ready to plant. End of track.
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