Thursday, December 21, 2006

Grafting and cloning

This morning we had a lesson from Pi Jo on grafting and cloning trees and shrubs. Grafting is a clever technique where you can get one fruit tree, say a mango or apple tree, to produce several different varieties of fruit. This is done by grafting a shoot from the desired variety onto a healthy trunk.

Jo recommends growing up a wild mango tree from seed. These trees grow very well, make strong trees and require little maintenance since the wild conditions have selected for a hearty plant. However, wild mango fruits are not as nice as many other varieties.

Here we are grafting a shoot from a very beautiful and tasty mango variety onto a well-established wild-type tree.

First you make an arrow-shaped incision into the bark just a little wider than the shoot and 2 – 3 inches long. Cut and peel away a section of the bark.

Then trim the shoot to expose its insides and insert it between the wood and the bark of the host tree.

Wrap the whole thing with non-sticky tape or plastic to keep the sap from drying out.

In a few weeks, some new shoots will appear – cut the tape then to let the shoots grow. The new shoot will flower in the first year; however, the flowers should be removed so that no fruit forms while the graft is too small to hold the fruit. By the second year it should be bearing fruit successfully.

Pi Jo also showed us a technique called layering which can be used to clone trees and shrubs and generate fruit or berries very quickly. Here we are reproducing a mulberry bush. (We can grow as many mulberries as we want since Tahn will eat them ceaselessly.) The bark is removed from about 2 inches of an intermediate-aged branch.

A handful of soil is then applied to the branch and held in place with plastic.

Within two weeks roots will begin to grow from the exposed branch into the dirt. Then the branch can be cut off and planted – it will grow into a bush and produce berries of the same appearance and quality as the plant from which it was taken.

Both of these techniques are used on ornamental plants as well, such as roses, where the desire is to control the attributes of the flowers or to grow multiple colors of flowers from one plant.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about classic telephone , why not post something on that for a change?

NuttyMainuh said...

mmmmmmm....Pine/Apples....gota go, work tahdoo!

Cianoy said...

This mango cross breeding tip is awesome. Multiple varieties in one tree is such a new concept to me. I hope to get more info like that here.

I think I'll try it on our tree.

Chris said...

Hey there...just chiming in. I have my own mango plant now. Soon, maybe I'll get to graft too. ;-)