The need for modern nursery
- Success of any orchard mainly depends upon the availability of right type of planting material.
- Initial planting material is the basic requirement on which the final crop depends both in quality and quantity.
- In case, any mistake made during initial years, cannot be rectified in subsequent years and will cause everlasting damage to productivity and income of the orchardists.
- Non-availability of genuine seeds and elite planting material is one of the major constraints in obtaining expected productivity in fruits.
- The planting material must be sourced from consistently high yielding mother plants raised in scientific way and free from major pests and diseases.
Shortcomings in nurseries
- Invariably scion shoot are collected from diseased and infected trees (vegetative malformation in mango, viruses in citrus and temperate fruits)
- Scion shoots are often taken from juvenile trees.
- Invariably scion shoots are taken from the mother plants without knowing its history.
- Enough rotation is not practiced in the nursery and same bed is used repeatedly year after year
- In general, plants are multiplied in the bed. Hence every time, 4-6 kg soil is transported as earth ball.
- Distant transport of plants along with earth ball is tedious, expensive and less efficient.
- Often, number of diseases and pests (root rot, collar rot, wilt, nematodes) are carried along with earth ball.
- Production of less number of plants per unit area.
- In most cases provision of source for rootstock is lacking.
Basic characteristics of mother plant
- Consistent high performance and maximum yield over 3-5 years.
- High quality fruits.
- Free from incidence of pest and diseases.
- The plants should attain full bearing age before taking scion stick.
Maintenance of mother plants
- Initial propagation from elite clones which are planted at closer distance (4-6m).
- Application of manures and fertilizers.
- Weeding and inter-culture operations.
- Training and pruning.
- Appropriate plant protection measures
- Suitable for propagation of papaya, phalsa, kagzilime and karonda.
- Seeds should be obtained from mature fruits.
- Rootstocks of most of fruits are propagated by seed for vegetative propagation.
- Plants propagated by seeds are variable in growth and have long juvenility hence commercial propagation of mango, aonla, bael etc. should be discouraged.
Inarching (Approach grafting)
- It takes almost two years.
- Cumbersome and tedious and be discouraged
- Limited scion shoots are available on the mother plant.
- Root stock is to be brought in close proximity of scion shoot
- It is a source for spread of malformation in mango.
- Rootstocks of 1 year age (0.50 to 0.75 cm diameter) are used
- A slanting downward and inward 30-40 mm long cut is made in the smooth area of the stock at a height of about 20 cm from bottom
- At the base of the cut, a smaller and shorter cut is made to intersect the first so as to remove the wood and bark
- Scion of similar thickness is selected having a length of 2.5 to 10 cm and 4-5 months old.
- It should preferably be a terminal and non-flowering shoot.
- Selected scions are defoliated on the mother plant 7-10 days prior to detachment.
- Base of the scion is given a long cut on side and short cut on the opposite side to match the cuts on the rootstock.
- The scion is inserted into the cut portion and graft union is tied with transparent polythene strip and kept in polyhouse.
- This method can be adapted from March to September under field conditions.
- Practiced in mango, aonla, cashew nut, custard apple, walnut etc.
Soft wood grafting
- Newly emerged stock shoots of 1 year old rootstock, seedlings having bronze coloured leaves (especially in case of mango) are selected for cleft grafting.
- Scion wood to be used is defoliated 7-10 days prior to grafting.
- Thickness of stock shoot and scion stick should be the same.
- After grafting, it is firmly tightened with 1.5 cm wide, 4.5cm long and 200 gauge polythene strips.
- This can be performed in open field or containers.
- With use of poly and net house, grafting operation can be continued almost year round.
- Practiced in Mango, Cashew, Guava, Aonla, Bael, Jack fruit etc.
- Prepare the rootstock seedlings by removing side shoots frequently.
- Select seedlings having straight growth and thickness of 0.8 to 1.25 cm in diameter. Usually such thickness is attained after 5-7 months of growth.
- For high success in budding, temperature (30-320C) and humidity (80-90%) is ideal.
- Select 6-9 months old determinate shoots as scion sticks from mother plant.
- Remove the leaf blades but not the petioles from the scion sticks; wrap them in polythene and store in cool place.
- Remove rectangular bark patch of 1 cm x 3 cm size from selected rootstock seedlings (having 0.8 to 1.2 cm thickness), and 15-20 cm above from root media in the poly bag, by a sharp budding knife.
- A patch of 1 cm x 3 cm size from scion sticks is also taken out. Scion stick having fully developed and swollen buds but not sprouted should be taken.
- The scion patch is placed carefully on the removed portion of the bark of rootstock.
- Tie with polystrip, keeping the bud naked and without leaving any air pocket
- Shift the budded plants in the poly house for taking advantage of optimum temperature and humidity for higher bud burst.
- Bud starts sprouting after 15-20 days. Cut the rootstock 20 cm above the bud union.
- Again after 15 days when sprouted bud has grown up to 3.0 cm, cut the rootstock 5 cm above the bud union.
- Only sprouted bud is to be allowed to grow, remove all other shoots regularly.
- Shift the budded plants in the open area for a few days before these are shifted to Post Propagation and Maintenance and Sale Nurseries (PPMS).
- Practiced in aonla, guava, bael, jack fruit, tamarind etc.
- Suitable for the propagation of grapes, guava, lemon, pomegranate, fig and mulberry.
- In guava, cuttings (8-10cm) are made from current herbaceous growth.
- After treating with suitable concentration of rooting hormone, planted in suitable rooting media.
- Intermittent misting required for better root initiation.
- Root Initiation takes place after one and a half months.
- After root initiation, plants are shifted to plastic containers for establishment and kept in mist chamber for few days.
- After proper establishment plants are shifted to net house for hardening.
In-situ orchards establishment
- Suitable for quick establishment of the orchard.
- Rootstocks are planted directly in the field.
- After one year grafting/budding performed in the field.
Source: Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture