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Horticulture : Crop Cultivation Guidance

Propagation - Fruit plants

In case of fruits like Pomelo, Limes, etc they bear fruits in 3 to 4 years, Litchi and mango take six to eight years before a bumper crop can be gathered. The plants raised by vegetative propagation will come to flowering and fruiting much earlier than the one obtained from seed. They might bear at the very first year after planting, but precocious bearing should not be encouraged. It will hamper the vigour of the fruit tree. Where seedlings are planted, the fruiting period is protracted and one is never certain of obtaining a good type from a seedling unless careful selection has been practised. Plants propagated by vegetative means retain the good qualities of their mother without any deterioration. For instance, a seedling Kaghzi lime of a thin skinned mother, may have a thick rind and little juice while one propagated by gooties will perpetuate the thin skin character. Always buy from a reliable source as foliage differences cannot be depended on for judging the quality and type of the plant. Because to discover after eight years that a Langra Mango tree bears small acid fruits will be no recompense from having purchased the graft a few paisa cheaper from an unauthentic source.

Major fruits

  • Banana (Musa paradisiaca)

For vegetative propagation sucker is the most popular planting material. Among the suckers which arise from the rhizome, the sword suckers (having narrow sword-shaped leaves) are better than the water suckers (with broad leaves) and should be used.

  • Cashew (Anacardium occidentale)

The plants are propagated by seeds, air-layering, inarching and side grafting.

  • Oranges

Oranges in India can be mainly divided into two groups –

Sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) The typical examples of sweet oranges in our country are Malta, Mosambi, Sathgudi and Washington Navel, etc., and of Mandarine group are all types of loose skinned oranges commonly known as Nagpur Santra, Assam Santra, Coorg Santra and Sikkim orange etc. Unlike the Mandarine orange, sweet oranges are tight skinned and heavy.

Sweet oranges: Sweet oranges are usually propagated by budding.

Mandarine oranges (C. reticulata).

Budding on rough lemon and seed propagation is better prevalent in Santra oranges.

  • Lime (C. aurantifolia)

Seed propagation and budding are usually practised in sour lime. Sweet lime is propagated both by stem cutting and seed.

  • Shaddock (C. decumana)

Plants should be grown from gooties or buddlings.

  • Custard apple (Anona squoamosa)

Seedlings vary appreciably in their characters. Grafting by budding and inarching are usually characters. Grafting by budding and inarching are usually done on Bullock’s Heart (Anona reticulata) plants, which is an allied species.

  • Grape (Vitis vinigera)

The grapes are usually propagated by stem cuttings. Seed propagation is used fro breeding purposes.

  • Guava (Psidium guajava)

It is propagated by seed as well as by air-layering, ground layering and inarching.

  • Jack fruit (Artocarpus integrifolia)

It is propagated by seed and inarching.

  • Litchi (Litchi chinensis)

Air layering is the usual method of propagation. Ground layering, budding, grafting and inarching are also practised. Plants, which are propagated by gooties, bear fruits in 4-5 years.

  • Mango (Mangifera indica)

Mango can be propagated by seed and by vegetative means such as budding, grafting, inarching, etc. Vegetatively propagated plants usually give good quality fruits. They also bear much earlier than the seed propagated plants.

  • Papaya (Carica papaya)

Papaya is propagated by seed, which should be sown at the early monsoon. Seedlings of 30 to 45 days age are 20-30 cms. Height should be transplanted in monsoon 2.5 to 4 metres apart.

  • Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

Pineapple grows from suckers, stumps, side shoots or crowns, but is usually propagated from slips and suckers. Pineapple suckers will give fruit a year ahead of plants raised from fruit crowns.

  • Bael (Aegle marmelos)

The plants are usually propagated by seed. Seedlings bear in 6-8 years but give best result after the 10th year.

  • Ber (Zizyphus jujuba)

It is usually seed propagated but shield and ring budding are also common.

  • Loquat (Eribotrya japonica)

The plats are propagated by gooties, which bear in 2-4 years. Seedlings take about 8 to 10 years to fruit.

  • Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Plants raised through cuttings or gooties bear in 3 years while seedlings take 6-8 years and are never to be depended on.

  • Sapota (Achras sapota)

Ground layering, air layering and inarching are the usual methods of propagation.