How to graft mango 2 – Silvania grafting
In a previous blog I described “Modified Cleft Grafting¨as a method to graft mangoes. Maybe you wish to have a larger plant straight away, not wait for a small plant to grow. Then, another option is to graft the roots of the rootstock plant straight onto the branch of a tree. Once fused, you cut off the branch with its grafted rootstock and plant it. The term root grafting often refers to a scion being grafted onto a root. The technique I am about to describe here is quite different, which is why we use another name.
1. Read my previous blog about the grafting knife and the preferred mango rootstock.
2. Soak coconut powder in water for one week.
3. Take any type of small plastic bag, e.g. 8 x 12 cm, grab a fistful of coconut powder, squeeze out the water and stuff it into the bag. Make sure it is packed. Add another 4 fists of coconut powder following the same procedure.
4. Select a shady area where you prune the mango rootstock, i.e. make the root no longer than 2-3 cm, and trim the side roots. Cut the shoot so no leaves remain, but allow a stem length equivalent of 5-8 cm outside the bag. Make a 2-3 cm side cut, like with a cut rose.
5. Insert the root-end into the packed coconut powder, about 1 cm from the plastic bag’s wall. Make sure you do not make a hole in the bag. Twist the bag around the stalk, leaving no air pockets inside. Tie a string to keep it tight.
6. Select the branch you wish to transform into a tree (about 1-3 cm diameter). Make two 5 cm long parallel cuts (about 1 cm apart). Make another cut at the lower end to combine the parallel cuts, and slit the bark open. You can cut away the lower 2 cm of the bark.
7. Insert the cut end of your bagged rootstock into the slit you have made. Fasten the bag using strings. Make sure it does not move in case of strong winds. Then cover the wound with grafting tape until it is stiff.
8. If your branch is bigger, maybe 10 cm in diameter, you may have to consider grafting one or two more roots to that branch, and perhaps use bigger bags to allow larger root systems.
9. After one month, open the bag to check if the roots are still alive, and then cut off the branch and plant your new tree in a pot or straight in the field. Do not forget the shade cloth!
10. Like I said in the previous blog, you need to practice a lot! People ask when the best time is for mango grafting. In the tropics, any time is suitable for mango grafting, if you have irrigation.
Other mango grafting techniques:
(Sharing the advice of Dr Sahha)
The roots are kept in the moist coconut powder of the bag to the left, while the shoot has been inserted into the slit of the mother branch. The next step is to fasten the bag with strings, and then to cover the wound with grafting tape.