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How to graft mango 3 – Bark grafting

July 17, 2010

In earlier blogs I described modified cleft grafting and silvania grafting. Such methods aim at creating new little trees that can be sold or moved to another field site. See the modified cleft grafting blog for basic instructions regarding the knife. This blog deals with a simple method to improve an already existing mother tree.

1. Prepare 20 day old shoots (scions) of your wanted mango cultivar, by cutting a branch, and then harvesting the new shoots after 20 days.

2. When the shoots are ready, cut a branch of your mother tree using a saw, and leave a stump that is about 10 cm long (your worker may use a machete, so emphasise the saw).

3. On the upper part of the stump, make two 5 cm long parallel cuts in the bark (about 1 cm apart). Make another cut at the lower end to combine the parallel cuts, and slit the bark open.

4. Make a side cut of the mango shoot (the scion), like with a cut rose stump, and fit the shoot into the cut of the mother tree. If the shoot is much more narrow than the cut of the mother tree, then make sure you apply the shoot cut so its side meets the side of the mother branch. Do not put it in the middle. The reason is that the cambium cells of the mother tree are located under the bark, and they need to be fit with the shoot’s cambium.

5. Tie a string around the bark to lock the scion into position (see picture below). Cover with a plastic bag which you secure with another string, and leave it for four weeks.

6. If the stump is big, you may want to add one or two more scions.

You may go on and graft many branches of the same mother tree, using many different cultivars. Such family trees can be quite interesting, although pruning is important to avoid that one cultivar dominates the others. If you wish multiple harvests during a year, then use a mother tree such as the mango variety ‘chog-annan’, and allow some of its branches to thrive. This cultivar produces many crops of mango in a year, and the hormonal signals from its shoots will circulate in the tree, affecting grafted cultivars too! If you wish to make a more beautiful looking tree, then you can use cleft grafting on the mother tree, instead of bark grafting. Cleft grafting is stronger and makes your tree look beautiful quicker, but bark grafting is more simple. Just remember not to graft anything on the underside of the mother tree’s branch, as such graftings may break. As I emphasised in previous blogs, remember to practice a l lot!

Eric Danell, the Tropical Gardening School at Dokmai Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

(Sharing the advice of Dr Sahha)

Bark grafting might be the simplest and quickest way to graft a scion onto a mother tree.

Did you know that Dokmai Garden has created an Orchid Ark?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2010 6:10 AM

    we always keep track of our family tree because it is exciting to know the family tree *`’

  2. Richard North permalink
    March 12, 2012 11:15 AM

    I have a small mango grove on my place outside Luang Prabang, they haven’t been looked after for many years (probably never) and are planted too close together hence are tall, lanky trees producing small fruit, the locals tell me they are about 15-20 years old. I have no idea what variety they might be.

    Do they respond well to be cut back and transplanted? If so how much would you cut them back? How big would the root ball need to be for transplanting and what is the best time of year to do this??

    What is the best time for planting tree seedlings, June before the rainy season or Sept/Oct after it has finished??

    Sorry I am fairly new to the Dokmai website, is it okay to use it in this way??


    • March 12, 2012 11:27 AM

      Your comments are most welcome and since most of us are new to this climate we welcome an exchange in experience and ideas.

      You can absolutely prune back your mangos heavily, saving stumps at eye height which you can use for grafting good name varieties. If you do not know the name, simply taste fruits from your neighbours’ gardens and if somebody has something you like, ask to take a cutting!

      The best time for tree planting is indeed the early rainy season. This is the time for growth and so the trees are physiologically active, and there will be less problems with watering and there will be more overcast providing shade. Still, I always suggest shading a seedling or sapling even in the rainy season, as a few hours of sunshine may roast a tree recently brought out from a nursery. You do not gain much time by planting in the dry season.

      Good luck!


  3. July 13, 2012 9:14 AM

    I very much appreciate these posts on grafting and your posts in general. I’d love to come by and meet you sometime at Dokmai and get a dose of first-hand knowledge from you.

    -Adam from the Panya Project

    • July 13, 2012 1:09 PM

      Most welcome! shall we set up some kind of program and then more Panya participants can join? Cheers, Eric

      • July 16, 2012 1:42 AM

        Thanks for replying so soon. I appreciate your offer to arrange some kind of program for the entire Panya crew, which I think is a great idea to do at some point in the near future. We have had grafting lessons before but they were in Thai with not very good translation and mostly dealt with air layering. But bringing the whole group along can sometimes be a bit burdensome and slow things down quite a bit, so before we do that, I would really like to come up by myself (and perhaps with my girlfriend) just to meet you and see the place and ask some more informal advice about grafting and other botanical issues. The two of us also spent two years living in Sweden so I’m sure we’d have some things to talk about there as well. And then we can also perhaps arrange the planning of the program for more participants. What do you think?

      • July 19, 2012 9:11 PM

        Excellent idea! I shall contact you by e-mail!


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