Tropical Trees: Propagation and Planting Manuals
ROOTING CUTTINGS OF TROPICAL TREES
Written by K A Longman
Illustrated by R H F Wilson
Commonwealth Science Council
Tropical trees provide a great range of important resources, including fuel, foods and medicines as well as construction materials and paper. Trees are also vital for the creation and maintenance of soil fertility, and in helping to check soil erosion. Their presence is thus essential for many rural communities.
That trees influence the local environment, regional climate and global atmosphere is increasingly being recognised. Tropical trees are also important for the biodiversity they represent, and the multitude of life they support.
Despite this, tropical trees continue to disappear much faster than they are being replaced. There are many reasons for this, including:
unsuitable selections of trees
shortage of seed
poor planting stock
use of a single species over large areas
drought and over-grazing
organisational problems (lack of finance, bureaucratic delays, staff turnover)
mis-information (‘trees just come up by themselves’ or ‘tropical forests produce nothing’, for example)
This new series of Tropical Trees: Propagation and Planting Manuals aims to promote the growing and planting of trees. The series covers all stages from genetic selection and setting up a forest nursery to planting and successful establishment in the field (see inside back cover). It provides examples of check-lists, record sheets and sources of supply.
Each Manual will give clear, illustrated step-by-step instructions. They are spiral bound so that pages can easily be photocopied for use in the field. We hope that these Manuals will stimulate the production of sheets specifically for local use.
This Manual may be reproduced in part for the purposes of education and to facilitate fieldwork.
Commonwealth Science Council
May be purchased from
Commonwealth Secretariat Publications
Marlborough House, Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5HX
CSC (93) AGR-19
Technical Paper 298
ISBN 0 85092 394 8
Price £ 2.50
One of the most challenging tasks facing the tropical world, now and into the 21st century, is to halt and reverse the loss of its trees. People in many countries are realising just how important it is that tropical trees are being cut down so much faster than they are being replaced. They recognise that, to a far greater extent than in the temperate zones, tropical trees are integral to the activities of local communities, governments and whole regions.
It once seemed there would always be plenty of trees growing naturally, but most tropical regions are now suffering from serious shortages and increasing problems. The loss of so many tropical trees arises for many reasons, which include increasing human populations, dubious advice and short-term planning. However, it is clear that there is now a widespread movement towards protecting and replanting trees.
Scientists and growers have been so preoccupied with research on a few tropical food plants that they have tended to neglect the trees which are so important in maintaining soil fertility. Similarly, the range of materials, implements, medicines, foodstuffs and fuel which trees produce were also overlooked. In addition, the important roles that trees play in modifying the human environment and in stabilising the local and global climates are also now more widely recognised.
To encourage everyone to plant trees is perhaps the single most useful step that we can take for the drier as well as the humid tropics. Although this sounds simple, there are in fact many potential pitfalls involved in choosing and growing good trees, planting them well and achieving successful establishment. In addition, because the focus has been on a few species, the very large number of useful indigenous trees found in tropical forests and savannas are mostly undomesticated and little-known.
The aim of this series, Tropical Trees: Propagation and Planting Manuals, is to try and meet the urgent need for practical help for small- and large-scale growers. Volume 1 deals with the Rooting of Cuttings of Tropical Trees, describing techniques that offer two important advantages over relying only upon planting seedlings. First, vegetative propagation allows new trees to be raised at any time, so that seed problems need not affect the choice of suitable planting stock. Second, as has been the case with several common farm crops, vegetative propagation can speed up domestication to allow urgently needed tree planting to be carried out with mixtures of superior selections.
Manual 1 describes general methods and approaches that apply to the great majority of the more than one hundred tropical tree species that have so far been tested. Much of this research formed components of tropical projects associated with the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, near Edinburgh, Scotland. Translation of the Manual into Spanish and French is in progress, and it is clearly desirable that other languages be included. We hope that the Manuals will stimulate users to write further sheets, for instance about a particular tree species or specific local conditions. The author will also be happy to receive suggestions as to additions and improvements for future editions.
An informative Video programme, to be filmed largely in the tropics, is also being prepared on the same subject as Manual 1. Consisting of five interlinked sections, it complements the written sheets, and is intended both for specific training and for general educational purposes. Further details can be obtained from the Edinburgh Centre for Tropical Forests, Darwin Building, Kings Buildings, University of Edinburgh, EH9 3JU, Scotland, U.K.
I would like to thank my colleagues at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, and at many other tropical projects and organisations throughout the world for their help and advice while I was preparing this manual.
24 Orchardhead Road
Edinburgh EH16 6HN
Rooting Cuttings of Tropical Trees
|why grow tropical trees?||A 1|
|overcoming the problems of growing good plants||A 2|
|vegetative propagation||A 3|
|leafless and leafy cuttings||A 4|
|what makes a good cutting?||A 6|
|choosing good trees||A 12|
|tests for small trees||A 13|
|introduction to vegetative multiplication||A 20|
|managing coppice stumps||A 21|
|planting stockplants||A 22|
|potted stockplants||A 23|
|shade for stockplants||A 24|
|stockplant pruning||A 25|
|watering stockplants||A 26|
|stockplant nutrition||A 27|
|building a poly-propagator||A 31|
|mist propagation||A 32|
|shading for propagation||A 33|
|maintaining high air humidity||A 34|
|the rooting medium||A 35|
|rooting in containers||A 36|
|Taking the cuttings|
|auxins and rooting||A 40|
|trimming the leaves||A 41|
|taking leafy shoots||A 42|
|preparing leafy cuttings||A 43|
|setting leafy cuttings||A 44|
|rooting experiments||A 45|
|Care of cuttings|
|checking the conditions||A 50|
|watering cuttings||A 51|
|diseases and pests||A 52|
|potting up||A 53|
|weaning and hardening||A 54|
|Check-lists, sources and records|
|some key requirements for tree-planting projects||A 60|
|check-list of problems in growing good trees||A 61|
|information on vegetative propagation||A 62|
|sources of chemicals and materials||A 63|
|record-keeping and labelling||A 64|
|assessment by scoring||A 65|
|record sheet for clone numbers||A 66|
|record sheet for cuttings set||A 67|
|record sheet for propagation checks||A 68|