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Patch budding: a sustainable method of propagation in litchi
- George, S. V., Alex, N.
- Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1211 pp. 181-186
- Litchi, air layering, clones, domestic markets, flavor, fruits, humidity, lodging, rain, root systems, subtropics, summer, survival rate, taste, wind, winter, China, India
- Litchi, one of the most important sub-tropical fruits, is highly priced for the excellent quality and flavour. It is a native of Southern China, and is widely adapted to the warm subtropics, flourishing best in the areas where frost-free cool winters and hot summers with good rainfall and humidity prevails. Litchi is very popular for its unique taste and excellent flavour, which rules the domestic market as 'Queen of fruits' during the season. It is mainly propagated by air layering, which is the most widely practiced method of propagation on a commercial scale. Its major advantages are that it is simple to perform and identical clones are produced. However, the major limitations of air layering are the damage caused to the mother plant if a large number of layers are produced from a single mother plant and poor survival of layered plants in the nursery. Moreover, the layers possess a weak root system which is very prone to lodging, particularly in areas where heavy wind incidence is prevalent, such as Idukki and Wayanadu districts of Kerala. To combat the disadvantages of layering, a sustainable method of propagation, the patch budding, is introduced. The budding method is found to be excellent in litchi propagation. The average success rate for litchi budding is estimated to be 70% in Kanjirapally conditions during the season of August to November. The budlings have a strong root system and compact nature. They are vigorous and 100% survival rate was achieved in the field conditions. This sustainable method of litchi propagation can be utilized on a commercial scale in any litchi growing belt.