Pg. 60-65 Methods for Rapid Propagation of Litchi Cultivars and Selections

The current status of different methods of vegetative propagation of litchi (Litchi chinensis Sann) is reviewed. With the introduction of new cultivars into South Africa and the initiation of a breeding programme, propagating methods other than airlayering which is commercially used, need to be considered. Propagation by seed, grafting, budding, cuttings and stooling were examined as alternative methods for the South African litchi industry. Seedlings are used in the breeding programme, while cuttings, graftings and budding could be utilized for rapid multiplication where availability of vegetative material is limited. Stooling, in addition to airlayering, could be used on a commercial scale to multiply established cultivars. Results obtained with the rooting of cuttings, are reported. Better rooting was achieved with girdled cuttings while rooting success varied with different cultivars. lndole butyric acid (IBA) treatments enhanced rooting and the potential exists for propagating litchis with single node cuttings. A 70- 100% success rate was achieved when topworking 15 different cultivars/selections onto established field-rootstocks for use in the litchi breeding programme. No obvious incompatibility was observed.

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