FAO Field Manual :

Plants have two ways of reproduction, sexual by means of seeds, and asexually or vegetatively by means of vegetative tissue. Both ways occur in living plants in nature. In nature, some plants reproduce mainly vegetatively while others rely almost totally on sexual reproduction. For the plant breeder it is desirable to be able to manipulate sexual and vegetative reproduction (propagation) to fit into the tree improvement programme.

Genetically the two ways of reproduction differ. Seeds contain genes from the female parent (where we collect the seeds) and the male parent (which contribute the pollen and which is often unknown). Vegetative material is genetically identical to the mother plant from where it was collected. The present guide entirely deals with vegetative propagation.

There are four main uses of vegetative propagation in a Tree Breeding Programme:

  1. The establishment of clonal seed orchards.

  2. The establishment of clonal banks.

  3. The propagation of special breeding material, e.g. exceptional hybrids that are lost through sexual reproduction, sterile hybrids etc.

  4. Mass propagation of selected materials.

There are several ways of vegetative propagation. The three main types in forest tree propagation are grafting, air-layering and the use of cuttings. The three types are referred to as macropropagation, as alternative to micropropagation or tissue culture. Propagation by cuttings is the most convenient and cheapest method and usually preferred when possible. Air-layering is a variation of propagation by stem cuttings in which root formation is initiated before the plant part is separated from the mother tree. In grafting, the shoot (scion) of the desired tree is joined with a root (stock or root stock) of different genetic origin.

Which methods of propagation to be used in a particular situation is a matter of experience with the individual tree species plus the purpose and conditions of the propagation. The methodologies of vegetative propagation should be adapted to the individual plant species. The same method may work differently at a different time of the year, etc. 



  1. 16/10/2020 La plupart des cultures maraîchères les plus importantes au monde proviennent de la famille des solanacées, notamment la tomate, l’aubergine et les poivrons. Cette famille comprend également une multitude d'espèces moins connues mais localement importantes, telles que la Morelle de Quito (Solanum...
  2. Plant propagation is used to produce new plants from a desired parent plant. There are two categories of plant propagation: asexual and sexual. Asexualpropagationis used to maintain selections of known identity and quality and includes such techniques as division, cuttings, air-layering, and...
  3. Ressource principale
    01/01/1998 The first section of this note focuses in on a new technology, called the ‘technology protection system’ by its developers and ‘terminator technology’ by its opponents. This technology illustrates the potential for patents to impact society at the fundamental level of food production. The...
  4. The grafted tree and container are covered with a clear plastic bag and placed in a bright, but shaded location and thoroughly watered. The terminal bud on the scion will unfold its leaf and continue to grow. Rootstock sprouts from below the graft should be removed. The bag can be removed after...
  5. Supporting Food Plant Solutions Rotarian Action Group
  6. 19/05/1982 Judging by the response to comments about tropical fruit trees in the last E D Notes, many of you are including tropical fruit trees in you development efforts. I have used the FAO book Propagation of Tropical Fruit Trees to answer several of your questions.
  7. Ressource principale 01/09/1976 This book is divided into 2 parts. Part I, by R.J. Garner, deals with the establishment and equipment of the nursery, the pots and other containers, the various methods of propagation and with the transplanting of the young plants. This part is well illustrated. Part II is written by various...
  8. Ressource principale 01/01/1998 This book is divided into four parts - Part 1 explains what you need to keep a successful nursery. Part 2 describes propagation from seeds and Part 3 covers methods of vegetative propagation. Part 4 gives the best way to propagate 100 selected useful plants. 140 pages, illustrated
  9. Ressource principale 01/01/1990 This manual is intended to be a guide to the vegetable production training course for developing country specialists offered at the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center. It is designed as well to be a resource book for extension subject matter specialists and vocational agriculture...
  10. 20/03/2000 Question from Chester Brinser (World Relief Nicaragua) . Reply by Danny Blank, nursery manager at ECHO.
  11. 18/11/2007 This manual was produced by Roots of Peace under USAID subcontract No. GS-10F- 0359M, Task Order #306-M-00-05-00515-00, Afghanistan Alternative Livelihoods Program for the Eastern Region. It was written by Ferenc Sandor of Roots of Peace, with support from Juan Estrada of DAI for the use by Roots...
  12. 02/02/2016 An explanation of what vegetable grafting is, considerations that should be made, and step-by-step methods graft vegetables
  13. 20/07/2011 Experience with tomato cuttings
  14. 02/02/2016 An introduction to fruit tree propagation and overview of various techniques such as air layering, budding, grafting, and topping.
  15. Abstract, Journal of Vegetation Science, 2003 Harsh conditions in arid and semi-arid environments make seedling establishment rare. Plant recruitment in arid environments often occurs only in years with above average rainfall or in safe sites under the canopy of nurse plants that provide shelter...
  16. Plants have two ways of reproduction, sexual by means of seeds, and asexually or vegetatively by means of vegetative tissue. Both ways occur in living plants in nature. In nature, some plants reproduce mainly vegetatively while others rely almost totally on sexual reproduction. For the plant...
  17. 01/01/1983 What are the advantages and disadvantages of growing citrus from seed when that is possible? One obvious advantage is that it is much less labor intensive to simply sow citrus seeds and eliminate the grafting step. Another advantage is that the seedling will most likely be free from viruses that...
  18. 15/08/2017 This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 32. Dr. Tapani Haapala Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) contain high-quality food properties and are very good protein and energy sources on a daily per hectare basis of production (Frusciante et al. 2000). Potatoes are grown mostly in cool climate areas. In the...
  19. 15/08/2017 This article is from ECHO Asia Note # 32. Dr. Tapani Haapala Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) contain high-quality food properties and are very good protein and energy sources on a daily per hectare basis of production (Frusciante et al. 2000). Potatoes are grown mostly in cool climate areas. In the...
  20. 12/04/2016 Plantains and several banana varieties are mainly propagated through vegetative means. The slow rate of sucker multiplication is one of the major constraints to plantain production The usual process of sucker removal and transplanting has been observed to be inadequate and encourage infection...
  21. Uploaded on May 24, 2007 Kath explains what needs to be considered when planting a grafted fruit tree
  22. Uploaded on Oct 12, 2010 Demonstration of terminal grafting method used to grow mango and other trees in one of Tree Aid's community tree nurseries in Burkina Faso, W. Africa. July 2008. In French with English subtitles. www.treeaid.org.uk
  23. 01/11/1993 This Manual is the first in a new series of readable, illustrated handbooks for propagating and planting tropical trees.The series is designed to provide clear and concise information on how to select, grow, plant and care for tropical trees. The Manuals are intended for anyone interested in...
  24. Royal Horticultural Society Air layering is a method of propagating new trees and shrubs from stems still attached to the parent plant. The stem is wrapped with damp moss to encourage roots to form. Air layering is an effective propagation method for some plants that do not root readily from...
  25. Texas A&M Extension Air layering is a useful method of producing roots on the stem of indoor landscape plants that have become “leggy” through the loss of their lower foliage. This method, believed to have been developed centuries ago by the Chinese, has been used successfully as a mean of...
  26. NC State Extension Stems that are still attached to their parent plant may form roots where they come in contact with a rooting medium. This method of vegetative propagation is generally successful, because water stress is minimized and carbohydrate and mineral nutrient levels are high. The...
  27. What is Plant Propagation? Multiplication of plants and preservation (maintaining) their unique qualities for human use Purposeful act of reproducing plants via sexual and asexual reproduction Sexual: seed germination, some variation, not always identical to parent plant
  28. Perennial plants can be propagated in vegetative or generative ways. Fruit and nut trees are usually propagated by vegetative means using grafting methods. For this, there are two types of grafting methods: budding and grafting. Both of them are used for the same purpose - to create a new plant...
  29. 1990 videos with Dr. Carl Campbell ECHO Tropical Fruits Video Series - Introduction To Tropical Fruit (Part 1 of 6) ECHO Tropical Fruits Video Series -Grafting Tropical Fruit Trees & Avocados (Part 2 of 6) ECHO Tropical Fruits Video Series - (Part 3 of 6) Guava, Pineapple, Macadamia,Mamey...
  30. Abstract - Botanical Journal of Scotland Three apparently disparate topics are brought together to focus on ways in which science and even technology have often been insulated from pressing human needs. A notable example is the 20th Century's down-grading of the value of tropical trees in...
  31. Abstract - Pennsylvania State University Stem cuttings of five tree species from dry and semi-arid woodlands (Acacia torti/is, Prosopis juliflora, Terminalia spinosa, Terminalia brownii and Albizia guachapele) and seven species from moist tropical forests (Cordia alliodora, Vochysia hondurensis,...
  32. For probably as long as people have lived in Africa, they have eaten culturally and traditionally important indigenous fruits such as baobab, desert date, black plum, and tamarind. Farmers have been able to enjoy the fruit of these plentiful wild trees without developing any knowledge of how to...
  33. Abstract -Journal of Experimental Botany While much recent science has focused on understanding and exploiting root traits as new opportunities for crop improvement, the use of rootstocks has enhanced productivity of woody perennial crops for centuries. Grafting of vegetable crops has developed...
  34. Abstract -World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology An increasing world population and rise in demand for tree products, especially wood, has increased the need to produce more timber through planting more forest with improved quality stock. Superior trees are likely to arise from several...
  35. Farmers have developed a range of agricultural practices to sustainably use and maintain a wide diversity of crop species in many parts of the world. This book documents good practices innovated by farmers and collects key reviews on good practices from global experts, not only from the case...
  36. Abstract - International Journal of Botany, 2010 Vegetative propagation techniques are increasingly being applied to the domestication of tropical tree species as a means of producing planting stock and capturing genetic variation. However, the level of knowledge of cost-effective for vegetative...
  37. AccessAgriculture Training Video Les plantules d’oignon requièrent un sol meuble. Ajoutez du compost. En saison pluvieuse, vous devez élever la hauteur de la pépinière afin que les racines des plantules ne pourrissent pas. Si vous utilisez de la semence de bonne qualité, la plupart des semences...
  38. Ressource principale 20/01/2012 Plant Pathology, Third Edition, provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts of plant pathology, incorporating important new developments in the field. The present volume also follows closely the organization and format of the Second Edition. It includes two new chapters, ""Plant Disease...
  39. Ressource principale 15/10/1996 Use this book to identify, control, and prevent diseases and disorders of melons, watermelons, squash, cucumbers, and other cucurbits. Table of Contents Introduction; Cucurbit Diseases; Infectious Disorders; Noninfectious Disorders; Botany and Culture; Seed Production; Cultural Practices Part 1:...
  40. Ressource principale 20/01/2010 This publication contains descriptions of promising African plants. It also reports on three projects where species were explored in projects, Cleome gynandra - spiderplants, Hibiscus sabdariffa - roselle, and Sorghum bicolor - sorghum.
  41. Ressource principale 15/07/1987 The most comprehensive wheat disease identification guide in print. Covers more than 100 diseases, disorders, and pests.
  42. Ressource principale 19/01/1975 Compendium of Soybean Diseases, 4th Edition combines the finest qualities of best-selling previous editions with updated and new sections, making it a thorough, authoritative and practical reference. Revisions to the 4th Edition include five new sections on different leaf spot diseases, an...
  43. Ressource principale 20/01/2007 The purpose of the Compendium of Brassica Diseases is to provide a thorough, authoritative, and practical reference guide for people engaged in diagnosing and managing disease problems in brassica crops destined for vegetable markets, seed, oil, and condiments the world over. Brassica, vegetable...
  44. Ressource principale 19/01/1999 PERMACOPIEA TWO; THE ENDEMIC, INDIGENOUS, & POLYNESIAN SPECIES of HAWAII, is the most important book for Hawaii. This would be the first place to identify the appropriate & sustaining plants for these islands. It includes information on 235 important plants from ‘A’ALI’I through YAM.
  45. Growing plants in general and Jatropha curcas L. in particular requires knowledge and understanding of the environmental conditions these plants require to grow and thrive. Regarding the factors influencing plant growth, an understanding of soils probably is the most important one. In subtropical...
  46. This report will acquaint you with tissue culture methods, bring you abreast of developments in their application, and indicate the broad range of emerging business opportunities.
  47. The book emphasizes the organization and reproduction of representatives of the plant kingdom and of the Kingdom Moera (bacteria and blue-green algae) and the Kingdom Myceteae (Fungi).
  48. Anyone intending to embark on the planting of tropical trees should read this manual which is concerned with the key choices and issues that lie between the propagation of good planting stock and its eventual planting and successful establishment. It highlights the need for good communicaiton,...
  49. This book was written for those individuals who are concerned about the techniques and practices of plant cell cultures for horticultural crops. It was designed to serve as a text and reference for students and professionals in ornamental horticulture, fruit and vegetable crop pro duction,...
  50. Proper management of trees and forests is necessary to make resources sustainable. Trees ñ or rather: woody plants in general ñ play an important part in traditional farming systems in the tropics, not just as food and cash crops but also as suppliers of fuelwood and fodder. Farmers are also...