Gerry writes in to ask about grafting in the tropics:
“I was watching some of your videos (great job!!!), and you on grafting, mentioned that the best time to graft is while the plant is still dormant and hasn’t woken up yet (following inter…). However, in the tropics (Caribbean), we do not have winter seasons, so how does one know when the plant is dormant?
I am planning on “creating” a super citrus, with lime, lemons, oranges and tangerines on one plant, and sweet & sour oranges, plus grapefruits (can grapefruits graft with oranges) on another.
I am excited at the prospects and opportunities that grafting offers.
Also, (finally), can one graft onto the papaya plant, as it has a hollow trunk/stem? I have had a number of my seeds sprout male plants, and your idea of grafting the mail & female onto the same root stock made lots of sense. However, the nature of the plant does not seem that it will support this.”
I lived in the Caribbean for four years – it’s definitely different, especially when grafting. I wouldn’t call myself an expert on grafting tropicals, but I do know a few things. Trees should be grafted when they are in between growth cycles, so when they are not actively pushing out new growth and the old growth has hardened off a bit. A good time is the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy season, when the rains are starting and the trees are just about to start growing.
Another thing with grafting that should be kept in mind: don’t let the grafts dry out. Or cook! If you are grafting trees in full sun, the grafts may fail because they don’t get to heal up because the sun dries them out. At the government nursery up the road from me in Grenada, they would graft potted trees in the shade and keep them in the shade for a few weeks as they healed. They also put plastic bags over the grafts to keep them moist. I grafted a mango in a sunny spot and the graft failed on me, but I got coffees in the shade to take.
I’m not sure on papaya – it doesn’t seem like it would graft strongly enough to bear fruit. As in, you might get one to heal, but I bet it would break at that point later when bearing fruit.
Good luck – thanks for writing!
Could you do a video and a post on mushroom compost? I watched a few videos on it, but I trust your opinion more. Just talking about the nutrients, micro-organisms, and overall good vs. bad. Thank you!