Tips in Buying Planting Materials

After spending millions for the land, fence, rest house and other structures, the orchard grower would probably think of buying cheap planting materials because his budget is already exhausted.

The low-priced seedlings will also grow well, especially if they are the native variety. He will have the “shock” of his life, when the fruits turn sour instead of the variety guaranteed by the seller of the seedlings. His orchard dream farm will then become a nightmare. This usually happens when an orchard grower is influenced and deceived by the sweet sales talk of the sources of cheap but inferior seedlings who are mostly middlemen. No amount of publicity will make an inferior variety produce superior quality fruits

In the late ’80s, a company engaged in buying and selling seedlings and made a lot of money. They paid ads in newspapers claiming that the products are imported and superior when in fact, they were only bought from several local nurseries in southern Luzon. When the seedlings bought from the company bore inferior quality fruits, the company lost customers and eventually closed the business.

In the early ’90s, an ordinary employee who earned a diploma in Agriculture became an instant millionaire because he was used as a ‘mango expert’ of an agricultural TV program sponsored by a congressman. Because of his TV exposure, he ventured in buying and selling of Carabao mango seedlings and he fooled his TV audience that he himself propagated what he was selling. His stocks sold like hotcakes so he ordered more truckloads of seedlings from other nurseries. He even recommended high density planting Carabao mango with a distance of 5 x 5 meters to make more money from the sales of seedlings.

However, the mango planted in a very close distance became overcrowded before commercial fruiting, thus the owners had to cut in-between tree to make the distance at 10 x 10 meters. After several years, most of the Carabao seedlings bought from the pseudo-expert bore inferior quality fruits. Many of the ‘Carabao mango’ seedlings he sold were not actually Carabao mango, but inferior varieties like Supsupin (Senorita), Pico, Indian mango, and other manipulated seedlings. When the seedlings he sold bore inferior quality fruits, no one trusted him anymore.

These incidents only confirm that publicity alone does not guarantee the quality of planting materials sold by nurseries. It is very necessary to survey the nursery and look for the mother plant where the propagator gets his scion or bud sticks before buying anything. Know first if the nursery operator is credible based on his previous seedlings’ transactions. Further, see to it that the mother plant is healthy and bearing fruits especially when you will purchase cultivars that are mostly 70% male when grown from seeds, such as lychee, rambutan and longan.

There are even nurseries with no mother plant fool customers by cutting the seedling and grafting the top of the same plant. The seedlings will then appear as grafted plants and the nursery operator will pass it off as asexually propagated seedlings which command a price higher than seedlings which are not manipulated. If female, the manipulated seedlings will also bear fruits for a long period, as in the case of rambutan and lychee, but expect it to be inferior varieties. There is no outright possibility that it will produce commercial quality fruits, not to mention that it will also grow slowly.

A former Department of Agriculture secretary was victimized by this wrongdoing of some crooked nursery operators. The former secretary bought grafted Carabao mango for his company’s plantation. Six years after the date of planting, he sprayed flower inducer (KNO3) but the mango only produced flushes or shoots. On its 7th year, he sprayed the chemical again but, likewise, only flushes came out and no flowers. On the 8th year, few trees finally reacted positively to the chemical but it was only on the 9th year where many mango trees bore flowers and yielded fruits. He also observed that the Carabao mango trees vary in quantity and inferior quality fruits produced.

To be sure of the cultivars:

  • study first the growth habit, shape and color of the leaves,
  • see the mother plant and buy only from accredited nursery operator.

Remote supervision may result to low quality or adulterated production of seedlings. The laborers, who are only after their income, often do malpractices. The propagator may even graft the same part or scion as what happened to grafted carabao mango seedlings planted by a former Department of Agriculture secretary. The plant bore fruits only after 8 – 10 years from planting.

In our propagation, we see to it that all varieties are propagated one at a time to avoid unintentional mixing of varieties. Maximum supervision is being observed in helping backyard and orchard growers produce high quality fruits because this is our lifetime vision and livelihood.

In buying citrus varieties like pummelo, oranges and calamansi, see to it that the point of union otherwise known as the budding or grafting point, is more than six inches above the base of the rootstock. Low budding point is very susceptible to foot rot disease, the number one killer of citrus in the country.

Further, the rootstock must be compatible with the scion. Meaning, a pummelo must be grafted only with pummelo seedlings and not the calamandarin rootstock which is two to three times smaller than the first. In case calamandarin is substituted, make sure that the rootstock is double to overcome incompatibility.

8 Easy Steps in Planting

  1. Dig 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet planting hole.
  2. Apply basal fertilizer
  3. Apply basal fertilizer 300 grams 18-46-0 or 200 grams 16-20-0. Fertilizer must be 18″ or more from the bottom of roots to avoid root injury
  4. In case of clay soil mix 1 sack rice hull or sand and 1/2 sack carabao manure or 3 kilos organic fertilizer with top soil
  5. Lay down the plastic bag and remove the bottom by slicing the plastic only.
  6. Position the plastic bag in the middle burying only 1/2 of the plastic bag
  7. Cover the plastic bag with soil and slice the plastic side and remove
  8. Water immediately after planting. Make drainage canal 1 meter away from the plant.

For more information, contact:

Dizon Exotic Fruit Trees
UP Bliss, Brgy. San Vicente
Diliman, Quezon City
Email: [email protected]

Listen to “Tayo’y Magtanin,” with Ka Bernie Dizon
DWWW 774 kHz (AM) Monday to Friday 5:00AM.

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