Short Cuts to Tree Planting


Here is a good idea from farmers in Costa Rica. Two months before the crop planting season begins, farmers here look for well developed trees with large shoots growing straight up from side branches (epicormic shoots). They choose thick three-year-old shoots (A) and cut them right at the base. If the shoots are over 2 metres long they will be out of reach of grazing animals when planted. However, shorter shoots can also be used. The shoots are trimmed and laid horizontally in the shade for one week (B), then stacked upright against a tree for three weeks with the lower ends down (C). They plant them out, burying the lower ends 50 cm deep (D). They find most (80%) grow quickly into trees.

These trees grow much more quickly than those grown from seed. They use local species and find that these cuttings are very useful for planting living fences since they grow so quickly.

Try out this method on your own local trees and let us know how you get on. 

Adapted from an article by Dominique Jolin and Emmanuel Torguebiau in Agroforestry Today.