About Me

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As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Budding and Grafting-What Is It?

Most people don’t have a clue what budding or grafting is or if they don’t know why we do it! I can sure understand this since most of the reproduction in the world on the human side is not asexual it is sexual. Wow! How did we go from budding and grafting to SEX? Well in budding and grafting we bypass the typical crossing of a male and a female to produce offspring by either budding or grafting a portion of the plant we want onto the same type of plant. For instance, in pecan trees the nut that is produced can be planted by a squirrel and grow up into a big beautiful pecan tree but the nuts on that tree may not resemble the planted nut at all. This is because the nut was produced by sexual means. The male pollen was produced on another tree and it floated on the wind and fell on the pecan tree flower of another tree. Once on the flower parts, the male and female parts mate and the resulting nut now has the genetics of the male tree crossed with the female tree. As any parent knows our children may or may not be like us! In nature this natural crossing produces what we know as native pecans.
Now in budding and grafting we bypass this uncertainty by taking a bud or a piece of graftwood with buds from a tree we like and transfer these buds onto a tree or rootstock that produces poor quality nuts. This is an asexual method which reproduces exactly the nuts we want. This is also used on all our fruit trees as well as our nut trees. Basically we can use either buds or grafts depending on the tree type, personal preference or tree size. Most nurseries growing small trees use single buds called budding and in orchards we use grafting which is putting a small limb with several buds onto a tree.
Having said all this there are still many people who grow pecans but very few that have ever grafted one! If you are in this category then you won’t want to miss the Pecan Grafting Workshop set for Tuesday, April 21 at the Extension Meeting Room. The real work will start at 7:00 p.m. and will go on till you have perfected your grafting technique. Local pecan growers with years and years of experience will be your teachers and in this hands on workshop you can learn to graft both the inlay bark graft and the four flap graft. Plus if you would like to learn other techniques as well there will be Extension bulletins and experts to discuss how they are done. Also it is our hope to have some pecan graftwood available but supplies are limited in this drought year. If you would like to attend the grafting workshop then call the Extension office at 512/943-3300 to reserve a spot.

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