A recent question that came to me was whether saplings developed through budding, grafting or layering are used in Miyawaki forests. I do not see any problem with it. I myself planted a grafted jackfruit sapling, and saw it grow into a huge tree. It will start fruiting in three to four years’ time. In 10 years, it will look exactly like an ordinary jackfruit tree because its trunk is growing thick. If a grafted jackfruit tree looks thin, it will be due to lack of either manure or water in the soil. However, there was only one small difference in the method I adopted. Instead of planting it straightaway, I kept it in a big pot on my terrace, and allowed it to grow for some time. I planted it amidst other trees only after making sure it was healthy enough to let down deep roots and grow tall.

Grafted saplings of guava and mango as well lime saplings made through layering are also available. Orange and musambi trees may not grow too luxuriantly because of our climate. But one member of the citrus family, locally known as Odichukuthi narakam, grows everywhere in Kerala. Once at Munnar I was given a sapling of this species into which a bud of the orange tree had been grafted. I planted it here, and eventually it put out a huge orange fruit. Later it died, possibly because of the dryness of the soil or due to neglect. But the experiment was a success. Musambi which is very popular in our state can be propagated through budding, using Odichukuthi narakam as the root stock. We can plant these trees in our Miyawaki forests because the fruits will appear quickly.
A point worth noting is that Odichukuthi narakam has a personality of its own. Therefore, after we attach an orange or a musambi branch or bud, we should ensure the rootstock does not put out its own branches. If it does, we should bury the shoot in the soil.  I am not sure whether this procedure will be successful. It is for agriculturists to comment on.  All I can say is that it worked in my case. And it appears to be workable. Many trees can be grown in this manner. This will help us save time considerably.

Generally, such plants take seven to eight years to grow to full maturity and produce fruits. If we adopt grafting, budding or layering, we will get fruits in two or three years’ time. We have had grafted guava trees producing fruit within a year in this place. So this is a method worth experimenting.