Trees That Feed Foundation

Tree Propagation

Think smarter, not harder. We provide the knowledge and resources to help our growers turn their first breadfruit shipment into a nursery business! Propagating trees can be easy and extremely rewarding with a little patience. Through propagation you can turn one tree into ten!

TTFF wants to help the people of Haiti, Jamaica, and currently eight other countries, to feed themselves by planting trees.  We provide trees, but in the long run we need to show how to propagate more trees independently.  And this can be more complicated than it seems!

Surprisingly, many trees, especially fruit trees, cannot be propagated from seeds!  Breadfruit trees, for example, propagate naturally through suckers emerging from roots near the surface of the soil (a slow process).  When a mango seed is planted, the mango tree that grows will bear fruit, but probably not the same kind of mango!  (The botanists call this phenomenon multi-embryonic seeding.)

TTFF trains farmers and agronomists in several methods of tree propagation.  For breadfruit, root culture or stem culture are reliable, and fairly quick methods.  Local nurserymen can produce hundreds of little breadfruit saplings in 8 to 12 weeks.  Contact us for more details, if you wish to propagate breadfruit trees.   For mangos, the way to produce an excellent fruiting tree is by grafting an excellent branch onto a common mango tree.  For some trees, air layering (also called circumposing) is used.

In all cases, a very small sapling then must be replanted into a potting bag with good soil, and kept in partial shade for a few weeks to “harden” before it can be planted in the open field.

Your donations fund training programs and seminars where we teach these propagation methods, of course with the support of expert agronomists.  Recently, for example, we took seven Haitian agronomists and farmers to Jamaica to learn from experts there. Periodically we hold seminars in our operating countries.

In the photos above we see the progress of a breadfruit tree undergoing propagation. In the first photo we create a cut in the bark through marcotting. In the second photo the sapling cutting has been wrapped onto the cut. Weeks later we see tree growth as shown by our third photo. And with a little bit of patience, you will find breadfruit flowers and fruit!

Read about the propagation experiment TTFF co-founder Mike McLaughlin is doing in his home here.

Watch a video about air-layering here.