Research Paper (postgraduate), 2018
Grafting is a method of asexual propagation where two living plant parts (the rootstock and scion) are united together to grow as a single plant. Although grafting in fruits and nuts is an ancient technique, vegetable grafting is relatively a recent innovation and has emerged as one of the most important integrated pest management strategy to manage soil borne pathogens and insect pests of solanaceous and cucurbitaceous vegetable crops at the turn of 20th century. The earliest reports from Japan included the use of Cucurbita moschata to confer Fusarium wilt resistance in watermelon production (Oda 2002; Sakata et al 2007, 2008). Grafting as a disease management tactic has rapidly expanded to solanaceous and cucurbitaceous vegetables due to the factors viz. increased pathogen inoculum densities due to intensification of production practices, reliance on susceptible cultivars to meet specific market demands , global movement and local invasion of novel pathogens, increased use of organic practices, the rapid adoption of high tunnel production systems, use of appropriate technologies for resource-limited farmers and the ban on methyl bromide via Montreal Protocol (Sakata et al 2007). The recent use of semi-automated grafting machines and grafting robots ensures higher grafting speed, higher survival rate of grafted plants, reduces the higher price of grafted seedlings, and thus encourages the cultivation of grafted plants among small-scale farmers. In addition, grafting provides advantages to manage abiotic stress, to reduce reliance on chemical and fertilizer inputs, and to enhance fruit quality and yield (Colla et al 2010a, b; Proietti et al 2008; Rouphael et al 2008a, b).
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