Vol 120 (2007): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Krome Memorial Institute (Tropicals)

The inverted root graft: applications for the home garden in Florida

Richard J. Campbell
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Published December 1, 2007
  • propagation,
  • Sapotaceae,
  • estate gardening,
  • graftage


Experimentation began over 15 years ago with a grafting technique with potential for size control and precocity of fruiting in tropical fruit. This technique, termed the inverted root graft, was inspired by a similar technique used for lucuma (Pouteria obovata) in a large Chilean nursery. The inverted root graft technique inverts the rootstock, yielding a tree without a defined taproot and an enhanced feeder root system. The technique has been used in Florida on canistel, mamey sapote, sapodilla, jackfruit, mango, and avocado with varying degrees of success. Thus far the results have been best with canistel and mamey sapote. The resultant trees are anchored well in the ground, have profuse branching that lends well to size management, and begin to bear at an earlier age than conventionally propagated trees of the same species. The commercial viability of this technique will depend on the species used, due to survival rates of grafts and ease of management of the technique. Also, there is clear evidence of clonal specificity within species that will require further study. However, given the superior horticultural traits of these trees, there is significant potential for home garden usage in Florida.