My wife went thru his entire post of around 60 pictures and what it took to get a grafted durian plant ready to sell from just a plain old seed. I thought it was cool as hell. I felt it was interesting enough to make the effort to share it with my tropical fruit hunters friends.
All of the pictures are from the www.pantip.com website forum. I take no credit for anything in the original post. I am not profiting from any of these pictures or trying to profit from them, so I hope no one has an issue with me recreating the post here so I can share it with those not able to read Thai. Also, Google Translate does a shitty shitty job at the translation. Enough so that reading it back to my wife caused us to giggle quite a bit. Here is the link to the original site to give full credit where credit is due...and if you want to try your hand at reading Thai:
My wife translated the post and I took notes. So, if there are any inaccuracies, mistakes, and such, then it is all her fault! Seriously, she did the best she could and did so under duress...well, more like annoyance with my begging and whining for her to sit down and do this for me! The rest is in the hands of my listening skills. So the narrative below is my recreation along with personal embellishments of course. Regardless, I wanted to get the man's story out. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. Unfortunately, I don't have the guy's name.
The family business was done only by is grandparents and his mother. The grandmother is sick and in need of care. His grandfather is getting too old to drive and his mother couldn’t. All of this helped spur his decision to come home and help out.
He must now take responsibility if he is going to run this. There are two workers from Burma and lots of communication issues. Most communicating is done with hand gestures.
Before his business got to the point in the above picture, it took 1 long year of hard work. Any screw up could cost the entire investment. This was not a salary job. No trees, no sales, no money.
The farm is in Chumpon province…sort of the beginning of the southern portion of Thailand. 15 kilometers from their home. They start work at 7:30 in the morning and end at 5.
All of this began in August of last year to prep the land as seen below. The process took 2 ½ people. One of the Burma workers helped his mother half the day! The workers had no knowledge of what to do. They had to be told every detail on what needed to be done. He scores them a 5 out of 10 because everything had to be explained and demonstrated. But I guess it beat doing it all by himself.
Mounds of shredded coconut husks are used to germinate the seeds. He did not say why the seeds were not germinated in those nursery bags that took so long to fill.
Below, the scions have been harvested and the varieties are separated out. Just stop here a second and think about just how long it took to tip cut all those pieces!!! They all seem to be in the zone, just cutting and gossiping. “Did you hear about little Pong? Why that little…”……Well, got to pass the time somehow.
This is an even more aggressive technique than I use for bare rooted, mail order plants. I would never have imagined these plants would be completely sealed up. They are serious about this...piling sand over and around the plastic.
Plants need sprayed for diseases too. There are so many that can hit durian. Contamination is a huge factor as well so everything must be clean. He sprays once a week. Cannot make any mistakes. Lots of factors…rain, heat, and more. Any mistakes, plant die.
These next pics show the retaining system and the process of keeping it clean and free of debris. Moving sand around that accumulates.
Below is first customer of season. Payoff from 7 months of hard work. The customer purchased 100 trees.
Check out the stacking! Incredible! Really amazing. They have them stacked 9 plants deep! The customer calls in the order and sends a pickup truck for the trees. The pickup will hold 1500 trees!! You are all wondering if they all survive. He says at most, they might lose 20 trees on each trip of 1500.
So if you think you are paying too much for a durian, he asks to please think of all the time and hard work that goes into producing that fruit! Half of the profits go to the brokers who sell them. What's left for the farmer goes to labor and other expenses.
He said this year is the only year that the price was very good. 50 baht/kilo. That is for a very nice durian waiting to be exported. Bad years may only bring 20 baht/kilo. So please empathize with the farmer.
Well...I hope you enjoyed the recreation. If the original author ever comes across this, I hope he takes it with the spirit in which it was intended.
Please remember that this blog/article is a reproduction from the original Thai author. I'm sorry, but I do not sell durian plants or seeds. I also do not have any contact with this author or any nurseries in Thailand that sells durian.
Questions for the original author
1. Are the scions cut from the mature trees the same day the grafting starts? If not, how long before grafting starts?
On the same day is best. No more than over night.
2. Do you dip the scions in any fungicide, hormones, or other chemicals before grafting?
No, just have to make sure its not exposed to heat or sun.
3. When the lady cuts the top off of the seedlings, does she cut the slice in the stem for the scions or do the grafters do this as they go?
The person who prepares the seedlings will cut in 1 cm. Then another person who graft will do the rest.
Interesting...couldn't tell from the picture, but the lady topping the seedlings and putting the tie on does do the cuts as well. Makes sense. This would free up the grafter and speed the process up even more.
4. Do they have problems slicing the cut in the seedling since they are so small?
No issue at all. If a mistake is made, just cut it down shorter. No problem.
5. Concerning the grafting process...are the scions prepared and grafted all on the same day? We were wondering if you had any issues with the scions drying out and not having a fresh cut.
No issue as long as same day, or no more than overnight and not wet.
6. Were the coconut mounds watered prior to being sealed up to boost humidity levels?
Yes, very moist and packed tight.
7. Are the coconut husks and rice hulls fresh or aged?
New if available. If old, have to make sure that it is not moldy.
8. Have you tried other mixes or added sand?
Yes. Used to add chicken shit!!!! But now they add chemicals to that so we no longer use it. We never use sand.
9. When you remove the grafted plants from the coconut mounds to wrap for planting, you stated that you "prepare" the roots. It looks like the roots are trimmed. Do you indeed trim the roots? And is this for easier/quicker planting? Is there any other benefits?
Yes, they are trimmed and cut the main root down in half. Otherwise it ls difficult to plant.
10. Do you do any preparation work on the mature trees prior to removing the tips for scion material such as girdling, stripping leaves?
No, because these are from other farmer's trees. Just have to pick the certain look/type of branch.
Assuming those looking ready to flush if possible.
11. As for the newly grafted trees that produce the rare flowering...do you ever follow the progress of these trees to see if they are precocious or if there was a mutation in the scion or if the rootstock was able to accelerate the first flowering? Do you study any of these oddities much?
No, never studies anything about these. He thinks they are not normal and cannot hold fruit anyway because it is way too small.
Not sure how well he understood this set of questions but not going to keep bugging him.