New Forests

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 551–570 | Cite as

Cutting propagation of Santalum austrocaledonicum: the effect of genotype, cutting source, cutting size, propagation medium, IBA and irradiance

  • H. T. Tate
  • T. Page


Developing methods for routine clonal propagation of sandalwood (Santalum austrocaledonicum) is important for its domestication and development as a commercial agroforestry species. The amenability of this species to propagation by leafy stem cuttings in low-cost non-mist propagators was assessed in four separate experiments. These experiments evaluated the effects of (1) genotype (15 genotypes from two island provenances), (2) cutting position on the stock plant (apical, medial and basal), (3) cutting size (1-node/400 mm2 and 2-node/800 mm2 leaf area), (4) three propagation media [scoria (5 mm, air-filled porosity (AFP)—29%), vermiculite and perlite (1:1 v/v, AFP—46%) and vermiculite, perlite and peat (2:2:1 v/v/v, AFP—42%)], (5) indole-3-butyric (IBA) (3000, 4000 and 8000 ppm) and (6) irradiance in the propagator [daily light integral (DLI) 5.3, 3.9, 2.6, 2.2 mol m−2 day−1]. IBA, propagation media and cutting size had no significant effect on rooting percentage, root number or root growth. Evidence of provenance-based variation in rooting capacity was recorded with greater rooting success for genotypes from the island of Erromango compared with Tanna. Variation in adventitious root induction was also recorded between individual genotypes from Erromango across all four experiments. Cuttings collected from the apical and medial parts of the shoot on the stock plant had higher rooting percentage than those collected from the base. Differences in rooting capacity between apical and medial shoots were variable between experiments and may be attributed to different levels of hardening. The use of artificial shade (~ 70%) to achieve a mean DLI of between 2.6 and 3.9 mol m−2 day−1 increased rooting percentage compared to both lower (2.2 mol m−2 day−1 or ~ 90% shade) and higher (5.3 mol m−2 day−1 or ~ 50% shade) irradiance treatments. Leaf retention of cuttings in the propagator was positively associated with the percentage of cuttings with adventitious roots, with highest percentage in cuttings with full leaf retention, regardless of original cutting size. This study demonstrated S. austrocaledonicum seedlings can be successfully propagated by cuttings provided the propagation conditions are optimized for each genotype.


Sandalwood Santalum Cuttings Vegetative propagation Clonal propagation 



Research was supported by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR projects FST/2002/097 and FST/2008/010). HT was in receipt of a John Allwright fellowship from the Australian Centre for Agricultural Research (ACIAR).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.James Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  2. 2.Vanuatu Department of ForestsMinistry of AgriculturePort VilaVanuatu
  3. 3.Tropical Forests and People Research CentreThe University of the Sunshine CoastMaroochydoreAustralia

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