3G Cutting in Plants

Different types of intercultural operations are essential to get optimum performance of plants in growth, development and production. 3G cutting is one of the intercultural operation which is seen to directly improve the plant’s performance in production. It is mainly carried out in plants related to cucurbitaceae family like cucumber, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, pumpkin etc but also seen fruitful in some other plants like brinjal, chilly, tomato and okra.

Plants relating to cucurbitaceae family are hermaphrodite i.e. they produce male and female flowers. The number of fruit set depends on the ratio of male to female flowers. Higher the number of female flowers higher will be the fruit set which in turn gives higher production. The ratio of male to female flowers can be maintained by an easy handy procedure called 3G cutting.

What is 3G cutting?

3G means 3rd generation, 3G cutting is the procedure to maintain 3rd generation (tertiary) branches on plant by eliminating the 1st (primary) and 2nd generation (secondary) branches by cutting or pinching. The stem that develops as main branch since the seed germination is referred as 1st generation. When the 1st generation branch produce other branches those branches are referred as 2nd generation branches. Further when 2nd generation branches produce branches those are referred as 3rd generation branches.

Different studies suggest that, in plants of cucurbitaceae family the 1st and 2nd generation branches tend to produce more male flowers than female flowers almost at the ratio of 14:1 (male: female). Due to which fruit set is seen very low in these branches despite of heavy flowering. Whereas, 3rd generation branches tend to produce more number of female flowers than male flower. Due to which, along with adequate pollination conditions more number of fruits are set per branch and hence per plant leading to higher production.

 Procedure for 3G cutting

  • The plant should be allowed to grow up to the height of 6-7 feet. The primary branch produced from the seed should not be allowed to produce any secondary branches till 5-6 leaves height and if produced should be removed by pinching them off. This makes the base of the plant strong.
  • Then, the apical portion of the growing branch is cut. This will break the apical dominance and plant is induced to produce the secondary branches.

  • Now, these secondary branches are allowed to grow up to 2-3 ft. Number of these secondary branches should be kept up to 3-4 branches.
  • When the secondary branches reach the height, they are again cut along the tip of branch. This induce the production of tertiary branches.

  • Finally the tertiary branches are allowed to grow and set fruit.


Special attention

  • Plant should be at proper sun shining area during 3G cutting.
  • Soil should be adequately moist during the procedure.
  • Plant may be prone to diseases due to the cut, which can be easily minimized by maintaining sun exposure and moisture.
  • Suckers should not be allowed to grow till the plant acquires the required height. Such suckers should be pinched off at their initial stage.
  • Keeping the number of branches to the minimal helps easy sun penetration and airflow which is essential to keep the plant healthy.

Barsha Bhandari

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