TREE PLANTING AND AFTER CARE – PART II

  1. AFTER PLANTING
  • Basin formation:

A basin must be formed immediately after planting: round for plain and crescent (semi-circular) shaped for slopes.

  • Mulching:

Mulch is a tree’s best friend as it insulates the soil, retains moisture, keeps out weeds, prevents soil compaction, and adds an aesthetic touch. Basins are mulched just away from the trunk to a depth of 3 to 4 inches and spread to a diameter of at least 3 ft. for fruit-bearing species. Coir-pith waste, paddy-straw, dry leaves, or stone –  pebbles may be used as biodegradable mulch.

  • Tree-guard:

It is made out of iron, bamboo sticks, or bio-thorns and used depending on the locality and locally available materials. It helps to protect the plants from cattle for some time.

  • Bio-pesticides:

Oil extracted from neem, pungam, jatropha, castor, adathoda, turmeric, and chilly is sprayed to the sapling once in three months to protect from disease and pest attacks.

  • Fertility:

Leguminous plants such as stylo, sunhemp, daincha can be sown between the sapling to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil through their root nodules. This helps to improve the quality of the soil.

  1. AFTERCARE

Aftercare in the first year

  • Watering:

Depending on precipitation, watering (>15 liters) should be done once in three days for each sapling.

  • Pruning:

Pruning should not be carried out during this period.

  • Supporting poles:

Supporting poles must be given to those saplings, which are not growing erect.

  • Manuring:

Vermicompost or any other organic manure may be applied to the saplings once in three months (3 kg per sapling).

  • Supervision:

Observation of saplings (less than 6 ft.) at least thrice a day is a must. It helps us to replace the dead or diseased saplings and to cure the seasonal pest attack or disease immediately.

Aftercare in the second year

  • Watering:

Depending on the rainfall, watering (>15 liters) should be done once a week for each sapling.

  • Pruning:

Pruning should be carried out for the saplings, which are more than 6 ft. in height. Pruning must be carried out upwardly with the help of a sharp knife. While pruning, 5 to 7 leaves must be left from top to bottom. The remaining leaves or branches should be pruned off. While pruning the side branches, one inch away from the main stem to avoid wounds on the main stem. The quality of the tree is mainly based on the main stem and hence the bark should not be peeled off or damaged during this operation. February is ideal for pruning activity.

  • Supporting poles:

Supporting poles must be erected for the saplings, which are not growing straight.

  • Manuring:

Vermicompost, tank silt, or any other organic manure must be applied once in six months (3 kg per sapling).

  • Tree-guard:

It is essential until the saplings attain a height of 10 ft (20 ft height, if necessary).

  • Supervision:

Supervision, twice a day, is needed for saplings that are less than 6 ft. in height.

Aftercare from third to the fifth year

  • Pruning:

Pruning must be carried out once a year when the saplings attain a height of 20 ft.

  • Flowers:

Flowers or fruits must be removed from the plant during this period.

  • Basin formation:

Rectification of basin is essential unto three years.

  • Watering:

Watering (>10 liters) in the absence of rain should be done once a week for each sapling until three years.

Aftercare from sixth to the tenth year

  • Yield:

Deadwood may be removed during this period. Fruit-bearing or timber species can be retained and maintained.

03-13-2-21

To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as a people, we must have trees – Theodore Roosevelt.

B. Arulanandan
CPREEC

 Source: Eco News, Vol.8, No.2 (July – September), 2002.

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