TREE PLANTING AND AFTER CARE

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heavenRabindranath Tagore.

Trees are an essential part of nature’s life support system; without them, life on earth would not be possible.

Grasses and other fast-growing, leafy perennials compete effectively with young trees, depriving them of sufficient moisture, space, light, and nutrients to survive. It can take more than five years for young trees to become sufficiently established to look after themselves.

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Aftercare is crucial to the success of tree planting. Given that the trees were healthy, to begin with, and were carefully planted in a site with conditions amenable to good growth, the work involved in after care should not be much. The prime requirement is regularity of care. Many planting schemes fail due to irregularity of aftercare. It has been estimated that approximately one-half of the trees planted do not survive after the tenth year, often as the result of simple neglect.

People now, realize the importance of trees for the existence of life and are very keen to nurture them. But, they have many doubts regarding the selection of species and the aftercare.

There are four phases in tree planting and aftercare.

  1. Before planting
  2. Period of planting
  3. After planting
  4. Aftercare
  1. BEFORE PLANTING 
  • Soil Test:

            This is essential for the tree planting activity. By testing the soil, the status of available nutrients will be known and this will help in selecting the right species.

  • Water availability:

            Based on the area of land, soil type, species and rainfall, the quantity of water available and to be provided can be planned and distributed.

  • Species selection:

            Based on water availability, geographical conditions and our needs, species will be selected.

  • Espacement (spacing):

            Espacement will be determined by the species type and available area.

  • Pitting:

            The pitting size depends on the species and its uses.

            Recommended pit size:

                        Fruit bearing trees – 3’x3’x3’;

                        Other species – 2’x2’x2’

  • Basal application:

            A mixture of neem cake, farmyard manure and water in the ratio 1:3:10 will be applied at the base of the pits and leaves the pits empty for a month. It helps to reduce the soil temperature which would otherwise damage the roots after planting.

  1. PERIOD OF PLANTING
  •  Time of planting:

This is important for the planting activity. Trees must be planted only in the morning hours. i.e. between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. If not, the mortality rate will increase.

  • Planting season:

Tree planting must be undertaken before the onset of monsoon.

  • Removal of polythene bag:

Polythene bags should be removed from the earthen ball before planting the saplings. It helps the roots to develop into the earth quickly.

  • Earthen ball:

While planting and removing the polythene bags, the earthen ball should not be broken as it helps to retain the moisture around the roots and act as a media to supply water and nutrients to the plants.

  • Planting:

While planting, the sapling should not be bent. The pit can be filled with a mixture of red soil, sand and bio-fertilizer in the ratio 5:1:1, if the mother soil is not fertile.

  • Watering:

As and when the saplings are planted, watering (15 litres of water per sapling) must be carried out. Water is the life giver for plants.

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to be continued……

Arulanandan
CPREEC

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

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