Saturday, May 19, 2012

Casuarina junghuhniana as intercrop in Melia dubia plantation:

Dear Friends,

Some hard facts about Melia dubia (Malai Vembu) and Casuarina junghuhniana:

  • Melia dubia has very good coppice capability whereas C.junghuhniana exhibits very poor coppice growth, so any attempts for ratoon cultivation of C.junghuhniana will be uneconomical. (For more info: Click here).
  • Mean annual girth increment of above 5 cm places Melia dubia in the list of fast growing plants in the world. It is observed that when planted in rain-fed conditions its characteristic rapid growth declines after 2 years. So to maintain a uniform growth even after the initial years of establishment stage, regular irrigation along with application of fertilizers (if planted in poor soils) is necessary. In contrast, growth of C.junghuhniana  is uniform even in drought conditions and in poor soils. So farmers who are blessed (?) with problematic soils can opt C.junghuhniana or Eucalyptus instead of Melia dubia which has now got more publicity than it really deserves.
  • Casuarina junghuhniana is drought tolerant (survived without water for 6 months in my field) whereas 4% of 2 year old and 1% 6 years old Melia dubia trees perished. So irrigation is must for Melia during summer.
  • Casuarina junghuhniana thrives well in high clay, sodic soil with a pH of more than 9.4 whereas 30% (read thirty percent) of Melia dubia trees dried during severe drought and growth was stunted during monsoon because of water stagnation.
These observations were made from the soil types of my field located in Tirunelveli district and hence readers should bear in mind that findings will vary in different soil types and in different agro-climatic zones. 

We may conclude that Melia is a preferred crop for a good fertile soil and C.junghuhniana or Eucalyptus can be preferred for problematic (high alkaline, Sodic, high clay content and saline soils) and for lands with poor soil depth.

(For more information on Casuarina junghuhniana intercropping with Melia dubia: Click 1, Click 2 here).

 The same Melia dubia ratoon after 1 year:

Casuarina junghuhniana as intercrop in Melia dubia field. 
During severe summer C.J is still green,
 whereas  Melia dubia sheds all its leaves.
A.Vishnu Sankar.

5 Comentários:

baba refrigeration said...

dear sir
i have planted melia dubia in one acre with 10 feet spacing in march 2013.i want to know if it is advisable to inter crop with lemon trees.or can you suggest some other cash crop in beetween.
my farm is in gujarat,anand dist.
hope to get your valuable suggestion.
thank you.
paresh patel.

Vishnu said...

Hello Sir,

Trust all is well. My name is Vishnu as well :). I have been following your 'agromania' blog and I have also corresponded to you once via the 'comments' section.

I have a further query for you and wish to gain your valuable inputs:

We are have planted Melia Dubia in Seven Acres, located in Tirupur Dist. Its been 3 years since we have planted. We had planted 10' by 10' so now we are looking to cut down alternate trees so the remaining trees are targeted for the furniture industry.. After cutting the trees would have 20 feet spacing between them. We want to understand if this is a wise decision . Your thoughts around this will help us make the right decision.


Vishnu Sankar A said...

Dear Friend,

Going for thinning within 3 years of planting of Melia dubia is a questionable move. Normally this is practiced when the canopy is fully closed and when there is fight for sunlight. Perhaps your crop is very good I think. Consult experts in your area before taking any drastic steps.

If your soil is healthy and have adequate water resources and can irrigate the proposed inter-crop, I would suggest you to go for a single row of Casuarina Junghuhniana clonals on the removed row of Melia. Plant to plant 5'. The inter crop can be be harvested in 31/2 to 4 years.

For moderate soils with irrigation facility we can plan 2 rows of Casuarina Junghuhniana clonals (in between Melia Dubia):

MD row.....7'.....CJ row.....3'.....Sawed off row of MD....3'.....CJ .....7'.....MD

Please note:

1. Planting Casuarina Junghuhniana clonals as intercrop is beneficial as it is a nitrogen fixing tree and will not harm the growth of Melia.

2.If you have already provided drip irrigation system, then go for only one row of CJ in the removed row of MD. Plant CJ 5' (on row direction) away from sawed off stump of MD and plan for a MD ratoon crop for another 3-4 years period.

3.If you are planning to go for 2 rows of CJ (Space between row to row 6' as given in the illustration above and Gap between plant to plant on row direction at 5') then care should be taken to fully remove the sawed off root portion of the MD since it will germinate (Ratoon) again.

4.If you fully remove the sawed off portion of MD stumps by mechanical means you are at liberty to use mini tractors in between the rows (6' gap) to control weeds.

The above suggestions are general in nature and are given without assessing the quantum of growth of the present Melia dubia crop. Your final judgement based on practical reality and field conditions will be always good.

Thanking you,

Yours Friendly,
A.Vishnu Sankar

Vishnu said...

Thanks for the response sir.

We will consider canopy cover as well before deciding on thinning of trees.

I had to ask you about thinning because our trees have attained a height of probably around 20 feet however noticed that since last year the girth has not improved much. We have decent water sources however they are currently being shared so we have adopted drip irrigation

At the time of planting we had sought the advice of an elder in the nearby village and we were advised to cut alternate trees at 3 yrs. The premise is that the trees would attain enough girth at 10-14 years without it being restricted (due to overcrowding of trees). Also we are not planning for intercrop but just removing the alternate trees to allow for sunlight (and probably for water).
Again, thanks for your valuable inputs.


Unknown said...

Hello Sir,

I am planning to plant Melia Dubia with spacing of 12 * 12 feet.
Also I am thinking of planting Casuarina clones as inter crop in Melia Dubia.
The spacing for casuarina is 6* 6 feet. The soil is fertile and we have good water source and I have installed drip irrigation. Could you please let know whether we can plant Casuarina as inter crop in Melia Dubia plantation.
Thanks in advance for your valuable suggestions and advice.

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