Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pictures of Melia dubia trial plot:

Dear friends,

    Please go through our earlier post in this link where pictures of Melia dubia (Malai Vembu in Tamil, Hebbevu in Kannada, Konda Veppa in Telugu) in trial plot was published. Now see what it looks like exactly after one year!

    • Melia dubia (Malai vembu) bordering Sugar cane field:

    • Melia dubia (Malai vembu) as intercrop with Mango:

    • Melia dubia (Malai vembu) as intercrop with Mango):

    • Casuarina Jhunghuhniana as intercrop with Melia dubia (Malai vembu): (In the foreground is Kaya senegalansis with thick foliage and Gmelina arborea (Kumil) with withered leaves)

    • Casuarina junghuhniana as intercrop with Melia dubia (Malai vembu):

    Melia dubia trial plot is without irrigation for the past 6 months and we left it to the mercy of rain God. Due to severe drought wells are dry and there is no water even to provide thro' drip irrigation system. Melia sheds all its leaves except in the apical part and survives the hot summer.
    The Gmelina arborea (Kumil) planted along with the above Melia dubia, could not able to survive this extreme drought condition and dried up.

    • See the drought symptoms in the leaves of Casuarina jughuhniana also:

    Vishnu Sankar

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    A Book on Melia dubia (Malai vembu)

    Dear farmer friends,

    Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding Institute (IFGTB), Coimbatore, in collaboration with Tamilnadu Forest Dept. (Extension), has organized a Tree Growers Mela on Feb, 24 & 25, 2011 with an obejective to familiarise farmers with modern and improved tree farming methods and market opportunities.

    At the inagural function IFGTB has released a nice looking, very informative book titled "Melia dubia" (Malai Vembu in Tamil, Hebbevu in Kannada, Konda Veppa in Telugu) with about 55 pictures in both Tamil and English version. It was authored by Mrs.Rekha R.Warrier with active support from fellow scientists and the Director of IFGTB, Dr.N.Krishna Kumar,IFS.

    Though this magic tree has caught the attention of farmers due to its fast growth and high economic returns they have been left in the lurch as there is dearth of information and authentic source to know about its growth performance, yield, log quality, pulping details and above all its basic cultivation technique. IFGTB has brought out this book at a right time and information provided in this booklet will be of great use for all those concerned with the cultivation of Melia dubia (Malai vembu).

    Some excerpts from the book: (Especially for farmers who seek details to improve germination rate of Melia seeds).

    Fruit collection: It is best to adopt ground collection of fallen fruits than obtain them by climbing and shaking of the branches. .... Care should be taken to collect only the ripe yellow or brown fruits. Green fruits indicate immaturity and should not be collected.

    Processing and handling: After collection, the fruits can be transported to the place of processing in gunny bags or Bamboo baskets. Ripe yellow fruits can be depulped easily if the fruits undergo fermentation and heating as the pulp is difficult to remove. ...... fermentation can be hastened by soaking the fruits in slightly acidified water (pH 5.5 - 5.6) or in lime water (diluted Calcium Hydroxide solution). Once fermented, the fruits are macerated in Bamboo baskets and thoroughly washed under running water so that even a small quantity of pulp is not adhered to the seeds. Sand can be used as an abrasive to remove the pulp thoroughly. ..... If the pulp is not thorougly removed, the drupes are susceptible to fungal infestation.

    Storage and viability: The drupes thus extracted have to be sun-dried for ten days in shade. Cleaned and dried drupes can then be stored in gunny bags or sealed tins for one or two years without losing viability.

    Seed Processing and pretreatments: Reports state very poor germination in Melia. ..... Various pretreatments like:

    hot water soaking (60-70 degree C),

    boiling water treatment (100 Degree C),

    roasting drupes at 60 degree C for 5-10 minutes,

    storing of drupes in farm yard manure,

    treatment with concentrated sulphuric acid,

    drupes collected from the spittings of goats,

    soaking of drupes in cow dung slurry for two to fifteen days,

    cutting the hard endocarp of drupes and soaking drupes in cold water for a week

    have been suggested to improve the germination rate of Melia dubia. ..... The major constraints in germination identified in the species at IFGTB are the source of collection, time and medium of sowing. (Seeds stored for a min of one year show better germination over fresh ones).

    NURSERY: (Seed sowing) The drupes should be graded in water to remove floating drupes prior to sowing. Cleaned and dried drupes should be sown in the open raised nursery beds, in drilled lines, 5cm apart. About 6-7 kgs of dried drupes containing about 1500 numbers are required for one standard nursery bed (10x1m). The drupes sown need to be watered regularly.

    The content of the book also includes 1.Maintenance of seedlings 2. Vegetative propagation 3. Plantation methods 4. Silvicultural characteristics 5. Planting space 6. Pests and diseases 7. Recommended intercrops 8. Wood properties 9. Timber characteristics 10. Wood processing 11. Uses 12. Growth statistics 13.Economics 14. Problems in identification of Melia dubia and Melia azedarach.

    The above book is available in both Tamil and English version and can be purchased from: The Director, IFGTB, PB:1061, Forest campus, Coimbatore - 641 002, Tamilnadu. Price Rs.100/-

    "Plant Melia for prosperity"


    A.Vishnu Sankar

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