Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pruning of Melia Dubia


After pruning Mango UHD, our support staff moven on to Melia Dubia trees. The average tree height across various Melia Dubia plots on the plantation is about 6-7 ft, although some of the early bloomers are as high as 12-13 ft. Overall, this growth can be considered above average, which has been primarily due to soil quality and loose soil depth. Despite that, certain Melia Dubia plots exhibit stunted growth which is indicative of relatively inferior soil and nutrient content. To counter stunted growth, we are planning on fertigating such plants with Humic Acid. Second round of manuring (at 7 months) which included 5 Kg of Pressmud/Coir Pith manure, was applied last week.

Timber trees are expected to exhibit good growth with Urea and other chemical fertilizers but the downside is that timber does not compact itself when treated in this manner. Eventually, this is not considered favorable at time of sale.

I have met and talked to several experts in the timber business and all of them have advised me to refrain from using chemicals for a quick growth. Humic Acid is organic and is said to improve soil quality and plant growth. We will start using this in the next few weeks. Will post an update on this in the near future.

We started pruning branches of trees that are above 7-8 feet leaving a little canopy at the top.


Before pruning. Older branches continue to spread in the lower part of the tree.
















During pruning, a healthy canopy is retained while several lower branches are removed to promote vertical growth.













One needs to be careful while pruning the branches without bruising the stem. Pruning should be done 1-2 inches away from the stem leaving a little stubble on the trunk. It will automatically drop within 3-4 days, keeping the bark smooth.

In Melia Dubia, pruning (of branches) is done to reduce the energy consumption by the excess leaves, which in turn leads to more available energy for vertical growth. In mango, the pruning (of stem) is performed for horizontal growth by cutting the stem and inducing more horizontal branches. If anyone has performed such pruning at their location, I would be interested in exchanging note on their experiences and long term results. Feel free to drop me a line or post a comment online.

26 comments:

  1. Why are you pruning melia dubia ? is n't it genetically a straight growing one ? the side branches are expected to fall off as in papaya. only if u find a split in the main branch (some times at height of about 10..15 ft)u may consider pruning, this is what I read somewhere. atleast leave some unpruned and the see the difference in growth and pls report. Thank you

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    1. As mentioned in the post, pruning is performed so that the plant can have more energy available for vertical growth.

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    2. I am putting my arguments not just for the sake of arguing but for ascertaining the real truth and proper understanding of the science behind it. I read some where that for overall growth u need to have as much foliage as possible. if this is true then be removing some foliage u r reducing its energy making mechanism and there by its growing mechanism. the other point is that the old lower branch leaves have to naturally fall because during their aging and discoloring period the tree takes out the useful substances from it before shedding it. So by cutting the green leaves we are losing some of the nutrients ( may be mostly micro nutrients) which would have been utilised by the plant. Hence I am suggesting that let us find out the difference be leaving some plants unpruned and to know the truth. If we find that there is no difference or if unpruned plants grow better than we can avoid this exercise of pruning and save labour costs.

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    3. Thanks for your feedback. Unfortunately, there is little info available about the cultivation practices of Melia Dubia but all the people I have talked to have recommended pruning (sapling suppliers and farmers). I understand the point you are making. One of the plots has not been pruned yet. We will try not pruning it and see if there is any difference at all.

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  2. I'm not convinced about the following statements -

    Timber trees are expected to exhibit good growth with Urea and other chemical fertilizers but the downside is that timber does not compact itself when treated in this manner. Eventually, this is not considered favorable at time of sale.

    It will be extremely difficult or even impossible for a timber merchant to differentiate between irrigated / fertigated vs naturally grown trees. These are determined by the DNA of the plant than how much fertilizer you've applied. What will make a difference is the "grains". For very high end wood products where grains / patterns are used to price then it will matter. I'll bet you a million $ that no merchant is going to price this way at your farm gate. Just a thought to noodle on the next time some one advices you about not applying fertilizer to your timber tress.

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    1. Urea will get you a quick growth but the tree will not get enough time to "compact and strengthen" itself. In organic/no fertilizer mode, the growth (vertical and foliage)is slower, as aa result the plant gets ample time to consolidate the timber.
      As a buyer, I can understand the person recommending not to use chemicals so that he can get timber with more strength and compactness.
      I may use inorganic chemicals occasionally just to give it a boost once in a while. Frequent usage will only lead to cost escalation since this a long term crop..

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  3. Melia dubia is supposed to shed leaves / branches only when there is water stress. If the plants are drip irrigated then the shedding is minimal. You've to prune the trees to for faster vertical growth. I'm impressed by looking at your pictures.

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  4. Though we might not find any chemical constituent difference in timber between chemical fertilizer vs natural, the grower can observe the difference in vigor of crop during its growth stage. This would be visually observed and felt by persons really doing farm operations in field. Going on natural way is not for end product value but it is for system value.

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  5. We are growing around 150 plus melia dubia trees just as a fence tree in our dryland and from day one we never used any chemical fertilizers and growth is reasonably ok. We did prune if not the vertical growth was less. Just this week we started applying BIO-NUTRIENT ORGANIC CERTIFIED to all except two trees to see the growth difference. As we are planning to grow vegetables etc we wanted to be organic. Plan is to get organic certification. ANY SUGGESTION FOR VERTICAL MULCHING? WE ARE NOT SURE OF THE ROOT STRUCTURE SO SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME.

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  6. Do not have much knowledge about Vertical Mulching, but do inform us about your developments.

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  7. Sure.. Just creating the BLOG so posting as ANONYMOUS though we have the pictures etc., lying in PC for want of time. Will soon upload as a BLOG and give the link.

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  8. Here you go.. There are three posts..

    http://www.kothukaadu.blogspot.com

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    1. http://www.kothukaadu.blogspot.com

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  9. Happened to see photos of Melia at the following blog site. http://www.kothukaadu.blogspot.com

    Sorry to inform, it is not Melia dubia, it is Melia azedarach, another timber species of Meliaceae which lacks the timber properties of melia dubia. Kindy inform as I am unable to post on their site. Photos on fruit and flowers reveal the differences.

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    1. Are u refering to my plants or kothukadu's (that are not melia dubia) ?
      How do u identify Melia Dubia's flowers and fruits?

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    2. Hi Techie2Aggie,
      I am not the one who quoted the above. But who ever it may be... have not mentioned your plants.

      He/She is mentioning about the photos from Kothukaadu blogspot and not yours.

      Reference Photos:
      For Melia Dubia:
      http://opendata.keystone-foundation.org/melia-dubia-cav

      For Melia azedarach:
      http://www.indi-journal.info/archives/2505

      Cheers,
      Sudharsan

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    3. Do not prune. I am posting Melia Dubia grown organically. 6 months old. Spray pesticides once in a month to protect main shoot from suckers and hoppers.

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  10. Thanks for pointing out and the posting has been corrected. There are some 7 saplings mixed up from the nursery and the correct Melia Dubia Pictures are up in the Blog now.. http://kothukaadu.blogspot.ca/2012/05/malai-vembu-and-australian-teak.html

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  11. Here is a link to the TNAU website for MELIA DUBIA.. Malai Vembu..

    http://www.fcrinaip.org/meliadubia_cultivation.php but no mention of at what stages flowering happens..

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  12. Are you noticing great variation from plant to plant in your farm ? I planteds some of them as trails at 2/3 locations , at all the locations I found that the growth is not uniform some have grown to about 6 feet some to 3 feet, I do not think it is due to the soil/water/fertilizer, I think it is due to variation due to seedlings ! did u plant seedlings or tissue culture plants ? what kind of variation u r observing please post , thank you

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    1. I have planted Melia in 2 plots. One plot is growing well (fairly uniform). Second plot exhibits lesser growth (also uniform for that plot). I believe it is the soil (maybe higher soil moisture due to proximity to a village tank) in the second plot which is affecting the growth.
      I have also grown plants around the shadenet. Height varies from 3 ft to 7 ft. All seedlings were grown from seeds (that is what I was told, I do not think they are tissue culture ). I have observed that insufficient pit depth plays a role in stunted growth as well. In your case, it could be variability in seedling material..Did yu get it from the same supplier?

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  13. kindly give more details on organic fertilser for melia dubia age wise

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  14. Ogranic manure such as pressmud, coir pith, FYM is given every 6 months, approx 5-6 Kgs.

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  15. Up to how many feet height, pruning is necessary?

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  16. At what age or height should we prune these trees?

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