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Melia dubia ( Tamil: மலை வேம்பு ) cultivation




Melia dubia ( Tamil: Malai Vembu ) cultivation is fast catching up in Tamilnadu in recent years and my mailbox is flooded mostly with requests
seeking clarifications about it's cultivation techniques.

I have given below the questions raised by one such follower of my blog: http://agrowmania.blogspot.com/

We are planting Melia dubia ( Malai Vembu ) as border tree in our dry land ( having little water with a small bore well). We just planted
yesterday with a 10'spacing apart. Dug a pit of 2.5' x 2.5' x 2.5'. As
the monsoon starts settling down, we decided to plant the saplings now.
The sapling height itself approx. 4 feet now. We have added some
organic manure while planting. Watering we are planning alternative days
as of now. Soil type is very good RED SOIL. We planted 15 trees as a
sample now and wanted to see them for a week and plant the rest ( 100
plus). Please throw us some more suggestions / advice as we are new to
this farming. Will post some pictures later next week.

1. Watering frequency and Watering location ( like how far from the stem and pit area diameter).

2. Is the watering to be continuous or can be scaled down after some time.

3. We prefer not to use any fertilisers though we prefer organic manures. Any recommendation for frequency of using manure and also watering
methods during and after placing manure.


4. As of now we are planting only on East-West direction to avoid shades
for cultivation. Any suggestions on shade for North-South plantation.


5. Please suggest proper pruning methods and timings.

My response for the clarifications raised is summed up hereunder:

The planting procedure you had followed for Malai vembu and the spacing
provided are flawless and very precise as per the recommendations. As
for the rest of your queries, my suggestions are:


  • Q1: Watering frequency and Watering location ( like how far from the stem and pit area diameter).
  • Q2: Is the watering to be continuous or can be scaled down after some time.
If the crop is flood irrigated, then watering in alternative days as you
have planned is more than sufficient for the first 2 to 3 weeks after
planting. Once the plant establishes well in the soil, weekly irrigation
is enough.


If you have provided drip irrigation system, follow daily wetting @ 5 - 8
litres / plant, 0.5 feet away from the plant for the first 3 months
(8lph dripper 1 number/plant). After 6 months and during summer 16 - 20
litres / plant, 1.5 feet away on either side of the plant (8lph
dripper 2 numbers/plant).


This suggestions are only indicative and don't strictly follow these as
there will be entirely different requirements with different soil
types.

  • Q3: We prefer not to use any chemical fertilisers and proposed to use organic manures. Any recommendation for frequency of using manure and
    also watering methods during and after placing manure.
Add 20gms of VAM for each plant at the pit at the time of planting. Since
you are very particular about organic practices, opt Rock phosphate and
Gypsum as effective amendments.


Mix Azos + Phospho + Pseudomonas + T.viridi and Neem cake with FYM and apply liberally in the pit at the time of planting.

The same mixture should be applied yearly twice, at the time of N.E and S.W monsoon rains, 1.5 - 2 ' around the base plant.

  • Q4: As of now we are planting only on East-West direction to avoid shades for cultivation. Any suggestions on shade for North-South plantation.
The characteristic features of Melia dubia tree are its very fast growth,
good height and the limited canopy. These characters along with the not
much noticed or studied character of root competition with the
adjacent crops, makes it an ideal border crop. So North-South
plantation with the spacing of 10' x 10' will not harm the main crop in
the field.
  • Q5: Please suggest proper pruning methods and timings.
Straight pole fetches good price in the market. Farmers with some basic
knowledge about the tree's branching pattern and pruning techniques
will definitely stand to gain.

In good irrigated fertile soils, the plant usually produces 3 to 4 side
branches when it attains the height of 12' -14'. Prune the branches 2"
-3" away from the main stem in the initial stage itself using
secateurs. Pruning well developed branches may cause injury to the main
trunk, so extreme care should be taken to prune the branches at the
early stages itself.


You will notice the same kind of branching pattern second time, when the
plant attains the height of 18' - 20'. Some farmers prefer not to prune
those branches formed at the height of 18', thereby curtailing the
tree's vertical growth and allowing for girth increment.


When planted in dry lands and in drought prone areas, the tree branches at
the height of 6' - 8' itself. It is also quite natural for any tree to
form branches if it's apical tip got damaged due to pest attack,
mechanical injury or by cattle gracing
.

"Plant Melia for prosperity"

Regards,
Vishnu Sankar

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