Dear group mambers,
June 17 is world desertification control day and planting tree is one of the best approach for preventing desrtification. Forest is most of the places a govt property and it the farm/crop land on which we can plant trees with own choice.However there are some consideration for planting and production which need to be consider for such an important work. Some of the point s I am writing based on my experience and request kindly add your experience and circulate among farmers in local language ar the rainy season is approaching.
This article is more suitable for Indian conditions.
Tree at Organic farm : Considerations for
planting and production
Central Arid Zone Research Institute,Jodhpur-342003
E-mail : arun.k_sharma@...
Trees are the inevitable part of organic farming system, particularly the rainfed farming. Trees have several advantages if grown with crop, popularly known as agroforestry. These are-
Ø Provide fodder, fuel, fruit and stability in economic conditions in climatic uncertainty.
Ø Resource conservation and recycling in terms of rainwater conservation, nutrient recycling etc.
Ø Most import service of trees is to provide shelter to beneficial organisms in root zone and several predatory birds in shoot zone. Besides shade or support to the companion crop.
Therefore trees have multifarious beneficial effect on soil fertility, crop production and biodiversity. However due to problem of some herbivorous birds or due to problem in tractor operated field work, farmers not like tree in the crop field. Some other farmers who know above benefits and want to plant trees in crop field may not get proper guidance and looses production of both crops & trees. This failure spreads wrong message among the farmers that trees are not useful in the field.
To nullify this misconception and to harness the benefits of trees some of the points need to be kept in mind for planting and management of trees in organic farming. These are based on experience and research findings.
1. Species which are well adoptive to the local soil and climatic conditions should be preferred. Eucalyptus and Popular should always be discarded. Similarly Jatropha is also high water demanding plant with no fodder production therefore it may not be planted in rainfed areas having rainfall below 1000 mm/yr.
2. For raising of seedling, nursery should be made near the planting side. This facilitate better establishment due to several benefits. Nursery should be covered with 50% shade net to reduce water loss and protection.
3. In the nursery, the polybags in which seedlings are raised, should be shifted fortnightly from one place to another to reduce root coiling/root penetration in soil. This root deformation/damage of seedlings in nursery is one of the major cause of poor establishment.
4. Before transplanting the pit should be well prepared. After digging of 3x3 pit should be refilled with equal proportion of pit soil, pond silt and well decomposed manure. One kg neem/karanj seed cake should be mixed in this mixture to avoid termite & other soil pest.
5. Seedlings preferably be transplanted during drizzling of rain for reducing transplanting shock.
6. After transplanting a one m2 circular or rectangular catchment need to be made for rainwater harvesting and minimizing competition with intercrop. Mulching with farm waste in the catchment area will further reduce water loss and increase soil living organism activity.
7. If farmer is interested in annual crops, the number of trees in one ha should not exceed 50 and that to small fruit trees like Bail, Aonla, Ber, Pomegranate, Papaya etc. On field boundary 2-3 neem/karanj tree/ha may be planted for biopesticides. Same of the green manuring trees like Gliricidia can be also be kept at boundary.
8. Mixture of cow dung 60 kg + cow urine 10 kg + Gur (jaggry) 1 kg kept for a week in shade and make 200liter with adding water can be used in newly planted trees 15 days interval @ 2 lit/tree for three year. This has been found very effective for growth and branching at early stage.
9. Mixture of cow urine 10 lit + Neem leaves 3 kg +weeds 2 kg in 200 liter water and and kept in shade for a week can be sprayed 10-15 days interval. This has been found very effective for pest control.
10. Regular pruning & training of trees should be done to minimize shade effect on understory crop.
11. Direction of tree row should be kept such a way so that crops must get morning sunlight.
12. Underneath soil of aged trees ( 20-30 years or more) having rich population of beneficial microorganisms like VAM, actinomycities etc.This soil can be regularly incorporated in crop field along with manure to maintain biological acivities in soil.
13. Tree leaves (fallen or green) can be best used in vermicomposting.
14. Regular manuring of trees@15-30 kg manure/ha in the soil under canopy shade and mixing upto 15 cm depth of soil is beneficial for growth and production .Besides, cow urine can be mixed in irrigation water to supplement Nitrogen and for protection.
Therefore with proper management trees provide multiple benefits to bio/organic farming.Besides, tree will also protect farming from some of the future threats like global warming, desertification etc. and sustain farming forever .Kindly send your comments.
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