Melia Dubia: Learn More About The Ideal Tree For Agroforestry in India
The Melia Dubia tree is a fast-growing tree that can grow up to 20 metres in height, and has wood that is ideal for use in a variety of industries including wood pulp, plywood, and even construction.
The Melia Dubia plant is very simple to raise, and is cost-efficient, offering farmers up to 2x their initial investment in just 5-7 years. Let’s take a look at the details about operating a Melia Dubia tree plantation now, and explore Melia Dubia in further detail.
What Is The Melia Dubia Tree?
The Melia Dubia plant, also known as “Malabar neem” is a tropical deciduous tree. It is a very fast-growing tree, particularly under irrigation. In just 3-4 years, its wood can be harvested for use in the paper and pulp industry. Wood between 5-7 years of age is typically used for plywood, while wood that matures to between 7-15 years of age is ideal for construction.
As a softwood tree, it grows best in well-drained, fertile soil with an ample supply of moisture. The tree grows very few side branches, which can be trimmed easily, and has a relatively small, thin crown. This means that the owner of a Melia Dubia plantation can supplement the tree with additional ground crops like groundnuts and green and black gram. Melia Dubia plants that have at least 5 x 6 metres of space between them can also be grown alongside banana trees, or in gaps between coconut and teak trees.
Preparing Melia Dubia Tree Seeds For Germination
The primary challenge of Melia Dubia farming is the low germination rate of Melia Dubia seedlings. Melia Dubia seeds have a hard seed coat, which interferes with germination. This must be loosened to begin.
Melia Dubia seeds can be partially decomposed by placing them in cow dung heaps. About 5 kg of dung is required per 2kg of seeds. The dung should be moistened with water and kept under shade for about 2 months.
Then, the outer seed coat will be soft and can be peeled away, exposing kernels that look like sunflower seeds. This process can increase germination rates to 30-60%.
Germinating Melia Dubia Seedlings
To begin the process of growing Melia Dubia, the seedlings must be germinated. In a prepared seedbed, red soil should be mixed with fine sand. Then, the seed should be dibbled and irrigated twice per day – once in the morning and once in the evening.
Covering the seedbed of your Melia Dubia nursery with plastic sheeting will help maintain moisture.
Within 3 months of planting the seedlings at the Melia Dubia tree plantation, they will germinate. When the second leaves of the seedlings emerge completely, they should be removed from the Melia Dubia nursery seedbed, and placed into polyethylene measuring 15 x 8 cm, which are filled with red soil, fine sand and organic manure.
These seedlings will grow by up to 60 cm (2 feet) in the next 30 days. Once they reach this height, they can be placed in the main Melia Dubia plantation field.
Planting Melia Dubia Saplings
The next step of Melia Dubia farming is to transport the sapling from the Melia Dubia nursery and place it in the main field. Dig out a 2 square foot cube of soil, and place each seedling in the hole with a mixture of organic manure, fine sand and red soil. Proper spacing for the trees in your Melia Dubia plantation is:
- 2 x 2 m for growing the Melia Dubia plant for pulp & plywood
- 5 x 4.5 m for plywood and furniture construction
- 6 x 6 m for construction timber
Place the saplings in the centre of the pit upright, and tamp the soil down around the Melia Dubia plant to keep it in place.
Irrigation For Melia Dubia Farming
Irrigate the Melia Dubia tree saplings once on the third day after planting. Then, light irrigation should be applied every 7-10 days. Take care not to over-irrigate, and prevent rain water from stagnating around the plants during the rainy season. Make sure to provide adequate drainage, as excessive water will harm the tree. Within a period of about 4 months, the saplings will grow between 1.2-1.8 metres (4-6 feet).
Pruning The Melia Dubia Plant For Better Results
Pruning Melia Dubia as it grows will result in better-quality wood. When the branches achieve between 2-4 m (6-12 feet) of height, side branches may begin to emerge. Cut and prune them as they emerge at an interval of one every 15 days. Removing the side branches allows the main trunk to grow more quickly and produce higher-quality wood.
Raising Melia Dubia To Maturity & Harvesting
Melia Dubia attains a height of about 20 feet after just 2 years of growth. Continue to prune and irrigate your trees properly, and they will grow quickly.
As mentioned above, it typically takes 3-4 years for the tree to mature and be used in the paper and pulp industry. For plywood, it takes 5-7 years, while trees used for construction timber must mature for 7-15 years.
Profitability may vary somewhat based on the price of paper pulp, plywood and timber in the local area, but most farmers who begin a Melia Dubia plantation are able to at least double their initial investment, even when considering the cost of harvesting Melia Dubia, lorry transport costs, etc. Melia Dubia wood sells for Rs 4,500 per tonne, with the value growing every year as timber demand in India continues to grow.
Grow Melia Dubia At Your Farm And Enjoy A Profitable, Reliable Source Of Income
For farmers who are interested in expanding their crops and exploring the growing world of agroforestry in India, Melia Dubia is an ideal choice. It’s easy to raise, requires little special care, and can be grown in almost any warm, tropical part of India. To get started, simply find a source of Melia Dubia seedlings near you – and start planting them right away.
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