Rubber planting procedures and production techniques

The botanical name of Rubber is Hevea brasiliensis Muell-Arg.; it belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae

Varieties: Tjir 1, PB 86, BD 5, BD 10, PR 17, GT 1, RRII 105, RRIM 600, PB 28/59, PB 217, PB 235, RRIM 703, RRII 5, PCK-1, 2 and PB 260.

Soil and climate: It requires deep and fertile soil with pH of 4.5 to 6.0.

Season: June - July.

Method of propagation: Propagated by green budding, brown budding and crown budding.

Planting: In the cleared forest area, pits at 1 m x 1 m x 1 m are dug and filled up with soil and compost. The spacing of 3 x 2 m or 5 x 5 m are adapted.

Seed at stake planting: Germinated seeds are sown in situ in the pits. Healthy ones are retained and the others removed.

For immature rubber trees at pre-tapping stage Apply 12 kg of compost or FYM and 120 g of rock phosphate in each pit before planting.
Apply 10:10:4:1.5 NPK and Mg as per schedule given below:
Apply 400 kg of mixture per ha in 2 doses, once in April/May and another in September/October from the 5th year till the tree is ready for tapping.
Matured rubber trees under tapping
Apply NPK 12:6:6 mixture at the rate of 400 kg/ha every year in two split doses.
Add 10 kg commercial Magnesium sulphate for every 100 kg of the above mixture if there is magnesium deficiency.

Aftercultivation: Growing of cover crops, incorporation of cover crops and weeding are important operations. Pueraria phaseoloides, Calopagonium muconoides, Centrosema pubescens and Desmodium evalifolium are common cover crops.

Tapping: Trees attain tappable stage in about 7 years. First tapping in seedling trees will commence when the trunk attains a girth of 55 cm at 50 cm height from the ground. In budded trees the girth should be 50 cm at 125 cm height from the bud union.

Ethrel treatment: Ethrel is recommended to increase latex yield of trees tapped on panel D. It is applied at 5% a.i. concentration with a brush below the tapping cut to a width of 5 cm after light
scraping of the outer bark. The first application may be done after a drought period preferably after a few pre-monsoon showers and subsequent applications may be done in September and November. However, continuous application of Ethrel is not recommended for periods of more
than 3 years at a stretch.

Plant protection against Pests
Scale insect: When severe infestation is noticed, spray organophosphorus insecticides like malathion 50 EC 2 ml/lit.
Mealy bug: Spray fish oil rosin - soap 25 g/lit. Release Australian lady bird beetle, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri @ 10/tree.
Termite (White ant): Drench the soil at the base of affected plants with chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/litre.
Cockchafer grub: Drench soil at the base of plants in the affected area with the solution of chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/litre.
Mites: Spray sulphur 50 WP at 2 g/lit or spray dicofol 18.5 EC 2.5 ml/lit.

Protection against Diseases
Abnormal leaf fall: Prophylactic spraying of the foliage prior to the onset of South-West monsoon with, Bordeaux mixture 1% at 4000 - 5000 lit/ha using high volume sprayers. 
Oil based Copper oxychloride dispersed in diluent spray oil employing either low volume air blast sprayers (Micron 420 or Minimicron 77 or Shaw Duster Sprayer) from the ground or through aerial application.
For micron spraying on the tree spread, foliage intensity, planting material used and age of plants, two rounds of spray using about 17 to 22 lit of fungicide oil mixture per ha per round (1:6 proportion) with gap of 10 to 15 days or a single round of spray with about 30 - 37 lit of fungicide
oil mixture per ha (1:5 proportion) may be necessary.
Secondary leaf fall: The control measures suggested for abnormal leaf fall will check this disease also.
Powdery mildew: Dusting during the defoliation period commencing from the bud break in about 10% of the trees, giving 3 to 5 rounds at weekly to fortnightly intervals before 10.00 a.m. using 11 to 14 kg 325 mesh fine Sulphur dust per round per ha. Sulphur dust can be mixed with
talc in the proportion of 7:3. Wettable sulphur (1 kg in 4000 lit of water) is also effective in nurseries and for young plants as a spray.
Bird’s eye spot: Repeated sprayings with Bordeaux mixture 1% or Mancozeb or Copper oxychloride 0.2%. Provide shade in nursery. Give balanced manuring to increase tree vigour.
Leaf spot: Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.2% Mancozeb, or 0.1% Carbendazim at fortnightly intervals.
Pink disease: Frequent tree to tree inspection during July – September period for detecting the infected trees and application of Bordeaux paste in the early stages upto 30 cm above and below the affected region. In advanced cases apply Bordeaux paste and when it dries up
scrape off the superficial mycelium and damaged bark and apply Bordeaux paste once again.
Prune off and burn the dried up branches after disinfecting by Bordeaux spraying.
Patch canker or Bark cankers: The affected region may be scraped to remove all the rooting bark and the coagulated rubber and the wound washed well with solution. When the fungicide dries up apply wound dressing compound.
Dry Rot, Stump Rot, Collar Rot Or Charcoal Rot Clean up affected areas, by washing with Carbendazim (0.1%) solution. Scrape out the fructifications. Affected bark and wood show black lines. Wash the wound again with fungicide solution. When it dries up apply a wound dressing compound. Avoid accumulation of rubber at the base of the trees. For root infection see the treatment for brown root disease.
Brown root disease:Open up the root system. Completely killed and dried roots may be traced and pruned. Partially affected and healthy roots washed with Carbendazim (0.1%) solution.
When the fungicide dries up, a thin coating with a wound dressing compound may be given.
Refill the soil and drench the base with fungicide solution.

Yield: Rubber yield steeply increases year by year, reaching a peak after 14 years of planting. 
In South India, the annual yield of rubber is 375 kg/ha from seedlings trees, whereas budded plants yield 800 - 1000 kg/ha.

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