Malabar Neem Farming Information Guide:
The following article explains Malabar Neem Farming in India.
Malabar Neem originates from the Meliaceae family and is an indigenous species of tree to India, South East Asia, and Australia, where it has been cultivated as a source of firewood. The tree can be cultivated in all types of soil and requiring a low supply of water. Malabar Neem has the unique feature of growing to 40 feet within 2 years from planting and can be mechanically pruned and harvested. Malabar Neem is a species belonging to the Neem family. This tree is known for its fast growth. In recent times the farmers around Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Kerala have found the utility of this tree both as a low-grade timber and also a very useful wood for the plywood industry. Under irrigated conditions, this tree can be harvested at the end of the 5th year for both timber and plywood purpose.
Other names of Malabar Neem:
Marathi – kuriaput;
Gujarathi – Kadukajar;
Telugu. – Munnatikaraks;
Tamil – Malai vembu;
Kannada – Hebbevtl; Karibvam;
Malayalam – Malavembu;
Oriya – Batra.
It is also commonly called “Melia Dubia”.
Uses of Malabar Neem:
The wood is used for packing cases, cigar boxes, ceiling planks, building purposes, agricultural implements, pencils, matchboxes, splints, and Kattamarams. In Ceylon, it is employed for outriggers of boats. It is suitable for musical instruments, tea boxes, and plyboard. It is good fuelwood (Calorific value, 5.043 – 5,176 cal.).
The fruit of the plant is bitter. It is considered anthelmintic. It gives positive tests with alkaloid reagents.
Characteristics of Malabar Neem:
A height of 20.m with a spreading crown and a cylindrical straight bole of 9 m length and 1.2 – 1.5 m girth. The bark is dark brown, exfoliating in thin, narrow strips with broad, shallow, longitudinal cracks. Leaves bi-pinnate or occasionally tri-pinnate. Leaflets ovate – Lanceolate to ovate-round, entire or crenulate; flowers greenish-white, fragrant, intense panicles; fruit an ovoid or ellipsoid drupe with 5 or fewer seeds.
Soil requirement for Malabar Neem Farming:
It grows on a variety of soils. However deep fertile sandy loam soils show optimum growth, while shallow gravelly soils show stunt growth. The tree is a light demander, the seedling is suppressed under shade. Seedlings tolerate some frost but severe frost kills them. It is susceptible to damage by fires and sapling suffers from browsing.
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Propagation in Malabar Neem Farming:
It can be raised either by direct sowing or planting in the nursery for raising seedlings or stumps. Direct sowing is recorded to give poorer results than the planting of samplings or stumps; the latter is considered the best.
Seed treatment in Malabar Neem Farming:
Seeds are collected from ripened fruits (Jan – Feb) by rubbing, washing, and drying and are stored in sealed tins. The germinability of the seed is less than 25%. In the nursery, the seeds are sown in raised nursery beds. The best seed treatment is treating the seeds with cow dung solution for one day. Then the treated seeds are sown over the raised nursery bed. It takes one or two months for the seeds to germinate. Irrigation should be done regularly. The seedling takes 6 months to complete its nursery stage.
Spacing in Malabar Neem Farming:
Six to nine months old seedlings can be planted at a spacing of 3 X 3m or 3 X 4m. Annual pruning is done to get the straight cylindrical boles.
Irrigation in Malabar Neem Farming:
The tree responds well to irrigation at once every 10 – 15 days during the non-rainy season.
Fertilizer requirements in Malabar Neem Farming:
Application of N, P, K mixture of 25 -50 g per tree, two times a year helps to augment the growth. The fertilizer requirements can be scheduled on a need basis depending on the growth and development of the tree.
Insects and Pest in Malabar Farming:
Defoliators, leaf miners, and sapsuckers are recorded along with several wood borers. Ganoderma lucidum causes root rot in high rainfall areas and Corticium salmonicolor causes stem and twig canker.
Malabar Neem wood characteristics:
The sapwood is greyish white; heartwood light pink to light red turning pale russet brown on aging. It is lustrous with a dry feel, very light (SPL gr- 0.33; wt – 21 Ib. /cu ft.) straight-grained and coarse, and somewhat uneven – textured. The timber is not durable in exposed positions but moderately so undercover. It is not so strong and durable as neem. It seasons well if logs are converted in a green state. If left long, the log is liable to develop end–splitting and discoloration. The best method of dealing with the timber is to convert the logs immediately after felling and to open – stack sawn material, preferably undercover, to avoid grey stain.
Marketing of Malabar Neem:
The Malabar neem wood can be sold for the match and veneer industry. The tree with a minimum size of 16inches girth is saleable at the minimum rate of Rs 2000 per tonne for the watch industry and for the veneer industry, the market rate is a little higher.
Malabar Neem Farming is picking up due to its fast growth and huge demand for this wood. Huge Profits are achievable in shorter periods.
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