Monsoon gardening (Google / Newindpress)

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http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEO20080527030015&Page=O&Title=Thiruvananthapuram&Topic=0

Monsoon gardening

M Subramaniam

MONSOON is the ideal time for planting trees. Planting trees at this time reduces much of your labour on their establishment and maintenance. While selecting trees for planting bear in mind a few points as these factors reduces your effort and anticipated problems that may come in time. The fast growing among trees have generally weak trunks, as rapid growth rate does not spare much time to harden the plant tissues with enforcing chemicals. Unless you need uniform reenery within a short period of time its dvisable to go in for slow growing trees with hard and sturdy wood. The other option is mixing the fast growing and slow growing varieties in trees to bring in a more or less unified greenery.

The Rain tree, Ficus varieties and Peltophorum are some of the fast growing trees with weak stems. They branch out and form a reasonable amount of shade within a short period of time but adequate care must be taken about the branches as you may at times observe some dead branches which are prone to fall down with the slightest mechanical disturbance.

The best option is to remove them before the onset of monsoon as the impact of falling rain is enough to break it! The root system of these trees are bulky and bumpy and often results in its surfacing above groundlevel.

The chances of roots sticking out of the boundary wall has to be removed periodically to avoid undesirable penetration. A better boundary must be constructed with concrete so as to force the roots to go deep and spread else they disturb the adjacent roads and other structures nearby.

Mimusops elengi, Spathodea, Lawsonia, Tabebuia, Cassia and Saraca are some of the slow growing trees with lesser adjacent disturbance.

If you are planning a long term project you may plant these trees in sacks and maintain them till the near completion stage of the project. By which time the trees would have reached a reasonable height and planting them at the desired site would help in providing instant greenery.

Trees require watering only till the root system reaches the water table, which often happens in one or two years ( in coastal areas like Kochi). After this period though there is no summer watering required you can enhance its growth by applying a good dose of manure during monsoon.

Almost all the above mentioned trees will attain its full feature in 5 to 7 years and retain the effects for quiet some time. However there is no harm in irrigating big trees if you have the facility and such irrigation will inturn boost its characteristic features as well as yield better.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.