Eucalyptus plantation is a very profitable plantation business in India. Here is complete details on clone eucalyptus plantation including best eucalyptus seeds, technical requirements, plantation management, yield and return.
Eucalyptus Tree Information
Eucalyptus is one among the widely cultivated evergreen trees belong to the botanical family of Myrtaceae and boasts more than 700 species. Even though, native to Australia and Tasmania, it is grown extensively in all major states in India including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Eucalyptus globulus, also refers to Blue Gum, which is the major source of high-grade eucalyptus oil has been used extensively in Indian, Chinese, Greek and European medicines to treat range of health conditions over the centuries. Also, known as nilgiri tree, safeda tree and gum tree, it earns high market value with its multi-use as pulpwood, timber, fuel wood, honey, biomass, and demanding essential oil. It can be resourcefully produced in agricultural lands both exclusively through monoculture or being a component of new generation agro-forestry program. Depending on species and plantation management, eucalyptus plants can attain a height from 10 m to 60m with enlarged stem.
Technical Requirements for Eucalyptus Plantation
Ideal Soil for Eucalyptus Tree
Perhaps one of the most appealing characterizes of eucalyptus is that, regardless of the type of soil from black soils to red soils and alluvial soils to infertile soil types, they can be grown successfully in mass and with quality. It has great tolerance to grow in extremely arid soil with high temperature.
It grows in abundance in the areas which experience rainfall within 250 to 600 mm annually. Similarly, it also grows quite well in the areas receiving as high as 1000- 1250 mm or even more rainfall.
Ideal Temperature for Eucalyptus Plantation
Typically, in course of germination to sowing in the lands and in early growth stage 25-35°C temperature is ideal while during harvesting 20-45°C is the desired range.
Normal sunlight after the seedlings reaches 6 months.
Clone Eucalyptus Plantation Using Micro Propagation
With adoption of innovative techniques and concepts, varied species of eucalyptus plant tissues have now been cultured to produce clones through micro propagation. Aside from increased and faster productivity with quality, E. hybrid offers a number of advantageous features adding to its popularity like fire resistance or overcoming weeds. It is notable that nearly 180 species of eucalyptus hybrids have been tried in India and among them one of a kind is E. tereticornis. In fact, the large scale production of E. tereticornis also recognized as Mysore gum has been meeting the greater than ever demand of pulpwood industries. Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB), Coimbatore meanwhile has released four high productive Eucalyptus clones such as IFGTB-EC1, -EC2, -EC3 and -EC4, which are broadly cultivated in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. No surprising, for potential farmers, the scope of clone eucalyptus plantation has opened a new sphere to attain greater market and profitability.
How to Plant Eucalyptus Seeds
Growing eucalyptus from seed needs managed germination of seeds. As an effective medium of germination, consider using a mixture of fine sand and soil in 1:1 to fetch the desired texture. Spring is the most ideal time for sowing eucalyptus tree seeds while depending on the climatic conditions, late spring can also be chosen. After, seeds are sown; the free-draining mother bed should be placed in shaded area and needs to be covered with static substances such as plastic. Also, soils can be used to cover seeds.
Germination method takes nearly 4-5 days and once seedlings are found to be 6-7 cm. they can be transplanted in nursery bed prior to placing them in well cultivated land. Periodic watering of the seedlings in the initial phase of development is a must. This should be noted carefully by planters intended to breeding that some of the key cause that impacts negatively on the effectiveness of propagation is over-watering, over-shading and allowing of germinant can lead to deformity of the roots. Therefore, once the plants reach 30-36 cm height, which takes nearly five to six months, transfer them from nursery tub and plant in the fields.
Eucalyptus Plantation Management
Rainy season is ideally the best period for planting the seedlings in the cropland. As said above, this should be done after 5-6 months as the seedlings attain the desired form for showing. Prepare the pits with soil mixed with neem based nutritional together with 50 grams of phosphate and 250 gram of vermicompost in each pit. Contextually, it is worth mentioning that, opposed to traditional method of composting, vermicomposting has been more popular in recent times due to its faster ability to treat natural wastes. The composting approach involves using of varied species of worms such as red wigglers, earthworms, white worms to create a fusion of decomposing food or vegetable wastes. Using neem based nutrient is essential that helps protect seedling from termite damaging. Application of 50 grams of NPK fertilizer in the first year and 50 grams of NPK (17:17:17) in the second year to each plant is essential. If dying back of the upper branches is found during the dry-season (Crown die-back) use 10-20 gram of borax to each tree depending on the intensity. Planters often experience crown die-back in uppermost tree branches caused by boron deficiency.
Even though, eucalyptus is known as drought tolerant plant, nevertheless for optimum productivity, it needs at least 25-30 sessions of irrigation in its entire growing cycle. And, this should begin immediately subsequent to transplantation in the main field. If monsoon is considerably insignificant, which is often experienced by farmers, consider providing protective watering in view of the need. Make sure to stay away from overwatering while drip-irrigation is always the best choice for eucalyptus plantation. Irrigation is mainly vital in the dry season as well, minimally in winter.
Prior to planting as well as throughout the growing stage, weeding of bushy unwanted plants is highly recommended. Weeds are the key cause that hinders the growth rate of the species. Especially in the early stages, the ability of seedlings remains very poor to fight back weeds. Areas that experience higher rainfall, consider more frequent weeding, negligence of which is likely to result in absolute planting failure.
For eucalyptus genres produced for pulpwood and paper making industries, recommended spacing of 3 m x 2 m, enables them to obtain wider stems. Similarly, wide spacing of 5m x 2m or 4 m x 2 m is essential when larger (30-60 m or more) plants are required. Plants produced for fuel purpose and others spacing of 2×2 m is ideal.
While eucalyptus is produced following both monoculture and Agro-forestry concepts, in order to attain an ecologically sustainable harvesting pattern and maximize yield from the land, with a spacing of 3×2, 4 x2 or 5×2 various annual crops such as paddy, wheat and different cereals can be produced effectively as an intercrop with eucalyptus plantation. Hence, depending on the tree spacing, type or hybrid, density and other parameters, decide on the type of product to be incorporated with diligence to reach desired outcome of Agro-forestry system.
In course of germination, growing seedlings are vulnerable to fungi and mold attack destroying leaves due to damping. Maintaining a standard 20-30° C. temperature in nursery setting and needed sunshine is essential. At the same time, after the seedlings are planted in the field, always avoid overwatering since, excess water pooling near tree roots can lead to root invasion and also causing leaf diseases. Termites affect planted seedlings and young trees must be chemically restricted. Consider applying Nimbicides 2ml /ltr of water and spurt with sprayers. Eucalyptus is often severely damaged by a harming insect called Leptocybe invasa which result in formation of galling structures in the stalks, leaves and stem causing drying leaves and unhealthy stem. In India, the pest attack is widely known as blue gum gall. Bordeaux mixture can be applied to save trees from Stem Canker attack.
Uses of Eucalyptus Tree
Most elements of a eucalyptus plant including its leaves, stem and barks are having multipurpose use. Oils extracts from leaves contain flavonoids, a plant based anti-oxidant and tennis helps magical to reduce joint pain, straining muscles and inflammation. Oils are also used in producing perfumes, cosmetics, industrial solvents, and dental medications. Eucalyptus is highly demanding in paper making industry for preparing pulp.
Yield and Returns from Eucalyptus Plantation
Remarkably, with the introduction of cloned (hybrid) species, yield from eucalyptus plantation per hectare has increased dramatically all over India. Simply put, whereas the yield in the 90’s was nearly 25-30 ton/ha after 7-8 on average in Tamil Nadu, now planters enjoy a yield of 60-75 ton/ha after the same span. In fact, depending on the success of clone quality and plantation management, after 5 years, a farmer can achieve an outcome of 100-150 tons per hectare from clone eucalyptus plantation.
When it comes to monetary outcome, farmers can get solid market demand, and depending on the type of produce, potential customers can range from pulp industry to medicine producers, furniture, honey makers and more. An expected, average weight of eucalyptus tree after 6 years can be nearly 250– 400 kg depending on the type of hybrid. Now, based on the market price and demand of that particular wood species one can earn fabulous all through the year from eucalyptus plantation project.