Malabar neem or Melia dubia plantation is a very good option to farmers looking for plantation crops or agroforestry. Melia dubia has high demand in industry and delivers high profit per acre.

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Melia dubia or Malabar neem tree is called in different names all over India:To name a few among them, including Tamil – Malai vembu, Telugu- Konda Vepa/Malabaru Vepa, Kannada- Hebbevu / Karibvam, Hindi: Ghora-nim / Mahanim, Oriya – Batra and more.

Originating from Meliaceae botanic family, Malabar Neem, or Melia dubia has been acknowledged as one of the fastest and sizeable yield producing plantation crops to farmers like eucalyptus. The deciduous species is a native to India, Australia, and South East Asian countries and is chiefly cultivated for its great pulp class and timber quality. In fact, the paper making industries and plywood producers are the major benefactors to cultivators of Melia dubia tree. Also, called as a Forest Neem, it boasts of being among the fastest growing farming tree genres, which takes merely 5-7 years to set for harvest while the yield is found considerably hefty. Equally, by incorporating suitable crops in the same field, farmers can enhance their income via Agroforestry model.

Technical Requirements for Melia Dubia Plantation

Melia dubia grows typically in tropical moist environment ideal for deciduous forest to grow in abundance with appropriate plantation management. In India, you can find large scale farming lands of Melia dubia in Sikkim Himalayas, upper Assam, Khasi Hills, and N. Circars, in Dooars of North Bengal as well as in the Hills of Orissa, Decaan, and Western Ghats at an altitude of 1,500 – 1,800 m.

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Soil for Malabar Neem Tree Plantation

Rich with organic elements fertile sandy loam soil happens to be the finest class for Malabar neem cultivation while its growth in gravel mixed shallow soil shows poor growth rate. Similarly, laterite red soils are also great for the Malabar neem farming. Irrespective of the kind of soil, high Ph content is not desired for productive result of the species. Given that, the tree roots penetrate deeper soils, hence, even as the soil should have the ability to hold needed moisture, the field should be well-drained and must not be waterlogged.

Rainfall for Melia Dubia Cultivation

Areas with profusion rainfall ranging above 1000 mm annually are considered the most ideal for the desired growth of Melia dubia trees. Nevertheless, in areas having lower rainfall, they can grow consistently backed by satisfactory irrigation methods throughout the year depending on the need. Regions higher than 600-1800m of sea level are paramount for Melia dubia cultivation.

Temperature

Standard temperature required for Melia dubia cultivation.

Sunlight

Normal sunlight required.

Germination and Nursery Technique for Melia DubiaSeeds

Melia dubia tree
Melia dubia tree before transplantation

When it comes to propagation of Malabar neem tree, farmers have options to go for seed germination or vegetative propagation methods. In fact, seed germination of Melia dubia is just not challenging but also a comprehensive process as well. To soften the hardy outer coat, needed seed treatment should be duly followed. Subsequent to the exclusion of the outer coat, its inner hard cover should be removed to reach the kernel inside. These kernels or dried drupes are sown for generating seedlings in the nursery. Be careful that kernels are not damaged in the process.

Apply combination of sand and soil in 1:1 ratio to prepare the raised nursery beds, while the drupes needs to be dibbled within the soil separately keeping minimum 5 cm. distance in the midst. For faster results, use dung in 50/50 proportion with the blend of soil and sand. The seedbed needs to be watered two times a day and then the bed should be covered with a poly pack or its equivalent that helps sustain desired moisture. Nursery beds should be kept under the shade. It takes nearly 90 days to germinate drupes. Finally this should be noted with diligence that since the success rate of Malabar neem seed germination is found to be nearly 30%, it is sensible to try germination with minimum 5-6 kg of kernels, which may contain nearly 1200 fruit nuts and then you can expect about 300 seedlings for final sowing. Once the seedlings attain approximately 2 feet of height, they’re prepared for transplantation in the farm. The ideal period of showing Melia dubia seeds is March-April.

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Vegetative Propagation

For vegetative propagation, get small lively stem cuttings. To let the shoot respond well consider use of 1000 – 2000 PPM Indolebutyric acid (IBA). IBA releases Auxin, a naturally-plant hormone that encourages the plant shoot taken from grown-up trees react faster toward rooting and foster vegetative propagation. Since shoots are extremely vulnerable to root decaying proper measures should be undertaking while placing them into sand medium. That should not get water logged. Dry seasons are ideal for vegetative rooting and if properly done, you can get 75% roots through shoot propagation. While cutting stems, choose matured trees to get better results.

Malabar Neem Plantation Management

Create pits keeping a space of 6m x 6m to 10m x 10m or more depending on whether you’re intended to prefer agroforestry system. For monoculture 6m x 6m spacing is ideal. No. of melia dubia plants per acre will be around 425 if following 10m x 10m spacing, and the no. will increase if the spacing is decreased. Prepare pits with mixture of Potassium, Nitrogen, and Phosphorous of @50 gram each for every seedling or stem based root to be planted. Application of compost is a great choice to enhance growth rate extra with fertilizers. Fertilizing once in three months and regular watering in the morning is essential for speedy expansion of plants. Stay away from overwatering at the initial stage. Depending on the need, consider time to time pruning and remove diseased, damaged, or dead branches from plants to avoid unwanted insect attack that hinders growth. If everything goes systematic, Malabar neem tree is likely to emerge nearly 40 ft after 3 years. If any major change, consider expert consultancy.

Irrigation for Melia Dubia Cultivation

During the summer days, the need of irrigating the cropland is crucial. As per necessary, 3-4 irritation once in 7-10 days interval is ideal. Unless the rainfall is found erratic during the rainy period, there is no need of irrigation. Nevertheless, downpour may lead to water logging in the field that needs pumped out or drained pass up decayed root. In dry lands or plains, regular watering and protecting plants from extreme heat or frosty environment are some preconditions.

Weeding in Melia Dubia Plantation

With scheduled weeding sessions to get rid of unwanted shrub growths in plant adjoining areas in the rising stage and elimination of decayed/ deceased tree branches, planters can keep the trees vivacious and fast growing.

Agroforestry Option

For cultivators interested to incorporate agroforestry model with Melia dubia plantation, it offers a great scope of earning throughout its farming period. Some of the most matching species that can be cultivated with needed space include Ground nut, Turmeric, Chili, Papaya, Banana, Watermelon, Sugarcane and more.

Pest Control for Melia Dubia Plants

While Melia dubia trees are found resistant to common termites, needed care should be taken especially in the nursery period. Mites like red spider may found under the leaves which destroy its soft tissues causing dying of seedlings. Similarly, during the rainy reason, polyphagous defoliator, mealy bugs, or leaf miners may invade growing stumps. Application of pesticide of Methyl parathion 0.2 ml in one liter water and spaying on the sprouting shrub can produce fast results. Water stagnation at the base of plants can cause infestation with diseases and pests like leaf miners, wood borders, sap-sucking pests etc apart from rotten roots. Depending on the type of pest attack, consider the use of suitable pest control solutions.

Yield/ Revenue from Melia Dubia or Malabar Neem Plantation

Proper plantation management can give high Melia dubia profit per acre and can start earning from 5th year onward. After 5-6 years, a lively tree is potential to fetch 12-15 Cu. Ft. timber and every CFT will increase by 20-25 cm. from next year onward with effective management up to 15 to 20 years. So as farmers can get faster revenue and high profitability, it can be a constant earning source. Depending on the quality of timber and its market demand, one can earn around Rs. 7000 per tree as per current market price ( this depends).

Uses of Malabar Neem or Melia Dubia

Aside from having very high demand in plywood and paper making industry, lumber collected from Melia dubia is greatly praised for its consistency to use as a secondary timber unlike teak wood. These are extensively used to produce building materials, match boxes, pencils, musical instruments, tea containers, and box packing. Perhaps one of the most appealing features of Malai vembu is that the timber is absolutely ressistive to aggression of termite and mold issues.

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Sources
http://vikaspedia.in/agriculture/forestry/tree-crops/melia-dubia
http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/spl_tech_forestry/spl_technology_tree_main.html
http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/kvk/tct.pdf
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282005705_Melia_dubia

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