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It takes a long time to get good rubber tree seedlings
to put in the plantation.

It takes two years to get seedlings
for putting in the plantation.

To raise seedlings for the plantation, you must:

Germinating seeds in the germinator

To do this, you have to:

  Making the germinator

A germinator
is the place where you sow the seeds
to make them germinate.

To make a germinator
you must choose ground that is quite flat,
that has no vegetable refuse on it;
you must choose a spot that can be easily watered.

Make beds 1 metre wide.
Each bed is edged with planks,
so as to make a box.
Into each box put sand to a depth of 10 centimetres.

Cover the germinator with a roof made of straw.

The roof must be at least 1 metre above ground,
so that you can get underneath it
to put the seeds to germinate.

  Choosing the seeds

To get good seeds,
it is best to ask for them at a seed selection centre.

The seeds must be put in the germinator
as soon as they have been harvested
for they very quickly become unable to germinate.

When you put the seeds in the germinator,
you must look to see
if each seed is shiny and bright.
If is not, do not put it in,
because it will not germinate.

  Putting the seeds in the germinator

Push the seed half way into the sand,
with the rounded side of the seed uppermost.

Put the seeds close together, side by side,
and water them.

To make a plantation of 1 hectare, with 625 trees,
you must put 1 700 seeds to germinate.
So you must have a germinator
1.7 metres long and 1 metre wide.

A week later the seed has germinated,
and the rootlet is about 2 centimetres long.

This is the time to take the seeds out of the germinator
and put them in the nursery.

Putting the germinated seeds in the nursery

The nursery is the place
where you put the germinated seeds
so that they will grow into young rubber trees.

  The soil of the nursery must be well prepared

Choose a spot that is easy to water.

Grub up all trees.
A few days before planting the germinated seeds
remove all vegetable refuse.
The soil must be tilled by hand very deeply,
to at least 60 centimetres,
with a hoe.
Then the soil must be levelled and harrowed
to break up clods.

This is how the nursery is made ready
for the germinated seeds.

  Putting the germinated seeds in the nursery

The germinated seeds are planted in rows.
In each row leave 40 centimetres between seeds.
Leave 30 centimetres between the rows.
Plant the seedlings (germinated seeds) in alternate spacing,
as shown in the drawing on page 9.
Make four rows in each nursery bed.
Leave 60 centimetres between the nursery beds.
After every four beds, leave a space of 1.20 metres.

Thus 1 hectare will contain 58 000 seedlings.

To make a plantation of 1 hectare,
you have to plant 1 500 germinated seeds;
that means two nursery beds, each 70 metres long.

When transplanting the seedlings,
press the soil well down round the tap-root and the rootlets,
without damaging them.

Water the seedlings as soon as you have transplanted them.


Looking after the nursery

You must hoe often
to get rid of weeds,
and to keep the soil moist.

In the dry season you must water rather often.
But do not water in the middle of the day.
Water in the morning or in the evening.

If the soil is not very fertile, you can give it fertilizer,
as follows:

  The first time, 2 months after transplanting,
give 150 kilogrammes of ammonium phosphate
to each hectare
and 75 kilogrammes of potassium chloride
to each hectare.
This means that for a bed of 70 square metres
you need 1 kilogramme of ammonium phosphate
and 0.5 kilogramme of potassium chloride.

  The second time, 5 months after transplanting,
give the same amounts.

But you must get advice from technical officers,
because different soils have different needs.

Ten months after transplanting to the nursery,
take out the young plants that have not grown well.

When the young plants are between 12 and 15 months old,
during the short rainy season,
grafting must be done.

Grafting is a difficult job,
You must pay great attention to it.

Grafting young plants

Grafting means putting into a young plant (the stock)
a little piece of a branch (the scion)
taken from a tree of good quality.

The young plant in the nursery is the stock.
It will provide the roots of the plant
which is to be put into the plantation.

You take a piece of a branch
from a tree that gives plenty of latex;
this is called the scion.
The scion will provide the stem of the plant
that is to be put into the plantation.

To graft you use a grafting knife
with a very sharp blade.

Grafting knife

To do the grafting, you have to:

Afterwards look to see if the graft has succeeded.

  Preparing the stock

When the young plant in the nursery (the stock)
is 3 or 3.5 centimetres thick,
it can be grafted.

A few centimetres above the ground,
make two cuts in the stock about 4 or 5 centimetres long
and 2 centimetres apart.
Then make one cut at the bottom
to join the other two cuts at the lower end.

All these cuts are made in the bark only.
You must not cut into the wood.

You will see, if you cut a stem right across, that

The cuts must be made
so that the bark can be peeled back.

Make the cuts on 20 plants, one after the other.
You will see a white liquid flowing out.
This is the latex.

  Taking the scion

Ask at a selection centre
for rubber tree branches for grafting.
These branches have
about the same thickness as the stock.
They are called grafting wood.

These branches for grafting have no leaves;
the leaves have been taken off
10 days before cutting the branches.
As soon as the selection centre
has given you the grafting wood,
the grafts must be done at once,
during the next 24 hours.

In the first-year course
we learned that on the stem there are buds
below the leaves.
If you look closely just below a leaf,
you will see that there is a bud.

This bud is called an eye.

To get a scion, take an eye
with a little piece of the bark round it.

Take a branch of grafting wood
in order to remove an eye from it.
Round this eye make two cuts 5 or 6 centimetres long
and 1 or 2 centimetres apart.
You will see the latex flow out.

Remove the eye by cutting into the wood of the branch
with the grafting knife.

Now you have a piece of grafting wood
with an eye in the centre of it.

If you look at the back of this piece of wood,
you will see that:

  Putting the scion in the stock

With a rag, wipe off the latex
that has flowed out of the stock.

Peel back gently the strip of bark
cut when preparing the stock.

You must not touch the underside of this strip
with your finger.

Take the piece removed from the grafting wood.
Make two cuts, one on each side of the eye,
so as to mark off the scion.

Peel off the piece of bark with the eye.
Do not take any wood
and do not touch the underside of the scion.

Now you have the scion by itself.

Next, put the scion
under the strip of bark peeled back on the stock.

Do not touch the wood of the stock
and the back of the scion.

Put back the strip of bark over the scion
and bind it to the trunk
with a band 4 centimetres wide and 60 centimetres long.
The graft is finished.

To plant 1 hectare, 1 400 plants must be grafted.

Three weeks after making the graft,
take away the band and cut the strip of bark
at the top of the vertical cuts.
The graft has been successful
if the scion is well joined to the stock,
and if the graft is green when you scratch it a little.
There should be at least 85% of successes.

The young plants are now left in the nursery
until the next rainy season.
Then the grafted plants will be put into final position
in the plantation.

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