Bamboo and Rattan/Rattan/Course-1 Unit-7

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Nursery establishment and management

7.1 Preparation of nursery bed
Seeds are sown on raised nursery bed consisting of a 10 cm layer of sandy
loam, overlaid by a 3 cm thick layer of saw dust. The bed may be supported
on sides by wooden planks, bricks or split bamboo. The standard size of the
bed is 12 m x 1.2 m. The site chosen for the seed bed should be flat and
should be near a permanent water source.
The beds should be protected from heavy rain and direct sunlight. Heavy
rains will churn up seed bed and expose the seeds. This could create a lot
of extra work when thousands of seeds are being handled. Shade may be
provided with locally available materials such as palm fronds, grass, etc.
In case of permanent nurseries, the use of agronets is advisable.<

7.2 Seed sowing and after-care
Spread the processed seeds over the seed bed and cover up with 2 cm of
sawdust. The seeds should be completely covered. Daily watering is needed to
keep the bed moist. Watering should be done as a fine spray to avoid
churning up of beds. Any exposed seeds should be covered up immediately.
Weeding of the seedbed should be carried out as and when needed.

7.3 Transplanting to polybags:

Fig. 1. Germinated seed

Fig. 2. Seedlings ready for transplanting to polybags
As rattan seeds germinate, the first sign is the emergence of a spear like
protuberance from which the seedling leaves expand later (Fig. 1). Seedlings are generally ready for
transplanting when the first seedling leaves are fully expanded (Fig. 2).
The size of the polybag will vary depending on the species. In general, a
size of 16 cm x 12 cm is sufficient for raising the seedlings up to 9
months, an optimum field planting age. Potting mixture consists of forest
topsoil and sand in the ratio of 3:1 or soil, sand and farm manure in the
ratio of 5:3:1.

Before transplanting, the seed beds should be thoroughly watered to loosen
the sowing medium so that seedlings can be pricked out easily with minimum
damage to the root system. Immediately after transplanting, seedlings should
be watered thoroughly. Any casualties should be replaced as soon as

7.4 Polybag nursery
The site for the polybag nursery should be near the nursery beds to avoid long distance transportation of polybags. Facilities for irrigation should also be available.

The poly bag nursery should be partially shaded. The optimum shade for raising young seedling is about 50 per cent. Shade can be provided by using agronets, palm leaves or crushed bamboo strips. For large scale seedling production, a permanent shelter with agronets is preferred, to provide more uniform shade.
The polythene bags should be arranged in blocks. The length of the block can be adjusted to suit the nursery (Figs.3,4). It is better to arrange the bags on a thick polythene sheet spread over the nursery ground to prevent the
penetration of growing roots to the ground. The increase in width of the
nursery bed can result in overcrowding, over shading, rapid spread of pests
and diseases, and interference in carrying out routine weeding, fertilizing
and watering.

Fig. 3. Seedlings transplanted to polybags

Fig.4. Polybag nursery

7.5 Transplanting to poly bags
The after care of seedlings in polybags consists of replacing weak and dead
seedlings, watering regularly, weeding, fertilizing, and control of pests
and diseases. Any dead or weak seedling should be replaced as soon as
possible to ensure uniformity on the size of surviving seedlings. Depending
on weather conditions, watering should be carried out as often as necessary
to keep the potting medium moist. For better growth, fertilizers can be
applied. Two months after transplanting, a mixture of cow dung and groundnut
cake with water may be poured in the polybags which will increase the
vegetative growth.

7.6 Field planting:
Before field planting, weak and disease infected seedlings should be culled
and only healthy and vigorous seedlings should be planted. After 9-12 months
of growth the seedlings can be field planted.
Outplanting has to be initiated during the pre-monsoon showers and must be completed before the commencement of intense rains in June. Rattan seedlings attain a height of 30-45 cm (from base of the seedling to the tip of the tallest open leaf) and will have 4-6 leaves when in polybags as these complete one year’s growth in the nursery. The seedlings are planted in partially filled pits of 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm at either 5 m x 5 m or 6 m x 6 m spacing after stripping of the polythene containers without disturbing
the soil around the roots. Planting is done in such a way that the root
collar is at the same level as the ground surface (Fig.5). During planting,
care should be taken to see that the soil is consolidated well so as to
leave no gaps between soil around the root system and that in the pit.

Fig.5. Out planted seedling
This ensures better root growth and higher survival in the field. A calendar
of operations for raising cane plantations is provided in Table 2.

Table 2.

Calendar of operations for raising cane plantations
Operations Period of the year
Use one-year-old poly-potted seedlings for field planting
Demarcation of planting area, aligning, staking, pitting

April, May Outplanting one-year-old seedlings

May-June Knife-weeding around the plants to a diameter of 1 m

September-January Climber cutting As and when required Soil mulching with leaves


7.7 Cultural operations and after-care
In the plantation, knife-weeding around the plants at a radial distance of
35-45 cm helps the seedlings to establish well. Soil mulching during
December-January also helps in the retention of soil moisture and ensures
higher survival rates in the field. Once established, rattans require
minimum care and maintenance. Rattan seedlings will not show much growth in
height during the first three to four years but later grow much faster.
Small diameter rattans will be ready for harvest in about 6-7 years while
large diameter rattans take about 10-12 years for harvesting.