Garcinia gummi-gutta: Nursery techniques

Garcinia gummi-gutta (Cambogia gummigutta L.,)

Seed sowing

Fresh and dried seeds after removing the seed coat are sown for better germination. They were sown both in the nursery beds and dibbled in potting mixture filled polypots. It is noted that, for a standard nursery bed, about 1.5-2 kg of seeds will be sufficient so that the minimum space will be available for the seedlings to grow and to facilitate pricking. Other samples used in the trial experiment are those with and without aril (sown both in the nursery beds and polypots) and seeds stored for five months. The results obtained are given in Table 4.3.2. When sown in polythene bags, 2 seeds were sown per bag (Fig. 4.3.4 ) and one of the seedlings was removed later.

Seed germination

In the case of seeds sown without removing the white succulent aril, it took about 5 months to start germination which continued for about a year. The germination percentage was quite low (15%) due to damage or loss of seeds by unnoticed infections within the soil. In the case of seed samples sown after removing succulent aril, 45 per cent germinated and those seeds sown after removal of seed coat registered a maximum of 82.5 per cent germination, and therefore, this method appeared the most ideal one. For samples stored for five months, only 52 per cent germination (Table 4.3.2) was recorded. Rai (1999) noted the germination period of cleaned and dried seeds as 25-60 days and germination rate as 55 per cent.

Other than sowing seeds in nursery beds and dibbling in polypots, Rai (1999) also suggested the following method to raise seedlings from stored seeds. The seeds are to be mixed with cowdung or farmyard manure and tightly packed in paddy straw in the form of a bundle. The bundle is then soaked in water to make it wet and then kept in a shallow pit which is slightly deeper than the thickness of the bundle. The pit is covered with 5-6 cm thick layer of soil and regularly watered, once in two days. The seeds are reported to germinate by about 45-50 days.

Otherwise, a pit of 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm, lined with paddy straw and a layer of farmyard manure or cow dung, is prepared and the stored seeds are spread in the pit, which is again covered with straw (Rai, 1999). Several layers can be made alternating with seed layer and straw layer and the top of the pit may be covered with a layer of straw and kept pressed with sand bags or stones. Seeds germinated within 30-40 days (Rai, 1999) when they were removed and potted. It is also suggested to spray Carbofuran (60g/1x1m2) in the nursery bed, once in two months, to avoid the infestation by ticks and mites. Also, the practice of spraying Copper Oxychloride (3 g in one litre of water per one square metre of bed) is recommended, which will prevent fungal attack on tender leaves.

Nursery pests and control

Up to 10 per cent damage of nursery seedlings due to a dipteran leaf miner was noticed in the nursery seedlings of G. gummi-gutta, which led to crinkling and subsequent withering of leaves (Fig. 4.3.5). Also, mild attack of aphids in a few seedlings, sucking the sap of tender leaves was recorded. Very few instances of root feeding by termites also occur in the seedlings maintained in nursery beds.

Nursery diseases and control

In the seedbed nursery of G. gummi-gutta, very low incidence of collar rot caused by Rhizoctonia solani Kuhn was observed. The disease affected 10 to 20-day-old seedlings, causing water-soaked longitudinal lesions at collar region, which turn to dark brown in colour and become sunken and necrotic in due course. Timely application of fungicide (Carboxin, 0.1% a.i.) saved the seedlings. Other minor foliage infections recorded in seedbeds and container seedlings include leaf-spot caused by species like Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, Phomopsis sp., Curvularia lunata and Pestalotiopsis species. The disease caused by C. gloeosporioides is characterized by dark reddish brown colour, measuring 2-3 mm in diameter, with a pale greyish margin. The small spots become coalesced and form large necrotic lesions of 6-8 mm diameter. Withering of tissues in necrotic areas was also noticed, while shot-hole formation was not observed. Curvularia lunata and Pestalotiopsis sp. were found associated with necrotic lesions on leaf margins and leaf tips. Small greyish brown spots with concentric rings of pale and dark coloured areas were observed in container seedlings. Isolations from these spots yielded a Phomopsis sp. as the causative organism. Even though, the foliage infections in nursery of G. gummi-gutta seedlings were of minor significance, application of Dithane M45 (0.1% a.i.) at weekly interval was found effective in protecting the seedlings.

Among more than 425 species of Garcinia in the world, 22 species are found in India. Earlier, diseases were recorded from species like G. indica Choisy, G. livingstonei T. Anders. and G. mangostana L. These include leaf rust caused by Aecidium garciniae Sund. et Rao, leaf spots caused by Cercospora dapoliana Garud, C. vismicola Chupp., and Septoria sp. in G. indica ( Patel et al., 1949; Sundaram and Rao, 1957; Seshadri et al., 1972). However, so far no disease has been recorded from G. gummi-gutta trees in Kerala.

Pricking and maintenance of seedlings Seedlings in the nursery bed, by about 3 months, attain an average height of 11.5 cm with 2-4 leaves, when they can be pricked and poly-potted (Fig. 4.3.6). Before out-planting the potted seedlings are to be regularly watered and pots weeded to maintain them for about 4-5 months, when they will attain an average height of 17.5 cm.

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