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Tips On Plantations > Cultural Operations : April

Cultural Operations : April     


Procurement of materials such as bituminous compound, polythene, fixing materials etc. may be done for rainguarding. Depending on the area to be covered, the rainguarding may be undertaken from April.

Spraying for the control of Abnormal leaf fall
The materials viz. Copper sulphate, lime, COC, spray oil etc. required for prophylactic spraying in May against abnormal leaf fall may be procured 30-50 kg of CuSO4 and lime or 8 kg COC and 40 L spray oil may be required per hectare. The spray equipment may be serviced well in advance.

Weeding should be carried out before the fertilizer application. Weeds are then kept aside for drying and dried weeds can be used for mulching the plant basin.

Land Preparation
Land preparation for new planting and replanting can be continued during this period. Large trees of economic value should be removed first followed by felling and removal of smaller trees and slashing of undergrowth in the case of new planting. A light burn after felling and drying facilitates planting operations. Lining, terracing and pitting also may be undertaken during this period. Rubber may be planted either by adopting square (for level land) or rectangular (for level and near level lands) planting system. In undulating and hilly areas, contour lining should be undertaken and terraces should be cut along the contour to conserve moisture and prevent soil erosion. Instead of taking continuous terraces in the beginning, for economy, individual square platforms of size 1.25 m x 1.25 m can be constructed around each plant point and later on they can be joined together to form continuous terraces. Provision should be made for proper drainage.
Planting distance
The density recommended for proper growth and development of rubber is about 420-445 plants/ha. In the case of budded plants. It is preferable that the density should not exceed 500/ha.
Pitting and refilling
The standard size of the pit is 75 cm x 75 cm x 75 cm. In hard and stony soils, pits of size 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm can be taken. Filling should be done with top fertile soil. Well decomposed and powdered cow dung or compost at the rate of 12 kg and rock phosphate at the rate of 175 g per pit may be mixed with the top 30 cm soil in the pit.
Soil and water conservation
In sloppy areas, soil conservation measures may be undertaken at the time of land preparation itself to prevent soil erosion and to conserve water. Construction of stone pitched contour bunds (Edakkayyalas) and silt pits are the common conservation practices recommended other than contour terracing. Silt pits (trenches) of about 120 cm length , 45 cm width and 60 cm depth can be taken across the slope on the interspaces of rubber at the rate of about 250 pits per hectares.

Fertilizer application

Fertilizer recommendation to the individual fields based on soil and or leaf analysis will be more advantageous and economical and as far as possible it has to be followed. The facilities at the central soil and leaf testing laboratory attached to the Rubber Research Institute of India or the Regional laboratories can be utilized.

Immature rubber up to 4th year of planting
April May is the planting season and for new plantings no fertilizer application is required during this time. For the initial four years, the discriminatory fertilizer recommendation based on the initial soil sample analysis if available can be followed. Otherwise the general fertilizer recommendation given below in table can be practiced. Two types of fertilizer mixtures either with magnesium or without magnesium is recommended. In Kanyakumari district of Tamilnadu, Trissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod, Wynad districts of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra regions the magnesium status of the soil is high and here 12:12:6 mixture is recommended. For all other regions in the traditional belt of rubber cultivation, Mg containing 10:10:4:1.5 NPKMg mixture is recommended. For Northeastern region 12:12:6 mixture is recommended. Similarly in the initial two years fertilizer mixtures containing half the quantity of phosphorus in the water soluble form will be more useful for better root development and plant establishment.

Fertilizer recommendation for initial four years

Year of planting

Year of planting

Dose of mixture (g/plant)10:10:4:1.5 12:12:6

Quantity per hectare10:10:4:1.5 2:12:6

1st yearApril May


Not required



2nd year April-May






3rd yearApril-May






4th year April-May






The fertilizer mixture mentioned above can be prepared by mixing straight fertilizers and the quantity of straight fertilizers needed are provided in the table below:


Urea (kg)

Rockphosphate (20%) (kg)

Super phosphate (kg)

Muriate of potash (kg)

Magnesium sulphate (kg)



















Immature rubber from fifth year to tapping
From fifth year of planting till maturity the quantity of fertilizer to be applied is based on the management practices followed in the initial four years.
If the fields were properly mulched and good cover crop was maintained in the initial years, then the general fertilizer recommendation is 30 kg/ha each of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This can be supplied through 65 kg urea, 150 kg rock phosphate and 150 kg muriate of potash. The fertilizer can be supplied in two splits one in April-May and the other in September-October depending upon the rain and availability of moisture in the soil. Hence during April-May, half of the recommended fertilizer can be supplied through 32.5 kg urea, 75 kg rock phosphate and 25 kg muriate of potash. These straight fertilizers should be mixed together on the day of application and should not be stored for later use. The entire quantity can be uniformly applied to the field.
If mixing of straight fertilizers is not possible the ready to use mixtures can be purchased and applied to the field. The mixtures available in the market and the per hectare requirement is given below. Depending upon the number of trees per hectare, the entire quantity can be equally distributed in the field.

Fertilizer mixture/complexQuantity (kg/ha)







Factomphos (75kg) + Muriate of potash (25 kg)


If no cover crop was established and no mulching was practiced in the initial years then application of 200 kg of 15:10:6 NPK mixture is recommended for one season. The same can be supplied through 65kg of urea, 100 kg of rockphosphate and 20 kg of muriate of potash.

Mature rubber under tapping
The general fertilizer recommendation for mature rubber under tapping is 30 kg each of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The entire quantity of fertilizer can be applied as single dose in April-May or it can be applied in two split doses one in April-May and the second in September-October. This can be supplied through mixing 65 kg urea, 150 kg rock phosphate and 50 kg muriate of potash. If two split application is followed then apply half the quantity of these fertilizers during April-May season. Instead of mixing straight fertilizers, ready to use mixtures can also be used and the same quantity provided in the table given above may be used.
The quantity of fertilizer application for well managed plantations from fifth year onwards is same as that of the mature rubber and hence the requirement for fertilizer mixture given in the table can be followed for mature rubber also. No fertilizer applications are recommended for mature plantations which are expected to be replanted within a period of three years.
For north eastern region for mature rubber the fertilizer recommendation is 35:35:35 NPK kg/ha. This can be supplied through 350 kg of 10:10:10 NPK mixture either in single dose or in two equal splits one in April-May and the second in September-October.
Method of fertilizer application
Immature rubber
Up to fourth year apply the fertilizers at the base of the plants in circular bands. The band width can be increased with the age of the plant and the fertilizer may be mixed with the soil by slight forking for preventing the losses. From fifth year onwards apply the fertilizers in rectangular or square patches in between four plants.
Mature rubber
Apply the fertilizers in rectangular or square patches in between four trees. The fertilizers can also be broadcasted in between the rows of trees.


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