Ailanthus triphysa

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Ailanthus triphysa 

Ailanthus trees flower in February-March and the fruit, a reddish brown samara, ripens in March-April, which represents the ideal time for seed collection. The seeds can be stored only for a few months. Alternate wetting and drying improves seed ger-mination. The procedure involves soaking the entire quantity of seeds in cold (room temperature) water in the evening and draining the water next morning, followed by drying the seeds under shade during the day. The cycle is repeated for two to three days. 

Nursery practices 

Raised beds of 10 m x 1 m are formed. Preferably sand, soil and FYM (1:1:1 ratio) must form the top layer of the beds. Sowing is done after the bed is watered. Usually sowing is done by broadcast method (or dibbling) in Nov-December, for June planting and March-April, for October-November planting. After sowing, a thin layer of soil is sprinkled on the beds to cover the seeds. The beds are also mulched with green leaves to reduce the evaporation losses and dusted with carbaryl 10 per cent to prevent insect attack. Seed rate is 1 kg per bed. After sowing, watering is done with a fine rose-can twice a day for 10-15 days and once a day afterwards. The nursery beds also must be weeded as and when necessary. 

Pricking out

Germination takes place in about 8-10 days after planting and the seedlings attain a height of 10-15 cm in six weeks time. They are then pricked out into polythene bags containing 1:1:1 mixture of sand, soil and FYM. 

Planting practices

Containerised stock (commonly in polybags, but also in root trainers) is planted in pits (15-20 cm cube) at 2 m x 2 m spacing with the onset of rains, in the case of monospecific woodlots. To suit the requirements of intercropping, the row-to-row spacing can be altered. Ailanthus is ideal for planting in the homestead or farm boundries either in single or staggered paired rows at a spacing of 2.5 m x 2.5 m. 

Two to three weedings may be necessary in the initial years to keep the plantation weed -free. Fertilizers may be applied @ 30-40 g N, 15-20 g P2O5 and 15-20 g K2O per year per sapling from the second year to the fifth year and thereafter once in three years for a pure plantation. 

In case too many lateral branches are produced, pruning may be practised. The trees can be felled/harvested over a period of 8 to 10 years. 

Pests

Nursery: The two major pests are shoot webber (Alteva fabriciella) and defoliator (Eligma narcissus). Shoot webber is economically more important because it will damage the terminal shoot and can result in epicormic branch formation. It can be controlled by application of quinalphos at 0.05 per cent. 

Young plantations: The above two are the major pests in young plantations also, but control measures may not be cost effective. If required, 0.1 per cent quinalphos can be applied using rocker sprayer. Shoot webber affects seed production. Usually control measures are not adopted but any insecticide, which is recommended under the nursery, can be used.

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