An Important Part Of Agriculture Biology Essay

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Horticulture is an important part of agriculture. The first definition of horticulture included those crops normally cultivated in gardens such as flowers, vegetables, fruits and ornamentals. These crops became known as "horticulture crops" and were separated from field crops such s corn, wheat and cotton. The word horticulture comes from Latin meaning "the cultivation of gardens." The "hanging gardens" of Babylon (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) is a good example of the influence of horticulture.

Today, horticulture is the production of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamentals on a large scale basis and includes many services which promote the management, production and marketing of horticultural crops.

There are three major fields in horticulture. Pomology is the production, processing and distribution of fruit crops. Olericulture is the production of vegetable crops. Floriculture is the cultivation and management of ornamentals and flowering plants.

Horticultural crops are classified in to six categories viz. Fruit Crops, Vegetable Crops, Spices and Condiments, Plantation Crops, Flower Crops and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.

Tropical and Sub-Tropical Fruit crops like Banana, Mango, Citrus, Grapes, Guava, Sapota, Papaya, Ber, Pomegranate, Fig, Custard apple, Pineapple, Mangosteen, Amla, Phalsa, Avocado, etc.

Fruit Crops which come up well under cool temperature and high altitudes are known as temperature fruits.

Vegetable Crops

The major vegetable crops are Tapiaco, Onion, Tomato, Brinjal, Potato, Lablab, Drumstick, and etcetera.

Spices & Condiments

Spices & Condiments form a very important group of horticulture crops from the point of view of high income generation and foreign exchange earnings through exports. The important spices crops are Chillies, Pepper, Turmeric, Tamarind, Cardamom, Cloves, etc.,

Plantation Crops

Plantation Crops are location specific. They cannot be raised at every place. They generally come up well at higher elevation where in there is an ample rainfall and high humidity. Plantation Crops are ideally taken up on hill slops or in valleys. The important Plantation Crops grown are Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Cashew, etc.


The major area under domestic flower is with traditional flowers like Jasmine, Crossandra, Tuberose, Chrysanthemum, etc. Varying climatic conditions in the hill ranges and plains offer good scope for the production of different varieties of flower crops.

Medicinal & Aromatic Plants

There is vast scope for increasing the area in the coming years due to potential export value of Medicinal & Aromatic Plants. The important Medicinal & Aromatic Plants are grown are lemon grass, senna, etc

Improved Production Practices

The important things that we need to know about horticulture crops are as follows:

· Land/site selection: To take into account crop adaptation to soils, climate and market considerations.

· Seed/cultivar choice: Sources of seed, characteristics of good seed, advantages of using high quality seed, adaptability, market suitability, seasonal adaptation, resistance to diseases, disadvantages of using recycled seeds.

· Nursery Management: Nursery as an intensive care unit, nursery requirements - site selection, rotation, good sanitation, irrigation, fertilizer needs, pest and disease management.

· Land preparation for vegetables: Importance of good tilt, different tillage systems raised beds, farrows, flat beds, basics. Suitability of tillage systems according to season, soil types, irrigation methods respectively.

· Fertilisers: Sources of nutrients - organic (compost, green and cattle manures) and inorganic fertilizers. Nutrient requirements of vegetables determine yields and quality. The importance of using fertilisers in relation to amount, timing and placement should be understood. Options for improving soil fertility using green manure crops, com post and livestock manure. Handling manure and application of manure. The concept of Integrated Plant Nutrition Systems is necessary. The concept aims at maintaining or adjusting of soil fertility and plant nutrient supply to sustain a desired level of crop production. This is to be achieved through the following:

a. Balanced use of mineral fertilisers combined with organic and biological sources of plant nutrients.

b. Improving and maintaining the stock of plant nutrients in the soils.

c. Improving efficiency use of plant nutrients by avoiding losses to the environment.

· Spacing: The importance of using optimum spacing for high yields is necessary.

· Crop rotation: The implications of good crop rotations to minimise pests and disease build up and to enhance soil fertility.

· Irrigation:

The functions of water in horticultural crops.

Moisture requirements for different crops and critical growth stages to avoid moisture stress.

Soil moisture management in the nursery and direct seeded crops such as okra, beans and peas.

Use of mulch to conserve soil moisture.

· Staking: The importance if staking tomatoes to avoid diseases.

· Pruning: Essential to enhance fruit quality in indeterminate tomato cultivars.

· Pest and disease management: This is the biggest problem in vegetable production. Proper pest and disease identification is necessary. The concept of integrated pest management should be applied. Integrated approach to pest/disease management involving cultural, biological, cultivar resistance and use of pesticides. Effects of cultural techniques on pests and diseases should be understood. Chemical control of vegetable pests and diseases should be understood. Judicious use of pesticide, effects of pesticides on environment and humans.

· Weeding: The importance of weeding should be emphasised to avoid competition for space, nutrients, water. Certain weeds like Nicandra are alternate hosts for red spidermites.

· Post harvest handling: Proper harvesting methods, time of harvest, care in handling of produce, use of field storage sheds, proper packaging materials, treatment of produce and grading of produce.

· Marketing of horticultural crops: Marketing decisions should be made before planting the crop. Some marketing strategies include; knowing the market requirements, when to sale, timing, off-season production, formation of association for better bargaining, formation of marketing days to create awareness, market research and crop diversification.

Plantation Crops


(Camellia sinensis L. O. Kuntze.; Camelliaceae)


Pandian, Sundaram, Golconda, Jayaram, Evergreen, Athrey, Brookeland, BSS 1, BSS 2, BSS 3, BSS 4, BSS 5, Biclonal seed stocks and Grafts.

Soil and climate

Tea requires well drained soil with high amount of organic matter and pH 4.5 to 5.5. The performance of tea is excellent at elevations ranging from 1000 - 2500 m.


The nursery soil should be well drained and deep loam in nature with pH of 4.5 to 4.8. The soil and sand, which are to be used in the preparation of rooting medium, should be tested for pH and nematode infestation.

Pre-treatment of rooting medium

Treating with Aluminium sulphate can reduce soil pH. For this purpose the nursery soil is formed into beds of one metre width and about 8 cm height and of a convenient length. Then the beds are drenched with 2% solution of Aluminium sulphate applied at 10 litres per 2.5 sq.m of area. Over this another layer of soil of 8 cm height is spread and again drenched with equal quantity of water twice. Then the soil is allowed to dry and the pH is checked before use in the nursery.

Preparation of sleeves

Polythene sleeves of 150 or 200 gauge and 10 cm width and 30 - 45 cm length may be used. Drainage holes may be provided. The lower 3/4 of the sleeves should be filled with 1:3 sand and soil mixture and the top 1/4 with 1:1 sand and soil mixture and staked in rows. Overhead shade is provided.

Selection of mother bush and its treatment

Healthy and vigorously growing high yielding bushes should be selected. Apply to each selected bush, 40 g of young tea mixture 60:90 NK mixture upto 5 years. In addition, apply 3 weeks before 0.5 % Al SO4+ 1 % Mg SO4; 2 weeks before 2 % Zn SO4; 1 week before 1 % Urea.

Preparation of cuttings

Cuttings are taken on April - May and August - September. Semi hard-wood cuttings are prepared with one full leaf and an internode with a slanting cut at the bottom.

Planting of cuttings

The sleeves are watered thoroughly and holes are made in the soil. The cuttings are inserted in the hole and the soil around is pressed firmly to avoid airspace followed by watering. Small polythene tents may be provided which maintain high humidity and regulate the temperature inside. Cuttings may take 10 - 12 weeks for rooting. After 90 days i.e. when all the cuttings have rooted, the polythene tent may be removed gradually over a period of 10 - 15 days.

Manuring of nursery

After the tent is removed the cuttings are sorted and staked. 30 g of Nursery soluble mixture of the following composition dissolved in 10 litres of water may be applied over an area of 4 sq.m. This should be done fortnightly.

Composition of the fertilizer

Ammonium phosphate (20:20)

35 parts by Wt

Potassium sulphate

15 parts by Wt

(or) MOP

12 parts by Wt

Magnesium sulphate

15 parts by Wt

Zinc sulphate

3 parts by Wt


80 parts by Wt

Hardening of the cuttings

Hardening of 4 - 6 months old young cuttings should be done by removing shade gradually in stages over a period of 4 - 6 weeks starting from a few hours exposure to sun every day initially and extending the time of exposure gradually.

Methods of planting

Single Hedge System

In this method the spacing is 1.20 x 0.75 m accommodating 10,800 plants/ha.

Double Hedge System

In this method, the spacing is 1.35 x 0.75 x 0.75 m accommodating 13,200 plants/ha.

Season and planting

May-June or September-October. Sleeves should be opened lengthwise without injuring the roots and planted in the pit and the soil is gently pressed.


Subsoil irrigation may be given for young teas during summer months.


Manuring should be done 2 months after planting. Phosphorous should be applied at 80 - 100 kg/ha as Rock phosphate once in a year by placement at 15 - 25 cm depth upto the first pruning and thereafter once in two years. N : K ratio 2 : 3 should be adapted for the first 3 years and a ratio 1 : 1 thereafter.

Application of fertilizers should be done before the onset of monsoon. Fertilizers should be broadcast around the drip circle avoiding contact with the collar.


Control perennial grasses (Forbicot weeds) by spraying Glyphosate 1.75 lit + Kaoline 2 lit + 2 kg of wetting agent in 450 litres of water followed by Gramoxone 500 ml in 200 lit of water to control dicot weeds.

Training young tea


To induce more laterals centering should be done 3 - 5 months after planting. The main leader stem should be cut, leaving 8 - 10 matured leaves.


Tipping at a height of 35 cm from the second tipping at 60 cm from ground level.


To maintain convenient height and vegetative growth and to remove dead and diseased branches:

Area to be pruned every year = Total extent of the garden/Pruning cycle

Pruning interval = (Elevation in feet / 1000) + 1

Pruning should be done in April - May or August - September.

Types of pruning

Rejuvenation pruning

The whole bush should be cut near the ground level less than 30 cm with a view to rejuvenate the bushes.

Hard pruning

Formation pruning of young tea at 30 to 45 cm (12" to 18") for proper spread of bushes.

Medium pruning

To check the bush growing to an inconvenient height this type of pruning is done in order to stimulate new wood and to maintain the foliage at lower levels less than 60 cm.

Light pruning

Pruning depends on the previous history of the bush raising the height of medium pruning by an inch or less to manageable heights for plucking (less than 65 cm).


This is the lightest of all pruning methods. A removal of only the top 5 - 8 cm new growth is done so as to obtain a uniform level of pruning surface (more than 65 cm)

Shade regulation

Pollarding of shade trees should be done prior to heavy rains at a height of 8 - 10 m from the ground level.

Annual lopping

Cutting the erect type branches on the laterals in shade trees.

Plant protection


Spray carbaryl 50 WP @ 2 g/lit. or endosulfan 35 EC 2 ml/lit or quinalphos 25 EC 2 ml/ lit or chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/lit.

Sahydrassis/Phassus borer

Locate the particle mat covering at the base tea bush and remove. Insert a thick wire in the bore hole to kill the larvae. Pour quinalphos 25 EC by an ink filler inside the borehole and close it with moist clay.

Thrips and Aphids

Spray phosalone 35 EC or endosulfan 35 EC 2 ml/lit.


Spray dicofol 18.5 EC 2 ml/lit or sulphur 40 WP 2 g/l or sulphur 80 WP 1 g/l.


Blister blight

Hexagonazole 200 ml + Copper oxychloride 210 g 5 days interval/ha. Spray 210 g Copper

oxychloride and Nickel chloride per ha at 5 days interval from June - September; 11 days intervals in October and November or Copper oxychloride 210 g + 200 ml Propiconazole/ha 10 days interval.

Crop duration and harvest

Plucking commences when the tea bush is 3 years old. The plucking of extreme tip of the growing branch consists of an unopened bud together with two leaves is popularly known as "Two leaves and a bud" while fine plucking is anything less than this. Plucking continues throughout the year in South at weekly intervals during March - May and at intervals of 10 -14 days during the other months. 2 - 3 leaves with a bud - 7 to 10 days interval - rush period.10 - 15 days interval - lean period.


The yield of green leaves is 10 t/ha.


(Coffea canephora Pierre ex Frechna. Coffea arabica L.; Rubiaceae)


Arabica varieties

Sln 795, Sln 7, Sln 9, Sln 10, Cauvery and its selections and HRC. (Hawaian Red Cuturra)

Robusta varieties

Sln 274.

Soil and climate

Soil should be deep, friable, open textured rich in plant nutrients with plenty of humus and of neutral reaction. It grows up well from 500 m to 1650 m MSL with a well distributed rainfall of 150 to 200 cm annually. Definite wet and dry season are essential to have a well marked cycle of flowering. A blossom shower during March - April and a back up shower during May - June is essential for successful crop.

Seeds and sowing

Coffee is propagated by seeds.


June - December.

Preparation of seeds

Healthy and well developed fully ripe berries are harvested from specially identified plants for use as seed bearers. After discarding the floats, the sound fruits are depulped, sieved and mixed with sieved wood ash and dried in shade. The seed is then graded to remove all cut, triangular and elephant beans. Prior to planting, the seeds are treated with Agrosan or any Organomercurial compound to prevent fungal infection.

Nursery practices

Select light loamy soil of good drainage and high organic matter content with water and shade facilities. Form raised beds of 15 cm height, 1m width and at convenient length. Incorporate 30 - 40 kg of well rotten compost, 2 kg of finely sieved agricultural lime and 400 g of rock phosphate to a bed of 1 x 6 m size. In heavy soils, it is necessary to add coarse sand for drainage and aeration.


Pre-sowing seed treatment with Azospirillum and Phosphobacterium can be done. Seeds are sown in December - January in the bed 1.5 - 2.5 cm apart with the flat side down wards in regular rows. Then they are covered with a thin layer of fine soil and a layer of paddy straw. Water the beds daily and protect from direct sunlight by an over head pandal. Seeds germinate in about 45 days after which they are transplanted to a secondary nursery beds for raising ball or Bag nursery.

Bag nursery

Polythene bags with adequate number of holes in the bottom half are taken and are filled with a prepared mixture containing jungle soil, FYM and in the proportion of 6:2:1. An area of 12 x 8 m can accommodate 5000 seedlings. Seedlings are planted in polythene bags. Seeds can be treated with Phosphobacterium.

Preparation of field

Selective felling may be done while retaining a number of desirable shade trees. Terracing should be done in deep slopy areas. After the summer showers, pits of 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm are dug at 1.25 - 2.5 m apart. The pits are left open for weathering and then filled and heaped for planting. At the time of filling, apply 500 g of rock phosphate per pit along with top soil. Planting is done along the contour in slopy areas.

Planting shade trees

Dadap is commonly used as a lower canopy shade. Two metre long stakes are planted for every two plants of coffee. Silver Oak and Dadaps are planted during June when rains of South-West monsoon commences. During summer the stem of young Dadaps are painted with diluted lime or wrapped in agave leaves or polythene sheets in order to prevent them from sun scorch. Regulate shade by cutting criss-cross branches during monsoon season. Silver oak trees are planted for permanent shade.


Arabica Coffee: 1.5 to 2.0 m either way.

Dwarf varieties: Sanraman : 1 x 1 m.

Robusta coffee: 2.5 m either way.


It is generally grown as a rainfed crop. But irrigation with sprinkler during March -April increases blossoming and results in higher yields.


Weeding and mulching should be done as and when necessary. Digging is done to a depth of 30 cm towards the end of monsoon (October - November). The weeds and vegetative debris are completely turned under and buried in the soil while the stumps are removed. This is known as the cover digging. In slopy areas dig trenches on the contour 45 cm wide and 30 cm deep of any convenient length. Prune water shoots and disease affected shoots.

Plant protection - Pests

White stem borer

Attacks arabica coffee grown under inadequate shade. Swab with 2 kg lindane 20 EC in 180 lit of water. Padding with monocrotophos 36 WSC 5 ml by making a window in the stem at 5 cm x 5 cm and filling it with absorbant cotton dipped in insecticide solution and close it.

Berry borer

Carry out timely and thorough harvest.

Avoid gleanings as far as possible.

Pick up and destroy the gleanings.

Meticulously remove the leftover berries.

Remove offseason berries to save main crop.

Avoid excessive shade.

Prune plants properly to facilitate better ventilation and illumination.

Spray endosulfan 35 EC @ 340 ml/200 lit or lamda cyhalothrin 5 EC 120 - 160 ml / 200 lit.

Note: The approximate time is 120 - 150 days after flowering. However decision on pesticide application to be done by closely watching the pest incidence. Set up traps with ethyl: methyl alcohol (1: 1) to attract adults. While processing at the estate level dry coffee berries to the prescribed moisture level: Arabica / robusta parchment 10 %, Arabica cherry 10.5 % and robusta cherry 11.0 %.

Shot hole borer beetle

It attacks branches and suckers of robusta coffee. This pest thrives under heavy shade and can be controlled by pruning the branches and spraying with endosulfan 35 EC 2 ml/lit.

Cockchafer beetles/White grub

Systemic insecticide like phorate 10 G can be applied.

Green scales and mealy bugs

Spray quinalphos 25 EC 2 ml/lit or fenthion 100 EC 1 ml/lit or fenitrothion 50 EC1 ml/lit. Release coccinellid predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri @ 300 beetles/ acre. Spray Verticillium lecanii @ 6 x 106 spores/ml.



Spray 0.5% Bordeaux mixture in February - March (Pre-bloom) followed by 0.03% Oxycarboxin in May - June (Pre-monsoon). Repeat in July - August (mid-monsoon) September - October (Post-monsoon) with any one of the above fungicides or Spray 0.5% Bordeaux mixture during the month of June followed by 0.02% Triadionefon during September and 0.5 % Bordeaux mixture during the month of December.

Black rot or Koleroga

Centering and handling of the bushes should be done prior to the onset of South-West monsoon. Remove affected twigs. Spray 1% of Bordeaux mixture during break in monsoon.

Collar rot

Treat seeds with Carbendazim 1 g/kg or Carboxin 0.7 g/kg. Maintain filtered shade in nursery. Drench nursery beds with Mancozeb or Captan 0.5 g/lit before sowing.

Brown eye spot

Spray Captan or Mancozeb or Ferbam 2 g/lit or Carbendazim 0.5 g/lit in September.

Black root rot

Dig out and burn infected bushes. Dig a trench 30 cm deep around affected spot along with a ring of healthy bushes. Prune the healthy bushes within and outside the trench to allow sunlight. Keep the trench free from fallen leaves. Do not replant for 18 months.


Harvest starts during November and harvesting extends upto February. Coffee fruits should be harvested as and when they become ripe. Coffee is just ripe when on gently squeezing the fruits the beans inside come out easily. Unripe fruits should be scrupulously sorted out before using the fruits for pulping. They may be dried separately as cherry.


Dry parchment 750 - 1000 kg/ha.


(Hevea brasiliensis Muell-Arg.; Euphorbiaceae)


Tjir 1, PB 86, BD 5, BD 10, PR 17, GT 1, RRII 105, RRIM 600, PB 28/59, PB 217, PB 235, RRIM 703, RRII 5, PCK-1, 2 and PB 260.

Soil and climate

It requires deep and fertile soil with pH of 4.5 to 6.0.


June - July.

Method of propagation

Propagated by green budding, brown budding and crown budding.


In the cleared forest area, pits at 1 m x 1 m x 1 m are dug and filled up with soil and compost. The spacing of 3 x 2 m or 5 x 5 m are adapted.

Seed at stake planting

Germinated seeds are sown in situ in the pits. Healthy ones are retained and the others removed.


For immature rubber trees at pre-tapping stage

Apply 12 kg of compost or FYM and 120 g of rock phosphate in each pit before planting.

Apply 10:10:4:1.5 NPK and Mg as per schedule given below:

Apply 400 kg of mixture per ha in 2 doses, once in April/May and another in September/October from the 5th year till the tree is ready for tapping.

Matured rubber trees under tapping

Apply NPK 12:6:6 mixture at the rate of 400 kg/ha every year in two split doses.

Add 10 kg commercial Magnesium sulphate for every 100 kg of the above mixture if there is magnesium deficiency.


Growing of cover crops, incorporation of cover crops and weeding are important operations. Pueraria phaseoloides, Calopagonium muconoides, Centrosema pubescens and Desmodium evalifolium are common cover crops.


Trees attain tappable stage in about 7 years. First tapping in seedling trees will commence when the trunk attains a girth of 55 cm at 50 cm height from the ground. In budded trees the girth should be 50 cm at 125 cm height from the bud union.

Ethrel treatment

Ethrel is recommended to increase latex yield of trees tapped on panel D. It is applied at 5% a.i. concentration with a brush below the tapping cut to a width of 5 cm after light scraping of the outer bark. The first application may be done after a drought period preferably after a few pre-monsoon showers and subsequent applications may be done in September and November. However, continuous application of Ethrel is not recommended for periods of more than 3 years at a stretch.

Plant protection - Pests

Scale insect

When severe infestation is noticed, spray organophosphorus insecticides like malathion 50 EC 2 ml/lit.

Mealy bug

Spray fish oil rosin - soap 25 g/lit. Release Australian lady bird beetle, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri @ 10/tree.

Termite (White ant)

Drench the soil at the base of affected plants with chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/litre.

Cockchafer grub

Drench soil at the base of plants in the affected area with the solution of chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/litre.


Spray sulphur 50 WP at 2 g/lit or spray dicofol 18.5 EC 2.5 ml/lit.


Abnormal leaf fall

Prophylactic spraying of the foliage prior to the onset of South-West monsoon with, Bordeaux mixture 1% at 4000 - 5000 lit/ha using high volume sprayers. Oil based Copper oxychloride dispersed in diluent spray oil employing either low volume air blast sprayers (Micron 420 or Minimicron 77 or Shaw Duster Sprayer) from the ground or through aerial application. For micron spraying on the tree spread, foliage intensity, planting material used and age of plants, two rounds of spray using about 17 to 22 lit of fungicide oil mixture per ha per round (1:6 proportion) with gap of 10 to 15 days or a single round of spray with about 30 - 37 lit of fungicide oil mixture per ha (1:5 proportion) may be necessary.

Secondary leaf fall

The control measures suggested for abnormal leaf fall will check this disease also.

Powdery mildew

Dusting during the defoliation period commencing from the bud break in about 10% of the trees, giving 3 to 5 rounds at weekly to fortnightly intervals before 10.00 a.m. using 11 to 14 kg 325 mesh fine Sulphur dust per round per ha. Sulphur dust can be mixed with talc in the proportion of 7:3. Wettable sulphur (1 kg in 4000 lit of water) is also effective in nurseries and for young plants as a spray.

Bird's eye spot

Repeated sprayings with Bordeaux mixture 1% or Mancozeb or Copper oxychloride 0.2%. Provide shade in nursery. Give balanced manuring to increase tree vigour.

Leaf spot

Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.2% Mancozeb, or 0.1% Carbendazim at fortnightly intervals.

Pink disease

Carry out frequent tree to tree inspection during July - September period for detecting the infected trees and application of Bordeaux paste in the early stages upto 30 cm above and below the affected region. In advanced cases apply Bordeaux paste and when it dries up scrape off the superficial mycelium and damaged bark and apply Bordeaux paste once again. Prune off and burn the dried up branches after disinfecting by Bordeaux spraying.

Patch canker or Bark cankers

The affected region may be scraped to remove all the rooting bark and the coagulated rubber and the wound washed well with solution. When the fungicide dries up apply wound dressing compound. Dry Rot, Stump Rot, Collar Rot or Charcoal Rot

Clean up affected areas, by washing with Carbendazim (0.1%) solution. Scrape out the fructifications. Affected bark and wood show black lines. Wash the wound again with fungicide solution. When it dries up apply a wound dressing compound. Avoid accumulation of rubber at the base of the trees. For root infection see the treatment for brown root disease.

Brown root disease

Open up the root system. Completely killed and dried roots may be traced and pruned. Partially affected and healthy roots washed with Carbendazim (0.1%) solution. When the fungicide dries up, a thin coating with a wound dressing compound may be given. Refill the soil and drench the base with fungicide solution.


Rubber yield steeply increases year by year, reaching a peak after 14 years of planting.

In South India, the annual yield of rubber is 375 kg/ha from seedlings trees, whereas budded plants yield 800 - 1000 kg/ha.


(Anacardium occidentale L.; Anacardiaceae)

Varieties: VRI 1, VRI 2, VRI 3 and VRI 4.

Soil and climate: It grows up well in all soils. Red sandy loam is best suited. Plains as well as hill slopes upto 600 - 700 feet elevation are suitable.

Season: June - December.

Propagation: Soft wood grafting, air layer and epicotyl grafting.

Requirement of plants: 200 plants/ha.

Preparation of field: Pits of 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm size are dug and filled up with a mixture of soil + 10 kg FYM + one kg neem cake and 100 g Lindane 1.3 %.

Spacing: 7 m either way.

Manuring (per tree)

Fertilizer application may be done during November - December in the East Coast areas. Wherever possible the fertilizer can be applied in 2 equal split doses during June-July and October-November periods.


Plough the interspaces after the receipt of rain and raise either groundnut or pulses or minor millets till the trees reach bearing age.

Training and pruning

Develop the trunk to a height of 1 m by removing low lying branches.

The dried twigs and branches should be removed every year.

Plant protection - Pests

Stem borer - Collection and destruction of affected shoots

Swabbing the bark of exposed roots and shoots with carbaryl 50 WP 2 g/lit. Twice a year before the onset of South West Monsoon (March - April) and after cessation of monsoon (November) painting of coal tar + kerosene mixture (1:2) or swabbing with a suspension of carbaryl 50 WP(4 g/lit) upto one metre length in the exposed trunk region after shaving the bark. Root feeding with monocrotophos 36 WSC 10 ml + 10 ml of water kept in a polythene bag on one side of the tree and keep the same amount on the other side of the tree (Total 20 ml/tree) divided into two equal halves will give protection when there is moderate incidence. Swab the trunk with lindane 20 EC 1 ml/lit or carbaryl 50 WP 500 g in 20 lit of water.

Tea mosquito bug

Spray endosulfan 35 EC 2 ml/lit thrice; first at the time of emergence of new flushes, the second at floral formation and the third at fruit-set.

Shoot caterpillars

Spray endosulfan 35 EC 2 ml/lit.

Root borer

Pour monocrotophos 10 ml/tree in the bore holes split into two halves (insecticide 5 ml + 5 ml water).


Die back or Pink disease

Prune the affected shoots just below the affected portion and apply Bordeaux paste. Spray 1 % Bordeaux mixture or copper Oxychloride 0.25 % twice i.e. in May - June and again in October as a prophylactic measure.


The peak picking months are March and May. Good nuts are grey green, smooth and well filled. After picking, the nuts are separated from the apple and dried in the sun for two to three days to bring down the moisture content to 10 to 12 %. Properly dried nuts are packed in alkathene bags. This will keep for 6 months.


3 - 4 kg/tree/year.


(Areca catechu L.; Palmae)


Mangala, Sumangala, Subamangala, Mohitnagar, Srimangala and Samruthi (Andaman)

Soil and climate

Arecanut is capable of growing in a variety of soils. It thrives best in well drained soils. Adequate protection from exposure to South-Western sun is essential to avoid sun-scorch. Quick growing shade trees have to be planted on the southern and western sides well in advance of planting seedlings. It is sensitive to moisture deficit and should be grown where adequate water facilities are available.


June - December.

Seeds and sowing

For raising seedlings seed nuts from pre-marked and pre-potent mother palms of outstanding performance are selected and sown at a spacing of 5 - 6 cm apart in sand beds under partial shade with their stalk end pointing upwards. After the sprouts have produced two to three leaves, they are transplanted to a polythene bag 30 x 10 cm filled with forest soil and are allowed to grow for 12 to 18 months under partial shade. The seedlings can also be transplanted in secondary nursery beds with a spacing of 30 cm on either side. Periodical watering should be given.


Dwarf and compact seedlings with more number of leaves should be selected. Seedlings of 1 - 2 years age are planted in pits of about 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm at a spacing of 2.75 m either way and covered with soil to the collar level and pressed around. Provide shade during summer months. Growing Banana or other crops in advance may also provide shade.


Irrigation should be given as and when necessary.


Apply to each bearing palm (5 years and above) 10 - 15 kg of FYM or green leaf. 100 g N, 40 g P and 150 g K. To palms less than five years old, half of the above dose is recommended. Manures are applied during January - February after the North - East monsoon in a basin of 0.75-1.00 m radius around the tree to a depth of 20 - 30 cm.


Weeding is done twice or thrice a year by giving mammutti digging. Wherever the land is slopy terracing has to be done to prevent soil erosion.

Plant protection - Pests


Dicofol 18.5 EC at 2.5 ml/lit.

Spindle bug

The bugs of the spindles may be given a drenching spray with lindane 1.3 D @ 2.5 g/lit of water.

Inflorescence caterpillars

Spray with lindane 20 EC 2 ml/lit or WP @ 2.5 g in one litre of water.


Bud rot or Mahali disease

Infected tissues of the bud should be scooped off and treated with 10 % Bordeaux paste. Destruction and removal of seed palms and also bunches affected by Mahali and drenching crowns of surrounding healthy palms with 1 % Bordeaux mixture would help in minimising the incidence of the disease.

Foot rot or anabe

Affected palms have to be isolated by digging trenches all around. The severely affected palms should be cut and destroyed. The stumps should be pulled out by digging and the drainage improved. Root feeding with 125 ml of 1.5 % (15 ml/litre of water) Tridemorph at 3 months interval

Stem breaking

Wrapping up of the green portion of the stem which are exposed to the South- West sun to protect against sun-scorch.


The bearing starts after 5 years of planting. Nuts are harvested when they are three quarters ripe. The number of harvests will vary from three to five in one year depending upon the season and place of cultivation.

Yield 1250 kg/ha.


(Theobroma cacao L.; Sterculiaceae)

Varieties: Criollo, Forestero and Trinitario.

Soil and climate: Potash rich alluvial soils friable in nature with high humus and moisture retention with a pH of 6.6 - 7.0 are suitable. Cocoa is normally cultivated at altitudes upto 1200 m with an annual rainfall of 150 cm and a relative humidity of 80 % and annual mean temperature of 240 C to 250 C. Cocoa can be grown as intercrop in coconut and arecanut gardens.

Season: June - July and September - October.

Seeds and sowing: Cocoa is normally propagated by seed. Before sowing the seeds the pulp adhering to the seeds has to be removed. Cocoa seeds are individually sown in polybags soon after extraction. The bags are filled with surface soil and sub-soil mixed with compost, leaf mould and fertilizers. Nursery plants are ready for transplanting at 6 months of age when they attain a height of 60 cm.

Planting: Seedlings are transplanted with a ball of earth in 45 cm x 45 cm x 45 cm pits at a spacing of 3 x3 m either way. Periodical mulching with leaves and watering should be done. Temporary shade has to be provided.

Irrigation: Irrigation should be given as and when necessary. During summer months irrigation should be given once in three days.

Manuring: Trees of 3 years of age and above are manured with 100 g N, 40 g P and 140 g K per tree in two split doses during April - May and August - September. Trees younger than three years may be applied with half of this dose.

Aftercultivation: Weeding is done as and when necessary. The unproductive shoots, dead, diseased twigs should be removed periodically. Banana is better as a primary shade plant in the early years of plantation. For permanent shades Jack, Silver Oak, etc. are planted.

Plant protection - Pests

Mealy Bug: Spray phosphamidon 40 SL 2 ml/lit or dimethoate 2 ml/lit at fortnightly intervals.

Release coccinellid predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri @ 10 tree.

Aphids: Spray dimethoate 35 EC 1 ml/lit at monthly intervals.

Grey Weevil: Spray phosphamidon 40 SL 2 ml/lit.

Hairy caterpillar: Dust lindane 1.3 D or spray lindane 20 EC 2ml/lit.

Semilooper: Dust lindane 1.3 D.


Black pod disease: Spray 1 % Bordeaux mixture or 0.2 % Mancozeb or Copper oxychloride at 20 days interval.

Dieback disease: The disease can be controlled by spraying 1 % Bordeaux mixture.

Charcoal disease: Spray with 1 % Bordeaux mixture.

Pink disease: Prune the affected branches and swab the cut ends regularly with 1 % Bordeaux mixture.

Harvest: Bearing starts from 4th year but economic yield starts from 6th year onwards. The season of harvest is November - December and May - June.

Yield: The yield ranges from 500 - 1000 kg of dry beans/ha.


(Piper betel; Piperaceae)

Varieties: Karpurakodi, Kallarkodi, Revesi, Karpuri and SGM 1.

Soil and climate: Well drained fertile clay loams are suitable. It does not tolerate saline and alkaline conditions. Betelvines require a cool shade, considerable humidity and regular supply of moisture in the soil.

Seeds and sowing: The vines are propagated by terminal stem cutting or setts about 30 - 45 cm long. Setts obtained from the top portions of the vines are easy to root and hence best for planting. Number of setts 1,00,000/ha. Setts with vigorous apical buds and nodal adventitious roots are selected and planted at the base of the live supports, which are to be planted 4 to 5 months earlier.

Season: November - December and January - February.

Preparation of field: The field is prepared to a fine tilth and beds of 2 m wide are formed to a convenient length. Provide drainage trenches of 0.5 m width by 0.5 m depth in between two adjoining beds. Plant the seeds of the live supports i.e. Agathi (Sesbania grandiflora) in long rows. About 750 banana suckers are planted at the edges of the beds, which are used, for tying the vines on the live support and for packing the betel leaf. When the Agathi supports grow to a height about 4 m they are topped. The crop is planted in two rows in beds of 180 cm width on Agathi plants with a spacing of 45 cm between plants in the row.

Irrigation: Irrigate the field immediately after planting and afterwards once in a week.


Training of the live Standards: Before the establishment of vines the side branches of Agathi trees upto a height of 2 m are removed for early creeping of the vines.

Training of the vines: Training is done by fixing the vine at intervals of 15 to 20 cm along the standards loosely with the help of banana fibre. Training is done every 15 - 20 days depending upon the growth of vines.

Lowering of vines: Under normal cultivation conditions the vines grow upto a height of 3 m in one year. When they reach this height their vigour to produce normal size leaf are reduced and they need rejuvenation by lowering during March - April. After the vine is lowered a number of tillers spring up from the nodes at the bends of the coiled vines at the ground level and produce many primary vines. After each lowering irrigation should be given.

Manuring: Apply 150 kg N/ha/year through Neem cake (75 kg N) and Urea (75 kg N) and 100 kg P2O5 through Super phosphate and 30 kg Muriate of potash in three split doses first at 15 days after lifting the vines and second and third dose at 40 - 45 days intervals. Apply on beds shade dried neem leaf or Calotrophis leaves at 2 t/ha and cover it with mud (2 t in 2 split doses).

Plant protection - Pests

Scale insects: Select scale-free seed vines. Spray chlorpyriphos 20 EC 2 ml/lit when one or two scales are noticed on the basal portion of the stem/leaves. Direct the spray solution to the basal portion of the vines. Spray NSKE 5 % or malathion 50 EC 1 ml/lit.

Mites (Sevvattai): Spray wettable sulphur 50 WP @ 1 g/lit or dicofol 18.5 EC 0.5 ml/lit.

Sooty mould (Aphids): To control aphids spray chlorpyriphos at 2 ml/lit on Agathi leaves. Clip off excess Agathi leaves.

Mealy bugs: Spray chlorpyriphos 20 EC at 2 ml/lit or dimethoate 30 EC 2ml/lit. Concentrate the spray towards the collar region.

Nematode: Application of Neem cake at 1 t/ha or chopped and shade dried Calotrophis leaves at 2.5 t/ha to soil, after lowering the vines.


Phytophthora Wilt:

Integrated method for the management of Phytophthora wilt.

Select well matured (more than 1 year old) seed vines free from pest and diseases.

Soak the seed vines for about 30 minutes in Streptocyline 500 ppm or Bordeaux mixture 0.5 %. Apply 150 kg N/ha/year through Neem cake (75 kg N) and Urea (75 kg N) and 100 kg P2O5 through Super phosphate and 30 kg Muriate of potash in 3 split doses first at 15 days after lifting the vines and second and third dose at 40 - 45 days intervals. Apply on beds, shade dried neem leaf or Calotrophis leaves at 2 t/ha and cover it with mud (2 t in 2 split doses). Drench Bordeaux mixture 0.25% in basins formed around the vine at monthly intervals starting from October - January, three times soil drench and six times spray from June - July.

During winter season avoid frequent irrigation.

Remove the affected vines away from the garden and burn them.

Application of Alliette 3 g/lit 4 times at monthly intervals.

Application of Trichoderma viride @ 5 g/vine.

Bacterial leaf spot, blight and bacterial stem rot: Spray Streptocycline 400 ppm + Bordeaux mixture 0.25% when the first disease symptoms appear. Continue spraying at 20 days intervals. Always spray the chemical after plucking the leaves.

Anthracnose (Theechal): Spray 0.2% Ziram or 0.5% Bordeaux mixture after plucking the leaves after the first appearance of the symptom. The variety Karpoori is susceptible to the disease.

Powdery mildew: Spray 0.2% Wettable sulphur after plucking the leaves.

Harvest: It depends upon the growth of the vines and market condition. Once harvesting starts it continues almost every day.

Yield: 75 to 100 lakh leaves/ha/year.

References Cited:

Introduction to Horticulture, Department of Agricultural Education, University of Georgia, Athens

The Biology of Horticulture: An Introductory Textbook, 2nd Edition, John E. Preece, Paul E. Read

Horticultural Crops, Directorate of Horticulture and Plantation Crops, TNAU.