(Luecaena leucocephala (LAM.) De Wit)
Subabul is a miracle tree as it provides fodder, fuel, pulpwood and timber. The forage is highly palatable, digestible and protein rich. Subabul helps to enrich soil and aid neighbouring plants. Under good soil and moisture conditions, one hectare os subabul bushes pruned and mowed in soil can add upto 500 kg of nitrogen per year and thus is a good source of biofertilizer. the wood is good for fuel, charcoal, pole, and pulp.
Climate and soil requirements : It grows in best areas having 500-3000mm annual rainfall. The plants can survive in dry seasons lasting for 8 months. It grows very well on neutral of alkaline soils. It can thrive on soils with texture varying from rocky to heavy clay. It is also well adapted to the poor soils and dryland conditions of 'Kandi' area.
|K-8 : Vigorous in growth reaching height of 20m. The angle of branches
is narrow. thrives well under rainfed conditions. Biomass production is 30-40 tonnes/ha.
|Cunninigham : Spreading branches having having more leafy fraction. The mimosine
content is comparatively low. Biomass production is 30-35 tonnes/ha.
Nursery Raising : Nursery is grown on raised beds or in polythene bags during the beginning of rainy season. Seed can be sown directly in the field. for direct sowing, 5 kg of seed/ha is used. For raised beds, 25g of seed is required to raise nursery in 1 sq. metre area. Seeds should not be sown deeper than 1-2 cm. Germination occurs within 6-8 days. Germination can be hastened by hot water (800C) treatment and soaking the seed in water for 24 hours before sowing.
Field Planting : Direct seed sowing is done in rows 75 cm apart for forage production accomodating about 1,00,000 to 1,20,000 plants per hectare. for small diameter wood, plant 10,000 or more trees per hectare. Do thinning so that the remaining trees can grow trunks large enough for fence posts, pulpwood and for lumber.
Tree-Crop Association : Lopping/pruning of Subabul is essential factor to grow agricultural crops as intercrop. Otherwise it reduces crop yields considerably by casting shade effect due to the fast growth. The lopped subabul hedges provides lush green nutririous fodder throughtout the year. In addition to soil conservation of benefits in subabul alleys (1.5 m stem height) planted at 5 * 2 m distance, sorghum, cowpea, bajra and oats can be grown for fodder. In addition to fodder yield, subabul alleys produce about 31.4 and 17.7 q/acre/annum fodder and dry fuel, respectively. In between subabul alleys (rows). wheat, barely ans sarson crops be grown successfully. These crops can grow better in alleys (rows) than sole crop. In 'Kandi' region, bajra-oats rotation in between subabul line (3-4m * 1-1.5m apart) is beneficial.
Fertilization : Apply basal dose of nitrogen (30kg/ha), and phosphorous (60kg/ha) at the time of planting.
Irrigation : Irrigate frequently when grown exclusively for fodder. For pole/timber plantation, irrigation is required for the first three years only.
Hoeing and weed control : Weeds are a major cause of failure or slow establishment of subabul plants. Regular weeding (10 to 15 days interval) until plants are 1-2 metre tall gives best results.
Harvesting and Marketing :The crop harvested after every 50 days gives forage yield. for timber, it is cut at 12-15 year rotation.