Growing Lychee Fruit Plants Information:
The following Information is all about Growing Lychee fruit plant information.
INTRODUCTION TO GROWING LYCHEE:
Lychee, a juicy fruit with nice flavour originated in the southern china and slowly travelled to the rest of the world. Its binomial name is Lychee chinensis. Lychee fruits are generally consumed fresh or in the form of a refreshing drink. They are considered to have high source of calcium, phosphorous and riboflavin (a vitamin).This fruit is grown in many parts of the world but china and India are its largest producers respectively. The seed of Lychee plants have very short life span and also requires certain soil and climatic conditions for proper growth.
SOIL AND CLIMATE REQUIREMENTS FOR GROWING LYCHEE:
Lychee plants have a typical soil requirement i.e. they thrive best on deep well- drained loamy soil (equal proportions of clay, sand and humus). The PH level of soil for these plants is expected to be within the range of 6.5 to 8.0. Slightly acidic soil helps in faster growth of these plants.
Humidity and subtropical type of climate suits the Lychee cultivation. An optimal temperature of 25-35 degree Celsius is required by these plants. Harsh summer or frozen winter climate may prove harmful for growing Lychee. An average rainfall of 1200mm is good for the plants but continuous rain during the flowering season can be very harmful.
CULTIVARS ASSOCIATED WITH LYCHEE:
In different parts of India depending on the climatic conditions different varieties of Lychee are found and are named after the place they are cultivated at. Some of the varieties of Lychee in India are Calcutta, dehradun, seedless late, rose scented, muzaffarpur, Saharanpur, khatti, bambia, elaichi, china, kasab and purbi.
PROPOGATION METHOD OF GROWING LYCHEE:
The best method for commercial propagation of Lychee is through air layering. The method is as follows: initially a healthy one year old twig is taken and a 2-3 cm ring is cut from the apex of the twig during august. This portion is wrapped using moist sphagnum moss and covered with polythene. When the roots of the plant develop then the air layers are cut and removed from the parent plant and planted in a nursery. After about 6-12months they can be shifted to fields for permanent planting during the monsoon.
PLANTING TECHNIQUES FOR GROWING LYCHEE PLANTS :
A square plot is selected. Pits of dimensions (1m x 1m x 1m) are dug. Each pit is separated from the other by 8-10 cm. Soil for the pit is prepared two months before the planting season. Preparation of top soil: decomposed compost-40 kg, neem cake – 2 kg, superphosphate-1kg, potash muriate-300 grams or alternatively farm yard manure-25 kg can be added to top soil with the application of 2 litres of dursban 20EC @10 ml/l of water to the pit.
While planting a small hole is made in the pit and the plant is pressed against the soil to remove air. The pit is evenly filled and for levelling, the soil from the old Lychee plants is used because they contain mycorrhiza (fungus of the roots) which helps these young plants grow faster. Proper irrigation has to be provided.
TRAINING AND PRUNING IN GROWING LYCHEE PLANTS:
After three or four years of planting training is done to give a proper framework to the Lychee plants. The umbrella shape is achieved by a systematic training during the tender years of growth.
Pruning is done to remove the unwanted branches and leaves and to facilitate better growth of the plants. In the first two years no pruning is done. Crowded, criss-cross and inward growing branches are removed through pruning. Dried and mite-infested leaves are also removed. During the harvest, the twig of approximately 8cm is removed/cut to help better yield
MANURE AND FERTILIZERS FOR GROWING LYCHEE PLANTS:
As the Lychee plants grow they require more manure and fertilizer care. During the first three years 10-30kg of farmyard manure (fym), 100-300 g of urea, 150-450g of superphosphate and 50-150g of muriate of potash (MP) are applied. Similarly, in between 4 to 6 years of the growth period 40-60 kg of fym, 400-600g of urea, and 600-900g of superphosphate and 200-300g of MP are used. Further years i.e. from 7 to 10 years and beyond require 70-100kg of fym, 700-1000g of urea, 600-900g of superphosphate and 350-500g of muriate of MP. The application of fertilizer to these plants is done twice in a year, once immediately after the harvesting is done and second after the monsoon.
IRRIGATION, MULCHING AND WATER CONSERVATION FOR GROWING LYCHEE PLANTS:
These plants require adequate soil moisture for proper growth and fruiting. The general frequency of irrigation is 2-3 days during summer and as the temperature decreases the frequency is changed to 5-7 days interval. During the fruit bearing season, proper irrigation is a highly essential.
Dried leaves and tall growing weeds are removed and used for mulching. This technique helps retain moisture in the soil.
FILLER PLANT AND INTERCROPPING FOR GROWING LYCHEE PLANTS:
Lychee plants take approximately 8-12 years to grow completely into an umbrella shape. The empty space in between the plants is used for other fast growing crop cultivation during the tender years. Two reasons for intercropping are: firstly, it provides some extra income and secondly, it helps improve the soil condition and weed control. Plants like guava, custard apple, peach, plum and lemon are used as intercrops. Sometimes vegetable farming is also done. When the Lychee plants have grown completely, plants (e.g. ginger and turmeric) are often cultivated in the shades of Lychee canopy.
PROTECTION MEASURES FOR GROWING LYCHEE PLANTS:
Lychee plants are infested with two types of pests, they are:
The mite: This is the most common and serious pest (nymph and adult) for Lychee plants which suck the cell sap by sticking under the leaf of the plant. Thereby, the plant leaves change color to yellow or greyish yellow and ultimately to brown. The leaves curl and twist which stops the photosynthetic activity and leads to defoliation. Pruning helps to control the mite infection. Spraying dicofol 17.8EC@3ml/l of water or propargite 57EC@2.5ml/l of water twice with a specific interval of seven days is beneficial for plants.
Fruit borer: The insect develops near the peduncle and moves to the nuts. This occurs during the tender fruit bearing stage. Spraying ripcord/cymbush@ 1ml/l of water twice with a interval of 15days is required during the fruit bearing season.
Other pests which infest Lychee plants are bats, stem borer, anthracnose, shoot borer and red rust etc.
DISORDERS IN GROWING LYCHEE PLANTS:
Lychee plants are prone to two common disorders namely fruit cracking and dropping. Soil moisture levels have to be maintained during the fruit bearing season for avoiding these disorders. Also, foliar application of boric acid (0.4%) 2,4-D(10ppm) is an effective solution to control disorders.
HARVESTING LYCHEE PLANTS:
Harvesting is generally done in May-June, depending upon the variety and location of Lychee plants. Change of the color of the fruit from green to pink and red indicates the maturity of the fruit and harvesting is done. Lychee fruits are harvested in bunches along with little portion of leaves and branches during the early morning for better shelf life.
YIELD OF LYCHEE PLANTS:
An average yield of a 12-16 year old Lychee plant is 60 to 100 kg depending upon the variety, location, season, nutrition and age of the plants.