Experts say coconut trees flattened by Gaja can rise again

Chennai: Lakhs of trees were uprooted and damaged when Cyclone Gaja ravaged the delta region recently. While the loss of other trees can be overcome, that of coconut trees will have a big impact on farmers who depend on them for a livelihood.

However, experts say that there are a lot of natural and organic methods to give life to the uprooted coconut trees.

They say that there are various traditional ways that have been followed for thousands of years to regrow uprooted trees. Prashanth from Thengapattanam village, in Kanyakumari district, said, “Our village is famous for doing this. Since we face waterlogging most of the time, coconut trees in our area often fall. If a tree falls with the roots, the possibility of giving life back to the tree is high.”

The 25-year-old farmer said, “We replant the tree in a deeper pit than usual and use natural manures and nutrients like eru, panchakavya and a lot of cow dung covered with wet mud,” he said.

He further said it will take six months for the tree to get back to life and start flowering like before.

When asked about the amount of manpower needed to do the work, he said, ‘The work needs two to four men per tree and about 20 minutes for each tree. For an acre of land, 10 men can complete the job in one-and-a- half days. All the 10 need not be experts. One tree needs one expert. Others can be locals.’

Prashanth further said an acre of land with coconut trees can be regrown with Rs 10,000 which includes manpower, manure and tool costs.

“It will take hardly Rs 3 lakh for an entire village of 1,000 population to get their coconut farms back to life,” he added.

Apart from the traditional method, five grams of copper oxy chloride, mixed in one litre of water, can be poured on the roots of the fallen trees. One tree will require at least 10 litres of the mixture. After pouring, the tree should be planted in a pit with support and there are high chances of the tree regrowing in six months.

Agriculture expert Balasubramanian said it will be an additional benefit if the tree is replanted where it already existed. “The microbes which help in the growth of the tree will already be existing in the place and aid in the regrowth,” he said. Prasanth can be reached at [email protected]

Balasubramanian can be reached at 94422 53021.

Santhosh Mathevan