The hard option for preserving plants

The hard option for preserving plants
Highlights

In any case, it has become a fashion of sorts to mark special occasionsby planting saplings.  It is different matter that, after some time, most of the tender plants so planted under a drive would wither due to multiple preventable and non-preventable factors. There are also plants that wither during transplanting or replanting.

Guntur: ‘Planting’ these days means different things to different people. For the wily politician, who chooses an occasion to reassure the public of his self-proclaimed green credentials, it is a photo-op. For the administrator, who dances attendance on Netas, it is hell to keep count and reach the target of planting saplings in any given area. For the homemaker, it is one thing to cultivate ornamental plants and quite another to go for plants that require assiduous tending daily.

In any case, it has become a fashion of sorts to mark special occasionsby planting saplings. It is different matter that, after some time, most of the tender plants so planted under a drive would wither due to multiple preventable and non-preventable factors. There are also plants that wither during transplanting or replanting. Still, there are easy ways in which plants can be brought under protective care.

Guntur-based, founder-president of Society for Green (SFG) Ch.Harish has some ideas for cost-effective and time-tested ways to keep vulnerable plants alive. At present, he is helping officials of the Guntur Municipal Corporation and others to preserve plants.

Is there really a need for ‘expert’ advice to protect plants, particularly during transplanting and replanting? When contacted, Harish told The Hans India:“In agriculture and gardening, transplanting or replanting is the technique of moving a plant from one location to another.

Transplanting trees and shrubs appears to be an easy task, but it is deceptively so. Many transplants die due to improper removal or installation. The need to move an existing plant, whether for relocation or for disposal, is now necessary for urbanization, which is growing with green cover becoming lesser and lesser.”

“To add to misery, saplings are getting costlier and transporting these saplings in big numbers again is a costly affair. This year, the Guntur Municipal Corporation bought plants from the Forest Department @ 20/- each. If these plants, which grow in monsoon season, are saved and transplanted with care, it would result in savings of huge amount of public money.”

For successful transplantation of trees, says Harish,one must take care to improve the likelihood of survival of the trees. Young seedlings that grow either indoors or in a greenhouse need a period to adjust and acclimate to outdoor conditions, prior to planting. This transition period is technically called ‘hardening off’.

Hardening off gradually exposes the tender plants to the wind, sun, and rain; and toughens them up by thickening the cuticle on the leaves so that the leaves lose less water, the founder of Society for Green shares.

“Hardening times depend on the type of plants you are growing, temperature and fluctuations in temperature. After transplanting the tree in bag, it is essential to keep the bag in a shaded spot outdoors. A spot under a tree or even on your back porch is fine, leaving them for 3-4 hours. Gradually increase the time spent outside by 1-2 hours per day,” hepoints out.

This done, after 2-3 days, care should be taken to move the plants from the shaded spot into morning sun and return them to the shade in the afternoon. After 7 days, the plants should be able to handle the sun all day and stay out at night. Care is to be taken to see that the soil doesn't dry and bake the plants, if the weather is hot”.

Impressed by Harish’s cost-effective and practical methods,Additional Commissioner of Guntur Municipal CorporationKRamachandra Reddy and Deputy Commissioner D. Srinivas have sought his services and he has since taken up the transplantation of Ashoka tree saplings, which had grown in large numbers in Koritipadu Park and Gandhi Park.

By D.Rajendra Kumar

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