Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weeding the Land

The Estate is fully covered with weeds and grass to a knee high, which consists mainly with pioneer plant species. Pioneer plant species appear early in the cycle of vegetation succession. These pioneer plants have characteristics that particularly suit their role in the early stages of succession, such as a rapid growth rate and the ability to produce large amounts of small, easily dispersed seeds.

February is the month where the rubber trees start dropping their leaves. Rubber plantations are not tapped during this period. When there is plenty of sunlight, the seeds of the pioneer species in top soil layer are germinating under favorable environmental conditions. Once the tree canopy is re-established the weed growth suppresses naturally. When it is about to start tapping at the end of March after rains, the usual practice is weeding under the rubber trees and making the path for tappers walk freely.

People use chemicals for weeding. That is more economical, but it will leave us an infertile land. All the living being in the soil will be killed and the land will be poisonous, where it transfers the traces of chemicals along the food chain back to the humans. Therefore application of  weedicide is out of question. Manual weeding is more expensive and a time taking task. We have bought a second-hand bush trimmer for weeding and it works well. What we need now is more time to spend in the Estate and increase the labour input for weeding.

These are pioneer plant species that are found in the Estate.

Alstonia macrophylla (Alstonia)

Osbeckia octandra* (Heen Bovitiya)

Eupatorium odoratum (Podisingomaran)

Macaranga peltata (Kenda)

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