Author Topic: When and how often to fertilize rubber trees in Thailand  (Read 5458 times)

USA Expat

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When and how often to fertilize rubber trees in Thailand
« on: July 21, 2012, 07:40:31 AM »
When to fertilize rubber trees in Thailand

It is recommended to apply fertilizer at least 3 times a year, and 4 is better.

The fertilizer only works when there is water coming to the trees that will absorb the fertilizer and soak it down to the roots.

Some fertilize every 3 months beginning with the rain season around April, then again 3 months later; and a 3rd time when the leaves drop; and finally 3 months after that. 

I believe it is waste of money to fertilize during the dry season when there is no rain.  If you use an irrigation system, then you can use the "every 3 month" rule. 

If you are relying on rain, then fertilize twice during rain season, once at the beginning, then again 2 months later, then again 3 months after that.

Other suggestions?

Seka Expat

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Re: When and how often to fertilize rubber trees in Thailand
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 10:45:02 AM »
Certainly fertilizing your trees 3 times a year is good practice and if you do irrigate, which is rarely found, then you can feed your trees at any time you choose.

At the time of leaf drop is not the ideal time to feed, indeed if Thai people feed it is often only once a year and when the rainy season is under way. Financial restrictions are a major factor. To provide the best for your trees, it will be necessary to invest in good fertilizer.

As you mention feeding during the dry season serves no purpose as all feed will be blown away with the wind and so will be a waste of money.

If you are able to water, with good ground leaf mulch, you can water just once a month, since good mulch will assist in preventing moisture loss. Feeding methods will vary according to your watering method. We simply pump water via a 2" pipe to the head of each line and with a gentle slope, water runs all the way. As we move to the next line, every third month we can put a little feed under the mulch of leaves at every tree spacing. We have created minor terracing to allow water pool to form and flow down to the next level, this needs to be re established after each rainy season. The flow of water needs to have stopped, so that fertilizer is not washed downstream.

Every 3rd watering a modest feed will give great benefit to the trees. Watering alone, even without feed allows the root system to expand and the clay pot effect of the hard dry season will have no bearing. It has been proven in papers I have read (though I cannot remember exactly where) that watering will give a denser root system and therefore more rapid uptake of nutrients, making stronger, healthier trees in a shorter period of time, thus giving the potential for higher production than would otherwise be the case!

Also as your trees reach 4 to 5 years and the canopy meets between the lines, the increased shade assists keeping the cool under the trees and therefore less evaporation and water loss. It is inevitable in the early stages that there will be greater water loss! Keep your leaves and even create mulch that gives the moisture that will encourage worms onto your farm. They are your natural farmers who till the soil!