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7th public grievance

Grievance DOCOM/E/2020/00010 dt 04-01-2020 submitted
Although six complaints have been lodged in the PGPortal, the issue has not been fully resolved. So the seventh complaint is filed.

remedy for brown bast


Brown Bast in Rubber Trees Can be Cured

Brown bast is a common physiological disorder in Rubber Trees. A permanent solution to this grave problem has not been found yet anywhere in the World. In the early stages, a visible, milkless circular bast forms around the tapping area. When the tapping continues, new bast absorbs elements around the tapping area and hence it becomes more visible. So Brown bast is a sivere disease growing downward from the tapping area. Normally people used to tap the rubber trees one feet below the Tapping Pannel Dryness affected area and collect latex. But this is not a remedy for this. The number of Brown bast trees increases by severe tapping stimulating medicines and over use of chemical manures.
We cannot trace a single drop of milk, eventhough the affected trees has been cut deeply from top to bottom at tapped area by tapping knife. Such trees have milk above the tapping area and it doesn’t flow downwards because it can only flow upwards. The roots of the tree absorbs water and nutrients from the soil and it passes through Xylem Cells of Stem and reaches leaves. Through Photosynthesis leaves prepares stach (food for trees) and it passes through the Phloem cells above the Cambium. For the process, the nuetrient Magnesium which carries Phosphorus reaches the root and it helps the growth of roots. After the growth of roots, it is expected to form food storage that will extended up to the leaves from from the phloem. But in Brown bast affected trees, the stem (trunk) becomes thicker and the bark necrocis continues.
A diagram which shows the growth of stem and bark in a rubber tree in view of a farmer is given below.
The division of cork cambium leads to the formation of living cells. And more over the food storage in the Phelloderm (Milk Vessels) above phloem ensures the availability of Latex. The flow of latex is from downwards to upwards. For more information read the post in Malayalam “Secondary thickening in di-cot stem”. Under the post a video by Late DrThomas Varghees Former head of the department of Soil Scienc, Kerala Agricultural University, stating Borax as the remedy for Brown bast, which emhances the land of experiments using Borax sample since January 2010.
The micro nutrient Boron is the main incredient for the growth of milk vessels in brown bast affected area. I am fortunate to understand that the application of Borax, diluted in coconut oil after scraping dry bark can avoid Brown bast. Late DrThomas Varghees paved the way for my experiment. The nutrient Zinc can control the dripping of latex. But it causes brown bast. The dripping can be controlled by increasing Tapping interval.
The micronutrient Borax the remedy of brown bast is available in Amazon also. The treees with out brown bast can also be protected by applying 20 gram borax in one liter of Coconut oil using a brush on the new bark of the tree above tapping pannel after scraping dry bark (One inch width) with out droping latex. This will help the tree to protect its latex vessels and the growth of new bark also. Moreover it will prevent the growth of brown bast. It will also prevent the “Bark Island” which may probably form near the starting point of tapping. Borax also helps by giving the nutrients which can be lost during tapping and for the growth of new bark. Above all it is a remedy for brown bast. When it is applies on one part of the bark, it reaches the rest of the tree and it gives full protection to the tree, which is visible.
The Borax mixture (20 gram + 1 Kg of Coconut oil) can apply 6 inch width in trees below 10 years. Make sure that it should be applied in affected trees after scraping the dry bark below the starting point of tapping. Even though the latex vessels form within one week, it is better to start tapping after one Month. It is better to give gap between tapping days to ensure the availability of lattex above 30 DRC. The yielding capacity and prosperity can be maintained with out culling down the old treees and re-planting new ones. Healthy trees can produce more latex with high DRC. If humps forms on the earlier cutting part, it can be removed without losing latex before applying the borax mixture. Tapping can be started on the opposite side of the tree.
These are the findings of a Small Scale Rubber Grower. Stimulant like Ethephon can be a reason for Brown bast. Since Borax is a micro nutrient, it can be used in minimum quantity. Protection of Phelloderm will enhance the growth of the Rubber Tree, from its roots to leaves.
The final decision and propagation should be taken by Indian Rubber Research Institute.

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