To reduce the seedling shock during transplanting, it is necessary to rotate the polybag to a few degrees one week before field planting. It is done for the seedlings whose leaves have hardened and especially for those which roots have penetrated the ground. Watering has to be done for a few days later. Field planting must be started at the onset of the rainy season. Unless irrigation is available, field planting during the dry season is not advisable.
Choosing and Preparing the site
Choosing the site
If a cacao tree is to grow well it needs more than anything else a soil of good structure, permeable and deep.
- The cocoa tree has tap-roots.
- The tap-root descends straight into the soil.
- The branch roots go down very deep.
- But many small branch roots also grow near the surface.
- If the soil is of good structure and contains much humus, the roots penetrate well.You can improve the soil structure by spreading manure and working it into the soil.
- If the soil is deep, the roots can go down to a good depth.
- Never plant cocoa trees in soil with a lot of stones, or in soil where there is some hard layer.
- Clearing the site
Cacao plantation in forest regions it is a must to clear the site. But the Cacao tree needs a shade especially when it is young.
The traditional method to cut down all trees and to burn everything is a bad method due to the following reasons.
- since you destroy organic matters in the weeds and branches.
- You leave the soil bare to the sun and rain.
- The soil becomes less fertile. The cacao trees are not protected from the sun when it is too strong.
Sometimes growers put banana trees or taros into the cocoa plantation, to give shade for the young cocoa trees. If these are planted long enough before the cocoa trees, they give good protection. But if they are planted at the same time as the cocoa trees, they do not protect the young cocoa trees well enough and they take nourishment out of the soil.
To give shade it Is better to keep a few of the forest trees.
- You should cut first all the tall weeds, the creepers and the small trees.
- Make heaps of what you have cut down and arrange the heaps in rows.
- It is better not to burn all the vegetation you cut. to Leave it on the ground.
- It protects the soil against erosion and sun.
- It rots and makes humus.
- If you have to burn the vegetation you have cut, you must sow a cover crop.
Next, go through the plantation a second time:
- Now cut down all the trees which might give some disease to the cocoa trees. And cut down also all trees that give too much shade.But leave those large trees which can give no disease to the cocoa trees, and which give a little shade.
- When the cocoa trees have grown taller, they need less shade. You should gradually give them less and less shade. You should prune the big trees and cut off those branches that cast too much shade.When the plantation is well cared for, you can cut down all the big trees.
- When the cocoa trees have grown, it is better to get rid of the unwanted shade trees by using tree-killing chemical products. This way causes less damage than cutting them down.
Vegetative propagation gives more advantage in terms of reproduction of true-to-type trees, more uniform growth, early to bear flowers, and the clone perpetuates most if not all important characters of the original seedling mother tree like pod value, bean size, fruit wall thickness and others. Major consideration in vegetative propagation is the use of the selected varieties mentioned above.
1. Patch Budding – This is the propagation of true-to-type trees using buds from any of the nine NSIC approved clones.
2. Nodal Grafting – Propagation on the sides of the seedling using nodes.
3. Conventional cleft grafting – This propagation technique is similar to the procedure used in grafting mangoes. Rootstocks are cut horizontally leaving only two leaves behind. Scion of selected variety is attached to rootstocks with an inverted V shape and fastened to each other using thin plastic sheet covering all wounds to prevent drying.
*The success factors for all types of grafting and budding are:
1. Use healthy bud wood with active buds
2. Use budwood within 2 days of collection and store and transport in moist and cool conditions.
3. Do not collect bud wood from trees that are recovering from heavy cropping.
4. Make sure bud wood is of right age and thickness for the rootstock.
5. Only use a sharp knife and keep it only for grafting or budding- nothing else.
6. Clean knives and secateuers and other tools with alcohol, before and after grafting and budding, to minimise disease transfer.
7. Do not place tools onto the ground.
8. Avoid grafting in very hot and very dry periods, and also in very wet periods.
9. Make sure rootstock are the right age and condition for grafting and budding.
10. Manage shade and water very carefully.
Make a secure and evenly shaded nursery