Teak is the common name for the tropical hardwood tree species Tectona grandis and it’s wood products. Tectona grandis is native to south and southeast Asia, mainly India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Tectona grandis is a large, deciduous tree that is dominant in mixed hardwood forests. It has small, fragrant white flowers and papery leaves that are often hairy on the lower surface.
Teak prefers moist, warm tropical climate. It can withstand extremes of temperature, but maximum & minimum shade temperatures of 39- 44 o c and 13 – 17 o c respectively are the most favorable for its growth. It grows well in rainfall zone of 1200-2500 mm.
Teak can grow in many kinds of soils but the quality of growth depends on the depth, structure, porosity, drainage, and moisture-holding capacity of the soil. Teak thrives best on soils that are neutral, or slightly alkaline, so the most favorable soils for growth and development usually have a pH of between 6.5–7.5. Waterlogged, shallow and compacted soils should be avoided. Teak is a “calcicolous’ species and requires a relatively large amount of calcium in the soil for growth and development.
Tectona Grandia, Tectona hamiltonian, and Tectona philippinensis
The new plants can also be propagated from Tissue culture saplings, cuttings stumps, and seeds. It is usually planted when the four to six weeks old. Plough the land thoroughly and level it. The best season to plant the teak is monsoon, most probably after the first shower. Teak can be planted at 2m x 2m, 2.5m x 2.5m or 3m x 3m replacement. It can also be raised along with agricultural crops at a spacing of 4m x 4m or 5m x 1m.
Methods of Planting
The new plants can be propagated from Tissue culture saplings, cuttings stumps, and seeds. Teak is propagated mainly from seeds. Germination of the seeds involves pretreatment to remove dormancy arising from the thick pericarp. Pretreatment involves alternate wetting and drying of the seed. The seeds are soaked in water for 12 hours and then spread to dry in the sun for 12 hours. This is repeated for 10–14 days and then the seeds are sown in shallow germination beds of coarse peat covered by sand. The seeds then germinate after 15 to 30 days.
The study has revealed that irrigation during the stress period boosts the growth of the plants. Irrigation should be followed by weeding and adequate soil working.
Two doses of fertilizer @ 50 gm per plant of NPK (15:15:15) may be provided every year up to three years.
Teak thrives best on soils that are neutral, or slightly alkaline, so the most favourable soils for growth and development usually have a pH of between 6.5–7.5. The young plants do not tolerate competition by large weeds nor being shaded for too long by a canopy, Waterlogged, shallow and compacted soils should be avoided. Teak requires a lot of light and will suffer when suppressed. The crown of the tree requires freedom on all sides for proper development. It grows best when the plants and trees are of a similar size, are regularly and heavily thinned. The growth should be monitored regularly and thinning should start before the stand is suppressed. In a properly thinned plantation, the crop should look distinctly open, and individual crowns should have clear space all around.
Several thinnings are carried out in a tree population and the final harvest is by clear-cutting. Independently of the growth rate, the turn – over period determines the proportion of heartwood which is about 35–55% at the age of 13 years; 65 – 90% at the age of 20 years and almost 100% at the age of 25 years.
Disease & Paste Management
Teak is not very susceptible to different pests and diseases. Generally, defoliators and skeletonizers cause the greatest problem. However, chemical control except in nurseries or young plantations is not practical. The life cycles of these pests are so short and follow each other so rapidly that it is not considered cost-effective. The main strategy should be on limiting the food supply by weed control in the first three years.