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residents come together to save 70-year-old litchi tree

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People in Koppampatti village in Thuraiyur, Trichy came together to revive a litchi tree , from the moraceae family, which is more than 70-yearsold. Suffering from infection over the past few months, the people realized that the tree might not live longer as it started wilting away fast in the past few days. Following this, a social media post by C Mathivanan of the village seeking suggestion to save the litchi tree caught the attention of MIT college of agriculture and technology in Musiri, which decided to help the villager.

A team from the college visited the village and found rapid wilting of leaves in two of the branches and decided to take samples of roots for testing. “Infected by root rot pathogen, the tree was dying a slow death as the infection was spreading across the tree through its roots,” said agriculture scientist R Manikandan, who is also a tree pathologist. About three feet deep trench was dug around the tree to apply systematic fungicide solution to check the infection. Besides, 150 kg of neem cake was spread in the trench mixed with moist soil before irrigating it, said Manikandan.

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Entomologist, M Devi, who was part of the expert team, said that there wasn’t any insect  attack, but it got infected by its roots that are spread deep under and spread to nearby areas. “It became important to chop off two of the main branches, which dried up due to fungal attack,” said A Ravi Perumal, who is specialized in forestry Mancozeb – contact fungicide was applied on the surface of the tree after branches were cut off. This would prevent further spread of infection to other parts of the tree, he said.

Saying that there is over 90% chances that the tree would survive, Manikandan added that the next 10 days are going to be crucial for the revival of the tree.Mathivanan said that importance of tree plantation has grown manifold over the years. He added that people should be equally conscious about the trees in their neighbourhood and preserve it.

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