Tree Establishment.

Tree planting is referred to as the process of transplanting tree seedlings from the tree nursery to their area of establishment. This is done generally for land reclamation, forestry or landscaping purposes.
On the other hand tree establishment refers to the process of a tree regenerating enough roots to be able to sustain itself without irrigation.
Trees are long perennial crops lasting even for more than 50 years, as such their planting holes should be well prepared. Holes are usually dug wide enough, filled with well-rotten manure  before planting of the tree seedlings. Young tree seedlings should be provided with wooden support at transplanting time to avoid breaking due to strong winds. Statistically, over 70% of all tree seedlings die within the first year because of damage by browsing animals. Like young plants, tree seedlings should be given proper support, protection and water to ensure their survival to maturity.
Factors affecting  tree establishment include:
– Root health;  a poor root system doesn’t support a tree establishment.
– Weather; should be transplanted at the beginning of the long rain season.
-Aftercare provided; young seedlings should be watered frequently if dry conditions persist to ensure their survival.
-Soil conditions.
What Must be Done
Trees should be trained and pruned as desired while still young.
Pruning of trees should be done during the rainy season to reduce incidences of tree die-back (death).
During pruning a sharp instrument should be used to avoid leaving large wounds that easily get infected.
Trim off branches from a tree as close to the main stem as possible; large stumps should not be left on the main stem.
Remove all pruned / trimmed tree parts from the landscape. If left to decay in the landscape, they act as sources of infection  to the other landscape plants.
Symptoms of a poor established tree include:
– Yellow /brown leaves shrivelling and falling
-Shoots dying back.
Tend your tree well, won’t you?


Significance of Ornamental Trees in a Landscape.


Trees are the most useful plants in a landscape due to many reasons and here is why:
– They provide shade in a landscape  thus modifying the micro-climate in a landscaped area.
-Some trees such as the eucalyptus species are known to greatly reduce water level in swampy areas.
-When planted besides houses, they help frame the house.
-Some trees are excellent soil conservers especially on slopy areas.
-They are useful in providing a background for a building in a landscape.
-Some tree species when closely planted maybe useful as a hedge.
-Ornamental trees are useful in marking boundaries of property between neighbours.
-Some trees are medicinal such as the quinone species, mwarubaini, sandal-wood and moringa species.
They are a source of income if used as a source of fuel wood or timber for the construction sector.
-Fruit trees cum ornamental trees such as avocado, syzygium and mangoes provide fruits.
-Trees provide fodder for livestock  such as the calliandra spp.

Essential Plant Nutrients; Nitrogen Sources.

Hi guys, hoping you are having a good time. It’s January and I know many are digging deeper into their pockets for school money. God forbid school heads who are coming up with exorbitant school fees figures here in Kenya.
That aside, I would like you and me to increase our knowledge reserve of essential plant nutrients with regard to Nitrogen.


The big question is; What is the ultimate source of Nitrogen??
One needs to know that, firstly Atmospheric Nitrogen (N2) forms 78% to 79% of Nitrogen. Nevertheless, acquisition of nitrogen requires the breaking of an exceptionally stable triple covalent bond between the two nitrogen atoms to produce ammonium (NH+4) or nitrate (NO-3) which is taken up by plants.
Secondly, Nitrogen can be tapped by Biological nitrogen fixation by legumes. Examples of these legumes include desmodium, (Sesbania sesban), soybeans. This is made possible because there is a symbiotic relation  between legumes and bacteria. Case in point is;
Rhizobium- this is a fast growing acid producing bacteria and the
Bradyrhizobium- this is a slow growing non acid producing bacteria.
They are all found in nodules of certain legumes.The bacteria infect the root hairs,cortical cells then the nodules where nitrogen fixation takes place.
In an agricultural system, this is the principal way of N-fixation.
Thirdly, a Nitrogen source is the industrial manufacture of Nitrogen fertilizers such as ammonium sulphate, ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate, urea, and NPK.
A fourth Nitrogen source is organic decomposition; Nitrogen in residues undergoes decomposition to form organic nitrogen through microbial sythesis.
Fifthly, another source of Nitrogen comes through precipitation, industrial gaseous emissions into the atmosphere are dissolved by rainfall and returned to the soil.
Lightning plays an important role here in that it breaks the stable triple bond  of Atmospheric nitrogen thus fixing Nitrogen into the soil.

Essential Plant Nutrients; Nitrogen.

Any farmer around the world knows that  Nitrogen is the mineral element that plants require in very large amounts. It is taken up from the soil as nitrate (NO-3)  and or ammonium (NH+4) ions.I therefore would like to take you through the importance of Nitrogen on your crops and why it’s absence  leads to low quality yields on your piece of land.


What are the functions of Nitrogen?
-Nitrogen is a constituent of proteins (amino acids) , nucleic acids, chlorophyll and growth hormones.
– An adequate supply of Nitrogen increases both the soluble amino acids and proteins in leaf; the additional proteins allows the leaves to grow larger and hence have a larger area for photosynthesis.
-More to this, an adequate supply of Nitrogen promotes a dark green colouration by promoting chlorophyll formation through increase in Nitrogen concentration in the crop.
Deficiency Symptoms
Nitrogen Deficiency rapidly inhibits plant growth. In the event that such a deficiency persists, most species show chlorosis which refers to the yellowing of leaves especially in the older leaves near the base of the plant.
– Under severe Nitrogen deficiency, these leaves become completely yellow (or tan) and fall of the plant; younger leaves may not show this symptoms initially. The reason behind this is that Nitrogen can be mobilised from older leaves. Thus a Nitrogen deficient plant may have light, green upper leaves and yellow or tan lower leaves.
– When Nitrogen deficiency develops slowly, plants may have markedly slender and often woody stems. This woodiness maybe due to a build up of excess carbohydrates that cannot be used in the synthesis of amino acids or other Nitrogen compounds.
– Carbohydrates not used in Nitrogen metabolism  may also be used in anthocyanine synthesis,leading to the accumulation of this pigment.
This condition is always revealed as a purple colouration in leaves,petioles, and stems  of Nitrogen-deficient plants such as tomatoes and certain varieties of plants.
Know why you need that Ammonium nitrate fertilizer.