The Cultivation of
WILLIAM S. MYERS, D. Sc, F. c. S., Director,
Nitrate of Soda Propaganda.
Late of New Jereey State Agricultural College.
JOHN STREET AND 71 NASSAU, NEW YORK.
Below will be found a list of pamphlets relating to
the use of Nitrate of Soda as a fertilizer, which will be
furnished gratis to persons desiring information upon
any of the subjects named.
The Cultivation of Cotton.
£1 Cultivo del Algodon.
The Cultivation of the Olive.
The Cultivation of the Sugar Cane.
El Cultivo de la Cana de Azucar.
Report on Alabama Cotton Prize.
Experiments with Chemical Fertilizers.
Abstract of Bulletin No. 52 on Onion Culture.
Extracto Del Boletin Num.° 52 sobre El Cultivo
de la CeboUa.
The Cultivation of Tobacco.
El Cultivo Del Tabaco.
Straight Fertilizer Formulas for Farm Crops.
WILLIAM S. MYERS, D. Sc, F. c. s., Director,
Nitrate of Soda Propaganda.
Late of New Jersey State Agricultural College.
JOHN STREET AND 71 NASSAU, NEW YORK.
The original of tiiis book is in
tine Cornell University Library.
There are no known copyright restrictions in
the United States on the use of the text.
The Cultivation of Rubber.
With the enormous increase which has taken place
in recent years in the use of rubber for old and new
purposes, interest has been awakened in the value and
importance of wild forest rubber and in the possibilities
of profitable rubber planting. The Custom House
records of New York City for December, 1909, show
an importation of 10,000,000 pounds of rubber. Dur-
ing the year 1909 the output of rubber from planta-
tions in British India amounted to nearly 380 tons per
month. The consumption of rubber in the United
States and Canada has constantly increased from 14,000
t(ns in 1896 to 31,000 tons in 1909. These ' figvires,
relating to the rapid increase in the use of rubber,
might be duplicated for other civilized countries and
show that the importance of this product is rapidly
increasing. Since the world was for a long time sup-
plied with rubber from wild trees, it was feared when
the commercial planting of rubber was undertaken that
the markets would soon be so flooded with rubber as to
greatly reduce the price. It was freely predicted that
the price of rubber might be driven down to twenty-
five cents per pound, and that when this event took
place all rubber plantations would be driven to financial
ruin, except such as were in the fortunate position of
being able to produce rubber at twenty-five cents per
pound. Contrary to these predictions, we have re-
cently seen very high prices for rubber and a demand
in excess of the available supply, in the face of large
outputs which are being marketed from plantations.
It seems safe to assume that with the increase in the
supply of plantation rubber the use of rubber wiU be
extended so as to take up the increase without lower-
ing the price beyond a profitable figure.
Kinds of Rubber Trees.
Much speculation has been indulged in regarding
the relative advantages of the different species of rubber
Tiie trees. In Mexico attention has been given chiefly
Cultivation ^^ QastiUoa. In Ceylon and the Straits Settlements,
Ceara was tried, partly as a shade for other crops, and
partly as a source of rubber. It has been gradually
discarded, however, for Hevea rubber which gives
greater promise than any other species in the enormous
plantations of the British provinces of India. Like;
wise in Hawaii, where at first Ceara rubber was chiefly!
in favor, the trend of opinion was later toward Hevedt
and recent plantings have been chiefly of the lattefr
As is well known to the rubber world, the stand|-
ard of excellence in rubber has been set by Hevea in thte
Indian provinces. Nevertheless, profitable prices are
received for Castilloa and Ceara rubber and also for
various wild rubbers from the original forests. Recently
a quotation of $1.97 per pound was received for Ceai'a
rubber produced on the Hawaiian rubber plantations.
Since rubber was first obtained from forest treek
growing under wild conditions, it was thought that
plantations might adopt similar methods and grow rub-
ber trees practically as a forest, without attention in
the way of cultivation. This idea, however, has been
pretty effectually dispelled. In numerous instances it
has been found that rubber trees respond as promptly
to cultivation and artificial care as other tree crops.
On some of the Hawaiian plantations there are culti-
vated Ceara trees one year old which are larger and of
more vigorous growth than three-year-old trees grown
under similar conditions, but without cultivation.
The time factor in securing a yield from rubber is of
the greatest importance. Even under the best condi-
tions, there is a long wait from planting until the age for
tapping, and financial success with rubber will be
greatly influenced by any methods which may be
adopted to hasten the maturity of the trees.
When the trees are 8 or 10 years old one can begin
to extract the Latex. At 30 years the trees are at their
maximum of production.
The success obtained from the judicious use of "^^
Nitrate of Soda with forestry and nursery stock, sug-
gests great success with Nitrate of Soda for hastening
the maturing of rubber trees.
With regard to the soil and climatic conditions
favorable for rubber production, it is a difRciilt matter
to make specific statements. The requirements are not
so exacting that rubber trees will not thrive under
quite a variety of soil and rainfall conditions. We
often see the statement that Ceara rubber and the
related species, Manihot dichotoma and M. piauienm,
will grow in very dry regions.
While this statement is perfectly true, it is also
quite true that all of these species wUl grow more
rapidly, reach maturity more quickly and yield more
heavily where the rainfall conditions are more favor-
able. In very dry regions the period of rest, during
which the leaves are shed from Ceara rubber, is greatly
prolonged, and the date of maturit}' of the tree is
Experiments thus far conducted, and observations
made on the natural habitat of the rubber trees, show
that these trees will thrive on a great variety of soUs.
Nevertheless, the best growth is obtained on soils which
are reasonably fertile and of which the physical proper-
ties are such as to prevent undue caking or stagnation
of the water supply.
In other words, rubber, like most other crops, will
thrive best on soUs which have a high power of retain-
ing moisture, and from which the moisture is given up
slowly. In such soils aeration is satisfactory, and the
application of fertilizers will have the most effect.
Fertilizers for Rubber Plantations.
With regard to the use of fertilizers on rubber
plantations, experimental information is very meagre.
In the large amount of literature on rubber cultivation
one meets everywhere with tentative suggestions
regarding the application of barn-yard manure, green
' of Rubber
'^•'^ manures and artificial fertilizers to rubber trees. These
suggestions, however, are, for the most part, not based
on actual experiments.
The best advice that can be given on the subject
at present is to have an analysis made of the soils and
then supply such elements as are actually deficient or
as are removed by the growth of the rubber trees. In
the cultivation of young plantations it may prove
profitable, and even desirable, to grow inter-crops
between the rows of rubber trees. This is easily possi-
ble if the trees are planted at intervals of twenty
feet. The crops to be grown between rubber trees
will depend somewhat upon the nature of the soil
and the amount of rainfall. If legumes are grown
as inter-crops the necessary humus and a portion of
the required Nitrogen will thus be supplied to the soil.
If other crops, such as cotton, corn or sweet pota-
toes, are planted between rubber trees, it must be
remembered that they, in turn, will take their share
from the soil fertility; and this point must be borne
in mind in considering the fertilizer problem of the
whole plantation. Until more extensive experiments
have been made, it is impossible to make more specific
recommendations as to a plan of fertilizing rubber
plantations to encourage the growth of. the trees.
Nitrate of Soda for Increasing Flow of Latex.
It has often been suggested that a scheme of fer-
tilization might be devised whereby the flow of latex
could be temporarily energized at each tapping period.
In order to gain evidence on this point, a series of
experiments were undertaken in Hawaii with Nitrate
of Soda. The fertilizer was applied, at the rate of
one-fourth and one-half pound per tree, a few days
before tapping. It was found best to incorporate the
fertilizer deeply and thoroughly in the soil over the
young and actively growing rootlets. If the soil, at
the time of application, be excessively dry immediate
effects may not be noticed from the application of
Nitrate of Soda until a rainfall occurs, or until artificial
irrigation is applied. If, on the contrary, the soil is
moist at the time of application, and gentle rains occur
soon afterward, quite striking results are shown within J}^^^
two or three days, but a deep and thorough incorpora-
tion of the Nitrate in the soil will be of advantage. In
some cases the yield of Ceara rubber trees was doubled
during the fall tapping period by the application of
one-half pound of Nitrate of Soda per tree. It has
not been determined exactly how the Nitrate of Soda
brings about this stimulation in the flow of latex, but
the fact appears to be true, and is believed to be well
worth considering at tapping time on commercial plan-
tations. The coagulation of the latex likewise appears
to be much improved from the use of the Nitrate of
Experiments with Nitrate of Soda on Ceara Rubber were begun
by Prof. Jared G. Smith in 1905 and continued by the author, so
that Dr. Wilcox has had first hand experience based on personal
knowledge of conditions controlling the growth of India Rubber. No
doubt the growth of large, healthy trees is promoted most advanta-
geously by the rational use of fertilizer.
WILLIAM S. MYERS,