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Full text of "The cultivation of rubber"

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The Cultivation of 



RUBBER 



Dr. E.V.WILCOX 




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PUBLISHED BY 

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. 



THE 

CULTIVATION OF 
RUBBER 



Dr. E.V.WILCOX 




PUBLISHED BY 

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. 



P. 




Cornell University 
Library 



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. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924003326836 



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 



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 
species. | 

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. 

Cultivation Desirable. 

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. 

Soil Requirements. 

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 
thus delayed. 

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 



Cultivation 
of Rubber 



Cultivation 
' 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 
Soda. 



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, 

Director. 



Cultivation 
of Rubber