|By goGreen | June 28, 2012|
Salago (Wikstroemia species) is a slowgrowing native shrub in Eastern Asia. At present, it is classified as a forest crop based on its ability to become a very sturdy plant which can withstand long drought, rainy season Asia. At present, it is classified as a forest crop based on its ability to become a very sturdy plant which can withstand long drought, rainy season and typhoons. It grows to a height ranging from one to three meters. The leaves are opposite, leathery, widest near the middle, rounded at the tips and 1.5 to 7 cm. Iong. The best is light colored and has a silky appearance and long strong fibers.
Salago is mostly found in thickets as well as in primary and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes. Thus, it is a good agroforestry crop and a good material for hedgerow planting.
Salago is popularly known in the Visayas as Siapo. The fiber was discovered by the Japanese as an excellent material in the manufacture of money, bank notes, stencils, ad paper and documentary papers. It is also used for rope-making, fishing lines and nets, clotheslines, sacks, wallets, colorful hats and others.
Salago is normally propagated through its seeds.
However, its seeds cannot be stored for a long time because it is a recalcitrant. Seed germination is done through the following steps:
- Prepare two seedboxes four inches thick, two feet wide and eight feet long. Use a 50 percent limesoil and 50 percent sand mixture,
- Sterilize the soil by pouring boiling water twice over it before sowing the seeds. Seeds usually germinate from 15-20 days after sowing.
- Salago seeds could also be sown directly on the farm with comparable results to the above
Care of seedlings and planting
To minimize the effect of transfer shock and root injury, seedlings should be planted in individual plastic bags when the first pair of leaves appear.
Seedlings could be transplanted to the field when they are between two to four months old. With a spacing of 1 × 1 meters, 10,000 plants can be accommodated in one hectare. The best time for planting salago is at the beginning of the rainy season.
FIDA (Fiber Industry Development Authority) recommends optional use of commercial fertilizer. In fact, areas recommended for salago planting are those which have fumed less productive (e.g., cogonal areas).
Do ring weeding and underbrushing twice a year, especially during the early stage of growth of the plant. Being relatively resistant to pests and diseases, salago may not need pesticide spraying.
After six to eight months from planting, salago begins to bear fruits or berries. Thereafter, it will bear fruits once a year from October to November. Seed collection will start on December to early January, that is about 30-35 days from flowering. Berries are considered mature when it turns red or yellow.
To prepare viable seeds, put gathered berries in a basin and thoroughly squeeze them until the seeds are separated from the pulp. Rinse with water. Seeds that sink are viable ones while those that float are rejected by draining the water.
To store seeds without losing their viability, dry them properly by spreading them on any fat container under the sun for six to eight hours. If sowing is to be done in a day or two, two to four hours drying would suffice.
Fiber extraction is done either by “handcleaning” or “steaming” method.
“Handcleaning” is done by directly peeling off the bark as soon as the outermost epidermis (thin portion) is scraped out by using a knife. This method of fiber extraction produces white fiber. However, the fiber could not be stored for a longer period due to its susceptibility to mold attack.
FIG. 1. Handcleaning method.
“Steaming” process is done by subjecting the whole stem of salago to steam for about two hours in a big container. The stem must not touch the water, hence a support for the stem must be provided to avoid staining. The container has to be covered properly while the water level is maintained at three inches. To produce good quality fiber, the outermost dead bark or meristematic cells are removed thoroughly.
This literature aims only to guide agroforestry technicians in their search for appropriate materials to be planted in their project areas. For more information, please contact Fiber Industry Development Authority – Region Vll, S.L. Tanchan Building, Colon St., Cebu City or Ecosystem Research and Development Bureau (ERDB), College, Laguna 4031.
Abaca (Muse textilis Nee) is the local name of a perennial plant which has been grown in the Philippines for centuries. The commercial significance of the plant then was not generally known by most of me natives, much less outside m-e Philippines It took more than 100 years for abaca to be known as a source of fiber for rope manufacture and, later, for fibercraft and specially pulp and paper.
Abaca, internationally known as Manila hemp, is a member of Musaceae family and has close resemblance to banana. Compared to banana, abaca has more slender stalk as well as smaller, narrower and more
pointed leaves. A distinguishing dark line on me right hand side of the upper surface of the leaf blade is pronounced in abaca. Its fruits are smaller, nonedible and contain many seeds.
Soil and climatic requirement
Abaca grows in virtually all types of soil in the Philippines but it is most productive in areas where the soil is:
- volcanic in origin;
- rich in organic matter;
- loose, friable and well-drained;
- of the clay loam type; and,
- less than 1,000 m from sea level.
Abaca is propagated by bits of seedpieces. Seedpieces are obtained by separation or division of the rootstocks and corms. From a single seedpiece, a mat or clump of from 10 to 15 suckers develop in one year. About 20 plantable pieces can be obtained from this mat either by separating the small and medium-eke suckers and cutting the corms of larger stalks into bits or seedpieces. Each piece should contain one to three prominent eyes.
Staking. After preparing me land, mark the places (where abaca will be planted) with bamboo stakes or other suitable materials. The recommended distance of planting is 2 × 2 m.
Holing. The size of the hole depends upon the propagating materials used. Make the holes about 10 cm deep or large enough to accommodate me seedpiece.
Fertilizer application. Abaca requires large amounts of N and K but less of P. To improve the growth of abaca, apply annually 100-200 kg N and 150 to 200 kg. K20/ha in two to four-split applications. Apply the fertilizer around the hill about 15 cm from the base of the pseudostem, the region where the roots are most concentrated. There is no need to bury them since the roots of abaca are shallow.
Pests. Identified pests attacking abaca are brown aphids (Pentalonia nigronervosa), corm weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) and slug caterpillar (Thosea sinensis). Control the pests with any suitable contact insecticide. Keep the abaca farm clean. Gather, chop and spray corms of harvested stalks.
Diseases. To date, some 17 diseases of abaca have been recorded. Two of these are caused by bacteria, nine by fungi, four by nematodes and two by viruses. The importance of one disease varies from one area to another but, in general, bunchy-top, mosaic and wilt are considered either important or potentially dangerous to abaca production in the Philippines.
Symptoms. Shortening of the pseudostem, crowding or bunching of the leafoleaths at the crown or top of the plant, accompanied by transparent streaks of the main and secondary veins at the leaf when viewed against the light.
Control measures. Roquing of infected plants in like manner as in bunchy-top is essential to maintain a low rate of disease spread.
Symptoms. The most noticeable symptom of this disease is the wilting of the leaves, particularly the lower leaves. Eventually, the wiltted leaves turn pale yellow to yellow- brown. When cut open, corms of infected abaca exhibit reddish-violet color.
Control measures. Methods of controlling fusarial wilt are by quarantine and exclusion, or by planting resistant cultivars, if available.
Harvesting and handling
Commence harvesting before the flagleaf appears. Indications that the flagleaf is about to appear are the slowing down of growth of the plant and gradual shortening of the leaf blades. Also, the petiole bridge appears much shorter than the preceding ones.
Keep the surrounding area of the base of the stalk clear of grasses and other obstructions. Then, cut the leaves of the abaca plant with a topping knife attached to a pole. Topping not only facilitates harvesting put also minimizes the damage on follower stalks in the vicinity as well. Cut the stalk with a sharp tumbling bole at about 5 cm. from the corm. A clean, slightly slanted cut is desirable.
Pile the tumbled stalks (10 to 20 stalks per pile) with distal ends on one side. It is ideal to process the stalks immediately after harvesting to obtain fibers of superior quality.
Fiber Extraction. There are two common methods of fiber extraction in the Philippines: (1) hand-stripping and (2) spindle-stripping.
Hand-stripping is the process of extracting fiber in which a narrow strip of abaca leaf sheath (tuxy) is placed under the serrated knife with pressure. Fiber is then extracted by wiling the leafsheath by hand.
Spindle-stripping is a process wherein the tuxy is fed into the machine’s stripping knife.
Tuxying – insert a tuxy knife between the outer and middle layers of the leaf sheath and then pull off the entire length to completely separate the layers. Each leaf sheath produces 2 to 4 tuxies of 5 to 10 cm wide.
Tuxies from different leaf sheaths produce fibers which vary in color, length, texture and tensile strength. Preclassify them as outer, middle and inner for easier classification of fibers after stripping.
FIG. 1. Tuxying
Abaca fiber has 15 grades classified into: Excellent (AD, EF, S2, S3); Good (I, G, H); Fair (JK, Ml); Coarse (L); and, Residual (Y1, Y2, O. T. WS).
Costs and returns
Assuming that there is no intercropping, establishing a hectare of abaca costs P27,000. No income can be expected from an abaca farm during the first and second years of planting. However, during the first two years, abaca farmers are encouraged to plant cash crops like corn, rice or any root crops to provide food and income for the family while waiting for the abaca to become productive. During this period. the direct costs incurred in a hectare of abaca plantation is about 8,000/yr. In the third year of operation, there is a gross income of P15,000. On the fourth year and onwards, profit may be expected with the highest gross income of P60,000 (at P28./kg.) against an annual expense of P8,000.
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