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The Rubber Tree – Part 5 of 5

By Pinoy Farmer | February 27, 2008
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Tapping

Tapping means

· to make a cut in the bark of the rubber tree
· to harvest the latex.

Tapping is difficult to do well. You must take care how you do it.

For a good tapping, you must:

· make a good cut;
· harvest the latex well;
· harvest the latex at the right time.

Before we see how to make the tapping, let us look back at what we learned in the course on plant stems.

Let us see how the trunk of the rubber tree is made.

The trunk of the rubber tree

If you cut through a trunk, you see several layers.

· On the outside is the bark, which is about 6 millimetres thick.

· In the centre is the wood.

· Between the wood and the bark there is a layer which cannot be seen with the naked eye, because it is very thin. This is the cambium layer.

13.GIF
The wood and the bark

The cambium makes the tree grow, by producing wood and bark. So you must not damage it if you want the tree to grow normally.

If you look at rubber tree bark with a microscope, you will see several layers. One of these, the deepest, contains little channels called lactiferous vessels because they contain latex. This layer is next to the cambium.

23.GIF
You see several layers

The lactiferous vessels are little tubes that produce latex.

In tapping, you cut these little tubes containing latex. But you must take care not to cut the cambium.

Starting the tapping

When a tree is 50 centimetres in circumference at a height´. of 1 metre from the ground, that is, 5 years after it has been put in the plantation, you can begin to tap the tree.

To start the tapping, take a metal ribbon attached to a wooden lath 1.10 metres long.
This metal ribbon is at an angle. of 30 degrees to the horizontal.

32.GIF
Metal ribbon

Roll the metal ribbon round the tree. With an awl (an iron point) make a cut along the ribbon. The cut ends when you have gone right round the tree. The beginning of the cut and the end of the cut are on the same vertical line.

With the awl make a vertical channel from the lower edge of the cut.

The cut and the channel must be deepened. This is done with a gouge, a tool that is used by pushing it so as to remove bark.

41.GIF
Sharpened tip

Push the gouge several times along the cut and the channel, taking away a very little bark at a time. You do this so as to cut the bark as close as possible to the cambium, but without damaging it.

As the bark is about 6 millimetres thick the cut must be 4.5 millimetres deep.

The vertical channel is 25 centimetres long. At the lower end of this channel, put a gutter. Below that, put a cup called a latex cup. Tie it to the tree.

The latex flows along the cut, into the channel, and at last, through the gutter, it drops into the cup.

51.GIF
The latex flows

The latex that flows when you first make the cut is not good for harvesting so for several days you do not harvest any latex, but all the same you must come and cut the bark.

Harvesting the latex

Early in the morning, go to the plantation to reopen the cut.

Begin by taking away the latex that has coagulated on the cut and put it in a basket. Take away also any latex that has flowed over the bark.

Then, with the gouge, take out a little piece of bark, 1.5 millimetres thick, without touching the cambium.

Make the cut as far as 1.5 millimetres from the cambium.

61.GIF
Make the cut11

The latex flows along the cut, then down the channel, and through the gutter, it drops into the latex cup.

Then, 4 hours later, come again and collect what is in the cup. Two days afterwards, clean out the cup.

One man can tap 440 trees a day. The man who does the tapping is called the tapper.

If you make the cut badly, and if you touch the cambium, the bark closes up badly. It splits and turns brown. Then the tapping must be stopped.

There is a product for treating this browning of the bark.

Harvesting latex at the right time

The trees must be tapped very early in the morning, at daybreak, so as to harvest as much latex as possible. If you make the cuts late in the day, you harvest less latex, one third less.

But you must not tap the trees every day.

Each tree should be tapped on a fixed day.

Thus,

· one tree is tapped on Monday and Thursday;
· another, on Tuesday and Friday;
· a third on Wednesday and Saturday.

Each tapper can tap 440 trees. So he will have 3 groups of 440 trees, since he will tap each tree only twice a week. He will have:

· one group tapped on Monday and Thursday;
· one group tapped on Tuesday and Friday;
· one group tapped on Wednesday and Saturday.

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Monday

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Tuesday

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Wednesday

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He will stop tapping for two months, in the dry season, that is, at the time when the tree loses its leaves and makes new leaves.

When you have worked over the whole length of the tree, taking away the bark, that is, after 7 years, you can begin again, starting at 1.5 metres from the ground.

You can do this three times. That means you can harvest latex for 28 years. After that, it is best to make a new plantation.

Related Posts:
The Rubber Tree – Part 1 of 5
The Rubber Tree – Part 2 of 5
The Rubber Tree – Part 3 of 5
The Rubber Tree – Part 4 of 5

Source: Better Farming Series 25 – The Rubber Tree, Wikipedia.org [photo]

Topics: Agri-Business | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “The Rubber Tree – Part 5 of 5”

  1. Jhong Says:
    August 13th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks for this website. Its educational especially to those beginners (like me) and dont have any idea about planting rubber trees. More power to the men and women of agripinoy.net…

    Jhong

  2. Mona G. Manalang Says:
    August 20th, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    My brother and I bought 11 hectare of agricultural land somewhere in Zambales. We are planning to plant rubber trees but donesn’t have idea where to get some seeds. Would you know where I can get rubber seeds?

  3. alex magtulis Says:
    June 5th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks for this informative site. we are planning to plant rubber trees in sarangani province. do you have any feasibilty study or cost and return analysis for us to have a better reference? you can send thru my email. regards

  4. CC Chen Says:
    June 24th, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Dear Sir ,
    copy from your word ,**When you have worked over the (whole length of the tree, taking away the bark), that is, after 7 years, you can begin again, starting at 1.5 metres from the ground.**

    ”’whole length of the tree, taking away the bark,”’…………..how to make it taking away the bark with whole lenght of the tree , ??? the tree will not die ?? please ,, can you show me very detail step by step , with diagram as well,
    how to remove the bark safely,, with many thanks . from CC Chen

  5. hanelyn Says:
    June 19th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Dear sir,
    you have a very educational page here on the web.
    I have planned to start a little rubber plantatation myself in Surigao del Sur. Can you tell me how many kilo a rubber tree gives every tapping, average ofcourse.
    Regards , Hanelyn

  6. JOJO RAMOS Says:
    July 28th, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I am now in the the process of putting fertilizer but i don’t have exact knowledge on putting fertilizer in every tree, can you send me a guide on how to apply a fertilizer for a 2 years old tree. . . . thanks

  7. Anthony S. Realubit Says:
    August 15th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Good day,

    My parents were planning to invest on rubber trees but we don’t know where we can get rubber tree seeds or plants.

  8. YUCEL JOEY REYES Says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:32 am

    thanks for this website,can u show how to plant this espcially to those beginers like meh,would yuo know where i can get seedlings her in cebu?

  9. raymond hernandez Says:
    September 28th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    We are planning to plant rubber tree in Agusan del Sur, saan po ba kami makakuha ng budded seedlings na malapit lang dito sa Agusan de Sur?

  10. basilio fongayao jr. Says:
    October 9th, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Good Evening.

    Salamat sa kaalaman.

    Interested group namin magtanim rubber tree dito sa Luna, Apayao. Saan po ba pwedeng bumili ng rubber seeds or seedlings na malapit dito sa amin.

    Hoping for your response.

    Anjun

  11. goGreen Says:
    October 11th, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Hi basilio!

    First of all, I appreciate your time reading our posts. Para malaman kung saan pwede bumili ng rubber tree seedlings, punta lang kayo sa website na ‘to: http://www.cebuclassifieds.com/
    Marami kayong pwede makita dyan.

    Maraming Salamat!

  12. Vicky Ronquillo Says:
    January 6th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Hello,

    I have about 1800 rubber trees and we have started tapping in Aug 2011. First 700 trees then after 2 mos, addl 200 trees. We are on our 6th month tapping, my tapper says some trees have less latex and some trees have dried-up. Are these normal? Are there fertilizers/treatment for rubber trees that will yield more latex?

    Many thanks…and appreciate any info you can give.

  13. rica Says:
    March 2nd, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Hi, my brother has a little plantation of rubber tree in Sta Maria Laguna. Can you help us in marketing the latex? What is the present price per kilo?

    Thanks.

  14. Renan jahke Says:
    April 8th, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Do you have any seminars conducted here in davao region for rubber tree planting?

Comments