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Gmelina Farming Guide in the Philippines

If you are looking for an extensive Gmelina farming guide, you are in the right place so continue reading.

Gmelina arborea is becoming the most important forest tree to grow in the Philippines. In Negros Occidental and most parts of Mindanao, it is more valuable than Mahogany and is the number one option for house construction. Although Mahogany can demand a higher price per board foot, farmers prefer Gmelina because of its faster growth and can be harvested again after five to seven years. 

Gmelina Farming Guide: Seed Preparation

The Gmelina seed is used when planting the tree. The Gmelina fruit size is similar to Kalamansi and contains only one seed. Ripe fruits are yellow and when they fall down, they can be used in planting.

The fruits must be peeled off in order to get the seed inside. The best thing to do this is to put around a hundred seeds inside a fertilizer sack and then use your feet to apply pressure by stomping while the sack is in the water. If there is a river near you, it’s better to do this in the running water because the sap of Gmelina fruit is really gross and can damage your clothes. Once the seeds are separated from the fruit, sundry them for two to three days. 

Once dried, they are ready to put into seed bags. Germination could take 25 to 35 days.

Gmelina fruit

Gmelina Farming Guide: Land Preparation

The best type of land to plant Gmelina is hilly facing the sunrise. Flat lands in high altitudes are not ideal because Gmelina is not wind-resistant, especially during its first two years. Trees planted in windy areas won’t grow straight and tall either. 

The land must be free of any other tall trees and shrubs. 

Gmelina Farming Guide: Transplanting

Once the seedlings grow at about one foot tall, they can be replanted. You must tear large leaves because they are heavy and will bend the plant when soaked in rainwater. 

An ideal distance would be 3 meters apart therefore you can have around 1,080 trees in one hectare. If you want the trees to grow faster, apply organic fertilizer like animal manure.

Caring for Gmelina trees

The first 3 years are very critical. Gmelina trees need a regular pruning of branches (not the main body). This is to ensure that the tree grows straight and tall. Branches when not removed will slow the growth of the trees. You can remove all branches and leave only the main body that holds the top.

Regular cutting of the grass is also needed and weeds near its base must also be cleaned. Vines are the main enemy of Gmelina trees.

During the first two years, you can also plant intercrops like corn, peanuts, and other vegetables. Gmelina, unlike Mahogany, is good for the soil. This is contrary to what many people said that Gmelina is not good for the land. Its falling leaves decompose fast and become organic fertilizer. Mahogany, on the other hand, kills everything under it. Its leaves are toxic and contaminate the ground, killing everything.

Harvesting

Gmelina can be harvested as early as 5 years but since not all trees will grow at hee the same rate, some will be bigger and some will be smaller. If managed well, a five-year-old Gmelina can measure 8 x 8 timber. It is better to harvest the bigger ones first so the smaller ones can have more space to grow.

In six years, you can have all harvested.

Gmelina Farming Guide
Mature Gmelina trunk

Assuming each tree has an average size of 8 x 8 x 12, you can get 64 board feet per tree or a total of 64,000 board feet in one hectare (mortality excluded). With the current farmgate price of  P30/brd.ft, you can have a gross income of P1.920,000.

To simply put it:

  •  P1,920,000 – lumber price
  • P600,000 (2,000 sacks of charcoal from branches and tops)

Expenses

  • P768,000 – chainsaw cutting cost (usually the buyer provides this including the hauling)
  • P27,000 – seedlings (if you bought it at P25/each
  • P12,000 cleaning and pruning  (6 times in 3 years)
  • P300,000 for charcoal makers

Total net income

  • P1,413,000

Gmelina is best planted on land where other crops are not doing good, especially those hilly and rocky lands near the river.

Some Questions About Gmelina Farming Guide

How do you plant Gmelina seeds?

Gmelina arborea is propagated by both seeds and vegetative methods. Seeds are sown directly in the root trainer or raised beds can be 0.6m in height, 1m in within convenient length. The vegetative method like the branches is not advisable because they are slow-growing and cannot survive during summer.

How long does it take to grow a Gmelina tree?

Gmelina can be harvested starting 5 years. For the best results, 7 to 8 years is ideal.

Is Gmelina tree strong?

The heartwood of Gmelina is moderately durable. The resistance to termite and marine borer attacks is variable, but the wood is usually classified as susceptible. The gluing properties are reported as good.

Is Gmelina fruit poisonous?

Gmelina fruit is not poisonous but is not good to eat either due to its unpalatable taste. Some people though use it as medicine.

Is Gmelina a hardwood or softwood?

A lightweight hardwood, gmelina produces good quality pulp for the production of writing paper and carton board. It can also be used in house construction and is pest resistant due to its bitter taste.

Can we eat Gmelina fruit?

Gmelina fruit is edible but has a bitter taste. The leaves are widely used as cattle fodder and in silkworm culture. The wood ash and fruit yield very persistent yellow dyes. The flowers produce abundant nectar, from which high-quality honey is produced.

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