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Remedy for Bown Bast

Brown Bast in Rubber Trees Can be Cured


Brown bast is a common physiological disorder in Rubber Trees. A permanent solution to this grave problem has not been found yet anywhere in the World. In the early stages, a visible, milkless circular bast forms around the tapping area. When the tapping continues, new bast absorbs elements around the tapping area and hence it becomes more visible. So Brown bast is a  severe disease growing downward from the tapping area. Normally people used to tap the rubber trees one feet below the Tapping Panel Dryness affected area and collect latex. But this is not a remedy for this. The number of Brown bast trees increases by severe tapping stimulating medicines and over use of chemical manures.

We cannot trace a single drop of milk, even though the affected trees has been cut deeply from top to bottom at tapped area by tapping knife. Such trees have milk above the tapping area and it doesn’t flow downwards because it can only flow upwards. The roots of the tree absorbs water and nutrients from the soil and it passes through Xylem Cells of Stem and reaches leaves. Through Photosynthesis leaves prepares stach (food for trees) and it passes through the Phloem cells above the Cambium. For the process, the nutrient Magnesium which carries  Phosphorus reaches the root and it helps the growth of roots. After the growth of roots, it is expected to form food storage that will extended up to the leaves from the phloem. But in Brown bast affected trees, the stem (trunk) becomes thicker and the bark necrosis continues.

A diagram which shows the growth of stem and bark in a rubber tree in view of a farmer is given below.

The division of cork cambium leads to the formation of living cells. And more over the food storage in the Phelloderm (Milk Vessels) above phloem ensures the availability of Latex. The flow of latex is from downwards to upwards. For more information read the post in Malayalam “Secondary thickening in di-cot stem” a blog post in Malayalam. Late  DrThomas Varghees Former head of the department of Soil Science, Kerala Agricultural University, stating Borax as the remedy for Brown bast, which enhances the land of experiments using Borax sample since January 2010. 

The micronutrient Boron is the main ingredient for the growth of milk vessels in brown bast affected area. I am fortunate to understand that the application of Borax, diluted in coconut oil after scraping dry bark can avoid Brown bast. Late  DrThomas Varghees paved the way for my experiment. The nutrient Zinc can control the dripping of latex. But it causes brown bast. The dripping can be controlled by increasing Tapping interval. 

The Borax mixture 10 gram + 1 Kg of Coconut oil can apply 6 inch width in trees below 10 years and 20 gram + 1 Kg of Coconut oil can apply 12 inch width in trees above 10 years. Make sure that it should be applied in affected trees after scraping the dry bark below the starting point of tapping. Even though the latex vessels form within one week, it is better to start tapping after one Month. It is better to give gap between tapping days to ensure the availability of latex above 30 DRC.  The yielding capacity and prosperity can be maintained without culling down the old trees and replanting new ones. Healthy trees can produce more latex with high DRC. If humps forms on the earlier cutting part, it can be removed without losing latex before applying the borax mixture. Tapping can be started on the opposite side of the tree.

The micronutrient Borax the remedy of brown bast is available in Amazon also. The trees without brown bast can also be protected by applying 10 gram borax in one liter of Coconut oil using a brush on the new bark of the tree above tapping panel after scraping dry bark (One inch width) without dropping latex. This will help the tree to protect its latex vessels and the growth of new bark also.  Moreover, it will prevent the growth of brown bast. It will also prevent the “Bark Island” which may form near the starting point of tapping. Borax also helps by giving nutrients which can be lost during tapping and for the growth of new bark. Above all it is a remedy for brown bast. When it is applied on one part of the bark, it reaches the rest of the tree and it gives full protection to the tree, which is visible.

Sri Johney Pottakulam is an experienced rubber grower applied diluted borax in Brown Bast affected rubber trees and felt satisfied on it. All are welcome for confirmation from him on Mob: 09447086138. Few growers are waiting for a reply from RRII and few asked “The usage of borax is a permanent solution to protect the trees from brown bast; Is it proven scientifically ? Or any example to prove it in your experience?please give details”. 

These are the findings of a Small Scale Rubber Grower. Stimulant like Ethephon can be a reason for Brown bast. Since Borax is a micro nutrient, it can be used in minimum quantity. Protection of Phelloderm will enhance the growth of the Rubber Tree, from its roots to leaves.

Mob: 09447183033



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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.