Gliricidia is a small fast growing multi-purpose legume plant. It is deciduous and thornless plant. It grows up to a height of 10-15 meters.
Gliricidia leaves contain between 25 to 30% crude protein and are highly digestible for ruminants like buffalos, cows and goat. Few animals seem to refuse leaves on the basis of smell, often rejecting them without tasting. In such situations, introduce smaller portions of Gliricidia mixed with other chaffed fodder and also add Salt and Jaggery while chaffing.
Soil and Climate Suitability
Gliricidia tolerates a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. Growth is most rapid in regions where annual rainfall exceeds 900 mm, but it will grow where rainfall is as low as 400 mm per annum. But it does not tolerate frost conditions. It grows in soils ranging from heavy clays to sands and on rocky eroded sites; however, it is intolerant of water logging.
Grow on Farm Bunds
Gliricidia plants are usually planted on the farm bunds. Planting these on farm bunds has the following advantages:
- No need of extra land and optimal use of farm bunds.
- Gliricidia stops soil erosion and water run-off.
- Since Gliricidia is a legume – it generates nitrogen and enriches soil and thereby increasing the productivity of other crops.
Gliricidia can be planted either through seeds or stem cuttings. When using seeds, it is better to raise the seeds in poly-bags. Soak the seeds overnight before planting them. Almost all seeds will germinate within a week. They can be planted in the fields or farm bunds after 6 to 8 weeks. (Note: We supply Gliricidia seeds and saplings at very nominal price)
Gliricidia can also be propagated/established from cuttings. Cuttings should be of mature branches (>7 cm in diameter), which are brownish-green in bark color. The cutting is normally made obliquely at both ends, discarding the younger tips, and the base inserted 20-50 cm into the soil.
For gliricidia grown in the humid tropics and used only for forage, a cutting interval of 5-8 weeks is usually recommended. It is able to produce profuse branching and fresh growth after every cutting.
Gliciridia can be used as green manure. If cultivated along the border in one acre, it will supply enough green leaf manure for 2 acres of land. This can also used as input material for vermi-composting. Gliricidia also fixes atmospheric nitrogen and thereby improves soil fertility.
There is evidence of increased milk and meat production when Gliricidia is used as a supplemental fodder because of it’s high protein content. And also this can be very helpful in increasing soil fertility. So, it would be a good idea to plant Gliricidia on the farms bunds.