Clove is actually the aromatic,dry fully grown,but unopened flower buds of the clove tree.The scientific name of clove tree is Syzygium aromaticum and belong to the family Myrtaceae.Tanzania and Indonesia are the major producers of clove in the world.In India clove is grown in the hilly areas of TamilNadu,Kerala and Karnataka.
Climate and Soil
Clove grows well in rich loamy soils of the humid tropics and can be grown successfully in the red soils of Kerala,Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. A cooler climate with well distributed rainfall is ideal for flowering.The site selected for its cultivation needs Good drainage since the crop cannot withstand water logged conditions.It thrives well in the areas receiving an annual rainfall of 150-300 mm and it can be grown at an altitude of 1500m above the sea level.
The seeds should be collected from fully ripe fruits for raising seedlings.Fruits for seed cultivation, known popularly as "mother of clove" are allowed to ripe on the tree and drop down naturally.Such fruits are collected and sown directly in the nursery or soaked in water overnight and the pericarb removed before sowing. Second method of sowing gives excellent results.Only fully developed and uniform sized seeds which show signs of germination by the presence of pink radilce ,are used for sowing.
Nursery beds of 15-20cm height,1 mt width and convenient length are to be prepared for sowing seeds.The beds should be made of loose soil-sand mixture over which a layer of sand may be spread.Seeds can also be sown in sand beds but care should be taken to prevent erosion of the soil in the beds in rains.Seeds are sown at 2-3 cm spacing and depth of 2cm.The seed beds have to be protected from direct sunlight .The germination commences in about 10-15 days and may last for about 40 days.The germinated seeds are then transplanted in polybags containing a mixture of ,soil,sand and well decomposed cowdung. Sometimes these seedlings are again transplanted after 1 year to a large poythene bags.These seedlings are ready for transplanting after 18-24 months old.
Preparation of Land and Planting
The area selected for raising the clove plantations is cleared of wild growth before monsoon and pits of 75Cm75Cm75cm are dug at a spacing of 6-7 mts.If the clove is planted as inter crop then the spacing has to be adjusted based on the spacing of the major crop
.The pits are partially filled with compost ,green leaf or well decomposed cattle manure and mixed with top soil.The seedlings are transplanted in the main field during the beginning of the rainy season,in June-
July,and in low lying areas towards the end of the month,September -October.Clove prefers partial shade and comes up well at higher elevations with well distributed rainfall.under Indian conditions it is best suitable for mixed cropping in older coconut or arec
a plantations or in coffee estates.In order to give a cool humid microclimate ,intercropping with banana is ideal.
Manuring and Fertilizer application
Cattle manure or compost @ 50 kg and bone meal or fish meal @ 2-5 kg bearing tree per year can be applied.Organic manures can be applied as a single dose at the beginning of the rainy season in the trenches dug around the trees.The recommended fertilizer dose for inorganic fertilizer is @40Gram urea,110gram super phosphate,and 80gram Murate of potash in the initial stage.The dosage is progressively increased to 600gm urea,1560gm super phosphate and 1250gm Murate of potash.per year for a grown up tree of 15 years or more .The fertilizer must be applied in equal split doses in May -June and September-October in shallow trenches dug around the plant .
Seedling wilt is a serious problem in some of the areas.The leaves of affected seedlings lose their natural lustre ,droop and ultimately die.The root system and collar region of the seedling show varying degree of discolouration and decay. Since the infected plants promote further spread of the disease,they are to be removed and the remaining seedlings should be treated with carbendazim+mancozeb mixture fungicide by dissolving it as 2 gm per litre of water and then drenching the root zone of the seedlings.
Leaf Rot is observed in mature trees and seedlings.The infection starts as dark diffused patches at the leaf tip or margin and later the whole leaf rots,resulting in severe defoliation.The foliage of the affected tree should be sprayed with carbendazim+mancozeb mixture or copper oxy chloride by dissolving 2-3 gm in 1 litre of water , and spraying uniformly.
Leaf spot and bud shedding
The disease is characterized by dark brown spots with a yellow halo on leaves .Such spots also appear on the buds resulting in their shedding.Prophylactic spray of Copper oxy chloride @3 gm per litre of water can prevent the onset of this disease.
The stem borer infests the main stem of young trees at the basal region.The larvae of the pest girdles the stem and bores downward into it.The girdled portion and borehole are covered with a mat like frass material.The infected treeswilt and succumb to the pest attack.Inspect the base of the tree regularly for the symptoms of the attack.Spray the crop with
Quinalphos around the borehole and inject the same into the borehole after removing the frass.Swabbing the basal region of the main stem with carbaryl and keep the basins of the tree free from weeds are prophylactic measures for reducing the pest infestation.
Many species of scale insects infests the clove seedlings in the nursery and sometimes young plants in the fields.The scale are generally seen clustered together on the tender stems and lower surface of leaves.Scale insect feed on the plant sap and cause yellow spots on leaves and wilting of shoots and the plants present a sickly appearance.Spray of imidacloprid or triazophos can prevent this infestation.
Harvesting and Processing
Clover tree starts flowering from the fourth year of its planting in fertile soils and good management conditions.But the full bearing stage is reached by about the 15th year only.The flowering season varies from September-October in the plains to December-January at high altitudes.The unopened buds are harvested when they are plump and rounded and before they turn pink.At this stage ,they are less than 2 cm long.The opened flowers are not valued as spice.Harvesting should be done without damaging the branches,as it adversly affects the subsequent growth of the tree.
The harvested flower buds are separated from the clusters by hand and spread in the drying yard for drying.the correct stage of drying is reached when the stem of the bud is dark brown and rest of the bud is light brown in colour.Well dried cloves weigh about one third the weigh of the fresh cloves.About 11000 to 15000 dried cloves weigh 1 kg .