Viable seeds / kg (approx.): 350,000
Minimum purchase: 100 g
Casuarina is native to the tropical
coasts from Bangalore, Burma and the Andaman Islands to Indonesia, the
Philippines and Australia. In spite of not being a legume, it is able to fix
atmospheric nitrogen. It is an evergreen tree, reaching heights of 15 to 30 m
and diameters (DBH) of 20-50 cm, with thin twigs that resemble pine needles.
The species produces firewood and
coal of exceptional quality. It tolerates salinity and can grow in sand, so it
has been used to control erosion on coasts, estuaries and similar sites. It is
able to fix atmospheric nitrogen through symbiotic association with a fungus (Frankia sp.) that develops in its roots.
For this reason, it has been used for the restoration of eroded sites, and as
an ornamental along roads, where the soil is usually very impoverished. It is
also used as windbreaks and live fences. The wood is strong and heavy but it
slits easily, so it is used for posts or beams, but not as sawn wood.
Within its natural range it grows from
0 to 1000 masl, but it has been introduced to sites up to 2500 masl, with mean
annual temperatures of 10-33 °C and mean annual rainfall of 900 to 5000 mm.
It grows in a wide range of soils,
from calcareous to acidic and saline. It does not thrive in very clayey soils.
Due to its capacity to fix nitrogen, it can grow in nitrogen deficient soils.
Pre-germination treatments are not
required. Due to the small size of the seeds, germinators should be used, with a
loose, fine substrate such as river sand, well washed and disinfected, in which
the seed is placed superficially, ensuring that it is not too piled up. Germination occurs in a period of about 10
days, reaching conditions for transplanting 2 weeks after germination. The root
is usually very long, so it must be pruned to about 3 cm in length. When
transplanting, be sure to make a hole deep enough in the substrate to avoid
curving up of the roots. Shade should be provided for the first 2-3 weeks after
transplanting, for instance using shade clothing (saran) 50%. The seedlings
need the symbiotic association with a fungus (Frankia sp.) for an optimal growth. In many places, inoculation occurs
naturally, if the fungus is already on the ground. Otherwise, for example with
sterilized soil, it must be inoculated with soil collected under old casuarina
trees or using root nodules, which are ground, mixed with water and used to
water the seedlings. The plants will be ready for field planting after 4-5
months or when they have a height of 30-40 cm. A couple of weeks before planting
out in the field it is recommended to reduce watering to stimulate the
lignification of the stems.
In plantations, Casuarina
grows 0.4 to 2 m in height and 0.6 to 2 cm in diameter per year.
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