Botanical Name: Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt
Family : Gramineae
Humid climate with warm temperature with well distributed rainfall favours growth of Citronella.
Wide range of soil conditions is suitable for cultivation of Citronella. Soils rich in humus having good water holding capacity and good drainage should be preferred. Alkaline water logged soils are detrimental for crop growth.
Vegetatively propagated with clumss, usually an acre of Java Citronella can provide enough material for 10 acres of land. Citronella plantation lasts for 5 years and it is necessary to maintain fertility of soil.
Onset of monsoon or at the middle of rainy season i.e. June - July
The seedlings or saplings or slips can be transplanted on ridges and furrows. The planting distance of 60 x 90 sq. cm can be adopted. This will accommodate 18,000 plants/ha.
Improved Varieties: Bio 13, Manjusha, Mandakini.
Weeding: Weeding is necessary for the first 23 months till the planting material get established.
Usually 8-10 tons of compost mixed with 40 kg P205 and 40 kg K20 per hectare before plantation. After plantation 80-1.00 kg N/ha per year should be applied in 4 splits.
For healthy crop growth it should be irrigated frequently. This crop uses large amount of water. Irrigation interval of 15 days in winter and 10 days in summer is required for good yield.
Pests and Diseases:
Generally leaf blight and Arithracnose affect Citronella. DithaneM-45 or Z-78: sprays control leaf blight However, amthracnose can be controlled by application of Dithiocarbamate.
Three cuttings may be obtained in the first year commencing 6 months after planting. Leaf blades contain more oil than sheath and hence harvesting is done 15-20 cm above the ground level. Optimum oil yield is obtained when the sixth leaf is well developed. After 1 year the harvesting is needed at 2.5 months interval.
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