Rubber tree (hevea braziliensis)

RUBBER TREE (Hevea braziliensis) Rubber is the only popular latex crop which produces white sticky liquid used in plastic industries. Rubber products can be found in every home around the world. Rubber products like motor tires, rubber cups at homes, rubber materials can also serve as insulator in electrical wiring not just plastics. Rubber belongs to the plant family euphorbiaceae.
Land preparation for the cultivation of Rubber

Before Rubber tree in planted, the land is cleared, stumping is done and the land may be levelled or it can also be done by ploughing and harrowing. Rubber tree planting does not require ridging unless where nursery system is used.

Varieties/Cultivars of Rubber tree


 PB86, Dough garden, BD5, Harbel 1, PB5/5 1.
Climatic and Soil Requirements for Rubber cultivation
Rubber tree requires a temperature of 24°C to 29°C, rainfall of 180cm – 300cm per annum, bright sunshine and a deep loamy soil which is rich in humus and slightly acidic. Rubber trees strive better In rain forest zones of the world. When tapping rubber in other to extract its latex, it should not be done under rainy condition.

Method of propagation of Rubber tree

When planting Rubber tree, seeds and budded seedlings (vegetative propagation) should be used.
Let me be frank here, the best method to plant or propagate Rubber tree is by using Rubber seeds. The methods of rubber budding, rubber cutting is not always successful

Planting dates for Rubber tree

Pre-nursery: August – October: Nursery: nine months later when propagating Rubber trees.
Budding: February – April.

Cultural Practices for rubber planting
(1) Weeding: weeding of Rubber farms should be done regularly.
(ii) Mulching of Rubber crop: This should also be done, especially at the early stage of transplanting.
(iii) Pruning of rubber plant: This ensures better aeration and good cultural operations within the farm.
(iv) Planting of cover crops: This prevents erosion, evaporation and adds nutrients to the soil. Yeah the planting of cover helps to prevent erosion in rubber plantation

Rubber tree
cultivation of Rubber tree

Maturity period for rubber tapping

It takes three to six years after planting of the rubber tree to start tapping it.
Harvesting of Rubber tree: The process of harvesting rubber i.e. collection of the latex is called tapping. Diagonal cut is made 60cm above the ground on the bark of the rubber tree with a tapping knife. The rubber latex is collected with a cup below. Tapping of rubber is done early in the morning between seven to a.m. and for every two to three days or can be done four times a week. The rubber latex from all the cups are collected together from all the rubber trees in the evening.

Tools and materials required for tapping rubber
They are tapping knife, spout, collecting cup, cup hanger, collecting buckets, churns, collecting tanks, anti-coagulants, e.g., sodium Sulphate or ammonia.
Processing of Rubber latex
The Rubber tree  latex is collected in processing tank. A little water is added to dilute it. Formic or acetic acid is added to effect the coagulation of the latex. Then the coagulated latex is cut into pieces; washed and put into rolling machine to get thin rubber sheets. The rubber sheets are then washed and treated with paranitrophenol solution to prevent mould. Growth. The rubber sheets are dried in a smoke house for further drying so the ribbed smoke sheet (R.S.S) rubber is produced. Talcum powder is applied t prevent the rubber sheets from sticking together and for proper storage.
The rubber sheets produced are. either purchased and sent to the port for export, or to the factories (e.g. tyre, plastic industries) where further processing into foams, shoes, pillows, buckets, mattresses, spoons, carpets, cups, plates, etc. are carried out.

Pests of Rubber and control method

  1. Mealy bugs: these insects are vectors of diseases.
    Control: spray with insecticides
Diseases of rubber and control method

(1) tapping panel disease:
(2) It is caused by a fungus. It attacks the tapping panel, especially during humid weather condition.
Control: Disinfect tapping knife

  1. White and red rot diseases:
    They are cause by fungi. Affected trees produce yellow leaves which rapidly drop and the whole plant may die.
    Control: (i) weed regularly (ii) diseased trees should be felled and destroyed (iii) Spray the trees with copper fungicides