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  • Writer's pictureSean

Back To The Grind

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

The government ended interstate travel restrictions as part of the Movement Control Order on 10th June 2020 due to the COVID-19 virus which meant that I could now travel back to Tapah to resume my work on the orchard after almost 5 months of absence.

During that period, even the Orang Asli folks were isolating themselves in their villages and putting up banners at village entry points warning outsiders to stay away. This meant that my durian orchard was practically unattended at all for months.

I'm writing this blog entry after my 3rd visit to the orchard after inter-state travel ban was lifted. The orchard had turned into a jungle during my 1st visit after the travel ban to be completely honest. Undergrowth cutting and twining/climbing jungle plants were removed from the durian trees. Three durian trees had its main leader shoots snapped due to the weight of these climbing jungle plants. Those durian trees will survive nonetheless.

My Musang King trees were also hard hit by fungus due to poor air ventilation after being smothered by the jungle climbers not to mention the hot/humid conditions. These cultivars in my observations are the most susceptible to fungus attacks.

Jobs done for the 3 days I was there as follows:

  1. Additional durian saplings planting

  2. Neem cake application

  3. Vanilla vines planting

  4. Fungicide spraying

  5. Foliar fertilizer spraying

  6. Mulching

  7. Grass cutting and general upkeep

Additional durian saplings planting

A few weeks back I've bought a Musang King sapling and an MDUR88 sapling (which I never had bought nor planted before). These 2 saplings were planted with an improvised recipe in the planting hole back-fill soil. I had added a new soil amendment that I just discovered which is 'neem cake' which I will discuss in the next paragraph.

As before, other materials added to my back-fill soil mix remain as normal. Photo above shows my backfill-soil mix (from left clockwise; forest topsoil, neem cake, soyfish fertilizer, CIRP). Photo shown is not in the correct mix ratio.

Neem cake application

Neem cake is basically organic material from the neem tree (mostly the seeds) which is know to have beneficial properties such as natural pesticidal properties for hindering soil fungus growth, inhibits parasitic nematodes and enhances plant internal defense system.

This soil amendment has an approximate NPK analysis of 5-1-1 and adds to the organic matter content thus nutrient holding capacity of the soil.

Neem cake and processed manure fertilizer
Neem cake (left) with processed poultry manure fertilizer

Application is made by making a shallow trench along the radius of the outer canopy of the durian saplings, spreading it along the made trench and backfilling it with soil or mulch. Watch how I applied the neem cake to my trees here.

I only purchased a small amount of the neem cake so it wasn't enough for all my durian saplings. I will nonetheless share my observations on my next visit to the orchard for the saplings that was applied with the amendment.

Vanilla vines planting

I brought 22 vanilla vines from my home to the orchard for planting. These vines some of which have rooted and some were fresh cuttings.

The vines were planted beside either a rubber tree or a full grown durian in the orchard. Yes, I still have rubber trees in the orchard but all of them are at the border of the land.

The purpose of the vines being planted beside the trunks of the rubber or durian trees is for the vanilla vines to be trained to climb these trees. Vanilla vines are in the orchid family meaning that it is a climber and an epiphyte. Epiphytes are in general non-parasitic but feeds of its primary root system which is in the soil and from its leaf surfaces.

To ensure the vines are trained properly, I anchored each vine with wire or cable clamps by nailing it to the rubber or durian trees, otherwise it will just creep on the soil surface (see here). I will remove the clamps in a couple of months time when the vine shoots are climbing vertically upwards which confirm it knows its orientation.

Fungicide spraying

This would be my normal affair on each of my visits to the orchard. As I mentioned in my introduction, some of my Musang King trees are infected by the fungus R. solani. To combat this fungus type, I prepared a solution of Monceren fungicide mixed with a recommended dose of FARMPOL 303 which is a wetting and adhesion agent. The purpose of this wetting and adhesion agent is to ensure the sprayed fungicide does not get washed-off since its been raining on a daily basis lately.

Below photo is my prep work for the fungicide solution consist of a weighing scale, a syringe, fungicide pack, wetting agent and a measured solution of the fungicide.

As a good practice, I would rotate my fungicides with different active ingredients so as to not make the fungus build resistance to a specific fungicide.

Currently, based on the size of my durian trees, the total volume of fungicide solution required is 21L.

Foliar fertilizer spraying

Ok, not exactly 'foliar' since FastGrow liquid fertilizer is sprayed on the stem of the durian trees and not on the leaves. Recommended solution of 6ml to 2L of water was prepared and was then sprayed to all the durian trees.

As an experiment, a diluted solution of 3ml to 2L was prepared and sprayed to the planted vanilla vines as foliar fertilizer. Observations will be made during my next visit to the orchard.


Mulching with dry leaves is another periodic job. Dry leaves are sourced from my neighborhood housing area and brought back to the orchard in bags. I discussed how I prepare my mulch here.

As my durian saplings continue to grow and spread its leaves canopy, the amount of mulch consumed keeps increasing. This is because I practice mulching 1 inch from the stem outwards to the radius of the outer canopy.

Grass cutting and general upkeep

Another routine job, grass and jungle shrubs were machined. It's not the most physically draining job though. The most tiring job done was the cutting of overgrowing jungle trees and wild banana trees that grows along the slopes of mostly all of my terraces (since the slopes were not ran-over by the excavator).

Overgrowing jungle trees is the result of not cutting it back since I first cleared the land for durian sapling planting. This means the jungle trees are already 2 years old with wood barks. Machete and axe was used to chop down these trees.

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Fred Tgi'n
Fred Tgi'n
Apr 17, 2021

Out of curiosity, why would you want any creepers climbing up your trees?

Fred Tgi'n
Fred Tgi'n
Apr 19, 2021
Replying to

Thanks for the reply


Nov 15, 2020

Thanks for subscribing friend. 😊


Fred Tgi'n
Fred Tgi'n
Nov 15, 2020

Good blog bro. I wish you all the best.

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