Tree is a woody plant
with a spreading crown, whose single trunk exceeds diameter of 15cm and attains a certain
height. To exclude shrubs, minimum height a height of more than 4 meters and up to 7
metres may be called a small tree. All trees are capable of producing seeds under
favourable environmental condition and grow vigorously for many years. A tree may show the
height and shape of a shrub in a climatic condition different from the natural habitat and
temperature, light, humidity and moisture and nutritional status of the soil are found to
play important role on growth and flowering of plants. By manipulating the environment,
delicate plants can be successfully grown if one knows the requirements of those plants.
Trees are very fascinating because of their graceful appearance and the abundance of
bloom. They are grown for their economic importance or aesthetic value or both. Fruit
trees are planted for fruits and forest plantation for other economic products like
timber, fuel, tannins, oils, gums, resins, waxes, spices, beverages, narcotics and drugs.
The cultivation of trees for their aesthetic or recreational value is known as
arboricultural. Here the individual tree is important in contrast to the wood as a crop as
in forestry. They also exercise beneficial influences on climate and rainfall, regulate
the water flow and prevent soil erosion. A large number of trees in our country are
resplendent in riotous colours at the flowering time and are capable of transforming the
landscape. The trees are the most permanent elements in landscape and a thorough knowledge
of their ornamental properties, rate and mode of growth, their behaviour in different
soil, situation and climate are essential. They should be planted carefully and
thoughtfully for the benefit of height, shade colour and vertical emphasis.
We have got large
number of indigenous and exotic flowering trees, which can be successfully utilized to
beautify our cities, towns and villages. Along with the road plan, a plantation plan
should be made and strictly adhered to. For the existing roads the dead and decaying trees
should be replaced systematically according to a plan. Beautifully planted avenues with
flowering trees are pretty with the colour and beauty. The trees should not be patchy due
to lack of aesthetic sense of those maintaining the roads. The value of trees as both
labour saving and attractive to the residents of any private garden has become
increasingly evident. Many trees burst into bloom beautifully, while others afford a
pleasing contrast with their decorative foliage. Although we have an abundance of
flowering trees, selection of trees for private gardens which should create rhythm,
accent, as well as balance in the garden and the dwelling place is rather difficult. One
or two small flowering trees are often adequate selections and planting of trees should
deserve just as much attention as is commonly given to the colour of the building, pool
and paved path. The fruit trees should be planted to the back portion of the house where
they are not visible from the entrance. A group of Plumeria or Cassia at the boundaries
add charm and grace to the house. List of our indigenous ornamental trees will be very
long and it includes many colourful flowering trees like Butea monosperma, Bauhinia
purpurea, Cassia fistula, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Cochlospermum gossypium, Bombax
malabaricum, Millingtonia hortensis, Dillenia indica and Saraca indica. Trees with
ornamental foliage indigenous to India include Polyalthia longifolia, Putranjiva
roxburghii, Melia azadirach, Mimusops elegi and Azadirachta indica.
The best time for
planting trees is during the rainy season (June-September). In northern India planting can
be done in January-February before the new growth starts and 1-2 years old saplings have
better chance of survival and early flowering. Large pits (1 meter in depth and diameter)
should be prepared 2-3 months before planting. The soil is mixed with adequate amount of
organic manure and bone meal and allowed to settle by exposing to rains or watering the
pits. The tree saplings should have straight stem and undisturbed main shoot. Before
planting the ball of earth round the roots is cracked without damaging the roots and
planted with root collar just below the ground level. During planting all dead and broken
branches and roots are to be cut and removed. The soil around the plant should be firmly
consolidated after planting, watered thoroughly and also staked. In the open and in public
places tree seedlings are to be protected in gabions till they grow fairly large. Distance
of planting trees usually varies from 5-14 metres depending on the size of the plant. For
better growth of the plant, the pits should be weeded and hoed to keep the soil loose and
free from weeds. Most of the tropical trees have short dormancy period and monsoon is the
season for maximum growth. In order to maintain the shape of the tree it is often
necessary to remove the old branches. Crossed branches in the centre of the crown should
also be cut off. On the stem or large branches holes are made by insect, rats, squirrel
and birds or cracking of wood. The exposed surface of the hole is thoroughly cleaned by
removing dead, and rotten wood, coasted with coated or fungicides and filled with cement.
Bauhinia purpurea (Mountain ebony, Geranium tree)
A nearly evergreen
tree attaining a height 10-12m growing sparingly throughout India. Flowers large about 6cm
across, in various tones of rose, purple, in few flowered clusters at the ends of the
branches. It is a very hardy tree, flowers profusely from October to March, when leaves
fall off but not completely.
An evergreen tree of
medium sizes growing up to a height of 10m and produces clusters of light mauve flowers.
It is a quick growing tree in warm humid climate. The plant remains in bloom almost
throughout the year but larger number of flowers develops from March to May.
Callistemon lanceolatus (Bottle Brush)
The plant is also
known as "Bottle Brush" because the flower-bearing portions of the branches
resemble bottle brushes in shape. Flowers in densely crowded cylindrical spikes 5 to 10cm
long, with long scarlet stamens projecting stiffy outwards. The flowering may be observed
more or less throughout the year, especially from February to November.
The trees have
pendulous branches, often grown on roadside and in gardens.
Azadirachta indica (Indian liac, Margosa tree)
A medium sized almost
evergreen tree usually maintaining a height between 10-15m. The tree is very popular in
India because of its high medicinal properties. The dark evergreen foliage gives a very
showy appearance and it is also grown as an ornamental tree.
Erythrina indica (Coral tree)
It is a tall deciduous
tree reaching a height up to 18m; bark is smooth, yellowish or greenish grey. Flowers
large, red 5 cm long, pea shaped in dense recemes 16-20cm long that appear in
February-May. The tree is commonly planted in villages and along roadsides as shade trees
and is used to make close hedges because it grows readily from massive cuttings and the
prickles ward off intruders.
Delonix regia (Gulmohar, Flame tree, Peacock flower)
It is a large
deciduous tree, native of Madagascar and reaching a height of 12-20 m with spreading
branches, umbrella shaped crown and greyish bark. Flowers 5cm wide, scarlet in colour with
a mild scent, borne on long stalks in short axillary recemes forming panicles on the new
shoots; other portion or branches are bare of leaves. It is one of the most beautiful and
common flowering trees grown in India and very suitable for parks, roadside and also large
Ficus religiosa (Peepal)
A huge tree with
greyish bark. Leaves smooth shining, broadly ovate, apex long and narrow, 10-18cm long.
The tree is indigenous in Bengal and Burma and is cultivated all over India. Handsome
dense foliage on the spreading branches gives a cool and pleasant shade under the tree.
Ficus bengalensis (Banyan)
A large evergreen
tree, may attain a height of 30m, branches spreading, almost horizontal. The tree is
indigenous near the foot of the Himalayas and Western India and is commonly planted all
over the country.