Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Nursery is the nucleus of the Rubber Tree plantation

 Firestone employs 7,000 "teammates", as they call their employees, who harvest, process rubber and work in the nursery.  They showed us how they do grafting.  A grafter (the person doing grafting) must have a 90-95% success rate to remain a grafter.  This means that 90-95 % of the grafts they do must grow and be healthy.

Here you see a small, green piece of bark being grafted into another tree.  The reason they graft is to produce trees with particular strengths.  Each graft is of known "parentage."  A piece of bark is cut open allowing the graft to be placed on the tree.

 The graft is then wrapped to protect it.  They use grafts to produce trees that are wind resistant, high yielding, disease resistant, etc.  They need trees with different strengths depending on the environment where they will be planted.  They wait 21 days to see if the graft is successful.

Once the graft is in place, the original sapling is cut off to force all the strengths of the roots to go to the graft.  Firestone replants 3,500 acres per year with new trees.  They told us that before the recent civil war, they used to replant 1,000 acres per year.  However, due to the devastation of the war, they have been replanting 3,500 acres per year for several years.

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