ECHOcommunity Conversations

Moringa Seed Production

Does anyone have experience increasing seed production on moringa… i.e spacing, pruning, soil improvement with cover crops?

If you want quick seed production you can graft adult scionwood on to seedlings but that is a lot of work and you have to evaluate the reason for wanting more seed production and if it is worth it to graft to find another source. Olifera is very common but for other species they are often expensive and maybe it would be worth it to graft for quick seed production. Make sure your trees are healthy and well watered so they grow fast. Put organic matter in the planting hole and some charcoal fines and maybe use some human urine to balance out the large amount of organic matter you can potentially put in the planting hole. Plant in your best soil nearest your water supply and where it does not flood but where it stays moist. Use thick mulch if you have already planted the trees. Make sure they have plenty of space for each tree and prune to one central leader. Remove “offensive” limbs which are those that are more than 50% diameter of the limb it comes off. You don’t fix a tree at once by gradually remove the most offensive largest diameter limbs that are the most upright which waste energy of the tree in exploring and capturing light. So a limb more upright that is 40% of the diamter may be more offensive than a limb 50% and horizontal so you figure the offense of being upright and competing with the central leader of the tree and the offense of large diamter and competing with the growth of other branches that are not taking as much of the pipeline of nutrients. You want finer lateral branching and upright growth to maximize the canopy potential for ending up with more seed production. Water in the dry season and use water harvesting and if your dry season is long and your soil never gets flooded or supersaturated (makes wet feet) then you should consider deep planting for faster growth where you leave a hole around your tree and allow your tree access to deeper moisture in the soil profile from deeper planting.

Thanks. We don’t use seedlings, just stick the branches in the ground and they root. To review:: prune to a central leader, and remove upright limbs that may be competing for apical dominance. Encourage lateral growth and large canopy for seed production.

I grow Moringa in two environments. One is hot and arid in the dry season and flooding monsoonal rains in the wet season. In that environment it took two years from seed to get a tree producing seed and within four years was producing sacks full of seed from one tree. This is with no special care or any inputs.
The other environment is subtropical at 700m altitude. It also grows fast but dies back a bit in winter and after five years have yet tos we a flower set to seed.
Environment seems to be everything …

You mentioned monsoon flooding. Do the moringa trees survive in standing water or is the soil well drained?

So in that setting ( a remote Indigenous community) there are quite a few planted throughout the community and some are sitting in saturated soil that barely drains at all and others in well drained areas and they both do very well.