The Mace Tree

Heard a lot about Mace essential oil…its numerous benefits…highly impressive…one of those things that if you have one…you are sorted for an amazingly long time…

All good and all nice…Mace essential oil…But what if one can keep the whole source of this tree with oneself?

Didn’t get it? What I mean to say is…Grow a Mace tree in your backyard…not too bad an idea…what say?

Hmm…Let me help you with that…I’ll brief you from the scratch as to what all are you supposed to do…to grow this magic tree in your backyard…

Started from its origination…The nutmeg tree or call it the Mace tree…scientif name being Myristica fragrans…is native to Moluccas in East Indonesia…famously called the Spice Islands…The first commercial or I should say the official commercial plantations were in Granada…This Tree yields two spices…nutmeg which is the kernel of the seed…and mace which is the net like crimson colored leathery outer growth (called aril) covering the shell of the seed…Nutmeg and mace are the fruits of a spreading evergreen tree that grows to a height of 20m….Mainly it is produced in these countries-

  • Indonesia
  • Grenada
  • Sri Lanka
  • Trinidad
  • China
  • India

Okay…what all is needed to grow the tree is…

This tree requires a deep…well-drained loamy sandy soil…Shade is required for the first two to three years….Temperature between 20-30°C and the annual rainfall between 1500-2500mm is enough for its lush growth…

It’s an unfortunate thing but half the trees are male and hence they do not produce any kind of fruit…And to add on to the helplessness…the sex of the plants cannot be identified until they are six to eight years old…But relax…that is like the only sad part to it…

When it’s comes to propagation…Then Propagation should be from mother trees selected for their regular bearing…high yields…large nuts and heavy mace…And as a matter of fact…Mace is also an excellent spice…When talking of the quantitative criteria for selection…it is as below…

  1. Large number of fruits per tree ….over 10 000 per year
  2. Wet weight of fruits ….over 30g per fruit
  3. Wet weight of mace….over 1g per fruit
  4. Wet weight of nuts….over 10g per nut

To ensure the best quality of the tree…The soil should consist of a mixture of measures of-

  • Well-composted manure…
  • Topsoil…
  • Coarse sand…

For enhancements…One per cent rock phosphate can be added to the mixture…The seeds should be lightly buried so that part of the shell is exposed…they should be watered and left in the shade to germinate…Germination takes between four and eight weeks…The seedlings should remain in the shade for six to eight months…

Then for your further information…Before field plantin…temporary shade from either of the following has to be established…

  • Gliricidia…
  • Dadap…
  • Cocoa
  • Banana

And remember this shading and all should strictly be done six to twelve months before planting…And also note that the seedlings are planted at the beginning of the rainy season…There should be bench terracing at the base of the seedling…particularly on sloping land…of approximately half a meter in diameter…Inward sloping terracing will help to keep soil erosion to a minimum…The terracing can be increased as the tree grows…

Then coming to the part of parasites…The top one being…Weeds…Weds should be kept in check by occasional slashing and the cut material can be applied to the base of the trees in the form of mulch…Additional fertilizer is not generally applied…

Shading can be gradually removed after two to three years…Seedlings can be planted close together so that later on when the male trees have been identified…after the first flowering of course…most of them can be removed…as they do not bear fruit. Some male trees must remain for pollination; a ratio of 1:10 is common…

As we go further…again it is important for you to note that pruning will help to maintain flower…fruit and seed production…Water shoots…upright branches…dead wood…and some lower branches can be removed….

As such there’s nothing much to worry except for this disease called Nutmeg Wilt…occurrence of which will make the plant wilt and drop leaves and fruit…Sadly there is no definitive treatment…Fruit rot has been recorded in India and a  thread blight in Grenada and Trinidad…This can be a case that the soil fungi attack nutmeg trees…The main pests are borers…or bark beetles…which are small dark brown weevils about 3mm long…

Hmm…I think that is enough information for you to go a full-fledged tree in your backyard…For more info…consult our reference links…

  1. Mace by helpwithcooking.com
  2. Mace Family by bpb
  3. Nutmeg by science.jrank.org

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