A self-sacrificing tree

Published: Saturday 31 July 1993

KHEJRI (Prosopis cineraria) is nature's best gift to the farmers of Rajasthan and Haryana for it not only thrives in drought conditions and in poor soils, but also encourages the growth of crops planted near it if its lateral roots are pruned (Changing Villages, Vol 12, No 1).

Scientists at the Forest Research Institute in Dehra Dun found farmers who had removed the tree's lateral roots as they impeded ploughing, obtained healthier crops. And, pruning of the roots doesn't appear to adversely affect the growth of the trees themselves, they say. Besides, as legumes, the trees also fix atmospheric nitrogen and return it to the soil.

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