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  Nursery Management

Nursery Site > Preperation of Beds > Seeds and Sowing > Manures and Fertilisers > After Care > Top Dressing > Transplanting > Method of Transplanting >

Ikisan - Raising of Nursery and Production of Tobacco Seedlings

Raising Of Nursery And Production Of Seedlings

Selectionof Nursery Site

  • It is desirable that the nursery site is changed every year as it will minimise the incidence of diseases, pests, weeds and eliminate contamination of varieties.
  • The old sites can be sterilized by rabbing. This will kill the soil-borne diseases, nematodes, pests and also the weed seeds.
  • Deep ploughing of the nursery sites twice during summer months (April-May) is recommended as it will expose and desiccate the eggs and larvae of the nematodes.
  • The soils of nursery area should be loamy or sandy. To raise the nursery on heavy soils, they should be made porous by mixing about 200 cart oads (100 tonnes) of sand per hectare in the top layers.


Ikisan - Preparing Nursery Beds for Tobacco

Preparing Nursery Beds

  • The seeds are sown on raised beds (10-15 cm high beds having slopes on all the four sides)
  • Or flat bed of any convenient length and 120 cm width with channels of 45 cm width between the beds.
  • The seeds are very small, therefore, they need very fine tilth. The beds must be free from stubbles, weeds and soil-borne diseases for which the nursery beds must be sterilized before sowing the seeds.

Sterilization of nursery beds

  • Sterilization takes care of weed, seeds, soil-borne diseases and eggs or young ones of insect-pests thus, it protects the young growing tender seedlings.


  • The sterilization of beds may be done in the following two ways:

By rabbing

  • Rabbing is the process of burning of trashes, weeds or any organic refuse on the soil surface.
  • For rabbing 15-20 cm thick layer of leaves, weeds or paddy straw is uniformly spread over the soil surface and then it is burnt.
  • The rabbing burns established weeds, stubble's, weeds-seeds and kills the insect-pests found on the surface-soil besides improving physical properties of the soil.

Sterilization by chemical treatment

  • This treatment is done by applying fungicides and herbicides on the soil surface. The treatment is done after application of organic manure in soil.
  • Formalin solution of 2.0 per cent concentration in water or Formaldehyde takes care of damping off.
  • Sometimes Bordeaux mixture, Chloropicrin, Dichloropropane, Methyle Bromide and Calcium Cyanamid are also be used as fumigants and or herbicides (Calcium Cyanamid is used as herbicide).


  • The beds should be about 1.22 meters wide (to get 1.0 m wide bed after tapering) and of convenient length but not more than 10 meters.
  • There should be 0.5 meter wide channel between the beds.
  • The beds should be 15cm higher than the side channel.


Ikisan - Tobacco Seeds and Sowing

Seeds And Sowing

This includes following operations

Seed selection and seed treatment

  • The seed should be of high purity and germination for economic and healthy seedling production.
  • To sort out shriveled seeds or those, which are not properly developed, one should pour the seed in a bucket containing water and the floating ones should be taken out.
  • Sometimes to protect the seedlings from seed borne diseases the seed is treated with 2.5 per cent Formaline solution or 0.25 per cent solution of Dithane Z- 78 or Dithane M-45 before sowing them in nursery.
  • Pre-sowing seed soaking in 50 ppm solution of Gibberellic acid for 48 hours increases and hastens the seed-germination.

Seed rate

  • A seed rate of 3.5 kg/ha is found to be optimum for all types of tobacco.
  • Under hot weather conditions a high seed rate of 4 to 5 kg is recommended.
  • Higher seed rate results in over-crowding of seedlings, which in turn lowers their quality and induces diseases like "damping off".

Sowing time of seed in nursery

  • The sowing time of seed in nursery varies from area and tobacco type to type as mentioned below

Method of sowing the seed in the nursery

Sowing time


Type of tobacco

Aug-Sept} July-October

Andhra Pradesh

Cigarette, Cheroot Bidi, (Nipani Area);Chewing and Cigar types







Tamil Nadu

Snuff, Cheroot, Chewing, Wrapper












Hookah and Chewing

  • Grow only tested and approved varieties.Usually the treated or water soaked seeds are sown broadcast on the surface of the beds and later they are mixed in the soil upto a depth of 1.5 to 2.0 cm with the help of a rake and compacted.
  • Before sowing the seeds are mixed with ash or fine sand in 1 : 15 or 1 : 20 ratio for their proper or uniform distribution on the beds.
  • Sometimes the seeds are also sown in shallow furrows of 2.0 cm depth prepared at 5.0 cm distance from each other.
  • Later the seeds are covered with sand and leaf moulds mixture and are pressed/ compacted.


Ikisan - Application of Manures and Fertilizers in Tobacco Nursery

Application Of Manures And Fertilizers

  • For steady and uniform growth of seedlings in the nursery beds it is essential to apply organic manures in the soil.
  • Addition of organic manures improves physico-chemical properties of the soil besides to check the cracking of the soil surface.
  • For this purpose addition of six to eight tonnes of well rotten F.Y.M., compost, leaf-mould or 3 to 5 quintals of well powdered neem cake or mustard cake to the soil is recommended which will supply 25 to 50 kg N.
  • Application of farm yard manure or filter press cake at 50 cart loads (25 tonnes) per hectare i.e. 25 Kg per 10 sq. m. bed and mixing well in the top layers of the bed atleast 20 days before sowing was found to be highly beneficial in obtaining more number of seedlings.
  • Basal application of 50 gm of ammonium sulphate, 100 gm of potassium sulphate, 300 gm of superphosphate and 100 gm of dolomite per 10 sq m. bed.
  • Application of 40 gm of 4% Endosulfan dust per bed or drenching with chlorpyrifos 20% EC @ 2 ml/1 litre of water one day before sowing per 10 sq. m, bed is needed.


Ikisan - After Care of the Tobacco Seedlings in the Nursery

After Care Of The Seedlings In The Nursery

For raising healthy seedlings following points should be taken into account:

  • To minimise damage to the young seedlings from scorching sun or from beating rains it is necessary to shade the nursery by a thatch prepared out of grass or sugarcane leaves. The shading also minimises water loss from the beds, besides, the bed surface does not crack or become hard.
  • In order to keep the beds moist they should be irrigated initially by watering can every evening but there should be no water accumulation at any spot of the bed. Later the beds are flooded with controlled flow of water.
  • The seedlings must be thinned out 10 to 15 days after sowing in order to protect them from damping-off.
  • Resetting of 3 to 4 week old seedlings at a distance of 5 x 5 cm in new beds may be done for hardening of the seedlings.
  • Weeds must be taken out of the beds soon after their emergence.
  • The thatch should be removed soon after the seeds have emerged and seedlings have two leaves.
  • The surface of the beds must be broken and the soil be pulverized with a pointed bamboo peg at the stage when second pair of leaves develops in the plant.
  • This helps in a better root development apart from gathering little soil around the growing plants, which are displaced by rainwater.
  • A spraying of Bordeaux mixture or Dithane Z- 78 at the rate of 11 to 12 litres of 0.03 per cent solution for every 40 sq. m. area prevents spread of fungal diseases.
  • For control of pests a spraying of Carbaryl 50 w.p. (Sevin 50 g in 22 litres of water) is useful.
  • Transplanting age of seedlings is 7 to 9 weeks for tabaccum and 5 to 6 weeks for rustica.
  • Transplanting of smaller or younger seedlings causes a higher percentage of gaps while aged or woody seedlings result in a poor growth of plants and thus both the types have a tendency to lower the yield of cured leaves.
  • Irrigation of the beds should be stopped about 10 to 15 days before transplanting so that they may become hard and drought resistant and may resist the shock of displacement due to transplanting in main field.
  • However in the evening of the preceding day of pulling the seedlings, the beds must be watered copiously to facilitate the pulling of the seedlings without injury to the root system.


Ikisan - Top Dressing of Tobacco Nursery

Top Dressing

  • After germination of seed, apply ammonium sulphate twice at 4 days interval @ 25 gm per 10 sq. m bed and thereafter thrice at 4 days interval @ 50 gm/bed.
  • Subsequent fertilizer applications are to be given as per the growth of the seedlings.
  • After application of fertilizer, the beds are to be copiously watered to wash off the fertilizer from the levels.
  • Over growth of the seedlings can be checked to some extent by clipping off some leaves. Three to four days before pulling, the watering are to be cut-down to harden the seedlings.
  • After each pulling, top dressing with ammonium sulphate at 100 gm per 10 meters bed is to be given to boost the growth of the remaining seedlings.


Ikisan - Transplanting Tobacco Seedlings

Transplanting of Seedlings

  • When the seedlings attain their required age, i.e., 7 to 9 weeks in case of tabacum and 5 to 6 weeks in case of rustica, they become fit for transplanting.

  • The nursery beds should be given light irrigation about 7 to 8 hours before uprooting the seedlings from the beds. So that the roots are not damaged during their uprooting process.
  • Healthy seedlings with intact roots are selected for transplanting and they should be transplanted soon after they are uprooted.
  • Transplanting is done in rows, which are made by help of a rope in the finally prepared field should be given a light irrigatin for quick establishment of seedlings.
  • The field should be watered every after 3-4 days so that the seedlings do not desiccate in the sun.
  • The gaps due to death of seedlings or because of their non-establishment should be filled 8-10 days after transplanting by planting freshly uprooted ones.
  • The time of transplanting varies from variety to variety and place to place.


Ikisan - Methods of Transplanting Tobacco Seedlings

Methods Of Transplanting

i. General method

  • After seedlings are uprooted from the nursery beds they become ready for transplanting.
  • While planting, a shallow hole of 2.5 cm depth is made with finger at each intersecting point of lines drawn by a marker with desired spacing both ways after soil surface is completely levelled.
  • One seedling is wanted at each place and the soil is pressed all-round the seedling to provide a firm foot-hold for the plant. Gaps are filled within 10 days of planting.

ii. Furrow or salia method

  • This is resorted to when the weather dry during the normal season for transplanting.
  • In this method the markings in the prepared field are made in only one direction at first and shallow furrows called "Salia" are opened at desired spacing with country plough.
  • A wooden plough is then lightly moved over the furrows and the cross marking are made with teh marker.
  • Before planting, water is let in the furrow and a seedling is set out at every crossing along the side of the furrows.

iii. Flat ridge or Ghora method

  • In parts of Baroda district where tobacco is transplanted in heavier soils, this methods is adopted.
  • In this methods furrows are made with three tined seed-drill or a wooden plough followed by planking. Cross marking is then carried out with a marker.
  • The furrows are then irrigated and the seedlings are transplanted on alternate ridges on each crossing.


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