Volunteers plant thousands of vetivers in Lalbagh

Volunteers plant thousands of vetiver saplings in Lalbagh

The grass variety, usually grown in abundance in the Malnad region, has aromatic oil content in the roots

The vetiver saplings were planted to conserve water and soil. Credit: DH Photo/SK Dinesh

The Lalbagh Botanical Gardens on Friday witnessed a unique plantation programme with several volunteers planting 'vetiver' saplings, a perennial grass species, around the water bodies.

As many as 5,000 vetiver saplings were planted around a pond near the Rose Garden inside the Lalbagh by the Horticulture department officials in association with the Soil and Soul Foundation.

Unlike the regular planting programmes where tree saplings are planted to increase the green cover, the vetiver saplings were planted to conserve water and soil. "The objective behind planting vetiver is to conserve water and soil. The grass is soil binding plant and avoids soil erosion to a maximum extent," explained Jagadeesh M, Joint Director, Horticulture Department.

The grass variety, usually grown in abundance in the Malnad region, has aromatic oil content in the roots. The oil is extracted and widely used in the cosmetics and perfumery industry across the world. The byproducts are also used in the manufacturing of slippers, caps, disinfectants and other products.

G Kusuma, Deputy Director, Horticulture Department said that the saplings planted at Lalbagh were strictly not for commercial purposes. "As the roots go up to 1.5 metres deep, it increases the water retention capacity and also purifies the water," she explained. The Soil and Soul Foundation, founded by Preeti Rao had sourced the saplings from private nursery firms near Devanahalli. "We have conducted this plantation drive at 7 lakes in the city," Rao said.

In addition to the planting, the organisation also provided bio enzymes to be mixed in the pond which would bring the underlying algae to the surface and dissolve it. "This process will also contribute to the purification of water", department officials revealed.

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