OLD RLAK CHE – Plant Transplantation Programme 2015
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.” Narrated by Anas bin Malik (R.A.) 
In yet another Hadith, the Holy Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: “If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.” Narrated by Anas bin Malik (R.A) 
Following the advice of the Holy Prophet ﷺ , and with a desire to make its due contribution to reducing environmental degradation and making College surroundings clean and green, RLAK CHE planned to initiate Plant Transplantation Programme in September 2015.
For a successful transplant, the college consulted some professional experts to take advice on selecting an appropriate, economical and advantageous plant species. After examining environmental factors and soil profile the experts recommended Date Palms due to following transplant-friendly characteristics of the plant:
- Have compact, fibrous root system, which can be lifted out like a large ball, reducing risk of transplant shock, i.e. the possible stress or damage sometimes received in the process
- Withstand temperature variations to several degrees
- Manage rapid survival rate after relocation owing to their fairly fast recovering ability, etc.
As for the long-term advantages, Date Palms yield a large crop of fruit in harvest season. However, the Date Palms were preferred not only for the food value of the dates themselves, but also for the partial shade of the palms which would reduce sun’s glare, thereupon, shield the building from heat wave particularly during warm summers. Additionally, the leafy fronds would diffuse natural light and keep the rooms evenly bright.
Further, the experts endorsed importing Date Palms native to Balochistan, which have been believed to be adaptive and compatible with the climate of Karachi. Accordingly, the specimens were brought from Balochistan. The project was launched in mild summer season, the optimum time for Palm transplantation in subtropical regions of Southern Pakistan.
As per the plan, the college transplanted ten fully mature palms to cover the area in front of Arts and Interior Design Department in order to create a lasting artistic impression of the building.
Palm Transplanting Procedure Comprised Two Phases:
1. Digging out and transporting: this included
- removing most of the leaves to reduce water stress
- digging the soil around roots
- tying up the fronds together to prevent leaf damage
- lifting the palm using crane
- keeping the palms damp and moist during transportation
2. Replanting: which consisted
- digging a hole twice the diameter for the root ball
- preparing soil
- saturating the soil with water before planting
- centering the palm in the hole,
- backfilling the soil avoiding any air pockets
- waiting for the palms to get acclimatized
- untying the fronds
The whole process and manual labour required for it made the project a financial challenge.
However, RLAK CHE was fortunate in meeting this challenge through voluntary cooperation of the faculty members and their acquaintances. The college acknowledges the support of Mr. Muslim Raza, consultant environmentalist, Sargam Academy, for providing free-of-cost consultancy and supervision all through the transplantation process. In addition, contribution of the planters is also appreciated who pledged to replace any palm that might fail to grow properly.
RLAK CHE hopes that careful attention of the faculty and students will help the palms survive well.
1. Ref: Muhammad Al-Bukhari – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 39 “Kitab-ul-Hars Wa Mazaar’a (The Book of Cultivation and Agriculture)”, Chapter 1 “The Superiority of Sowing Seeds and Planting Trees”, Hadith 513 – Into English by Dr. Muhammad Mohsin Khan, Book: Translation of the Meanings of Summarized Sahih Al- Bukhari, Pub. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, H-1071.
2. Ref: Muhammad Al-Bukhari, Book “Al-Adab AL-Mufrad (The Book of Matters of Respect and Propriety)”, Chapter 26 “Attending to this world”, Topic 222 “Putting Property in Order”, Hadith 479 – Translated into English by Mawlana Muhammad Khalid, Book: “Manners in Islam” Pub. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam.