Kratom Season , When is it ?

Posted on May 31, 2011 by

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kratom trees during dry season

A couple of time per week I receive a question about the kratom season. Its always a pleasure to know that customer care about the quality of a product, but honestly there is not really an easy answer. Most trees in tropical areas, including the kratom tree, are green all year around, so the leaves can be harvested at any time. Real kratom connoisseurs will however argue that the leaves are significatly more potent in certain months of the year, but is this really true?

To answer this we first need to look at the kratom tree troughout the year.

The seasons itself.
Although the areas where kratom is growing are sligthly different, they have some distinctive periods in the year, the rainy and the dry season, which are linked with the monsoons. Generally speaking, there is a dry season around June to September, influenced by the Australian continental air masses, and a rainy season, December to March.

This oscillating seasonal pattern of wind and rain is related to Indonesia’s geographical location as an archipelago between two large continents. The rainy season will bring significantly less sun hours, due to the cloudy sky. For example in “winter” you would have like 6-7 full sun hours, while in “summer” there are up to 9.5 hours or more of full sun.

The months in which the rainy season starts is slightly different per aera, Sumatra has an earlier rainy season compared to Borneo for example, and local winds can cause the conditions to be slightly different at each location as well.

So what does the tree do?
The tree will produce most of its leaves when growing conditions are good, so in the months that the tree has sufficient acces to light, water and food, it will “invest” its energy in the production of green leaves. At other times, especially when one of the needed ingredients for growth is missing, like in a dry season, the tree will “switch” his energy to another cycle, that of its defence.

This is sometimes called a trees secondary metabolism. Rather then making new leaves, the tree will focus on protecting its main assets, the leaves in this case. Alklaoids are created in bigger amounts to ensure that the precious leaves are not attacked by insects and other herbivors.

As a result, the potency of the leaves (amount of alkaloids) will be significantly higher in the times when the tree is suffering a bit, either by drought, lack of sun or since one of the other conditions for growth is not met. For those with their own kratom trees or plants, this can be simply tested by covering the soil for a month or so, the potency of the leaves, especially with young trees will increase.  In some years, like in the long dry period of the el nino year 2008,  the dry period lasted much longer and drought was severe in most areas, resulting in an overall better potency of the leaves.  But this was an exceptional time.

So the the dry season is the best season for kratom?
That would indeed be the right conclusion, but things are again not so simple;

First there is a significant difference between the aged and the young trees. Young trees seem to be much more under influence from the seasons compared to the older trees. SO when harvesting an old tree you will not see much difference in potency.

Secondly, the dry and wet season are being influenced due to climate change and deforestation of the area. While you had some distinctive dry periods in the past, the last few decenia there have been relatively wet periods in the dry season and dry periods in the wet season, so the overall influence is becomming less significant troughout the year.

Third, other factors in the way kratom is harvested, how it is harvested and processed seem to be of much greater influence on the potency of the leaves, compared to the differences of the season itself. It is therefor possible that certain producers, like Bikhuk for example, are able to produce a potent and stable powder troughout the whole year.

So in conclusion we have to state that seasonal influences are a bit overrated, but they can play a role from time to time.

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