Coconut

bulet.jpg (4991 bytes) Introduction
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Requirement
Climate
Soil
bulet.jpg (4991 bytes) Varieties
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Propagation
Season and Planting
Interculturing
care of Young Plants
Special Horticulture Practices
Fertilizers
Irrigation

Plant Protection

Harvesting and Yield
Post Harvest handling and sale

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

The coconut (cocos nucifera L.) is a tropical fruit plant grown on a large scale in a number of countries in tropical and sub-tropical areas. In India, coconut palms are grown on the entire coastal belt. Major share goes to Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu followed by Goa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. Every part of the coconut palm is useful to mankind. It supplies food, fuel, drink, oil and shelter to us. The wet kernel, desicated copra, coconut water, cream flour, oil, cake, toddy, husk, fibre, shell, coir, wood and leaves are used for one purpose or the other.

Requirement

  • Climate

The coconut palm grows well in a equatorial climate. It thrives well upto 1000 m above the sea level. The well distributed rainfall ranging from 100 to 300 cm is favourable. The long spells of hot and dry weather, severe winters and extremes of temperatures are not favourable for coconut growing.

  • Soil

The coconut palm can grow in a wide range of soil conditions ranging from laterite, alluvial, red, sandy loam having pH range from 5.5 to 8.0. Soil should be fertile and good drainage without any hard substratum within one of the surface.

Varieties

There are number of varieties grown in different parts, which are classified as under:-

Tall varieties: West Coast Tall,Lakshadweep,Andaman,Kappadam,Laguna,San Raman

Dwarf varieties: Chowghat Dwarf green,Dwarf orange,Malayon, Dwarf Mangipod

Hybrid varieties: T X D, D X T

Selections: Pratap, Banoli, etc.

Propagation
The coconut palm is commonly propagated by seeds. The mother palms should be regular bearers giving annual yield of more than 100 nuts with the copra content of 150 g per nut. The mother palm should be within the age group of 20 to 40 years. These palms producing barren nuts and shedding immature nuts in large number should be discarded for the nursery purpose.
Season and Planting

The planting should be done on onset of monsoon for which the pits of 0.75 x 0.75 x 0.75m should be opened and filled with a mixture of compost, bone meal, super phosphate, well before the monsoon. Well developed and well grown seedlings about 1 to 2 years old should be selected for planting. The planting distance depends on the type of plant or variety, soil type and weather monoculture or associated culture or mixed culture is adopted, distance should be in such a way that the fronds (leaves) of planting adjacent palms to do not overlap when fully grown. The spacing may be 7 to 8 m both ways for tall varieties.

Interculturing

Weeding and stirring the soil around the plant should be done frequently. The interspace may be kept clean or utilised for taking other crops, seasonals or perennials.

Care of young plants

The young palms need proper care during the early stages of growth from transplanting upto 5th year. The seedlings should be protected from stray cattle. During summer months, shade and frequent watering must be provided to the young palms to avoid casualties. The care should be taken to see that the collar and leaf axils of the seedlings are not covered by mud, water or soil.

Special horticulture practices

The dwarf varieties are considered on self-pollinating while tall varieties are considered cross pollinating inter planting of mix planting be done to increase the fruit set. Honeybees are considered to be very useful for pollination and be rared in the viscinity of palm cultures.

Fertilisers       

To get a good yield, palms should be fertilized regularly and with a quick frequency, Bimonthly applications are more beneficial. Micronutrients/Ormichem @ 2 kg/palm once in a year should be applied to avoid any micro-nutrient disorders. The schedule of fertilizer application is given as below:

Plant age

FYM
(basket/
Ghamela)

Urea (gram)

Super Phosphate (gram)

Muriate of potash (gram)

Application Distance around stem (cm)

At the time of planting

1

500

600

320

30 cm

After 1 year

2

1000

1200

640

30 cm

After 2 year

3

1500

1800

960

30 cm

After 3 year

4

2000

2400

1280

30 cm

After 4 year And above

5

2225

3000

1600

30 cm and from 5th year 1.5-1.8m

Irrigation
The coconut palm requires large quantities of water for its normal growth and timely production. In normal conditions and in absence of rains every palm needs about 16-18 litre water daily. Regular irrigation helps to increase the fruit set, improve size and copra content. However, stagnation of water and ill drained conditions should be strictly avoided.

Plant protection

  • Important pests

Rhinocerous beetle, Red palm weevil, leaf eating caterpillar and cockchafer beetle are the major insect pests. Occasionally mealy bug, rat and slug also become trouble some. Bud rot and leaf rot and root wilt can cause severe damage to palms.

  • Control measure

One should be very alert to notice the symptoms of any post and take the suitable control measures. Close planting should be avoided plantation should be kept weed free and clean. The palms should be cleared off at least once in a year. Providing a good drainage and feeding the palms with balanced nutrition is useful to keep palms healthy.

Harvesting and yield
The well developed nuts should be harvested one month earlier to full maturity. Yearly, 2 to 6 harvesting can be done. Average 80 to 100 nuts are harvested per tree/year.
Post harvest handling and sale
The nuts are hardy and can be kept for a long time. Nuts harvested at less than 9 months age will be dried spoiled or without or very thin layer of copra. Copra is removed and then processed for different purposes or dried and stored and sold as dry copra.