Coconut Farming: Planting Distance & Cultivation Technology

Coconut Farming

Introduction

The coconut production plays an important role in the economy of the world and has acquired a place in the agriculture. Coconuts are an excellent source of energy and have great application in our life. The kernel of coconut, commonly known as copra is eaten for its energy boosting feature and the excellent medicinal value. In addition to this, the coconut oil has wide application in manufacturing cosmetic goods. It is used in the production of hair oil, various kinds of soaps, cosmetic goods, etc. Even the husk of coconut is also used widely by the sizable coir industry.

The kernel or nut of coconut is full of water, a great thirst quencher all over the world. The Virgin coconut oil (VCO) obtained from the fresh coconut kernel or nut without any kind of chemical processing is plentiful in minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants because which it is known as ‘mother of all oils”.

coconut farming

Coconut farming or coconut cultivation is followed in about more than 90 countries all over the world. These nuts are mostly cultivated by the coastal and nearby region throughout the whole world. One can easily create a good income by growing coconut with good farm management skills to obtain maximum fruit production.

Coconut | Scientific Name & Botanical Name

The scientific and botanical name of coconut is Cocos nucifera which belongs to the family “Arecaceae (Palm family)”  and to the genus “Cocos”.

Health Benefits of Coconut

There are lots of health benefits of coconut of which, few are listed below:

health benefits of coconut

  • Coconut is full of minerals, vitamins, nutrients and other fatty and nonfatty acids.
  • Coconut promotes weight loss so is good for weight management.
  • Coconut is anti-viral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasite which helps in boosting immune health.
  • It improves insulin secretion and treats symptoms of diabetes.
  • Excellent source of energy and also improve the athletic performance.
  • It removes insulin and also removes the free radicals which are beneficial in provides protection against degenerative disease.
  • It also improves the thyroid function.
  • It improves cholesterol (HDL) and also minimize the heart health
  • It is also beneficial in providing protection from bladder infection and kidney disease
  • It is also beneficial for keeping hair shiny and skin glowing and healthy
  • It also removes the wrinkles, age spots, and also provide protection sun.

That is why, there is great demand for coconut products such as coconut oil, coconut kernel or nut (copra), coconut water, etc

Composition of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains more than 90 % of saturated fats along with few unsaturated fatty acids in a little amount including monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, etc. The Virgin coconut oil (VCO) obtained from the fresh coconut kernel or nut without any kind of chemical processing is plentiful in minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.

list of components of coconut oil

Saturated fatty acids

  • Lauric acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Capric acid
  • Caprylic acid
  • Caproic acid
  • Oleic acid &
  • Myristic acid

Unsaturated fatty acids

  • Poly-phenols
  • Betaines
  • Ethoxylates
  • Ethanolamide
  • Fatty polysorbates
  • Fatty Chlorides
  • Fatty Esters
  • Fatty alcohol sulfate
  • Fatty alcohol ether sulfate
  • Iron
  • Monoglycerides
  • Polyol Esters
  • Vitamin E and
  • Vitamin K

Climate & Soil Requirements For Coconut Farming

coconut farming soil and climate require

Coconut tree | Climate Requirement

Coconut is a palm which is able to grow throughout the whole year under various climate and weather conditions. Basically, it is a tropical plant crop that is mostly grown between the 20° S to 20° N latitudes by the growers.

However, the optimum temp requirement for healthy plant growth and food production is 22° C to 32 ° C along with more than 60 relative humidity. For growing this palm plants on the elevation, they can be grown up to 600 meters above MSL. However, it is also possible to grow coconut palm up to an elevation of 1000 meters above MSL.

A well-distributed rainfall throughout the year ranging from 175 cm to 225 cm is also required for optimum plant growth and excellent food yield. Whereas growing coconut in a region with inadequate rainfall and uneven distribution rainfall, regular irrigations are required.

Coconut tree | Soil Requirement

Coconut can grow over a wide range of soil such as loamy, coastal, sandy, laterite, clayey, alluvial, including the reclaimed soils of marshy & low lands. However, they thrive their best in such soils which have good water-holding capacity along with the facility of proper drainage. The presence of water within 3 meters and absence of any hard sub. such as rock within 2 meters from the surface is also required for coconut farming.

Cultivars and Hybrids of Coconut

There are two kinds of coconut cultivar or hybrid are available in the world. These two are dwarf cultivar and tall cultivar. The economic life of dwarf coconut cultivar is shorter than the tall cultivar of coconut. Dwarf cultivars of coconut are also small in height in comparison to the tall coconut cultivar.

coconut varieties

For commercial cultivation, there are more than 10 hybrids of coconut are created which have high yielding capacity when cultivation is done under preferred climate condition, soil and with good farm management skills are practiced.

Dwarf varieties

The following are some famous dwarf coconut cultivar, which is highly praised for high yielding capacity.

  • Chowghat Dwarf Orange (Superior in yield over all others)
  • Chowghat Dwarf Green
  • Chowghat Dwarf Yellow
  • Malayan Orange Dwarf
  • Malayan Yellow Dwarf

Tall Coconut Cultivars

The following are some famous tall coconut cultivar, which is highly praised for high yielding capacity.

  • Laccadive Ordinary
  • Benaulim
  • Andaman Ordinary
  • Laccadive Micro
  • Philippines
  • Java
  • Tiptur
  • Cochin-China
  • Tall
  • Kappadam
  • Komadan

Coconut Plantation and Production

coconut planting

Selection of Suitable Site for Coconut Plantation

The selection of a proper site for coconut farming plays an important role in the fruit production. As we know that palm tree thrives their best under some preferred conditions such as there should not be any hard sub up to a depth of 2 meters and the soil should have good water holding capacity with proper drainage.

  • Ensure enough moisture supply either through irrigation or through rainfall, well distributed throughout the year before starting coconut plantation.
  • Always avoid shallow soils, underlying hard rock for planting coconut.
  • Also, avoid low lying areas and clayey soils in which water stagnation problem occurs frequently.

Planting Material

Coconut palm is mainly propagated through seedlings. The seedlings were raised from only selected seed nuts of coconut for healthy growth rate and optimum production.

how to grow coconut

Generally, planting should be done of only 10 to 12 months old raised seedlings. At this stage, seedlings have about 5 fo 8 leaves with collar girth around 10 cm. However, more leaves of seedling in less time are excellent for coconut farming to obtain good fruit and nut production.

Land Preparation for Coconut Farming

Land preparation also plays an important role in the yield or nut production. For coconut cultivation in low-lying areas, form mounds at a height of one meter above from the water level whereas for the slopes and terrains, counter terracing cultivation should be practiced.

However, the pit size for planting seedling varies according to the soil type and soil water table. For planting coconut on loamy soils having a low water table, an avg pit size of 1 meter X 1 meter X 1 meter is recommended. Whereas for laterite soils having underlying rocks, the pit size should be 1.25 meter X 1.25 meter X 1.25 meter. Also, for the sandy soils, the pit size should be not more than 0.75 meter X 0.75 meter X 0.75 meter.

Coconut Planting Distance

The spacing in coconut planting or plantation varies according to the system of coconut planting, and soil type. 

coconut planting distance

However, following is a table showing recommended spacing for the various coconut planting system.

Planting system Spacing
Triangular Planting System 7.5 meters at each of the triangle point
Square planting system 7.5 meter X 7.5 meter or 8 meter X 8 meter, or 9 meter X 9 meter.
Single Row planting system 6.5 meters for row spacing & 9 meters between plants
Double Hedge planting system 6.5 meters for row spacing & 9 meters between pair of rows

 

Time of Planting

The selected high-quality seedling of coconut should be transplanted on the field as sooner as the monsoon start while growing coconut under irrigation conditions, the plantation should be carried out at least three to four week before starting of monsoon. This will helps in the better establishment of seedling on the field before heavy rains.

However, for planting in the low-lying region, the transplantation of seedling should be carried out after the end of monsoon.

How to Grow a Coconut Tree

Fill the prepared pit with little topsoil and well rotten farmyard manure, at about 50 cm depth before planting or transplanting the seedling on the field. Then, make a small pit in this so that the plant seedling along with nut can accommodate in it. After planting into the pit, fill it with the topmost soil and press it well to avoid the water stagnation problem. Put Sevidol 8G @5gm per each pit before transplanting to minimize the chances of white-ant attack.

how to grow coconut

Also, try to add about 1.5 kg of common salt to each of the pits to improve the physical condition of soils for plantation on laterite. The burying of coconut husks @ 30 kg to each of the pit in layers is beneficial in the conservation of moisture content.

Care of Young Palms

Provides an immediate irrigation to the transplanted seedlings and also try to provide a means of shade to them in the summer. Provide a means of support through stacking with bamboo so that heavy winds do not uproot the young seedlings.

Also, try to give frequent irrigation to this crop for the 1st two years of the seedling plantation on the field during hot and dry months. Shading is also required as a basic necessity for the transplanted seedlings.

Irrigation in Coconut Farming

The first irrigation should be given, just after the transplanting of seedling on the ground. Then after, the irrigation should be carried out on the basis of palm requirements. The water requirement of palms varies in accordance with the soil type, climate and weather conditions. Frequent irrigations are essential in hot summer months because the lower moisture content of soil used to lower down the nut production, especially in the long dry spell and unevenly distributed rainfall. Water should be given to the base or basins of palm.

Generally, an adult coconut palm needs water about 800 liters in an interval of seven days. Make basins of palm in such a way that it have 15 to 20 cm depth and diameter of 3.5 meters. In the coastal and sandy soils, irrigate the adult palm by using the sea water.

But never irrigate the seedlings and young palm till their age of two years by seawater whereas, for irrigated palm garden, the interruption of irrigation may lead to set back in production and regular palm growth.

irrigation and manuring in coconut farming

So, once the irrigation started in palm garden, it should be continued at regular interval and systematically. However, for coconut production, drip irrigation is the best suitable and most convenient way of irrigation. It not only saves water but also saves the energy and labor.

Application of Manure And Fertilizers in Coconut Farming

Coconut palms are the heavy feeder that is manuring is essential from the 1st year of planting on the field to obtain a higher nut production. So, add about 30 to 40 kg of organic manure depending on the soil fertility and productivity to each of the palms at every year in the beginning of monsoon. Apply it to plant when there is high moisture content in the soil. For manuring and fertilizing in coconut cultivation, used the different types of organic manures such as farmyard manure, compost, bone meal, neem cake, groundnut cake, blood meal, fish meal, etc

However, for manuring, follow the following Fertilizer Schedule showing doses recommended at different stages of palm.

Age of Palm Nutrient

dosage

Quantity of fertilizer to be applied (gm)
Ammo. Sulphate Urea Super Phosphate (single) Ultraphos or Rock Phosphate Muriate of Potash
1. General recommendation: (a) Average Management:
3 months old 1/10 of full dose 165 75 95 60 115
1 year old 1/3 of full dose 550 250 320 200 380
2 year old 2/3 of full dose 1100 500 640 400 760
3 year older and later full dose 1650 750 950 600 1140
Recommended Doses: (b) Good management:
3 months old 1/10 of full dose 250 110 180 115 200
1 year old 1/3 of full dose 800 360 590 380 670
2 year old 2/3 of full dose 1675 720 1180 760 1340
3 year old and later full dose 2000 1080 1780 1140 2010
2. For Hybrid and high yielding palms: Under Irrigated condition:
3 months old 1/10 of full dose 490 220 280 180 335
1 year old 1/3 of full dose 1625 720 930 600 1110
2 year old 2/3 of full dose 3250 1450 1850 1200 2220
3 year old and later full dose 4880 2170 2780 1800 3330

Note: The manuring requirements of palm may vary if there is any deficiency in the soil. Have a soil test, before starting the coconut farming.

Pests and Diseases in Coconut Farming

pests and diseases in coconut tree

Coconut Pests And Their Management

The major pests and insects of coconut palm include the following:

  • Rhinoceros beetle
  • Red palm weevil
  • Slug Caterpillar
  • Black-headed caterpillar
  • Eriophyid Mite of Coconut
  • Cockchafer beetle
  • Coreid bug
  • Mealybugs
  • White grub
  • Termite
  • Rats.
  • Controlling Measure: For controlling measure of pests and insects in palm suitable remedial should be adopted when required.

Coconut Diseases And Their Management

The major diseases of coconut palm include the following:

  • Stem Bleeding
  • Bud Rot
  • Leaf rot
  • Root (wilt) disease
  • Mahali
  • Thanjavur wilt
  • Crown chocking
  • Grey Leaf Spot
  • Leaf blight
  • Tatipaka Disease
  • Controlling Measures: Learn the symptoms of all of the mentioned above diseases of coconut palm and adopt a suitable controlling measure for controlling them as sooner they appear in the field.

Harvesting Coconut

Within a one year of transplanting seedlings, the coconut palm becomes ready for harvesting after the spathe opening. It should be collected at various intervals of time, depending on the maturity. The economic life of coconut palm is about 60 to 65 years, that means they are able to give production for about more than 60 years.

harvesting coconut

Usually, harvesting should be done at their tender age for water purpose. Also, the harvesting frequency also depends on the palms yield. Try to harvest them on the different interval of time since, in a well-maintained coconut orchard, bunches produced frequently.

Yield

The yield of coconut palms depends on the selected variety, soil type, irrigation facility, weather, climate condition, application of manure and fertilizers along with farm management skills, practices during the cultivation.

However, below is a table showing the avg yield of various variety or cultivars

No Variety Nut yield (No’s per tree per each year) Harvesting Start in 
1 Hybrid variety 100 3 to 4 year
2 Tall variety 65 to 75 6 year
3 Dwarf (tender  coconut) variety 75 to 85 5 year

Bottom Line

Coconut farming or coconut production business is really fun providing profitable.

Have a Grand Success in Coconut farming

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