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Nursery Techniques for a Coconut Palm


Date Posted: 5/19/2018 4:09:26 AM

Posted By: Dullayo  Membership Level: Gold  Total Points: 1727

This article contains a brief introduction of a coconut plant that is, areas that highly favour its cultivation. It also contains some of the importance of this plant (coconut palm). The major part of this article deals with the questions such as how, when and where to plant a coconut palm through the provision of best nursery techniques for this plant. However, the main objective of this article is to provide enough and effective knowledge on coconut plantation to farmers.

Nursery Techniques For a Coconut Palm

Planting of crops is very important for the national economy. This is so because of their vast employment potential and income, export and import substitution. Among these plants, we have the coconut palm which is a versatile plant ranging from food to cosmetics. Coconut palm is mostly valuable to the small farmers in the tropical world. However, in Kenya, coconut palm is highly grown at the coastal region. Almost every part of this palm is used for the daily needs. For example, it is one of the important sources of vegetable oil, it also yields fibre as a by-product which is used to make coir while the milk derived from it is commonly used in cooking and frying as well as in soaps and cosmetics. In addition, the husks and leaves can be used as materials to make different products for furnishing and decorating.

Over the past years, coconut farming has been shrinking in Kenya due to increase in pressure on land despite the demand for its products increasing. There is a great need to examine critically our present farming systems and to evaluate potential technologies and find out the most effective and profitable means of solving these problems. In order to continue enjoying all the benefits that coconut palm offers to us, there is a need

for us to increase its agricultural production for example through planting more of it. Below here are nursery techniques for coconut plant.

1. Selection of Site and Preparation of Nursery Bed

The area or site proposed for the nursery should have loose, permeable and friable deep soil, preferably sandy-loam soil which is rich in humus. This should be located near any water source to facilitate regular irrigation, but adequate provision to be made for good drainage of excess water. To facilitate manual watering without tampering with nuts, the width of the nursery bed is so adjusted as to accommodate 4 to 5 rows of seed nuts, that is around 2 metre width with convenient length. The nursery bed should be well drained to drain out monsoon rain easily.

2. Positioning of Nuts and Method of Sowing.

The nuts are buried in the seed bed in a horizontal, oblique or vertical position keeping the stock end up just above the soil surface. However, horizontal planting is advantageous since it gives the highest percentage of early germination and produces vigorous seedlings with good girth at the collar region because the nut water remains close to the embryo.

The advantage of vertical planting is the economy of space and to transport the seedlings to a long distance with proper packing. It is always practiced in general in view of the convenience in transportation of seedlings.

3. Spacing, Depth and Time of Sowing.

The spacing for sowing seed nuts has to be decided on the basis of the time for which the seedlings are to be retained in the nursery. The normal spacing of about 45 cm from nut to nut is adopted when the seedlings are lifted after 9 to 12 months. In case the seedling are required to be retained in the nursery for more than 18 months, it is preferable to adopt 90 cm spacing between the seedlings.

Neither surface planting nor deep planting is advisable. The depth would be between, 8 to 10 cm so that the husk of seed nuts is just visible above the soil. The appropriate time of planting nuts in the nursery is during June at the onset of monsoon showers. Nuts in which water is completely dried up should be discarded. If there is less water, pre-soaking in water for a few days can be done.

4. Care and Management of Nursery Beds.

Management of nursery beds involves the creation of optimum condition, keeping the soil free from weeds, giving regular irrigation each morning and evening, mulching, providing adequate shade during summer months, control of pests and diseases with a combined insecticide-fungicide spray once in a month, treating soil with aldrin against termites among others. With proper care, it is possible to get early and maximum germination of seed-nuts and hence get healthy seedlings.

Organic mulching helps to keep the soil moist longer which helps to promote early and better germination, good growth of seedlings and higher percentage of good seedlings.

No fertilizer is normally given in the nursery since there are ample food reserves in the nut itself to sustain germination. However, application of potash at 60 grams per seedling after 14 weeks from sowing, proves to be useful to maintain seedling vigour.

5. Changes of Seed Nuts at Nursery Period

A series of changes occur in the nut at the nursery period. The nut water disappears in the sixth month after sowing; seed nuts starts to germinate twelve weeks after the sowing and reaches maximum by 18 weeks; first leaf appears in the second month after germination and the root emerges in the first month after sowing. There would be gradually fall in the thickness of the kernel and the apple will fill the whole cavity of the nut in the fifth month.

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