Coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) are tropical trees that thrive in warm, humid climates. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 15 degrees F and have adapted well to growing in very poor soil conditions. These trees produce fruit year-round but it is during the rainy season from October through April when they bear their most abundant crop. The fruit of the coconut palm has many uses including food, oil, drink, medicine, building materials and more. This article will discuss some steps you should take to ensure success at planting a new coconut tree or re-planting an old one.
How To Germinate a Coconut
1.) Prepare Your Soil – Get rid of all weeds and grasses around the base of the trunk by using either herbicide spray or hoe. Dig out any large stones and add organic matter such as manure or peat moss. If there’s not much topsoil left dig down another 5 feet beneath the surface and mix about 1/2 inch of compost into the dirt. You may need to water this mixture thoroughly until everything becomes moist. Keep mixing up the dirt with a garden rake every few days while you wait for sprouts. In 3 months’ time you’ll be ready to plant!
2.) Make Raised Beds – Use 2 by 4s cut lengthwise to form rows 12 inches apart. Fill each bed halfway with good quality soil then tamp gently to settle the material. Water deeply before transplanting. After watering fill the remaining space with sand to allow air circulation between beds.
3.) Transplant – One month after preparing beds lay trays over them to catch drainage. Remove tray lids and set them aside. Place pot upside down over prepared beds so roots will fall directly onto the soil. Firm earth lightly around edges with hands and pat dry with towels. Set pots upright and cover immediately with plastic wrap. When potted plants begin growth remove the plastic and keep covered.
4.) Take Off Cover – Once shoots appear lift off the plastic and continue to provide plenty of light and moisture. Don’t let the leaves get wet however because if they do wilt.
5.) Prune – Young plants require little pruning except cutting back excessive side branches. As these mature use shears or pruning knife to shape
6.) Trim Dead Roots – Cut away dead parts below ground level. If stems don’t break easily tap with a hammer to see if they’re alive. If no response insert a sharpened bamboo stake near the base of the stem and pull out rotten wood with pliers. Rinse clean and soak new root systems overnight in a saltwater solution. Drain excess salts and apply fertilizer according to manufacturer instructions.
How often should I feed my young coconut?
Feed only once per week beginning three weeks after transplanting. Also, make sure to check the PH levels of nutrient solutions. Phosphorous compounds are usually responsible for lowering PH which occurs naturally with aging. Add lime slowly. Overfeeding weakens healthy foliage and reduces the size of fruits.
Maintain Proper Moisture Level – Check soil humidity daily by placing a moisture meter across drip line. Mulch area heavily with shredded bark mulch or other natural matting material. Remember too that coconuts like lots of rain. During periods of drought reduce irrigation frequency and duration.
Protect From Sunlight – Avoid direct sunlight exposure as much as possible. Coconut trees love heat and sunshine.
How Long Does it take for a Coconut Palm to Produce Fruit?
The average number of fruit per frond varies greatly depending upon environmental factors. Trees planted in rich, fertile soil generally produces about 40 fruit per frond compared to trees grown in poorer soils producing just 8 fruits per frond. Similar differences exist between young saplings and older mature trees. Newborn babies born in the shade produce fewer nuts than those raised in sunlit areas. With proper nourishment and regular rainfall, the oldest known aged palm produced 80 nuts per frond in a single day.
How Much Rain Does A Coconut Palm Need?
A typical coconut needs about 6″ of annual rainfall although the exact amount required depends on the region. In order to enjoy maximum production, it is advisable to aim for a minimum of four seasons’ worth of rainfall annually. Try taking advantage of cloudbursts, thunderstorms, fogging machines, sprinklers and hose attachments.