Hello,I want know what are the conditions needed to cultivate dates in
Hello,I want know what are the conditions needed to cultivate dates in
Talk to Nassar at 9345867070. He is the only Date Palm Consultant in Tamil Nadu and the other one is Nizzamudin from Dharmapuri. but he is a Date palm Nursery owner.
So better talk to Nassar.
If you want to see the date palm cultivation in my field call me around March 2007 I will be planting the date palm in my Farm.I am planting Khalas Variety.
Best thing to go on Date palm cultivation is go for Tissue Culture and it Cost close to Rs 3000/Plant (Ready to plant in the field and the Variety is Bahree). You will get this from Dubai and Gufic people from Mumbai will arrange this for you.
If you have any questions mail me at email@example.com
As said by Mr. Anbalagan you can contact the above said persons.
To get full details on technology aspect date production you can also contact SPIC Farm News ( SPIC Pannai Cheidi) editor by contacting SPIC office.
There are two common methods that are used to propagate palm trees, sexually by seed and asexually using offshoots.seeds were collected from good female cultivars and kept in cloth bags or perforated tin cans and left in the running water of a falaj. One week later, the imbibed seeds were sown in a nursery plot that is especially prepared for this purpose and the seedling then left there for one year. After that, the seedlings were transplanted to their permanent place in the farm. Since 50% of the seedlings will be undesirable males, farmers stopped using this method of propagation long time ago and adopted the vegetative one. this method is still used in few areas to grow palms for pollen production when offshoots are not available. Almost all the existing orchards are vegetatively propagated by offshoots. The small-sized offshoot is removed from the mother plant with a locally made machete and placed in moist place either in the falaj or under the farm trees to provide shade and allow roots to develop. Arab growers avoided large shoots and the ones that are crowded together and shaded by interplanted trees . Generally, no green leaves are removed from the offshoot until it is cut from the parent palm, as the growth of an offshoot will be proportional to its leaf area. Separation of the offshoots normally carried out in the late summer and fall. After the root develops, the young trees are transplanted to their permanent place. The new palms normally planted on a hole that is 80cm wide and 80 cm deep in a conic shape. Popenoe said that around 10 or 12 feet of earth are removed from the hole to eliminate alkali and put palm nearer to the ground water. The hole is normally prepared by adding organic manure and loose clean sand with ash before placing the tree in it. In the past, the good cultivars were scarce and expensive, so farmers tended to grow a mixture of different cultivars in the single farm. There are certain times of the year when offshoots are separated from the mother plant, thus moderate temperature is preferred for transplanting offshoots. Although offshoot could be planted in all months of the year, farmers tend to avoid planting in the summer when the temperature is very high or in the winter when temperature is very cold, and their practice is evenly divided between early spring and fall. After planting, the new trees are watered daily for the first week and then once week as the case of the whole farm. Young date palms are planted close old trees in order to be replaced when the young tree start producing fruits. There is no specific spacing but normally it is around 30ft x 30ft interplanted with fruit trees such as citrus or field crops such as barley and alfalfa.
farm is divided into basins for individual trees and canals are normally constructed in the farms to facilitate water flowing to the trees. The farm is often irrigated once a week in the summer and every three weeks during the winter season.
animal manure mixed with straw at the rate of two donkey-loads per tree twice a year. Intercropping of alfalfa, which is common in most farms, contributed a big deal in providing nitrogen to the soil and, subsequently, to the trees. The fibrous root system of the date palm allow them to uptake nutrients from a wide range of soil layers. Cow, chicken and human manure are also applied regularly to date farms. Ibn al-Awwam, have mentioned the fertilization of date palm trees as reported by . He says on the make and application of fertilizers especially compost" There is prodigious secret of marvelous virtue which is to take 14 Ibs. dig a hole in the ground, and bury it; after 21 days dig it up and spread it around the trees", in order to increase the yield. "It must be done in the sign of Taurus or of Cancer; I myself have tried it with notable success".
He suggests" If your palms bear intermittently, dig a trench around them at two cubits, if it be the will of God, the palm will bear." Addition of organic matters and humus must be contributing to the growth and productivity of the soil since it provide nutrients as well as increase soil water holding capacity in the desert areas. The traditional practice of applying manure was by to bury animal manure in deep circular trenches around the trees. Straw or green manure is normally applied on the soil surface.
Tamilnadu climatic condition is suitable for Date Palm cultivation. In Coimbatore area already we are seeing lot of eechai maram. So practically Date palm cultibvation is feasible there.
Here are some details on cultivation of Date Palm:
Grows well above 100-200m MSL
FIt can withstand temperature
Lowest - 7 degree centigrade
Highest - 45 degree cenigrade
But always loves hot climate.
During flowering the temperature should not be less that 15 degree centrigade.
Male and female trees are seen.
Soil: Grows in all types of soil. Proper drainage is necessary.. Even grows in Kalar lands.
200-250mm rainfall per year is enough.
One in 15 days watering
But can withstand upto 40 days without Water.
Pit size- 2.5x2.5x2.5 feet
Before planting add 2 kg vermicompost, 5 Kg FYM, 25 gm each of azospirillum, phosphobacteria, pseudomonas, root fiungicide to each pit.
Rhizome area should be above the soil.
Water immediately after planting and life irrigation has to be given on third day.
Once in a year 100kg FYM/tree is recommended.
Citrus, Sapota and vegetables and fodder crops.
Jan- Feb- flowering seasin in Tamilnadu
Female and Male flowers are seen and Hand pollination is recommended for more yield.
Initial years- 10-50 kg per tree
7-12 years- 100 Kg
from 12 th year onwards - 250 kg
II. Planting operation
This is probably the most critical phase in the establishment of a new date plantation. Mistakes at this point may lead to a poor survival rate of offshoots or tissue culture-derived plants, regardless of the efforts put in during the preparation phases. The aim is to assist the date grower to execute the planting operation in a way that will ensure a high transplanting survival rate in the newly established plantation. The planting operation is divided into different activities which will be discussed separately.
1. Plant spacing
It is diffi cult to prescribe a defi nite plant spacing but there are specifi c factors infl uencing the spacing such as:
- to allow for suffi cient sunlight when palms are tall;
- to allow for suffi cient working space within the plantation; and
- to provide suffi cient space for root development.
Previously, the general assumption for a commercial date plantation was to use a plant spacing of 10 m × 10 m (100 palms/ha). It has, however, changed over time and a plant spacing of 9 m × 9 m (121 palms/ha; Israel) or 10 m × 8 m (125 palms/ha; Namibia), is used in modern plantations.
As an example of different spacing used with date palm, Table 40 illustrates the distance apart, the square unit to each palm and the number of palms in each spacing.
Comparative table of spacing distances (Palms planted at the corners of squares)
Distance Apart (m)
Square Units to each palm (m)
No of Palms in Each (Hectare)
Source: Dowson, 1982.
The planting density also depends on ecological factors (mainly humidity) and on varieties. In general, commercial plantations use 10 m × 10 m, 9 m × 9 m or 10 m × 8 m, for all varieties except for Khadrawy (dwarf variety with a small canopy) which could be planted at a higher density. The tendency to plant more closely is found when the prevailing wind is dry and extremely hot and strong. The 10 × 10 is desired in areas where humidity during the date ripening period (Coachella valley-USA, Elche-Spain and Coast of Libya (Zliten)) is high (Dowson, 1982); This wider spacing is to allow sun and wind to counteract the humidity's infl uence. According to Nixon (1933), wide spacing is also recommended whenever there is considerable danger of rain damage to dates during the ripening season.
2. Time of planting
The critical factor is to transplant the young tissue culture date palms or offshoots at that time of the year that will ensure a good survival rate and proper establishment before the beginning of a "hard" season.
In most of the date regions in the northern hemisphere, spring and autumn are preferred for the planting out of tissue culture-derived date plants or offshoots. Spring avoids the cold of winter and takes advantage of the warm weather that encourages rapid growth, while autumn gives the young shoot a longer time to establish itself before the heat of summer. Each of the two seasons, however, has its corresponding disadvantage; spring, the early approach of the great heat, and autumn, the early approach of the cold.
In the southern hemisphere the best time of establishment is during autumn (February/March) because of the following reasons:
- Winters are relatively frost free,
- Very high summer temperatures,
- Strong, dry winds during August-January, and
- Sand storms during the summer.
In areas without extreme dry, hot summers and with severe frost during winter it is recommended to plant during August/September or at a time safe from the occurrence of frost.
3. Transplanting stage
Research has shown that the best fi eld survival rate, as well as early plant development, is obtained when the date tissue culture plantlets are transplanted at the four (4) plus pinnae leaf stage. Plants received from a tissue culture laboratory normally only have juvenile leaves or one pinnae leaf at the most. These plants are thus too small to be transplanted into the field. It is therefore necessary to include a hardening-off phase for plant development which also allows some time for plants to adapt to local climatic conditions. This results in the young plants being kept in the farm nursery for a period (approximately 8-12 months), until the suffi cient number of pinnae leaves have developed before transplanting takes place.
In a fi eld test at the Eersbegin project (Namibia), tissue culture plants with 4-6 pinnae leaves were transplanted and the results indicated that the initial plant development, after transplanting, was better when the plants were transplanted at the 4-pinnae leaf stage than at the 5-6 pinnae leaf stage. Regarding offshoots, it is highly recommended to ensure their rooting in the nursery after separation from the plant mother (at least 10 to 12 months). It is not recommended to plant an offshoot directly after its separation.
4. Planting time and depth
Planting should always be initiated early in the morning to limit stress on the date plantlets and also to allow suffi cient time for adaptation (from the plastic bag to the soil). Bags are to be removed with care and the plant, with most of its surrounding substrate, to be planted carefully.
Planting is probably the area where most people make the vital mistake of planting the plant too deep. The planting depth is critical because the "heart" of the plant should never be covered with water. Once the plant is covered with water the growing point rots and the plant dies off. If a date plant is planted too shallow, its roots will desiccate and die.
The golden rule is to ensure that the greater diameter of the bulb of the plant is at the same level as the soil surface after transplanting and to ensure that water does not go over the top of the date plant.
5. Basin preparation
Immediately after transplanting, a basin is prepared around the palm to prevent run-off and to ensure a suffi cient supply of water to the plant. When using a micro irrigation system, it is recommended to have a basin of approximately 3 m in diameter and 20 to 30 cm deep. The basin should have a slight downward slope towards the plant to allow the water to reach the root system of the young plant.
The benefi ts of organic material were highlighted when land preparation, as part of the plantation development, was discussed. The mulching is done by putting a layer of organic material (e.g. wheat straw) around the base of the palm. Mulching of the basin has the following advantages:
- Limits water loss from the soil through evaporation;
- Prevents crust formation;
- Allows better water penetration into the soil:
- Limits weed growth around the plant; and
- Improves the humus content of the soil.
Immediately after transplanting, the palm should be irrigated to limit transplant stress. Once the plantation is established, a frequent irrigation schedule is to be followed to allow suffi cient water supply to the young date palm.
The irrigation frequency, is soil type dependant, but on very sandy soils it requires daily irrigation during the first summer. Heavy soils will require irrigation once a week, while in most soils, irrigation is required every second or third day. During the first six weeks, the date growers should inspect their planted date palms to verify that the surface soil does not dry and shrink away from the plant.
Tissue culture-derived plants and young offshoots should be protected from harsh climatic conditions (sun and wind during the first summer and cold the following winter) and against some animals (rabbits, etc.). The use of a hessian wrapping, a shade net cover, or a tent of date leaves is recommended. The top is to be left open so that new growth may push out.
Beside irrigation applications, the annual fertilisation schedule, weeding and mulching, the date grower should, for at least the first 10 to 12 months, keep an eye on the plantation in order to detect and consequently correct any adverse situations.
III. Fertilisation requirements
The initial land and orchard preparation aims at preparing the soil for establishment of the young tissue culture date palm or offshoots, but does not ensure proper establishment and growth after transplanting. A fertilisation programme should be included in the date plantation establishment phase for optimum growth.
In general, farmers do not realise the importance of following a date palm fertilisation programme. This behaviour is normally caused by one or more of the following factors:
- Information, regarding date palm fertilisation requirements, is not readily available.
- Information may confuse farmers, because of the differences between literature/studies conducted by various scientists. This example will be discussed later in the document.
- Farmers tend to assume that date palms do not require any nutrients, because of the general view that date palms can survive the toughest conditions.
The importance of a fertilisation programme at and after transplanting is to provide in the nutrient needs of the young tissue culture plants or the offshoots, to ensure rapid growth in preparation for the first production season. An under-developed plant will not have the capacity to reach its production potential at an early stage.
The purpose of this chapter is to serve as a basic reference guide for fertilisation planning in date plantations.
2. Functions of nutrient elements and their availability in relation to soil conditions
Date palm has similar fertiliser requirements to other cultivated crops. Nutrient elements necessary for plant growth and production (but not absorbed from the air), i.e.: boron, calcium, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulphur and zinc, are all needed at different rates by the date palm culture.
2.1 Soil pH
Nitrogen plays a major role in plant life processes such as photosynthesis, vegetative growth and the maintenance of genetic identity. This ensures high yield at the end of the season.
Nitrogen is freely available to plants within the pH range of 5.5 to 8.5. When the soil pH is below 5.5 or above 8.5, the availability decreases to the extent that plants are not able to take up any nitrogen from the soil profile.
Phosphorus also plays a role in processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, vegetative growth, reproduction and maintenance of the genetic identity. It is also associated with cell division, root development and flowering.
Phosphorus is freely available to plants within the pH range of 6.0 to 8.0 and above 8.5. When the soil pH is below 5.0, phosphorus is, for all purposes, not available to plants. At a pH of around 8.0 to 8.5, phosphorus is relatively unavailable to plants, but from approximately 8.5 and above it becomes freely available again.
Potassium is found in cell sap and plays a role in the transport of nitrogen in the plant and the promotion of photosynthesis. This nutrient helps to strengthen fi bre and has an infl uence on the opening and closing of the stomata. Potassium is also associated with resistance to drought, cold and the improvement of fruit quality.
Potassium is freely available to plants within the pH range of 5.5 to 7.5 and above 8.5. When the soil pH is below 5.0, potassium, is for all purposes, not available to plants. At a pH of around 7.5 to 8.5, potassium is relatively unavailable to plants but from approximately 8.5 and above it becomes freely available again.
Hence, measures are needed to adjust the soil pH to ensure the availability of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for plant utilisation.
Boron is an essential nutrient in pollination and the subsequent reproduction processes, i.e. the formation and growth of flowers and fruits. It also plays a role in the uptake of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
2.2 Soil texture
Nitrogen and potassium are easily leached from the soil profile when excess water is applied. Therefore, it is important to control the irrigation schedule on sandy soils to avoid any unnecessary leaching. When working with sandy soils, it is also recommended to divide the amount of fertilisers over two or more applications to decrease nutrient losses.
3. Nutrients lost through date palm plants
The amount of nutrients lost through fruits and pruned leaves as well as the world-wide application of fertilisers were considered as a basis for the calculation of the amount of fertilisers required by an adult date palm. Our study was based on related literature, experiments and fi ndings in various countries (Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and USA). Hass and Bliss (1935) showed that one hectare (120 palms), exports 29 kg of nitrogen, 5 kg of phosphate and 70 kg of potassium. Embleton and Cook (1947) estimated that leaf pruning of one hectare caused the loss of 25 kg of nitrogen, 2 kg of phosphate and 74 kg of potassium.
Nixon and Carpenter (1978) recommended for most Coachella Valley soils, the use of 1.81 to 2.72 kg of actual nitrogen per palm, divided into two to three applications on sandy soils to reduce leaching. While other authors (Furr and Barber, 1950) estimated the nitrogen export per hectare of Deglet Nour variety at about 78 kg.
For the above, it is estimated that in order to produce 50 kg of date fruits per palm, the fertilisation needs are about 45 kg of nitrogen, 13.5 kg of phosphate and 81 kg of potassium, of which most of it could be covered by irrigation water (Djerbi, 1995).
Unfortunately, there are variations amongst the results of different scientists and, it was therefore decided to calculate the average between the different sources in order to recommend a fertilisation programme at three levels: nursery, young plants (less than 4 years old) and adult palms. It must also be indicated that, in most cases, the relationship between the nutrients lost through fruits and leaves is roughly constant. Tables 41 and 42 illustrate the average nutrient loss and the average world-wide fertilisers application, respectively.
Average nutrient loss
Average world-wide application
* For both Tables 41 and 42, it is assumed that 121 palms are planted per hectare.
Rare are the cases where defi ciency of micro-elements were studied as most of them are found in the irrigation water. However, boron defi ciency was probably responsible for the death of some date palms; both the terminal bud and the root system were affected (Djerbi, 1995). Boron has an effect on the activity of some enzymes, increases cell membrane permeability and enhances the transport of carbon hydrates; it also participates in the lignin's synthesis. Boron controls the ratio between potassium and calcium contents and plays an important role in the synthesis of proteins and cell division.
According to Djerbi (1995), lack of manganese was also found in several Tunisian date plantations, causing the death of palms within a period of five to seven years (called disease of broken leaves). Manganese is a catalyst of several enzymatic and physiological reactions. It is involved in respiration and activates enzymes that are active in the metabolism of nitrogen and the synthesis of chlorophyl. Iron could also be defi cient in some soils and symptoms are usually characterised by a sound yellowing of the older (outer) leaves (Figures 58 and 59).
In conclusion, measures to correct defi ciencies of micro nutrients are to be taken, early enough, through a simulation study based on leaf/soil analysis and date palm requirements.
5. Fertilisation programme recommended for the nursery
In order to ensure strong, healthy plants for transplanting and to shorten the period in the nursery, (approximately six to eight months instead of eight to ten months), a fertilisation programme is recommended (Table 43).
Fertilisation recommendation for date palm nursery plants
Time of soil application
2 × per month
N: 5.5 %
P: 0.75 %
SeaGro: Organic plant food
Mix 5 ml of SeaGro product per litre of water and apply around the plant.
6. Fertilisation at fi eld planting
Part of the fertilisation programme starts at the time prior to transplanting, during the land preparation phase. At that stage, attention is to be given to the improvement of the soil which may have a direct infl uence on the utilisation of certain nutrients which are necessary for plant growth.
Actions that precede this phase include the initial hole preparation, application of lime/gypsum/organic material, and a leaching programme in the case of saline soils.
Instead of opening the original hole again to apply the required fertilisers, only a smaller planting hole (± 60x60x60 cm) is prepared and the fertilisers are mixed with the soil from this hole before it is put back at transplanting.
The application rates for nitrogen and phosphorus are calculated by adding 50 % to the average loss of nutrients through fruits and pruned leaves. The amount of potassium is not increased due to the fact that most soils normally yield a relatively high natural potassium content. If soil analysis shows a decrease in potassium content over a period of time, this fi gure should be increased.
Application rate for date palms younger than 4 years
* It is assumed that 121 palms are planted per hectare.
Table 45 shows the necessary nitrogen quantities for a date palm of four (4) years and older. For newly transplanted palms up to and including the age of three years, only 50 % of the amount of nitrogen is recommended as shown in Table 44.
Application rate for date palms 4 years and older
* It is assumed that 121 palms are planted per hectare.
7. Annual fertilisation programme
7.1 Time of application
In an effort to obtain the best results from any fertiliser application, it is important to link the stages of application to critical times over the growing period, i.e. vegetative phase, reproduction phase. The same principle applies to date palm fertilisation and therefore the time of application is co-ordinated with certain growth phases during the year.
The date season is divided into two growth phases: vegetative and reproductive. The latter is also divided into two stages namely the fl ower formation stage (February - April in the northern hemisphere and June - August in the southern hemisphere), and the fruit development stage (July - October in the northern hemisphere and November - February in the southern hemisphere). Scheduling the application of fertilisers according to these phases ensures an increase in the amount of properly developed flowers and a potential increase in yield. The best results will be realised when the fertiliser applications are done as soon as possible after the initiation of the two stages (fl ower and fruit formation). Therefore, it is recommended that these applications take place during February and July for northern hemisphere, and June and November for southern hemisphere.
To prevent root burn, not all the required fertilisers should be applied at the planting stage, and therefore the following is recommended as a follow-up programme:
- Apply 300 g potassium sulphate four weeks after transplanting and repeat four weeks later,
- Apply 250 g sulphate of ammonia six weeks after transplanting and repeat six weeks later.
Although no major problems are noticed with the above technique (twice per year), some commercial plantations, mostly in Israel, apply the fertilisation throughout the year monitored with irrigation (fertigation). This programme is aimed at applying the required nitrogen during 8 months (November till August in northern hemisphere and April till November in southern hemisphere); while for phosphorus and potassium the application is at a three months interval (4 times per year).
The following table (Table 46) summarises this fertilisation programme:
Date palm annual fertilisation programme
Ammonium Sulphate product (*)
Maxi Fos Product
Potassium chloride Product (**)
6 Years and above
3 to 5 years
Young palms till 3 years old
(*) Amount to be applied per palm and per month for a period of 8 months.
(**) Amount to be applied per palm every 3 months.
(1) A total of 4.8 kg per palm for the eight months.
(2) A total of 3.65 kg per palm for eight months.
(3) A total of 2.4 kg per palm for eight months.
(4) A total of 1.374 kg per palm to be distributed in 4 applications (every 3 months).
(5) A total of 1.030 kg per palm to be distributed in 4 applications (every 3 months).
(6) A total of 0.692 kg per palm to be distributed in 4 applications (every 3 months).
(7) A total of 6.5 kg per palm distributed in 4 applications (every 3 months).
(8) A total of 4 kg per palm distributed in 4 applications (every 3 months).
(9) A total of 2 kg per palm distributed in 4 applications (every 3 months).
The three months frequency for both potassium and phosphate could be: 1 November, 1 February, 1 May and 1 August for northern hemisphere and 1 April, 1 July, 1 October and 1 January for southern hemisphere.
Once the young palms have been planted and the follow-up fertilisation programme completed, an annual fertilisation programme should be introduced to ensure sufficient supply of nutrients to the young palms.
Before transplanting can take place, and as stated above, a planting hole must be prepared to ensure that the nutrient needs of the small plant are satisfi ed once it has been planted into the fi eld. In addition to this, a fertiliser application at this stage also serves as a measure of soil improvement by adding nutrients to a possibly poor soil.
The exact amounts and types of fertilisers to be applied will be determined by soil analysis. The aim of this section is to make a general recommendation with regard to the fertilisers included in the process of plant hole preparation.
The recommendation presented in this chapter is to be used as an example as well as a general recommendation, for sandy/sandyloam soil types. When digging the hole, ensure that the top and bottom soil are separated, because the fertilisers are mixed with the top soil.
- 10 to 15 kg
Manure (good quality, properly matured and dry);
- 0.7 kg
Maxi-fos or Double Superphosphate;
- 15 kg
Gypsum (in case the soil is heavily charged with sodium);
- 1.25 kg
Sulphate of ammonia; and
- 1.08 kg
The sulphate of ammonia and potassium chloride can either be mixed into the top soil together with the rest of the products or it can be applied through the irrigation system after transplanting. It is important to note that nitrogen and potassium should be applied separately with two or three irrigation cycles in-between.
7.3 Method of application
This method is used when applying fertilisers to a plantation where the fertiliser can not be supplied through the irrigation system. Fertilisers are then measured in small quantities and applied by hand to individual palms. The most important precaution when applying through this method is to ensure an even distribution of the fertilisers within the palm drip area and not too close to the base of the palm (Figure 60). However, the disadvantages are:
- time consuming;
- labour intensive;
- root burn may occur if not evenly distributed; and
- the correct amount of fertiliser is not always applied.
A product like phosphorus, which does not move well in the soil profi le, should be applied though holes within the drip area to ensure contact with the roots.
7.3.2 Through irrigation system (Figure 61)
This method called fertigation, is used when the irrigation system is designed for fertiliser application. All top dressing of soluble fertilisers are applied through the irrigation system. Nonsoluble fertilisers, however, still have to be applied by hand. The main advantage of this system is that the correct amount of fertiliser is evenly distributed within the drip area.
8. Soil, water and leaf analysis
The importance of fertilisation can be summarised as follows:
- Overcome nutrient defi ciencies in the soil;
- Ensure proper establishment, growth, and development; and
- Increase the yield potential.
This chapter serves merely as a fertilisation guideline, since there are many potential variables among different locations. The aim is to supply a reference document to serve as a framework in fertilisation planning, and it is highly recommended that the date grower consults the local extension offi cer regarding the exact application of nutrients for his/her specifi c conditions, based on leaf, soil and water analyses.
Van Zyl (1983) summarised the optimum age of leaf and time of the year for leaf analyses of dates in the southern hemisphere plantations (Table 47).
Optimum age of leaf - Remarks
Optimum month (*)
1 - 2
level decreases with age
1 - 2
level decreases with age
level decreases rapidly with age
level increases with age
1 - 3
level increases at a young stage
½ - 3
level increases at a young stage
½ - 1
level decreases with age
1 - 2
level increases with age
½ - 1
high at first, drops and increases again
1½ - 2
level increases with age
level increases with age
Source: Van Zyl, 1983.
(*) The optimum month indicates the period when the element concerned remains most constant. However, and for a commercial plantation, only two periods are recommended:
(i) Just after harvesting and before the emergence of new leaves (April for southern hemisphere and November for northern hemisphere), and
(ii) After flowering and before final fruit set (August for southern hemisphere and April for northern hemisphere).
In the literature, data on leaf analysis of dates vary from one place to another and results depend strongly on edaphoclimatic conditions. The authors advise to set own-standards, based on the performance of the date palms in the local plantations, rather than taking over data from other areas. For setting standards for soil and leaf sampling, the authors are proposing the following:
- 12 palms/ha will be randomly and representatively selected over each ha of date plantation (10 %).
- 1 kg of soil/profile sample will be used.
- For leaf: At least one kg of fresh leaf material is needed/palm.
- Leaflets and rachis of approximately 10 photosynthetic leaves are the parts to take.
- The 12 palms and their soil profiles will be followed up for at least 4 years (with two samplings per year).
- Metal markers must be used to identify the site of soil profile and will also be reported on the site map).
- Soil information to request for the laboratory: pH, EC (ms/m); SAR; Exchangeable Sodium percentage, with textural class. All micro and macro elements (N, P, Ca, Mg, Boron, Molybdenum, Sulphate, Iron, Mn, Zinc, etc.).
- For leaf analysis: Request in percentage the content of the following: N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Na, and Cl. While we need the content in mg/kg of Fe, Cu, Mn, B, Zn and Mo.
- For water analysis: pH, EC (ms/m), TDS (mg/L), SAR (meg.) with content of all micro and macro elements.
Figure 55. Irrigation design and lay-out of a date plantation with 10 m × 8 m spacing (Eersbegin, Namibia).
Figure 56. A m³ planting hole; note that the top 1/3 and the bottom 2/3 soils are separated.
Figure 57. A device to make sure that workers do respect the required 1 m³ volume.
Figure 58. Iron defi ciency symptoms on a Barhee variety at Naute (Namibia).
Figure 59. Potassium defi ciency symptoms on a Barhee variety at Naute (Namibia).
Figure 60. Fertilisation damage on one year old Medjool tissue culture palm at Eersbegin, (Namibia).
Figure 61. Fertigation system at Eden Research Station (Israel).
As a forum moderator I thank you for your valuable contribution on Date Palm cultivation.
I like to know whether you have practiced the same technology in your farm in India and if yes kindly contribute that information and it will be highly useful for all of the forum readers.
here are some varieties of date palm
'Barhi'— nearly cylindrical, light amber to dark brown when ripe; soft, with thick flesh and rich flavor; of superb quality. For shipment needs refrigeration as soon as picked, then curing and special packing.
'Deglet Noor'—It is semi-dry, not very sweet; keeps well; is hydrated before shipping. Much used for cooking. The palm is high yielding but not very tolerant of rain and atmospheric humidity.
'Halawy' ('Halawi')—introduced soft, extremely sweet, small to medium; may shrivel during ripening unless the palm is well-watered. It is especially tolerant of humidity.
'Hayany' ('Hayani')—, and is sold fresh; is not easy to cure. The fruit is dark-red to nearly black; soft. The palm is one of the most cold-tolerant.
'Khadrawy' ('Khadrawi')—is the cultivar most favored by Arabs but too dark in colorthough it is a soft date of the highest quality. It is early-ripening; does not keep too well.
'Khastawi' ('Khustawi'; 'Kustawy')—small in size; prized for dessert; keeps well. The fruit is resistant to humidity.
'Maktoom'—thick-skinned, soft, mealy, medium sweet; resistant to humidity.
'Medjool'— is large, soft, and luscious but ships well.
'Saidy' ('Saidi')—; soft, very sweet; palm is a heavy bearer; needs a very hot climate.
'Sayer' ('Sayir')—dark orange-brown, of medium size, soft, sirupy, and sometimes some of the sirup is drained out and sold separately; not of high quality but the palm is one of the most tolerant of salt and other adverse factors.
'Thoory'('Thuri')—Fruit is dry; when cured is brown-red with bluish bloom with very wrinkled skin and the flesh is sometimes hard and brittle but the flavor is good, sweet and nutty. Keeps well; often carried on journeys. The palm is stout with short, stiff leaves; bears heavily, and clusters are very large; somewhat tolerant of humidity.
'Zahdi'('Zahidi')—medium size, cylindrical, light golden-brown; semi-dry but harvested and sold in 3 stages: soft, medium-hard, and hard: very sugary; keeps well for months; much used for culinary purposes. The palm is stout, fast growing, heavy bearing; drought resistant; has little tolerance of high humidity.
'Amir Hajj'—thin skin and thick flesh; of superior quality
'Iteema'— The fruit is large, oblong, light amber, soft, very sweet.'Migraf' ('Mejraf)—large; of good quality.
In inland oases of Tunisia, in addition to the 'Deglet Noor', there is 'Ftimi' ('Alligue') which is equally subject to humidity, less productive and less disease-resistant.
'Manakbir' has a large fruit and ripens earlier but has the disadvantage that the palm produces few offshoots and its multiplication is limited.
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I am interested in growing Date palm in Gobichettipalayam area.Please let me have the Agronomy of Date Farming
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