COCONUT

  

Cultivars

1. West Coast Tall (WCT)

2.LakshadweepOrdinary (Chandrakalpa)

3.PhilippinesOrdinary (Kerachandra)

4. Andaman Ordinary

5. Java

6.Cochin China

7. Kappadam

8. Komadan

9. Chowghat Orange Dwarf – Tender  coconut variety

 

Hybrids

1. Lakshaganga (LakshadweepOrdinary x Gangabondam)

2. Anandaganga (Andaman Ordinary x Gangabondam)

3. Keraganga (West Coast Tall x Gangabondam)

4. Kerasankara (West Coast Tall x Chowghat Orange Dwarf)

5. Chandrasankara (Chowghat Orange Dwarf x West Coast Tall)

6. Kerasree (West Coast Tall x Malayan Yellow Dwarf)

7. Kerasoubaghya (WCT x SSA)

8. Chowghat Green Dwarf x West Coast Tall

9. Chandralaksha (LakshadweepOrdinary x Chowghat Orange Dwarf)

 

Selection of mother palms

Select mother palms having the following characters:

1. Regular bearing habit and yielding not less than 80 nuts / annum.

2. Age 20 years or more (5 years after reaching full bearing capacity).

3. More than 30 fully opened leaves with short strong petioles and wide leaf base firmly attached to the stem.

4. Bearing at least 12 bunches of nuts with strong bunch stalks.

5. Bearing nuts of medium size and oblong shape.

6. Husked nuts should weigh not less than 600 g.

7. Mean copra content of 150 g per nut or more.

Avoid palms which- (i) have long, thin and pendulous inflorescence stalks

                                 (ii) produce long, narrow, small sized or barren nuts

                                 (iii) show shedding of immature nuts in large numbers

 

 

Collection and storage of seed nuts

Collect mature nuts (above 11 month old) during the period from December to May. Store seeds in shade with the stalk-end up over an 8 cm layer of sand for a minimum period of 60 days prior to sowing in nursery and cover with sand to revent drying of nut water. Up to five layers of nuts can be arranged one over the other.

Selection and preparation of site for nursery

Prepare beds of 1.5 m width and of convenient length with 75 cm space between beds. In areas where drainage is poor, prepare raised beds. Sow the nuts in the nursery after commencement of southwest monsoon during May-June.

Spacing of nuts

Plant the seed nuts at a spacing of 30 cm (between rows) x 30 cm (between nuts) with four or five rows per bed.

Method of planting seed nuts

Plant the seed nuts in the beds in trenches 25-30 cm deep and cover with soil so that

top portion of husk alone is visible. The nuts may be planted either horizontally with the

widest of the segments at the top or vertically with stalk-end up. Vertical planting is preferable

on account of convenience in transporting and lesser risk of seedling injury.

Care and management of nursery

Irrigate the nursery once in two days during summer months. Keep the nursery beds free of weeds by periodic weeding. If termite is noticed, remove soil in the affected area up to a depth of about 15 cm

and dust soil and nuts with small quantity of sodium chloride. Repeat if attack persists. Periodically spray the plants with 1% Bordeaux mixture to prevent fungal infection.

Selection of seedlings

Select only good quality seedlings (9-12 months old) based on the following characteristics.

1. Early germination, rapid growth and seedling vigour.

2. Six to eight leaves for 10-12 month old seedlings and at least four leaves for 9 month

old seedlings.

3. Collar girth of 10-12 cm.

4. Early splitting of leaves.

Removal of seedlings

Remove seedlings from the nursery by lifting with spade and cutting the roots.

 

 

Preparation of land and planting of seedlings

The size of pits for planting would depend upon soil types and water table

Soil type

Pit size

Loamy soil

1m x 1m x 1 m

Laterite

1.2m x 1.2m x 1.2 m

Sandysoil

0.75m x 0.75m x 0.75 m

 

Burial of two layers of husks in the floor of the pits will be useful for moisture conservation.

The husk is to be buried in layers with concave surface facing upwards. After arranging

each layer, sprinkle common salt on the husk to prevent colonization by termites.

 

Spacing

Spacing depends upon the planting system, soil type etc

 

 

Planting system

Spacing

number of  plants/ha

1

Triangular

7.6 m

198

2

Square

7.6 to 9 m

120-170

3

Single hedge

5 m in the rows 9 m between the rows

220

4

Double hedge

5m x 5m in rows 9 m between pairs of rows

280

 

Time of planting

Planting the seedlings during May, with the onset of pre-monsoon rains is ideal.. In low-lying areas, plant the seedlings in September after the cessation of heavy rains.

Shading and irrigation

For the first two years from planting, irrigate seedling, once in 4 days, during dry summer months. Provide adequate shade to the transplanted seedlings.

Weeding and interculture

Any tillage system (ploughing, digging, raking or forming mounds) that provides soil mulch and

control weeds may be followed depending upon local conditions.

 

 

Cover cropping & green manuring - Legume cover crops grown in basins - generate about 15 to 20 kg green biomass/ basin. Legumes grown in the interspaces - generate 3 to 4 tonnes of green biomass /hectare. The perennial green manure plant, Gliricidia can be grown along the borders of coconut plantations and can help in generating huge quantities of nitrogen-rich green leaf manure.

Application of Gliricidia prunings as leaf manure can help in meeting a major portion of nitrogen, and a part of phosphorus and potassium demand of coconut trees.

Besides, a number of organic wastes from the coconut palm can be effectively recycled to make good compost, which will meet much of the nutrient demands of the coconut trees.

Husk burial - Coconut husks and coir pith can be buried in the trenches (small trench of convenient length, 0.5 m to 0.75 m wide and 0.3 to 0.5 m deep at a distance of 2-2.5 m away from the base of the trunk)in between the rows of palms. Coir pith has 400 to 600 per cent water holding capacity this can be helpful in the long-term moisture conservation. In addition, both these materials are rich in potash and would be available to the plants over the years.

 

Vermi composting - The leaves and other organic waste from the coconut farms can be converted to highly nutritious compost using the earthworm. Compost can be prepared in the coconut basin or in tanks. 

 

 

Manuring of adult palms

Apply [ FYM /cowdung  (50kg) +  ash  (5kg) + Azosprillum (200 g)] / palm / year

Note:    1. Under irrigated conditions, manures can be applied in 3-4 equal split doses.

             2. In the case of low-lying areas, apply manures in one single dose after water table recedes or                      in two split doses as conditions permit.

            3. The application of organic materials such as forest leaves, cattle manure, coir dust or                      coconut shredding @ 10 kg per pit along with PGPR mix I (100-200g) in the first three years             will be useful to obtain better establishment of coconut palms in sandy soils and in coastal                   situations.

 

- Apply 1/3rd of the total dose during first year, 2/3rd during second year and full dose from third year onwards.

- Under rainfed conditions, apply manures in two split doses, 1/3 rd at the time of early southwest monsoon showers in April-June and 2/3 rd in September-October.

 - Under irrigated conditions, apply manures in three or four equal doses in April-May, August-September, December and February-March.

- Apply lime or dolomite during April-May, magnesium sulphate during August-September.

     For an adult palm 1 kg dolomite or 1 kg lime + 0.5 kg MgSO4 is required per annum.

Intercropping

Monocropping of coconut is not possible when organic farming is practiced. The planting method and growing habit of coconut is ideal for inter cropping. This ensures crop diversity in organic farming. In farms which have only coconut trees, at least one inter crop must be grown. The high density multi storied cropping by cultivating cocoa, banana, pineapple, pepper, vegetables, tuber crops etc. is possible in coconut gardens. This gives crop diversity and at the same time increases the income from the plot. During the initial six to seven years of coconut growth crops like spices, ornamental crops, tuber crops, cereals, vegetables etc. can be cultivated as inter crops.

  1. Spices : Ginger, Turmeric, Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove, Vanilla, Malabar tamarind           
  2. Tuber crops: Tapioca, Colocasia, Amorphophallus, Dioscorea, Sweet potato
  3. Fruit crops      : Banana, Pineapple, Papaya, Guava, Sapota
  4. Leguminous crops : Cowpea, Black gram, Green gram,  Horse gram

5.  Vegetables  : Chilly, Brinjal, cowpea, amaranthus, pumkin, ash gourd, bitter                                          gourd, snake gourd

6. Medicinal & Aromatic plants    : Palamrosa, ginger grass

7. Flowers                : Orchid, Anturium, Jasmine, Heliconia, Mosanda

8. Others                   :Cocoa, Gooseberry

Drip irrigation

drip irrigation is the most efficient system of irrigation to coconut. It saves water, enhances plant growth and yield, saves energy and labour, most suited for soils having low water holding capacity and undulating terrain, reduces weed growth and improves efficiency of fertilizers. For coconut, generally, three to four drippers are given per palm. The water requirement for an adult palm is 40 to 50 litres per day.

Safe storage of copra

Following precautions are to be taken for the safe storage of copra for more than three months:

(1) Dry the produce to four per cent moisture content.

(2) Avoid heap storage, which causes maximum damage.

(3) Store copra in netted polythene bags or gunny bags.

Pests

Rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros)

Symptoms

The adult beetle bores into the unopened fronds and spathes. The attacked frond when fully

opened shows characteristic triangular cuts.

Prophylactic / control measures

1. Provide field sanitation to prevent breeding of beetles.

2. Hook out the beetles from the attacked palms by using beetle hook

3. The topmost three leaf axils around the spindle may be filled with 250g neem cake or marottti (Hydnocarpus wightina) cake mixed with equal volume of sand in the innermost 2-3 leaf axils as a prophylatic measure. This treatment is to be done twice, ie, during April-May before the onset of south-west monsoon and during September- October after the south –west monsoon.

4. Dust manure pit walls with lime powder and plaster with cow dung.

5. Boil castor cake and groundnut cake with a little quantity of water. Keep in earthern pots near light source to attract beetles, which can be collected and killed.

6. Mix sand (250g) and neem seed powder (100g) and fill inner leaf sheaths of youngest leaves.

7. Apply roots, shoots, leaves and flowers of Clerodendron infortunatum (peruvalam)

with cowdung in manure pits. Fresh plant or shade dried plant mixed with cowdung in the ratio 1:10.

8. Release Baculovirus oryctes infected adults @ of 10-15 / ha to bring down the pest population.

9. Inoculation of breeding sites with entomopathogenic fungus Metarrhizium anisopliae

var. major (@ 5 x 1011 spores / ml) gives effective control.

Red palm weevil (Rhyncophorus ferrugineus)

Symptoms

The diagnostic symptoms are the presence of holes on the stem, oozing out of a viscous

brown fluid and extrusion of chewed up fibrous matter through the hole, longitudinal splitting

of leaf base and wilting of central shoot. Sometimes the gnawing sound produced by the

feeding grubs inside will also be audible.

Control

1. Field sanitation should be given prime importance.

2. Avoid making steps or any other injury on the tree trunks to reduce the loci of infestation.

3. Leaf axil filling as suggested in the case of rhinoceros beetle will be useful against the red palm weevil also.

4. When green leaves are cut from the palms, stumps of not less than 120 cm may be left

on the trees in order to prevent successful inward movement of the grubs through the cut end.

5. Clean the crown periodically before and after rain.

6. Mix sand and nerium seed powder and fill the bore holes.

7. Coconut log traps with fermenting toddy or pineapple or sugarcane activated with

yeast or molasses can be set in coconut plantation to attract and trap the free floating

population of red palm weevil. Incorporate any of the insecticides to each trap to kill

the weevils trapped.

8. Use of pheromone trap for attracting and killing adult weevils @ one trap per 2 ha.

Leaf eating caterpillar

Symptoms

The caterpillar feeds on green matter from the lower leaf surface, remaining within

galleries of silk and frass. The attack will be severe during summer months from January-

May.

Control

1. As a prophylatic measure, the first affected leaves may be cut and burnt during the

beginning of the summer season.

2. Arrange for the release of larval / pupal parasitoids, Goniozus nephantidis

3. Mix extract of 2 kg neem seed kernel and 200 g soap in 200 litres of water and spray

followed by the release of larval pupal parasites.

Coconut eriophyid mite

Coconut eriophyid mite infests young buttons colonizing under the perianth.

Symptoms

The earliest symptom on 2-3 month old buttons is pale yellow triangular patches seen

below the perianth. Later, these patches become brown. Severely affected buttons may

fall. As the buttons grow, brown patches lead to black necrotic lesions with longitudinal

fissures on the husk. Uneven growth results in distortion and stunting of nuts leading to

reduction in copra yield. In severe cases, the losses are compounded because the quality of

fibre is reduced and distorted nuts increase the labour requirements for dehusking.

Management

1. Collect and destroy all the fallen buttons of the affected palm.

2. Apply 2% neem oil + garlic emulsion or commercial neem formulation Azadirachtin

0.004% (Neemazal T/S 1% @ 4 ml per litre of water) or micronized wettable sulphur

0.4 % in the crown on young bunches. When rocker sprayer is used 1.0 to 1.5 litres of

spray fluid per palm is required. If a hand sprayer is used, the spray solution required

may be about 500 to 750 ml. Spraying has to be done on second to seventh bunch from

top avoiding unpollinated inflorescence. Care should be taken to see that spray fluid

reaches the perianth region of third, fourth and fifth bunch since these bunches harbour

maximum number of mites. Three rounds of spraying are recommended in a year viz.,

March-April before the onset of southwest monsoon, in August-September during the

dry spell between the southwest and northeast monsoons and in December-January

after the northeast monsoon so that all the emerging bunches in the vulnerable stage

receive one round of spraying.

As per the recommendation of the National Level Steering Committee, a holistic

approach has to be adopted in the management of the coconut eriophyid mite. Hence, in

addition to the plant protection measures mentioned above, the following measures can be

adopted:

1. Improving nutrient status by applying organic manure at the rate of 50 kg and neem

cake 5 kg per palm per year. Also apply the recommended dose of fertilizers in two

split applications.

2. Growing compatible intercrops / mixed crops.

3. Providing adequate irrigation.

Rodents

Rats damage tender nuts by forming characteristic holes. Shed nuts can be seen at the

base of the palm.

Control

1. Boil 10kg wheat and two large pieces of Glyricidia bark and broadcast in field as bait.

2. Mix gypsum and sugar and keep in places as bait where rats are frequent.

3. Take 1 part nerium seed powder + 9 parts rice +1 part coconut pulp + a little oil. Mix

well and use as a bait.

4. Mix shrimp powder and cement (dry) and keep as bait. Pre baiting with shrimp powder

alone will be more effective.

5. Use tin barrier around tree trunk to prevent rat damage.

 

Diseases

Bud rot (Phytophthora palmivora)

Symptoms

Palms of all age are liable to be attacked but normally young palms are more susceptible,

particularly during monsoon when the temperature is low and humidity is very high. In

seedlings, the spear leaf turns pale and comes off with a gentle pull. In adult palms, the first

visible symptom is the colour change of the spear, which becomes pale and breaks at the

base and hangs down. The tender leaf base and soft tissues of the crown rot into a slimy

mass of decayed material emitting a foul smell. The rotting slowly progresses downwards,

finally affecting the meristem and killing the palms. This is accompanied by drooping of

successive leaves. Even then, nuts that are retained on the palm may grow to maturity. The

disease proves fatal if not checked at the early stages, before damage of the bud.

Management

1. In early stages of the disease (when the heartleaf starts withering) cut and remove all

affected tissues of the crown.

2. Burn all disease-affected tissues removed from the palm.

3. Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture on spindle leaves and crown of disease affected as well

as neighbouring palms, as a prophylatic measures.

4.Drench crown with Pseudomonas fluorescence 2% suspension or PGPR mix II.

5. Adopt control measures for rhinoceros beetle.

6. Provide adequate drainage in gardens.

7. Adopt proper spacing and avoid over crowding in bud rot prone gardens.

Mahali (Phytophthora palmivora)

Symptoms

Shedding of female flowers and immature nuts are the common symptoms of the

disease. Lesions appear on the young fruits or buttons near the stalk, which later lead to the

decay of the underlying tissues and endosperm.

Control

Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture on the crown of palms, once before the monsoon and

once or twice later on at intervals of 40 days.

Root (wilt) disease

Symptoms

The characteristic symptom is the ribbing and flaccidity of leaflets. Yellowing of outer

whorl of leaves, necrosis of leaflets and deterioration and decay of root system are other

salient features of the disease. The leaflets curve inwardly to produce ribbing so that the

whole frond develops a cup like appearance. Abnormal shedding of buttons and immature

nuts are also noticed.

Management

Coconut root (wilt) is a non-lethal debilitating disease and the affected palms survive

for a long period giving a reasonably good yield. The root (wilt) affected palms are susceptible

to diseases like leaf rot and pests like rhinoceros beetle and red palm weevil. So there is a

chance of confusing the pests and disease symptom with the root (wilt) disease. Negligence

on the management aspects aggravates the malady. Efficient management of palms suspected

to be affected by coconut root (wilt) disease demands control of all pests and diseases and

imparting natural resistance and health to the palms through proper manuring and agronomic

practices. A package of practices for the effective management of root (wilt) disease is

given below:

1. Rogue out palms that are affected severely by root (wilt) and that yield less than

10 nuts / palm / year and those, which have contracted the disease before flowering.

Replant with disease tolerant material / high yielding hybrids (Chandrasankara).

2. Growing green manure crops like sunn hemp, sesbania, cowpea and calapagonium in

the coconut basin and their incorporation in situ is beneficial as the practice reduces

the intensity of the root (wilt) and increases the nut yield. The ideal green manure

crops for the sandy and alluvial soils are cowpea and sesbania, respectively.

3. Apply manures in 10cm deep circular basins at a radius of 2 cm from the bole of the palm.

4. When the crop is grown under the bund and channel system, desilt the channel and

strengthen the bunds during summer months.

5. Ensure proper drainage in the field during rainy season.

6. Follow strictly all the prescribed prophylactic measures against leaf rot disease, red

palm weevil, rhinoceros beetle etc. so as to ensure that the palms are not debilitated.

To maintain the productivity of the palms, prophylactic measures are of great importance.

Apply Trichoderma + Pseudomonas fluoroscence so as to enhance the soil health.

Irrigate the palms in soil month.

Package for severely affected areas

Apply FYM 25kg + coirpith compost 25kg + wood ash 5kg + kayal silt (if available)

per coconut basin. Sow 35g of cowpea seeds per basin of 1m width and incorporate the

biomass in the soil. Bury coconut husks of 25 coconuts in the basins and apply water.

spear fails to unfurl.

stage of infection.

Stem bleeding (Thielaviopsis paradoxa)

Symptoms

Exudation of the reddish brown liquid through the growth cracks mostly at the basal

part of the trunk above one meter from the basin are characteristic symptoms. One or more

lesions, lying close by, may coalesce to form large patches. The liquid that oozes out dries up

and turns black. The tissues beneath the bleeding points decay and become yellowish. The

lesions spread upwards as the disease progresses. In advanced stages, the leaf size reduces

leading to reduction in crown size. The rate of leaf production slows down. The production

of bunches is affected and nut shedding takes place. The trunk gradually tapers towards the

apex. The progress of the disease is faster during July to November.

Control

1. Chisel out the affected tissues completely and paint the wound withBordeauxpaste.

2. Destroy the chiseled materials by burning. Avoid any mechanical injury to trunk.

3. Apply neem cake @ 5 kg per palm in the basin along with other organics. Irrigate the

palm during summer season and avoid water stagnation during rainy season.

4. Apply Trichoderma @ 50g/palm along with FYM.

Tanjore wilt (Ganoderma lucidum)

Symptoms

The characteristic symptom of the disease is the rotting of the basal portion of the

stem. The bark turns brittle and often gets peeled off in flakes, leaving open cracks and

crevices. The internal tissues are discoloured and disintegrated, emitting a bad smell. Mild

bleeding occurs on the basal region. The tissues on the bleeding spots are soft to touch.

Extensive damage of the root system following root rotting has been observed. Ultimately

the palm dies off.

Control

1. Apply organic manure @ 50 kg / palm.

2. Apply neem cake @ 5 kg / palm / year.

4. Drench the basin with 40 litres of 1% Bordeaux mixture to soak soil up to 15 cm depth at quarterly intervals.

5. Avoid flood irrigation in order to prevent the possible spread of the pathogen through soil.

6. Isolate the affected palm from the healthy ones by digging a trench of size 1 m deep and 50 cm wide, 1.5 m away from the bole of the infected palm.

7. Avoid growing leguminous crops in and around the garden.