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Cultivation practice of Arabian Date Palm P. dactylifera

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The slides are about the cultivation techniques of Arabian date palm to provide primary knowledge to the interested people to grow the palm in small scale farm or backyard.

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Cultivation practice of Arabian Date Palm P. dactylifera

  1. 1. Cultivation Practice of Arabian Date Palm P. dactylifera in Brief Editor: Md. Nazim Uddin Mondal Former Associate Scientist-Extension Agronomy, International Rice Research Institute, (IRRI) and Deputy Director Agriculture Extension, Bangladesh Email: nazim.mondal@gmail.com
  2. 2. WELLCOME Baby, sleep peacefully we are working for your future food security!
  3. 3. Introduction The date palm Phonex dactylifera is today a major fruit crop in its original homeland Iraq, as well as in a number of other countries where it has been introduced for commercial production. Over millennia, from Mesopotamia, the date palm has been carried in all directions in an historical process of diaspora that continues today. Bangladesh is a potential country for introduction of the fruit as evidences are available and it has religious importance among the people too. Many people are interested to cultivate this fruit all over the world. This presentation is a brief of cultivation practices for the people with primary knowledge on date palm production.
  4. 4. Climate The date palm grows in subtropical and arid regions. The optimal growing temperature is 32°C. Temperatures below 7°C or above 45°C will arrest the tree’s growth processes. Fruit set will occur only if the temperature is above 13°C. A commercial yield is possible only if there is a long hot period of around 32°C. Rains during harvest season are damaging the yield of most date varieties.
  5. 5. Soil Dates grow in various types of soil: light, medium and heavy, but require good drainage and air penetration into the soil. Date palms are resistant to alkaline soil. Irrigation with saline water is detrimental to the vegetative growth potential and reduces yield size and quality. Date palm is tolerant to soil salinity of up to 4dsm-l.
  6. 6. Varieties About 1500 varieties are in existence. In Iraq alone there are about 630 varieties, but the main varieties grown there are Zahdi, comprising about 43% of the total yield. Other local varieties in Iraq include Halawi and Khadrawi. The main variety in North Africa is Deglet, while in California it’s Deglet Noor and Zahdi. The Medjoul variety is considered to be of superior quality in both regions and elsewhere. However, selection of variety depended on the location where the crop will grow.
  7. 7. Propagation by Seed Saplings can be propagated by seed, but this is not practical. Trees from seed will start producing yields after 6-10 years. In addition, 50% of the trees will be male which are non-productive. Propagation by seed is impractical as both male and female palms result and are only distinguishable by farmers at flowering. Moreover, there will be many variations in flowering and fruit qualities.
  8. 8. Propagation by seed Cont: Seed selected from elite cultivars may be planted in plastic bags in the nursery. During the monsoon, seedlings should be transplanted to the field at a spacing of 7-8 m between rows and 1 m between plants. Adjacent rows should have alternate sowings. At sexual maturity, male plants are moved, maintaining 3-5% males. The best fruiting females should be selected. This method of propagation involves a high cost in terms of time, manpower and money.
  9. 9. Seedling production from date palm seeds Germinated seeds Young plants Potted plant Ready seedling Seeds in the seedbed Seedlings in plastic bags
  10. 10. Offshoot propagation is asexual or vegetative propagation, offers the following advantages: Offshoot plants are true to type to the parent palm. The offshoots develop from auxiliary buds on the trunk of the mother plant and consequently the fruit produced will be of the same quality as the mother palm and ensures uniformity of produce. The offshoot plant will bear fruits 2 - 3 years earlier than seedlings . A young date palm can produce from 3 suckers a year (Barhee) up to 30 (Medjoul). Propagation of date palm by Off-shoot Source: http://www.icarda.org/APRP/Datepa lm/introduction/intro-body.htm Offshoots
  11. 11. The hole for the offshoot should be dug only deep enough to accommodate it. Most of the trunk should be left above the ground so the plant will not sink deeper into the soil. A basin should be created 6 to 12 inches deep and 4 to 6 feet wide, with the offshoot planted in the center. The soil needs to be kept moist at all times. For the first year of its life, the newly planted offshoot needs protection from summer sun and wind and winter cold. Leave the offshoot tied up for protection until new green leaves appear. If the offshoot has been pre-rooted in a nursery container, simply plant it at the same depth as it is in the container. If offshoots are purchased from a nursery, find out how long they have been in the containers. They should be six months to a year old. Offshoots taken near the ground with good care have a 95% to 100% survival rate (Next slide) Plantation technique of date palm offshoot
  12. 12. Detachment, care and plantation of offshoot Offshoots grown Planted offshoots Detachment of Offshoots Offshoot aftercare
  13. 13. Advantages of Date Palm Tissue Culture Plants: Required cultivars are available on demand around the year in large numbers including the international with reasonable prices. Free from devastating pests such as RPW and diseases such as Decline disease. Healthy and early crop within 1-2 years where growing rapidly in the open field. It is easy to be transferred from a place to another in terms of volume, weight and health status. High survival percentage after cultivation in open field may reach to 100% due to the complete roots. Large quantity planned plantations simultaneously with uniform growth . (Next slide) Propagation of Date Palm from Tissue Culture Saplings
  14. 14. Tissue culture date palm saplings Tissue culture saplings Tissue culture saplings in green house
  15. 15. Guidelines and Tips for the Cultivation of Tissue Culture-Derived Date Palm Trees by United Arab Emirates University Date Palm Development Research Unit Dept. Date Palm Tissue Culture Laboratory (DPTCL)
  16. 16. Preparations Prior to Planting Tissue Culture-Derived Date Palm Trees Recommended that to use a square planting system (7×7), (8×8) or (7×8) taking into consideration the variety, type of soil and the climate (specifically the humidity). Prepare the necessary planting holes for the palm trees with dimensions no smaller than 75×75×75 cm. It is suggested that the hole is left exposed to the sun and air for a few days to eliminate possible harmful microorganisms. Planting hole
  17. 17. Mix soil with a chosen manure (it is recommended to use thermally treated organic manure that shows good solubility). The topsoil should be collected, put aside and used in the preparation of the planting mixture which will be placed at the bottom of the planting hole. The planting mixture is prepared by mixing the topsoil with a mixture of 1 part sand and 1 part alluvium . Manure and fertilizing planting hole Filling planting hole
  18. 18. The height of the date palms, which the growers receive from the laboratory, should range from 35 to 40 cm. Each tree should have about 4 to 5 branches including the three leaves, known as the original leaves and should have a strong root system which is suitable for growth. The steps below should be followed for the planting process: The plastic bag should be cut open from the base first, to ensure the safety and integrity of the root system Planting of date palm saplings Preparing sapling for planting after removal of plastic bag
  19. 19. The date palm should be placed in the planting hole with extra care, ensuring that the core of the tree (the grown top) is slightly below the soil surface (approximately 25 to 30 cm), and should be positioned vertically but slightly tilted towards the opposite direction of the wind. Planting of date palm saplings Placing sapling in planting hole
  20. 20. The soil should then be pressed tightly around the tree to eliminate any air pockets around the root system, which might lead to its decay. The golden rule to planting a date palm is to ensure that the wide diameter of the trees’ base (onion- or fig-shape) is placed at the soil level and that the irrigation water does not come into contact with the central heart of the tree. Planting of date palm saplings Placing saplings in hole and earth filling
  21. 21. The date palm trees should be surrounded with a fence and covered with plastic or bale nets or other available materials to protect it from harsh climate factors (sun and wind during its first summer and through the cold of the first winter) and foraging animals such as rabbits and other rodents. Planting of date palm saplings Planted and fenced date palm sapling
  22. 22. Irrigation The date palm trees must be irrigated daily in a consistent manner for an initial period of 40 days, taking into account the type of soil and avoiding flooding of the heart of the tree. Care must be taken to wet the soil around the tree to the same consistency each time and not leave it too wet or dry. - After the first initial period of 40 days (after the date of planting), irrigation of the tree may be reduced to two or three times a week for the next two months (if the type of land and the climate of the area allows it). - After the third year since planting the trees, each date palm irrigation bed should be widened to have a diameter similar to the diameter of the extent of the branches. Date Palm Tree Protection and Post-planting Care
  23. 23. Offshoots Management: It is recommended to leave only 3 to 4 offshoots (equally spaced) attached to the tree and to remove extra offshoots in order to give the date palm enough space for good growth and expansion. Soil must be covered well with dust at the site of offshoot cutting and a good pesticide should be used to protect the date palm from infection with hynchophorus ferrugineus (Red Palm Weevil) or any other harmful pests. Removal of flower: It is recommended to remove the spadix (spike) during the first and second year after planting, in order to allow the tree to grow naturally and develop a strong and dense trunk. Date Palm Tree Protection and Post-planting Care
  24. 24. It is recommended that thermally treated organic manure is applied one year after planting the trees (i.e. at the start of the second year), applying it as follow: 5 kg / tree: 2nd year 10 kg / tree: 3rd year 15 kg / tree: 4th year 20 kg / tree: 5th year 25 kg / tree: 6th year This treatment programme is to be fixed until the tenth year, in addition to applying an annual compound chemical fertilizer, containing 100 g Nitrogen, 75 g Phosphorous and 100 g Potassium per date palm. However, this recommendation varies according to recommendation guide of the particular country where to grow the crop. Fertilizer recommendation for date palm
  25. 25. Natural pollination of date palm Phoenix palms are diocious plant which means that male and female flower grow in separate tree and most of them are cross- pollinated. Cross pollination is possible between Arabian date palm P. dactylifera and Indian sugar date palm P. sylvestris Khajur in Bengali. Female P.dactylifera Tree & flowers Male P.dactylifera Tree & flowers Male P. sylvestris Tree & flowers Possible pollination
  26. 26. Within a short time, the female flowers begin to open and it is time to pollinate them. If the armament of large thorns at the base of the fronds near the female blooms has not been previously removed during winter clean up, this is the time to do so. When pollinating the date tree, one should wear protective clothing, especially eye protection. Remove the armament and begin the thinning process by removing the center of the flower spike. Technique of artificial pollination of date palm Thinning of flower spike Removal of large thornsPollination tools
  27. 27. Once this is completed, either a strand of male flowers or one or two cotton balls about the size of a walnut that contain pollen are placed in the center opening of the flower spike that was formed while thinning. Next a rubber band or twine is used to close the spike, forming a cage around the cotton balls. With careful pollination, it is estimated that 50% to 80% of the flowers will set fruit. If a male tree is not available, pollen dusted cotton balls can be obtained from commercial growers. Because most Phoenix palms cross-pollinate, another alternative would be to use pollen from other Phoenix palms, such as Phoenix sylvestris.The pollinated spadix (spike) should be covered with paper bags for about one or two weeks, to prevent foreign external pollination (Next slide) Technique of pollination of date palm Cont:
  28. 28. Pollen extraction from male flower and pollination Extraction of pollen Pollen container Cotton balls with pollen Placement of cotton balls or strand of male flower Placed cotton ball Covering spadix with paper bags
  29. 29. Step 1 Wrap the date bunches once they reach yellow or red in color so that any early ripening dates are caught before they fall to the ground. Step 2 Cut down the bunch once most of the dates have darkened and begun turning brown. Cut through the thick stalk that holds the strands of fruit to the tree with a pruning saw. Step 3 Hold the date bunch over a large tub and shake it vigorously. Remove any ripe dates from the netting and place these in the tub. Step 4 Pick the remaining unripened dates from the strands and spread these out in a single layer on a tray or in a shallow box. Place the box in a warm area that does not receive direct sunlight. Harvesting of date palm
  30. 30. Let there be Arabian date palm on the banks of our dying rivers as a source of food! Thanks! Acknowledgements: The author is grateful to the authors and photographers for using their materials in the ppt.

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