C O C O N U T

Coconut ()

Varieties
1. East Coast Tall
2. West Coast Tall
3. VPM-3 (Selection from Andaman Ordinary Tall)
4. ALR (CN -1) (Selection from Arasampatty Tall)
5. COD (Dwarf for tender coconut purpose only)

Hybrids
Tall x Dwarf
(To be grown under well managed conditions)
1. VHC 2 - ECT X MYD 
2. VHC 3 - ECT X MOD

Soil
Red sandy loam, laterite and alluvial soils are suitable. Heavy, imperfectly drained soil is unsuitable.

Planting seasons
June-July, December - January. The planting can also be taken up in other seasons wherever irrigation and drainage facilities are available.

Spacing
Adopt a spacing of 25' x 25' (7.5 x 7.5 m) with 175 plants/ha. For planting in field border as a single row, adopt 20' spacing between plants.

Planting
Dug pit size of 3’ x 3' x 3'. In the pits, sprinkle Lindane 1.3 % D to prevent white ant damage. Fill the pit to a height of two feet (60 cm) with FYM, red earth and sand mixed in equal proportions. At the center of the pit, remove the soil mixture and plant the seedling after removing all the roots. Press the soil well around the seedling and provide the seedling with shade by using plaited coconut leaves or palmyrah leaves. Keep the pits free from weeds. Remove soil covering the collar region. As the seedlings grow and form stem, fill up the pits gradually by cutting the sides.

Water management
From 5th year onwards, adopt the following irrigation schedule based on pan evaporation for drip irrigation and basin irrigation.
For drip irrigation, open four pits size of 30 x 30 x 30 cm opposite to each other at one meter distance from the trunk. Place 40 cm long PVC conduit pipe (16 mm) in a slanting position in each pit and place the drippers inside the conduit tube and allow the water to drip 30 cm below the soil surface. Fill the pits with coir pith to prevent evaporation.
In the first year, irrigate on alternate days and from the second year to the time of maturity irrigate twice in a week based on the water requirement.

DROUGHT MANAGEMENT AND SOIL MOISTURE CONSERVATION

1. Mulching with coconut husks/leaves/coir pith
Apply coconut husks with convex surface facing upwards (100 Nos.) or dried coconut leaves (15 Nos) or coir pith up to a height of 10 cm in the basin of 1.8 m radius around the palms as mulch for soil moisture conservation particularly during summer season.

2. Burial of coconut husk or coir pith
Husk burial can be done in coconut basins or in the interspaces to overcome drought and button shedding. Bury husks @ 100 Nos. with concave surface facing upwards or 25 kg of coir pith /palm in circular trenches, dug 30 cm width and 60 cm depth at 1.5 metres radius. The husk can be also buried in the trenches at a distance of 3 m from the palm with a size of 45 cm deep and 150 cm width in between two rows of coconut. The soaking of the coconut husk or coir pith as the case may be preserves the monsoon rains.

3. Manuring
From 5th year onwards, apply 50 kg of FYM or compost or green manure. 1.3 kg urea (560 g N), 2.0 kg super phosphate (320 g P2O5) and 2.0 kg muriate of potash (1200 g K2O) in two equal splits during June – July and December – January. Apply manures and fertilizers in circular basins of 1.8 m from the base of the palm, incorporate and irrigate. During 2nd, 3rd and 4th year ¼, ½ and ¾ doses of the above fertilizer schedule should be adopted respectively. Sufficient moisture should be present at the time of manuring. 
Fertigation may be done at monthly intervals with 75% of the recommended dose of the above fertilizers. Phosphorous may be applied as super phosphate in the basins and incorporated or as DAP through drip when good quality of water is available.

TNAU Coconut Tonic Nutrition
For nut bearing coconut, root feed TNAU coconut tonic @200ml/palm once in six months.

Bio-fertilizer recommendation
- 50 g of Azospirillum
- 50 g of Phosphobacteria ( or ) 100 g Azophos
- 50 g of VAM
Mix all the contents in sufficient quantity of compost or FYM and apply near feeding roots once in 6 months / palm starting from planting. Don’t mix with chemical fertilizers and pesticides

Organic recycling
Any one of the green manure crops like sunhemp, wild indigo, calapagonium or daincha may be sown and ploughed in situ at the time of flowering as a substitute of compost to be applied. Sow sunnhemp @ 50 g/palm in the basin and incorporate before flowering. Coir pith compost/vermicompost made from coir pith/ coconut leaves/ other wastes from coconut grove can be applied.

INTER-CULTURAL OPERATION 
The inter-space in the coconut garden has to be ploughed twice in a year in June-July and December - January. Intercultural operation is essential to keep weed population under check, to enhance the utilisation of the applied plant nutrients by the coconut trees, to facilitate proper aeration to the roots of coconut, to induce fresh root growth.

Weed management
For the broad-leaved weeds, pre-emergence spraying of atrazine @1.0 kg a.i./ ha for the control of grasses and sedges. Post emergence spraying of glyphosate @ 10 ml and 20 g ammonium sulphate/litre of water.

INTER CROPPING
Inter/mixed crops may be selected based on the climatic requirement of the inter/mixed crop, irrigation facilities and soil type. The canopy size, age and spacing of the coconut are also to be considered. Market suitability should be taken into consideration before selecting an intercrop.

A. Below 7 years of age:
Any suitable annual crop for particular soil type and climatic condition may be raised as intercrops upto 5 years after planting depending upon the canopy coverage. Groundnut, sesamum, sunflower, tapioca, turmeric and banana can be grown. Avoid crops like paddy and sugarcane etc.

B. 7 – 20 years of age:
Green manure crops and fodder crops (Napier grass and guinea grass) alone can be grown. 

C. Above 20 years of age :
(20 years of age has to be adjusted based on the sunlight transmission of above 50% inside the canopy) The following crops can be grown depending on the soil and climatic suitability.

(i) Annuals      : Groundnut, bhendi, turmeric, tapioca
(ii) Biennials   : Banana. Varieties Poovan and Monthan are suitable.
(iii) Perennials            : Cocoa*, pepper*(Panniyur 1 or Panniyur 2 or Panniyur 5 or Karimunda), nutmeg* and vanilla* 
*Suitable areas in Pollachi tract of western region and Kanyakumari district. For vanilla, use disease free planting material and maintain high vigilance to maintain a disease free crop.

Multiple cropping system 
Coconut + banana + sirukizhangu + bhendi is suitable system for the eastern region. Crops like banana, pepper, cocoa, nutmeg, vanilla can be tried under multiple cropping system in suitable areas in the western region. In all the systems, apply recommended quantity of water and manures and fertilizers to the intercrops separately.

PEST MANAGEMENT

1. Rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros)

Management:

2. Black headed caterpillar (Opisina arenosella)

3. Red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus)

4. Termites (Odontotermes obesus)

Special problem: Coconut eriophyid mite (Aceria guerreronis)

Package of recommendations for the management of the coconut eriophyid mite

a. Manurial and fertilizer recommendation (Soil application/tree/year)

*Increased quantity is recommended to increase the plant resistance to the mite.

b. Micronutrients (Soil application / tree / year)

DISEASE MANAGEMENT:

1. Basal stem rot Ganoderma lucidum
Management:

Cultural Method

Chemical

2. Bud rot (Phytophthora palmivora)
Management:
The infected tissues from the crown region should be removed and dressed with Bordeaux paste or 1% Bordeaux mixture to be sprayed to reach the crown region as pre-monsoon spray.

3. Stem bleeding diseaseThielaviopsis paradoxa
Management:
The bark of the trunk should be removed in the bleeding area and Bordeaux paste should be applied

4. Lethal leaf blight (LLB)Lasiodiplodia theobromae
Management:
Spray 1.0 per cent Bordeaux mixture or 0.25 per cent Copper oxychloride or 0.2 per cent Indofil M 45 (4 times at monthly interval during February, March, April and May).

a. Preparation of 1% Bordeaux mixture 
A quantity of 400 g of copper sulphate should be dissolved in 20 litres of water and 400 g of lime in another 20 litres of water separately. The copper sulphate solution should be added to the lime solution constantly stirring the mixture. Earthen or wooden vessels alone should be used and metallic containers should not be used. To find out whether the mixture is in correct proportion, a polished knife should be dipped in the mixture for one minute and taken out. If there is reddish brown deposit of copper, additional quantity of lime should be added till there is no deposit in the knife.

b. Preparation of Bordeaux paste
Take 200 g of Copper sulphate and dissolve it in one litre of water and 200 g of lime in one litre of water separately. Both are mixed simultaneously in a third vessel and the resultant mixture can be used as a paste.

SPECIAL PROBLEMS IN COCONUT

1. Rejuvenation of existing garde
The low yield in vast majority of gardens is due to thick population, lack of manuring and irrigation. These gardens could be improved if the following measures are taken.

Thinning of thickly populated gardens:  In the farmer’s holdings where thick planting is adopted, many trees give an yield of less than 20 nuts/palm/year. By cutting and removal of these trees, the yield could be increased. Besides, there is saving in the cost of cultivation and increase in net profit. After removal of low yielding trees, the populations should be maintained at 175 palms/ha.

Ensuring adequate manuring and irrigation: The yield can be increased in the existing gardens when manuring , irrigation and cultural practice is adopted as per recommendation.

2. Pencil point disorder (Micronutrient deficiency)
Because of micronutrient deficiency, the stem will taper towards its tip with lesser number of leaves. The leaf size will be greatly reduced and the leaves will be pale and yellow in colour. Along with the recommended fertilizer dose, 225 g each of Borax, Zinc sulphate, Manganese sulphate, Ferrous sulphate, Copper sulphate and 10 g of Ammonium molybdate may be dissolved in 10 litres of water and poured in the basin of 1.8 m radius. This disorder can be corrected if noticed early. Severely affected palms may be removed and replanted with new seedlings.

3. Button shedding
Shedding of buttons and premature nuts may be due to any one of the following reasons:

The following remedial measures are suggested.

a. Rectification of soil pH

b. Providing adequate drainage facilities

c. Management of young coconut gardens under waterlogged conditions

d. Genetic causes

e. Lack of nutrition 

f. Lack of pollination

g. Hormone deficiency

h. Pests

i. Diseases
Button shedding also occurs due to disease incidence such as basal stem rot. Adoption of control measures suggested for the disease reduces not only spread of the disease but also prevents button shedding. 

Mother palm selection

Nursery management