Frequently Asked Questions  
 
 

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*FAQs

1.

Whether coconuts can be sown as soon as they are harvested from the tree ?

Ans.

In the case of Tall seednuts before sowing, the husk of the coconuts should be allowed to dry. Storage of seednuts in shade for a month prior to sowing facilitate speedy and maximum germination. But for Dwarf seednuts, sowing may be done without delay. For dwarf seednuts, water content is low and it gets dried up immediately. Hence, it is advisable to sow the dwarf seednuts when the husk get dried within a few days after harvest.

   
2.

What is the difference between TxD and DxT hybrids ?

Ans.

TxD and DxT are inter varietal hybrids. In TxD Tall variety is used as the female parent and Dwarf as male parent whereas in DxT dwarf is the female parent and the Tall is the male parent.

   
3.

Whether yield on coconut palm will increase due to toddy tapping ?

Ans.

It is reported that in the case of low yielding palms there would be a slight increase in the yield after tapping toddy for a brief period. More studies on toddy tapping under varied conditions are required to substantiate the observation.

   
4.

How coconut husk can be utilized in coconut garden ?

Ans.

There are two methods for utilizing coconut husks in coconut garden

(i) Husk burial : Husks, if buried in the soil acts as a water reservoir and also supply palms with small amount of potash present in it. A fully soaked husk is able to retain about 6-8 times of its weight of water which will become available to the palms when they experience water stress. Besides, on an average 100,000 husks contain potash equivalent to 1 tonne of muriate of potash which is also made available to the palm.

Husk burial is usually done at the beginning of the monsoon in linear trenches of 1.5 m. to 2m wide and about 0.3 to 0.5 m deep between rows of palms. The husks are arranged in layers in the trench, with concave spongy inner side facing upwards. Each layer is covered with soil and the process continued until the last layer reaches up to 0.2 m below the ground level. The trench is then closed and the soil worked over. Usually about 1000 husks per tree will be needed for the purpose. Since the improvement resulting from the above operation lasts for five to six years only, the process should be repeated after every six years. The first visible effect is the general improvement in the condition of the palm followed by an increase in the number of functioning leaves and in the yield. Though there is no visible effect on yield in the first two years, substantial gains become apparent from third year after application.

(ii) Surface mulching with husks : The husks are also used as a surface mulch around the base of the palm. Husks in single layer are placed with convex side up, around the palm up to a radius of 2m from the base.

(iii) Husks for commercial purpose : Coconut husks if available in sufficient quantities can be utilized for the production of coir and coir products.

   
5.

What are the criteria for Mother Palm selection in coconut ?

Ans.

Tree with the following characteristics should be selected as Mother Palms for getting good quality seednuts.

  • Age of 20 years or more
  • In general, regular bearer with annual yield of more than 80 nuts per palm per year. However, in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka conditions high yielding palms giving less than 100 nuts/palm/year, should be chosen for collection of seed nuts.
  • Free of disease
  • Have medium sized nuts with average weight of 600 grams per husked nut and copra content of 150 gram.
  • Have at least 30 fully opened leaves having leaf orientation in all direction.
  • Have short strong petiole with wide leaf base firmly attached to the stem.
  • Bunch stalk should be short, stout and strong and should not show any tendency to droop down or buckle.

Palms which produce barren nuts / those shedding large number of immature nuts / very old aged i.e. above 60 years / growing in very favourable conditions / showing alternate bearing tendency should be avoided.

   
6.

Which is the time for collection of seednuts in coconut ?

Ans.

Seednuts can be collected during the period January to April under Kerala conditions, and from October to March in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and March to August in Tamil Nadu and August to Sept. in Orissa and Assam, West Bengal and other coconut growing southern states conditions.

   
7.

Can coir pith be used as organic manure in coconut garden?

Ans.

Coir pith has to be composted before using as an organic manure as it contains very less nitrogen and large amount of lignin and polyphenol in raw form. For composting 1tonne of coir pith, 5 kg. urea, and 5 bottles of Pleurotus fungus are required.

   

8.(i)

Whether growing pepper on coconut will adversely affect the growth of coconut palm? 

Ans.

No. The pepper is a commercially viable crop in the mixed cropping system under coconut.

   

8.(ii)

Distance to be maintained while planting pepper vines in the basins?

Ans.

The pepper vines are to be planted in pits taken at a distance of 1 to 1.5 Meter away from the trunk at the North-Eastern side of the palm.

   
9.

Clarify the following points regarding intercropping in coconut ?

a)

Whether intercropping can be practiced in coconut garden during all the stages of its growth ?

Ans.

Intercropping in the coconut garden has to be done based on the availability of sunlight. in the holdings. During the initial 8 years, there is a good light transmission and annual / biennial crops can be raised as intercrops. During the period of 9 to 25 years of growth, light availability is poor and hence not suitable for growing intercrops. In a garden, where the palms are more than 25 years, there will be gradual increase in light availability and hence ideal for raising annual and perennial crops in the inter space.

   
b)

Suggest few annual / biennial crops that can be raised as intercrops in coconut garden ?

Ans.

  1. Tuber crops - Tapioca, elephant foot yam, sweet potato, colocasia, greater yam, lesser yam,
  2. Spices - Ginger and turmeric,
  3. Cereals - Rice, Maze, finger millet, pearl millet.
  4. Vegetables- Chilly, potato.
  5. Pulses- Cowpea, black gram, green gram,
  6. Fruit crops-Banana and pineapple
  7. Flower crops - Orchid, anthurium
  8. Medicinal and aromatic plant - Lemon grass , Kacholam, Diascorea, Arrowroot, Sida, long pepper, Neelaamari, Adapathiyan.
   
c)

Suggest few perennial crops that can be grown as mixed crops in coconut garden ?

Ans.

Cocoa, Clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, Betel vine.

   
10 a.

What are the techniques for raising coconut nursery?

Ans.
  1. The site for raising coconut nursery should have well drained, light textured soil with adequate shade, no need of too much shade. In the open area provide shade during the summer. Adequate water source has to be ensured.
  2. The seednuts are to be sown in the nursery bed of size 1.5 meter width and convenient length at a spacing of 30 cm (between rows) x 30 cm (between nuts) in 4-5 rows per bed
  3. Prepare raised beds if water stagnation are problem during rainy season.
  4. The seednuts are to be planted either horizontally with the widest of the segment at the top or vertically with the stalk end up. 
    However, horizontal planting is more preferred considering early and higher germination of seedlings with good vigour and growth. Vertical planting is preferable on account of convenience in transportation and lesser risk of injury of seedlings during lifting from nursery.
  5. Irrigate once or twice in a week if there is no rain.
  6. Remove the nuts which have not sprouted even after five months of sowing.
   
10 b.

How much quantity of fertilizers should be applied to an adult coconut palm ?

Ans.

General fertilizer doze recommended for an adult coconut palm is 500 gm. N, 320 gm. P2 05 and 1200 g K2 O per palm per year.
In the first year after planting, one tenth of the recommended doze should be applied 3 months after planting. In the second year and third year 1/3rd and 2/3rd of the recommended dozes respectively should be applied in two equal splits. From the fourth year onwards full doze of fertilizers should be provided.

 

 

10 c.

Whether skipping of phosphatic fertilizers can be done ?

Ans.

When the available phosphorus in the soil is more than 20 ppm, application of phosphatic fertlisers can be skipped off for a few years until the level goes below 20 ppm. If the level is between 10 to 20 ppm, half of the recommended P2 O5 can be applied.

 

 

11.

What are the causes of root (wilt) disease and give the recommended control measures ?

Ans.

Root wilt disease of coconut is caused by a micro organism called phytoplasma. The disease is transmitted by lace bug Stephanities typicus and plant hopper Proutista moesta. No definite control measure has been developed so far. The bearing palms in the early and middle stages of the disease respond well for the management practices and the yield of those palms could be maintained at economic level by the adoption of disease management practices. The following management practices are recommended.

  1. Apply fertilizers ( 1kg. urea, 2 kg super phosphate, 2 kg muriate of potash and 3 kg magnesium sulphate per palm per year) in two splits. 1/3rd. dose is to be applied during April-May and 2/3rd during September-October for rain fed palms and four equal splits for irrigated palms.
  2. Control leaf rot disease which is found super imposed in the root wilt diseased palms by adopting the following measures.
    1. Cut and remove the rotten portion of the spindle leaf and two successive leaves.
    2. Mix hexaconazole (contaf 5 EC) @ 2ml per palm or dithane M45 @ 3 g per palm in 300 ml of water. Pour this solution around the base of the spindle.
    3. Apply Phorate 10 G, 20g mixed with 200 g. sand, in the inner most leaf axils, twice a year preferably before the onset of monsoon i.e., May-June and after monsoon i.e. September-October.
  3. Apply neem cake @ 5 kg. per palm per year.
  4. Irrigate the palm during summer months.
  5. Provide drainage wherever found necessary.
  6. Grow green manure crops in the basin during monsoon and later incorporate into the basin during September-October.
  7. Raise intercrops in rotation by adopting mixed cropping/mixed farming systems with recycling of organic matter.
  8. Remove all disease advanced and uneconomic palms, and replant with healthy elite seedlings if the planting density is less then 175 seedlings per hectare. 
    Development of resistant / tolerant variety is an ideal solution to this malady. Breeding for resistance / tolerance to root wilt disease initiated in 1987-88 at CPCRI, Kayangulam is showing encouraging results and indicate the possibility of evolving resistant / tolerant high yielding CDG x WCT hybrids for combating the root wilt disease.
   
12.

What is the symptom of red palm weevil attack and give effective measures for controlling the pest ?

Ans.

Red palm weevil is a major pest of coconut which if not controlled in the early stages can kill the palms. The attack of red palm weevil is more severe in young palms below 15 years. The pest can cause damage to the crown and stem portion close to the crown region. The bole region of the seedling is also damaged by its infestation.

The symptom of the red palm weevil infestation becomes very clear only in advanced stage by which time the crown of the affected palms topples. On close monitoring it can be seen that the infested palms in the early stage show yellowing and later wilting of leaves of inner and middle whorls. Small circular holes can be seen on the trunk with a brownish viscous fluid oozing out from them. The base of the affected leaves sometimes split and extrusion of fibres is seen from the cracks. The presence of chewed up fibres / cocoons etc. in leaf axil indicates the presence of the pest in the palm. Gnawing and nibbling sound produced by the grub inside while feeding is audible in many cases.

The pest attack can occur throughout the year but the outbreak is serious after Southwest monsoon. For the management of the red palm weevil an integrated approach of all the recommended methods is essential. This includes:

  1. Sanitation and cultural methods - Crown of the palm has to be cleaned periodically to prevent decaying of organic debris in leaf axils. As far as possible avoid making any cuts causing injuries to the stem of palms. When fronds are to be removed from the palms it should be cut by leaving a petiole length of about 120 cm.
  2. Insecticidal treatment - The affected palms in early stages of attack could be saved by injecting 0.1 per cent endosulfan / dichlorvos or 1 per cent carbary1. Depending on the intensity of pest infestation 1000-1500 ml insecticide in suspension may be required for one palm. In the case of crown damage, the damaged tissues have to be removed and insecticides suspension may be poured in. When pest entry is through the trunk all the holes in the stem may be plugged with cement or plaster.

    As a prophylactic measure fill the top 2-3 leaf axils with a mixture of Sevidol 8G (25 gm) + fine sand (200 gm) per palm during May, September and December.

  3. Attract the pest and destroy them
  4. Filling of top leaf axils with neem cake was also found to be effective in dispelling the pest to a great extent.
   
13.

Give the following details about pheromone traps ?

13 (i).

Height of the traps ?

Ans.

(i) Placing of the trap at a height of 1 to 1.5 metre above the ground level.

   
13 (ii).

Interval for replacing the food based insecticide solution ?

Ans.

The traps are to be checked once in10 days for replacing the food bait and insecticidal solution.

   
13 (iii).

Maximum longevity of the trap ?

Ans.

During winter the longevity of the trap will be about 5 months and in summer it gets exhausted in 3 months.

   
13 (iv).

Whether it is necessary to continue the system once the infestation of beetles is reduced ?

Ans.

The pheromone strip (sachet) may be removed in that case and may be kept in the refrigerator after putting it in a container for subsequent use.

   
14.

How can we control the Eriophyid mite of coconut without disturbing beneficial insets ?

Ans.

In order to protect the natural enemies of the mite present in the coconut gardens, avoid too much use of plant protection chemicals and use them as the last resort. Use plant protection chemicals at the correct dose and spray to cover the buttons / nuts of 2-6 months only. Organic insecticides like neem oil garlic emulsion and neem based commercial products which are not harmful to the natural enemies can be sprayed.

   
15.

Is there any disease in coconut that spreads through irrigation water? Give remedial measures ?

Ans.

Thanjavur wilt / Ganoderma wilt is the disease spreading through Irrigation water. Characteristic symptom of the disease is rotting of the basal portion of the coconut stem. 
In order to check the spreading of the disease, following management practices may be adopted such as

  1. Application of organic manures @ 50 kg. per palm
  2. Application of neem cake @ 5 kg. per palm per year
  3. Drench the basis with 40 litres of 1% Bordeaux mixture to soak the soil up to 15 cm. depth at quarterly intervals.
  4. Avoiding flood irrigation
  5. Application of sulphur and lime to the soil around the stem
  6. To destroy unproductive and severely affected palms along with the bole and roots.
   
16.

In order to prevent immature nut fall in coconut whether the application of Bordeaux mixture will help, if yes, indicate.
(ii) Quantity of mixture
(iii) Whether spraying can be done at the time of opening of inflorescence
(iv) Best time of spraying

Ans.

Yes, in case nut fall is due to the attack of fungus, it can be controlled by spraying Bordeaux mixture (1%). Fungal attack is general observed during monsoon. Control measures:

  1. 2-3 ltrs. of 1% Bordeaux mixture per palm ( 1 ltr. of 1% Bordeaux mixture :- 10 gram powdered copper sulphate & 10 gram quick lime separately dissolved in 500 ml. water and then mixed together.)
  2. Spraying should not be done immediately after the opening of the inflorescence, as pollination will be affected.
  3. Before and after monsoon, one or two sprays at an interval of 40 days.

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