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Agriculture > Plantation Crops > Coconut (Cocosnucifera)

Crop Management

Production of quality planting materials


Selection and preparation of site for nursery

Nursery sites should be well drained with light textured soil and with adequate but not too much shade. In open areas, provide shade during summer. 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.

Before planting, examine seed nuts and discard those without nut water and rotten kernels. 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

Provide protective fencing to the nursery if it is located in open area. If the soil is sandy, provide mulching immediately after the cessation of monsoon rain. 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 carbaryl or chlorpyrifos. Repeat if attack persists. Periodically spray the plants with 1% Bordeaux mixture or any other copper fungicide to prevent fungal infection.

Selection of seedlings

Remove seed nuts, which do not germinate within six months after sowing as well as those with dead sprouts. Select only good quality seedlings (9-12 months old) by a rigorous selection based on the following characteristics.

  • Early germination, rapid growth and seedling vigour.
  • Six to eight leaves for 10-12 month old seedlings and at least four leaves for 9 month old seedlings.
  • Collar girth of 10-12 cm.
  • Early splitting of leaves.

Note: The recovery of quality seedlings will be about 60-65%. Since early germination is one of the criteria for the selection of seedlings, the storing and sowing of seed nuts should be in lots rather than in a staggered manner.

Removal of seedlings

Remove seedlings from the nursery by lifting with spade and cutting the roots. Keep the seedlings in shade and do not expose to sun. Plant seedlings as early as possible after removal from nursery. Never allow lifting the seedlings from the soil by pulling the leaves or stem.


The following guidelines are suggested for large-scale production of D x T hybrid seedlings. Assisted pollination should be done to get maximum hybrid nut production. As far as possible use prepotent palms as parents in the hybridization programmes.

Selection of mother palms

Palms with the following phenotypic character combination may be selected for hybridization work.

  • Nuts without ridges and having yellow, orange or red colour.
  • Palms with overlapping female and male phases
  • Small crown and canopy compared to that of tall palm.
  • Narrow stem without any bulging at the base with close leaf scars


  • Use mixed pollen from identified tall palms.
  • Emasculate the inflorescence by cutting the male flowers with scissors and stripping if necessary within 5-7 days of opening the spathe.
  • Cloth bags made of very close mesh should be used for covering the inflorescence.
  • Hairy caterpillar larvae cause serious damage by boring into the female flowers and developing buttons through stigmatic ends. The damage is more serious under bagged conditions. Spraying 0.15% carbaryl suspension mixed with 1% fish oil soap or sandovit ensures protection from the larvae. Spraying may be done prior to pre-pollination bagging.
  • Dusting of pollen-talc mixture in 1:9 proportion using pollen dispensers is recommended.
  • Assisted pollination for at least 3-5 days on each inflorescence till last female flower becomes receptive and fully pollinated.
  • Remove bags after the seventh day of pollination of the last female flower.


The nuts should be harvested before it is tree-ripe and sown immediately in the bed without storage. Nursery beds should be mulched or shaded and watered regularly and adequately.


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