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Agriculture > Plantation Crops > Coconut (Cocosnucifera)

Crop Management

Water Management : Irrigation

Conventional basin irrigation

Irrigate the palms during summer months in basins around palms as shown below:

Parameters Soil texture
Sandy Sandy loam Loam Silty clay
Available soil moisture (cm/m) 8 12 17 21
Quantity of water / irrigation / palm in litres in a basin of 1.8 m radius 600 900 1300 1600
Frequency of irrigation (days)
All areas in Kerala except north eastern portion of Thrissur and Palakkad dis tricts 3-4 5 7-8 9
North eastern portion of Thrissur and Palakkad districts 2-3 3-4 5-6 6-7

Note: In coastal sandy soils, seawater can be used for irrigation. In irrigated gardens, interruption of irrigation would lead to serious set back in yield and general condition of palms. Hence, when once started, irrigation should be continued regularly and systematically. In sandy loam soil, irrigating the crop with 500 litres of water through basin taken at 1.5 m radius at CPE value of 50 mm (approximate interval of 15 days) is most economical. Do not irrigate seedlings and very young palms with seawater.

Drip irrigation

In the traditional system of irrigation followed in coconut gardens such as flood irrigation, basin irrigation etc. irrigation efficiency is only 30 to 50 per cent due to considerable wastage of water. In addition, cost on inputs like labour and energy in adopting these systems are high. Scarcity of water and increasing cost of labour and energy are deterrents in adopting these traditional irrigation systems. Under these circumstances, drip irrigation is the most suitable system of irrigation to coconut.

Some of the major advantages of drip irrigation are:

  1. it saves water,
  2. enhances plant growth and yield,
  3. saves energy and labour, most suited for soils having low water holding capacity and undulating terrain,
  4. 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.


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