The Palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera) or Date Palm is an attractive, low-maintenance tree. The Date Palm is an erect Palm tree that belongs to the family Arecaceae, grown for its edible fruit, the Date. The fruit known as the Dates is sweet and highly nutritious. Let’s check out the top 17 steps to boost Date Palm yield below.
Top 17 steps to boost Date Palm yield
Step 1: Soil preparation for better growth and more fruit production
Palms can be grown in any soil, and there is no special soil requirement. Palm trees tolerate the salinity of the earth. Soil with a pH level of 8 to 11 is an ideal soil condition. For better growth and more fruit production, sandy loam soils with good moisture retention, ventilation, and drainage are preferred. Calcium carbonate soils should be avoided. Well-drained soil is the most important factor when choosing where to plant the soil. This Palm performs well in sandy or loamy soils and tolerates salt.
This alkaline soil prefers acidity slightly over pH. The deep sandy loam is best suited, although it is very hard and can be grown in many soil conditions. The ability to have good water with good drainage is essential. However, it can grow in alkaline and saline soils, affecting growth and production. They can thrive in any soil, including relatively saline soils, but require good drainage. Although the Date Palm adapts to different growing conditions, the Date Palm grows only in hot, dry climates.
Step 2: Select high yield varieties
- Barhee Dates – Also known as Barhi Dates, is a high-yielding variety. The tree’s trunk is large, and the tree is of medium height. Fruit stalks are long, broad, and heavy. The fruit of the Date Palm is light brown to dark brown in color and cylindrical.
- Medjool Dates are the fastest-growing, 12-18 inches per year. Mature size is about 100-120 feet high.
Many types of Palm trees produce delicious fruits. Below are the popular varieties;
- Barhi: This variety produces a solid, delicious fruit eaten straight from the tree.
- Daglet Noor: This type of fruit has a golden and honey-like taste.
- Fard: This tree bears fruit that most of us recognize as an ordinary Palm with a dark brown outer part.
- Dayri: This variety produces a tall fruit that changes from red to gray.
Step 3: Date Palm yield affected factors
Proper irrigation and fertility management increase productivity. Palm cultivation can be successfully cultivated in regions with long hot, dry summer and mild winter climatic conditions in which there is no rain during fruit ripening. Palm cultivation can be done on various soils with different amounts of soil minerals and organic matter. Trees can tolerate salty soil. Trees are found growing on all five continents. Most of the farmers follow the traditional methods of Palm cultivation without a proper arrangement of trees and bunches of fruits.
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It results in low-quality fruit production. Fertilizers, harvesting, and thinning fruits will yield quality fruits with a very high market value. Fruit production is affected by fruit breakage and checking due to moisture; therefore, low humidity is preferred for fruit development. Palm cultivation can be done on various soils with different amounts of soil minerals and organic matter. Trees can tolerate saline soil.
Step 4: Light and temperature requirements for Date Palm tree growth
Dates are grown in arid and semi-arid areas characterized by long and hot summers, no rain (or maximum), and relatively low humidity during ripening. Extraordinarily high temperatures (± 56°C) are well tolerated by Palm irrigation for several days. These are native to the Mediterranean region and grow in warm, dry, or humid climates. Palm trees can withstand cold winters but without cold and light rain.
Step 5: Propagation method for large yield
Offshoots or suckers: This is the most common method of propagation. The offshoots must be picked from the base of the mother tree. About 4-5 years after planting, you should separate the sucker. You can get 9 to 20 suckers weighing 9-15 kg during the fourth and tenth years of the tree. A Palm tree can produce 10-25 branches. It is a slow multiplication process that produces excellent yields.
Seeds: Farmers refrain from using this propagation method as the fruits are poor. More than half of the Date fruits produce males that cannot be used for future multiplication.
Tissue culture: This technique encourages rapid multiplication of the Palm.
Step 6: Tips for growing Palm trees grow faster
If you are growing your Palm trees, there is a way to grow them faster, thus producing more quality fruits. Palm trees need special plant food that meets all their nutritional needs and helps them grow faster. Keep trees in a warm place. Palm trees grow fast in hot weather. Although they will cope with the cold, they will not grow so fast. Some artificial lighting systems generate heat.
Increase the growth rate of your Palm trees by providing extra nutrients and carbon dioxide. Apply mycorhyzal fungus to the root system to increase the ability of roots to absorb essential water and nutrients. Potassium sulfate in the soil accelerates the growth process and increases fruit production.
Step 7: Fruit thinning to get high-quality fruits
There are three ways to fruit thinning;
- To remove some strips from the middle of the bunch,
- To reduce the length of the strand by cutting, and
- To remove several fruits on each strap.
Fruit pruning will improve both the quality and nutritional value of the fruit. Harvesting helps to get high-quality fruits that will have a reasonable market price. Fruit thinning is applied to reduce the natural production of Dates by one-third to one-fourth. Remove the fruit from all the bunches by cutting the bushes or cutting some strings in the middle of the bunches.
Fruits have to be thinned to retain 1300-1600 fruits in 8-10 bunches per Palm. The thinning process can be done by removing the entire strand or shortening the edges. 10 – 30 days after the fruit set, spraying Ethephon with 200 ppm will help thin the fruit effectively. It also helps overcome the two-year effect and encourages early ripening and gaining fruit weight and soluble sugar.
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Step 8: Pollination improves Date Palm production
Date Palm trees are heavily cross-pollinated in nature. Only 5-10% of male plants are needed to pollinate 100 female plants. In the commercial production of Dates, pollination is done by hand or machine. A total of three male flower strands are placed in each female flower strand. Pollination is an essential agricultural method in Palm cultivation as it affects the size and quality of Palm fruits and their ripening. The flowers are small, in large clusters, with three sepals and three petals, the males are white, and the females are yellow-green.
Both clusters of flowers are covered with a hard, fibrous sheath that cracks when pollination begins. Female Palms are naturally pollinated by air, and a male Palm can be grown for 40-50 females. Hand pollination is done in commercial production and produces significantly higher yields. However, if the fruit is not thinned after hand pollination, the Palm replacement bearing will be one year heavier and the following year lighter.
Step 9: Select a planting method for promoting faster growth
The key factor in Date Palm cultivation is the method of planting. When planting a Date Palm, you should make sure that the hole is at least twice the size of the roots. It will ensure that it is firmly attached to the soil. It would help if you cut any circular roots in such a way as to encourage them to move outwards. It helps the roots spread faster in the soil and affect the plant’s growth rate. Finally, it would help if you created a circular basin around the plant that will help it retain more water and promote faster growth.
Step 10: Irrigation is required for growing Dates
Young shoots are provided irrigation on alternate days. Regular irrigation should be provided through drip irrigation on Palm farms. Although trees grow in arid regions and tolerate drought, proper irrigation will help grow trees on the farm. Avoid excessive irrigation as it will damage the roots. Older Palm trees need watering once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter.
Watering the tree once every two weeks in summer and once a month in winter. The Palm usually spreads its roots deep into the ground to access groundwater sources, so regular deep watering is required for maximum health.
Step 11: Drip irrigation enhances fruit quality
Drip irrigation provides highly efficient water delivery to the roots, ensuring that Palm trees grow to their full potential. Water efficiency is essential when growing in hot climates where vapor emissions are high. Proper irrigation uses 45% less water than flood irrigation. Drip irrigation avoids excess moisture, ultimately reducing spray requirements and increasing fruit quality.
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Step 12: Discolored or wilting Palms
Examine the fronds (parts with green leaves) for signs of discoloration or wilting. Although it is typical for fronds to age and turn from green to orange and then brown, younger fronds should still be bright green. If all the fronds are withering or fading, it could be a lack of water. Make sure the Date Palm tree is getting the right amount of water. If you notice that the center of the upper part of the Palm, called the crown, is turning brown, you’ve got to act fast.
Another common problem is that it loses its nutrients when the Palm is planted in the soil. While Palms do not need fertilizer like other trees, they still need the proper nutrients during the growing season. Insects are the last reason for the color and withering of Palms. Many insects can infect your Palm tree and make it sick and die. Regular inspection of Palm trees will help solve these problems as soon as they can be solved.
Step 13: Manures and nutritional requirements for Date Palm growth
Organic manure or farmyard manure are used in the preparation of soil. Each pit along the offshoot is covered with organic manure, soil, sand, and other materials. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are used intermittently, and the dose should be reduced as the plant ages. The Date Palm will need specific nutrients for rapid growth like all trees. You can buy Palm fertilizer, which contains specific nutrients that promote these Palms’ growth.
If you cannot find Palm fertilizer, you can use ordinary Palm fertilizer as an alternative, although Palm fertilizer is preferred. After winter, when the weather starts to get warmer, add fertilizer so that the Date can get the required nutrients during the growing season. It will help the Palm to grow very fast. Dates have various nutritional requirements that require a diet of plants specially formulated. They can be sensitive to high amounts of phosphorus, higher than other essential plant nutrients.
A fertilizer where phosphorus, the middle number on the fertilizer label, is less than the other two numbers helps prevent nutrient deficiencies and symptoms such as a yellow leaf. The importance of mineral elements, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, to increase the yield of fruits, it is necessary to determine their maximum quantity for the fertilization of Dates.
Step 14: Palm tree problems and their control
Over-watering – The first sign of over-watering is usually yellow or brown leaves that fall off before they dry out. Palm trees are moist but quick-draining soil. If you have drainage problems, or if you see water taking too long to fall into the ground, add 30% sand to the soil.
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Not enough water – The tips of the leaves will dry out and turn brown. It isn’t accessible to water most Palm trees, so keep the soil moist. You can use moisture measurements to stick to the soil to tell you when it is time to water when needed. Otherwise, stick your finger in the dirt, and if the first 2 inches of dirt are dry, you know this water is fine.
Over-fertilizing – Palm trees can be over-fertilized. Make sure to spread the slowly released compost around the Palm, keeping a distance of about 2 feet from the stem. It will ensure that your Palm does not have too many nutrients, but it will still gradually get the fertilizer it needs for strong and healthy growth. In general, Palm fronds begin to turn yellow immediately if too much fertilizer is applied. For best yield, apply in early spring and again in mid-summer.
Step 15: Saving a dying Palm tree
When the discoloration or wilting of the tree is due to lack of care, it can be easily reversed in most cases. These are signs that the tree is under pressure because not enough water, fertilizer, or insects are allowed to move. As well as controlling fertilizers and pests, watering the property will help your Palm tree return to good health. It is essential that as soon as you see a problem or it may cause the Palm tree to be removed.
The most important part of the Palm tree’s health is the crown stalk. It is responsible for pulling moisture and nutrients up to the length of the Palm tree. It will give the tree the best nutrients and moisture, and a chance to fight. You will want to talk to a landscaping professional for this type of care.
Step 16: Epsom Salt is good for increasing fruit production
Epsom salt can be beneficial for Date Palms when used appropriately. You can use Epsom salt to treat or prevent magnesium deficiency. Magnesium sulfate will replenish your soil and help your Palm trees look green and beautiful.
In case you missed it: Date Palm Seed Germination, Time, Temperature (Kajura)
Step 17: Harvesting tips for getting more yield
Dates begin to bear fruit after three or four years. Depending on the type of Palm, the tree starts to bear fruit, and some may start from the sixth year. Fruits can be harvested according to market demand. Some will harvest when the fruit is immature, some may harvest when the fruit is half ripe, and some may reap when the fruit is fully ripe. You can also cut some fruits that have gone through the ripening stage for dried and dried fruits. With good growth and best farming practices, each tree can produce about 100 to 125 kg of fruit.
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