Drought Management in Coconut Gardens
|Importance of drought management||
Coconut produces nuts round the year. Therefore, adequate supply of water is essential for its unhindered growth. Soil moisture is essential for the absorption of nutrients by roots. Moisture stress leads to stunted growth, drooping of leaves, immature nut fall and decreased yield. Importance may be given on the following aspects so as to ward off stress.
|Husk burial for moisture conservation||
Burying of fresh or dried coconut husk around
the palm is a desirable practice particularly for moisture retention. The
husk can be buried either in linear trenches taken 3 m away from the trunk
between rows of palms or in circular trenches taken around the palm at a
distance of 2 m from the trunk. The trenches may be of 0.5 m width and
depth. The husks are to be placed in layers with concave surface facing
upwards and covered with soil. The beneficial effect of husk burial will
last for about 5-7 years. Instead of husk, coconut pith can be buried @ 25
kg / palm / year.
Mulching is an effective method of conserving
soil moisture. Mulch the coconut basins with green / dry leaves at the close
of northeast monsoon (October-November). Mulching also adds organic matter
to the soil and reduces the soil temperature. Do not disturb soil in the
coconut garden during summer months. In level lands, during rainy seasons
excess water may be conserved in small trenches dug out in the plantation.
In sloppy areas, land may be terraced and trenches dug across. This will
facilitate maximum percolation of rainwater and water storage. For moisture
conservation, lowermost 3-5 leaves may be cut and removed. Provide adequate
shade for the transplanted seedlings for 1-2 years. To minimize the heat
load on the stem, application of lime solution on the trunk up to a height
of 2-3 m at the start of the summer season is recommended.
|Green manure and cover crops||
Green manure and cover crops recommended for
cultivation in coconut gardens are:
|References||Kerala Agricultural University. 2011. Package of Practices Recommendations: Crops. 14th edition. Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur- 360 p.|