Irrigation Management in Coconut Gardens

 

Importance of irrigation Coconut is found to response well to irrigation. The yield in irrigated gardens are found to be double that of un-irrigated fields. Therefore, adopting a good irrigation management strategy will definitely increase yield from coconut  gardens.

Depending upon the availability of water and resources, different methods of irrigation can be adopted. In areas where water is available in plenty, we can go for basin irrigation. And in areas where the water table is a few meters below ground level ridges and furrow method of irrigation can be adopted. Drip irrigation is yet another method of irrigation. In this method the savings made in water is almost 80 per cent.

Irrigation requirement of coconut

Irrigation requirement of coconut

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

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

Parameters

Soil texture

Sandy Sandy loam Loam Silty clay

Frequency of irrigation (days)

All areas in Kerala except north eastern portion of Thrissur and Palakkad districts 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.

Basin irrigation In basin irrigation, water is applied in the basins of 1.8 m which is the active root zone of coconut. Irrigation channels are provided in between two rows and each basin is connected with the channel. In this method, there will be some loss of water due to deep percolation, seepage and evaporation. However this loss is reduced when basins are irrigated through hose pipe. Application of 200 litres of water once in four days is recommended.
Sprinkler irrigation Sprinkler irrigation or perfo sprays are more suited to inter or mixed cropping systems where the entire surface requires wetting. The quantity of water applied should be at least 75 per cent of open pan Evaporation (Eo).

Drip irrigation Drip irrigation is ideally suited for widely spaced crops like coconut as it saves water, energy and labour and the Water Use Efficiency is high. Yield of coconut with drip irrigation@30 litres per palm per day during January to May was comparable to basin irrigation @ 600 litres per palm per week. Thus, there is 67 per cent saving of water in drip irrigation. Experiment conducted at CPCRI revealed that irrigation at 66 per cent of open pan evaporation is sufficient to produce yield on par with irrigation at 100 per cent of open pan evaporation.

References Kerala Agricultural University. 2011. Package of Practices Recommendations: Crops. 14th edition. Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur- 360 p.