Hello friend of the farm in this opportunity I am going to talk about the cultivation of coconut, this plant, you get a great diversity of products, being a source of food, drink, shelter, etc. The main product exported from the different growing areas is the unprocessed copra (it is the oil obtained from the solid part of the endosperm of the fruit, dried and reduced) followed by the desiccated coconut. It is the undisputed protagonist of fairs and festivals and of common use in multiple preparations of artisanal and industrial pastries. The coconut belongs to the family of the Palmáceas or Arecaceas, genus Cocus, species Cocus nucifera
IT IS A TRUNK. It is a single trunk monoecious palm, often inclined, of 10-20 m. height and 50 cm. thick at the base and narrowing towards the apex, which presents a group of leaves that protect the terminal bud that the plant possesses. The growth in height depends on the ecological conditions, age of the plant and its variety.
LEAVES. They are pinnate, 1.5-4 meters long, with coriaceous leaflets 50-70 centimeters long, yellowish green. In favorable environmental conditions an adult plant of the giant variety emits between 12 to 14 leaves per year, whereas the dwarf variety can emit up to 18 leaves in the same period. The cup consists of up to 30 arched sheets.
FLOWERS. It has paniculate inflorescences that are born in the axils of the lower leaves, protected by a bract called espata of up to 70 centimeters in length and develops in 3 or 4 months.
FRUIT. It is a drupe, covered with fibers, of 20-30 centimeters in length with an ovoid shape, and can weigh up to 2.5 kilograms. It is formed by a yellowish outer shell, leathery and fibrous (exocarp) 4 or 5 centimeters thick in the shape of hairs strongly attached to the nut; a thin intermediate layer (mesocarp) and a harder (endocarp) layer that has three nearby holes in a triangular arrangement, located at the apex, two closed and the other facing the root of the embryo. The fruits take to mature up to 13 months.
ESTATE. The root system is fasciculate. The primary roots are responsible for the fixation of the plant and the absorption of water. The tertiary roots derive from the secondary ones, and they are the true extractors of nutrients. The active roots are located within a radius of two meters of the trunk, at a depth of between 0.2 to 0.8 meters, depending on the effective depth.
VARIETIES OF THIS PLANT:
GIANTS; they are late fruiting plants (they flower 8-10 years after being planted), pollination is crossed, they are used for oil production and for consumption as fresh fruit, they have a high copra content.
DWARFS; its pollination is autogamous, they thrive in fertile soils and they bloom in the fourth year of being planted, its main use is the production of water for consumption in bottled beverages, production is early, it is resistant to the lethal yellowing of the coconut tree.
HYBRIDS, are the product of the cross between plants of the group of giants and dwarfs, fruits of medium to large size, good flavor, good yield of copra, slow growth, high fruit production and also inherits resistance to lethal yellowing of the dwarf and improving the tolerance of the high to other diseases.
COCO CULTIVATION REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A HEALTHY, AND RICH FRUIT.
PREPARATION OF THE GROUND:
The land where it will be cultivated must be free of weeds, the recommended methods being the mechanized ones because of their low cost, however they can only be applied in lands with little slope. The coconut tree is sensitive to long periods of ponding, so if we have a hardened soil layer we recommend a subsoiler step to improve the internal and external drainage of the soil.
The ahoyado depends on the type of soil. If the soil is clear, the dimensions of the hole will be 40x40x40cm. The surface soil of the hole must be separated from the bottom ground. It is recommended that the ahoyado be done one month before the transplant. The planting hole is prepared by placing a layer of organic matter (chicken manure, manure or coconut tow) to facilitate the growth of the roots.
The transplant will be carried out at the beginning of the rainy season according to the following procedure: the hole is filled with soil up to a quarter of its depth, to favor the development of the new roots. Then the soil on the surface of the hole is mixed with a phosphorous fertilizer. The seedling is arranged in such a way that when filling the rest of the hole the neck of this one is at ground level, finally it is proceeded to compact the surrounding earth to avoid air pockets.
It is a heliophyte plant, therefore it does not admit shading. An insolation of 2000 annual hours with a minimum of 120 monthly hours is considered ideal for cultivation.
It does not tolerate the cold, not even weak frosts. At 0ºC there is damage. For example, in Spain it only lives abroad throughout the year in the Canary Islands, in coastal areas. Minimum 10ºC, an annual average of about 27º with variations of 7 to 5ºC; and a pluviometry of 1200 mm per year. In Florida, for example, 80% of the coconut trees died due to the 1958 frost.
High humidity, spray the foliage, but do not wet the coconut, it rots. Place on a plate, some pebbles and water to increase the humidity. The heating will put the yellow leaves. The hot and humid climates are the most favorable for the cultivation of the coconut palm.
The mild or moderate winds favor the cultivation, however the strong winds in periods of drought increase the conditions of dryness of the soil and the transpiration of the plant, generating a detrimental hydric deficit. The hurricane winds are limiting, mainly for the coconut trees of dwarf type, because they have less resistance in their trunk and roots.
The Coconut tree grows well on sandy and saline grounds. Tolerates well the wind and salt. The soils suitable for the cultivation of the coconut tree are soils with light textures (from francs to sandy), alluvial, deep (more than one meter), with a surface water table from one to two meters deep. The soils of the coastal plain are those that present these characteristics. When soil moisture is managed with irrigation, the crop can be grown on clay and silty soils. The coconut tree adapts very well to soils where the water table is saline. Due to its great demand for chlorine, the existence of brackish water is even beneficial, which is why it is one of the few crops that can be seen on or near the beaches.
1 or 2 times a week in summer and only once a week in winter. The water needs of the coconut tree depend on several factors such as: the age of the plant, height and leaf area, the local climate (temperature, solar radiation, relative humidity, wind speed), type of soil, irrigation method, nutritional status, soil moisture, etc. The giant coconut tree is more resistant to water stress than the dwarf type. The methods of irrigation recommended for the coconut tree are those located: micro sprinkling, dripping and underground dripping. If there are no water limitations, irrigation by partial flooding is recommended.
The quantities of fertilizers required by the coconut tree are determined by the level of production, the age of the plant, the nutrient content of the soil and its availability, the type of coconut tree, the density of sowing, the type of irrigation and fertilizer, etc. . Therefore, it is necessary to perform a soil or foliar analysis to determine the nutrient needs. The nutrients most demanded by the coconut tree are: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, chlorine and calcium. The time of application of the fertilizer is also variable, however the application can be generalized twice a year, once at the beginning and once at the end of the rainy season.
Coconut harvest varies according to the type of production but usually goes from January to July. If it is marketed as fresh fruit or is destined to the industry for the purpose of bottling water, the harvest is made when the coconut is between 5 and 7 months old. At this time the sugar and water content is maximum and the taste is more intense. If it is destined to the production of grated coconut, dehydrated or copra for the extraction of oil, the harvest is done when the coconuts are 12 months old, which is when they fall to the ground or when one of the coconuts of a cluster is dry.
PESTS OF THE COCOTERO.
(Rhychophrus palmatum) • The black palm weevil is the main pest of the coconut tree in America and the Antilles, it is distributed geographically throughout the intertropical and South American region where it also grows in crops such as papaya, sugar cane, mango and banana.
In its adult stage it is a black to brown insect, elongated, about 2.6 - 5.0 cm. of length. The female weevil deposits individual eggs in the wounds of the crown, mainly in the inner part of the armpits of the leaves, its complete cycle lasts between 90 to 120 days. They live hidden in the undergrowth and coconut palms. They have a radius of action of 1,600 meters in 24 hours and to find their host at great distances.
The larvae of R. palmar cause damage mainly to palms of three to six years; undermining the trunk or the petioles since they have tender and fleshy tissues rich in sugars. It is considered that a larva digests up to 500 grams of tissue. The symptoms of the attack are visible when the palm is already irremediably affected. The attacked tissues are fermented, liquefied and form a mud that emits a more or less pronounced ammoniacal odor. But the greatest damage it causes is the transmission of the nematode Rhadinaphelenchus cocophilus causative agent of the red ring disease.
Only females are carriers of large numbers of nematodes (more than 6,000) The wounds caused by the black palm weevil can be of great importance, even when the nematode is not involved.
To carry out an effective control of the weevil or the weevil, certain recommendations must be followed, among which are mentioned:
Application of a residual insecticide in the axils of the leaves of plants.
Place the so-called mesh traps in the plantations. Baits of coconut or palm plant material that are not contaminated with the nematode or pieces of cane or pieces of pineapple should be used as baits.
Destroy the palms that present initial symptoms or are dead by red ring and keep the plantations free of weeds.
TRAP FOR PICUDOS.
They are traps of yellow color made manually, they are used around 12 - 15 units per Ha spaced at 75 mt. Inside which is placed half kg. Of attractive bait - insecticide (pieces of palm, pineapple or plantain, plus 2 g of methomyl and an envelope of Rinconforol I) which must be replaced every 2 weeks.
ACARO DEL COCOTERO
(Eriophyes guerreronis) The adult coconut mite measures about 220 microns long by 45 wide, its shape is elongated, it is creamy translucent and has two pairs of legs, next to the head region, the device buccal, presents small stiletto with which it sucks liquids to feed. The females deposit in the bracts of the female flowers and in the small fruits. The duration of its biological cycle varies from 10 to 14 days approximately. Mites are dispersed by wind, by water or by themselves, form colonies in the bracts where they feed and reproduce.
This mite causes losses of 10-30% of the production the first
Symptom of the attack is a whitish triangular spot with the base of the bracts when they begin to open, where they affect the development of the fruit, preventing its normal development, being deformed or mummified with the consequent decrease of the copra and its subsequent fall of the fruit. Its presence in the plantations can be identified by the dark patches and fissures in the epidermis of the coconut. Due to the injuries it causes, it is commonly known as "coconut roach",
Moth of the coconut tree causing damage to leaves and fruits
Control of the coconut mite has been attempted through sprays of acaricidal chemicals such as quinomethionate or at a dose of 1.5 grams per liter of water or abamectin 1.5 lt. Per hectare. But up to 6 applications per year are required to obtain favorable answers. This control is not recommended for adult palms that reach up to 30 meters high, because it is difficult and expensive to apply pesticides; In addition, the chemical control is not very efficient because the mites are housed in the bracts and the product does not make contact with the insect. The best option would be to keep the fields clean by eliminating the challenges of leaves of the previous year, you should also avoid the entry of cattle into the coconut field.
(Myndus crudus) The pale leafhopper, is an insect that lives a stage of his life in the coconut palm and other species of grass. The adult feeds on the phloem of a large number of palm trees, is present in subtropical areas of the United States (Florida and Texas), Mexico, the Antilles, Central America, North and South.
It presents a variable coloration from coffee to green in its adult state. The wings are practically hyaline. They are slightly green, especially in the abdomen although females are usually dark in color and larger than males. The nymphs are white with slightly gray tissues and produce tiny waxy filaments
It does not cause direct damage to palm trees, but it is considered as a vector of lethal yellowing of the coconut palm (ALC)
It is possible to lower populations of Myndus Crudus, through sprays of chemical products, such as monocrotophos, in the areas where the insect is found, but it is impractical because it is hosted in a variety of plants.
The Myndus crudus reproduces and passes much of its biological cycle in grasses, so the substitution of pastures by legumes, reduces the populations of the insect.
(Aspidiotus destructor sing.) Scales are the most frequently encountered pests in the humid tropics, since they have been recorded in 25 species of palm trees.
There are several species of scales that are considered pests of the coconut tree, being the most important, the coconut scale Aspidiotus destructor which have a range of destruction very similar to the tissues of the leaves and the stem of the palms. Unlike flying insects, they do not need to leave their host when affected, they remain attached to it, even during long trips across the ocean. Its establishment in a new locality is very facilitated in the tropical zones. The scales are adapted to disperse in a large range of host plants.
The damages caused by the scales are manifested as a drying of the leaflets, due to the loss of sap and the obstruction of the stomata.
The palms become yellowish, chlorotic, the scars of the bites suffer necrosis and there is a decrease in the vitality of the plant, the early fall of the fruits and sometimes death.
The control of scales must be carried out in a localized way, when the first infested palm appears in the plantation, by means of the pruning and burning of the damaged leaves.
It is recommended to apply systemic insecticides (monocrotophos), in doses of 1 to 2 milliliters of commercial product per liter of water, only to damaged palms
In the case of biological control, it is reported that coccinellids are predators of scales.
CHINCHE BROWN (Lincus sp.)
It is one of the pests with the greatest potential damage to the cultivation of coconut belongs to the order of Hemiptera, sucking sap.
Its body is wide and flat, it has a shield shape, it is very difficult to locate in the plants, because they are located in the armpit of young leaves, especially in the arrow.
For this reason it is necessary to proceed to total dissections of the palms to be able to collect them.
Its importance as a plague lies in being the transmitter of the flagellated protozoan Phytomonas causing the sudden wilt disease, this being one of the most fulminating diseases of the coconut tree.
The damage caused by this bug occurs when feeding on healthy palms, transmits the protozoan flagellated Phytomonas, which when multiplied, causes an occlusion of the vascular bundles, dying the plant later.
The transmission of the protozoan causing the withering surprise, is related to different weeds that are found in the plantations.
Among them we have the families Moráceas, Verticaceae, and Solanaceae. Weeds that have latex and have the distinction of being host to these protozoa.
In general, it attacks plants in full production, being the fall of the fruits one of the most common symptoms.
LETAL YELLOWING OF COCOTERO.
The causative agent is a Mycoplasma discovered by Beakbane when observing Mycoplasma-like Organisms (MTO) in vascular tissues of the phloem of affected palms.
It is transmitted by leafhoppers of the species Myndus crudus, whose dispersion pattern coincides with the direction of the prevailing winds and the vehicular flows coming from the affected areas.
The lethal yellowing has two forms of propagation:
RADIAL. When the palm trees grow around a diseased plant2. A jumps. Occurs when from another source of infection appear other foci, spaced between 100 meters to 50 or 100 kilometers from the original focus. This form of dispersion is the most dangerous and causes
Fall of mature and developing fruits; the abortion of ovaries and small fruits.
Presence of necrotic areas at the tips of the open inflorescences, which present almost complete necrosis and those that do not open are partially or totally necrotic.
Later the leaves begin to acquire a yellow coloration, beginning with the oldest ones that turn brown and die.
The dead leaves hang from the stem, the palms of the heart are the last to die and fall after the hanging palms; in this way the palm tree is totally defoliated with the appearance of a telephone pole.
The time from infection to the fall of the plume is 3 - 6 months.
The lethal yellowing can easily be confused with: bud rot, nutritional deficiencies, insect attack or nematodes, and damage caused by lightning, and red ring.
Experiences indicate that it is almost impossible to eradicate the mycoplasma of an area or region, since it has many plant hosts, however, it has been tried to control it by combining some of the methods mentioned below:
Application of oxytetracycline injections2 mg. to the stem of plants over 9 years old, every two months, which is uneconomical and only applies to palms of great value, such as those in tourist areas.
Chemical control of the vector. It is made by organophosphorus insecticides to grasses and palms.
Cultural control The felling and destruction of diseased palm trees, and even those that are surrounding them, as they may be infected even without presenting symptoms.
RED COCOTERO RING.
This disease is present in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands and is caused by the nematode Rhadinaphelenchus cocophilus that invades the center of the stem of the plant, the roots, the petiole and in some cases the fruits, is transmitted by the larvae of the coconut palm weevil that when consuming diseased tissue of the palm tree, they are fed with juvenile nematodes (third stage).
Some nematodes continue inside the body of the weevil during the metamorphosis and those that are found in the larva are expelled in the change to pupa and adult.
The main way out of the nematode is when the female pierces deeply the stem to put the eggs inside the wounds.
The external damages of the disease begin in the oldest leaves, observing a yellowing in the tip of the leaflets that advances towards the base of the same until arriving at the rachis, later the coloration turns brown and the leaves collapse and hang from the stem, to fall later. The plant dies in a period of three to four months after the first symptoms
Pest management and field cleaning is very important to prevent the transmission of the disease since it can kill from 30 - 80 percent of plants with ages from 3 to 10 years. A good efficient control is based on the control of the insect: black palm weevil, therefore the phytosanitary measures are focused to reduce their populations to cut the life cycle of the nematode R. palmarum
PUDRICIÓN DEL COGOLLO
It is also known as regressive death, from the apex to the base; It is reported in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia. It is caused by the fungus Phytophthora palmivora (Butler) and its transmission is associated with insects that live in the infested palm. This disease affects palm trees of all ages, but it is more frequent in palms of 15 to 45 years old, it can be endemic in areas with abundant rainfall.
This disease produces pale green lesions at the base of the head, which is surrounded by a darker color, and continues throughout the central region of the head, which rots and detaches from the base.
The rot proceeds towards the heart of the palm, which eventually becomes a white mass with a marked foul odor.
The oldest leaves remain green for a few months (like a crown), then they dry and hang for some time before detaching and leaving the stem of the palm tree without leaves; the fruits formed mature normally.
But in palms in productive stage, the premature fall of tender fruits and flowers, which break at the base, is observed.
Plant affected by the rot of the cogollo disease caused by the fungus Phytophthora sp.
The control is based on the eradication of the pathogen, preventing its spread. In well established plantations, the following control measures can be taken:
Cut and burn the affected palm.
If the disease is detected at the beginning when the central leaves begin to wilt, it is recommended to clean and remove the infected material that is in the crown and apply Bordeaux paste, Benomilo or Mancozeb dissolving 10 grams of commercial product per liter of water, stirring if necessary, a few healthy leaves next to the infection.
As a preventive measure, it can be sprayed with one of the aforementioned fungicides in doses of 2 grams per liter of water, applied to the bud of apparently healthy palms and close to damaged palms.