Oil Palm Seedlings
- Oil palm requires an evenly distributed annual rainfall of 2000 mm without a defined dry season.
- Best oil palm yields are obtained in places where a maximum average temperature of 29-33 degrees and a minimum average temperature of 22-24 degrees are available.
- The crop requires 1800-2000 sunlight hours annually, more than 300 cal/cm2/per day, constant sunlight of at least 5 hours per day for better oil palm yield.
- Moist, deep and well-drained medium-textured soils rich in humus content are considered ideal.
- Gravelly and sandy soils, particularly the coastal sands are not ideal for oil palm cultivation. Heavy clay soils with poor drainage properties may pose problems of aeration during rainy seasons.
Oil Palm Nursery Management
A nursery is raised by planting germinated sprouts initially in a pre-nursery bed or in polybags in a primary nursery and transplanting them at a five-leaf stage to a secondary nursery of large-sized polybags.
- The potting mixture is made by mixing top-soil, sand and well-decomposed cattle manure in equal proportions. Smaller polybags of 250 guage and 23 x 13 cm size, preferably black are used for raising primary nurseries.
- The water requirement for different stages of growth of seedlings are as follows: 0 – 2 months at 4 mm/day, 2 – 4 months at 5 mm/day, 4 – 6 months at 7 mm/day and 6 – 8 months at 10 mm/day.
Prepare the land for oil palm plantings at least 3 months before transplanting the seedlings to the main field. In soils with low permeability, drainage channels are to be constructed to prevent water stagnation in upper layer of soil.
- It is advisable to plant well-grown seedlings of 12 – 14 months old.
- Transplanting to the main field has to be done during the onset of the rainy season. In very impermeable soils and where there is a chance for the seedlings to suffer severely during the rainy season, proper drainage has to be ensured.
Spacing and method of planting
- Triangular system of planting with 9 x 9 x 9 m spacing accommodates 143 palms/ha. is being recommended.
- Pits of 60 cm3 are taken prior to planting and filled with surrounding topsoil and allowed to settle. Rock phosphate is applied at 200 g per planting pit.
- Nitrogen is not usually applied in the planting pits as the application of fertilizers may damage the root system and affect the survival of the plants if there is a dry period soon after planting.
- Nitrogen and potassium are usually applied 4 – 6 weeks after planting. In Mg deficient soils, magnesium is applied at 100 g as anhydrous MgSO4 or 200 g Epsom salt per seedling.
The following fertilizer schedule is recommended for oil palm until specific results are derived from multilocational fertilizer trials.
Fertilizer recommendation for oilpalm
Yield of Oil palm
In a well-maintained garden the yield of oil palm will be as furnished below :
|Age of oil palm||Yield