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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Qatar Coconut Palm Possible but Difficult

Q. I would like to know why coconut trees are not bearing coconuts in Qatar.

A. Probably it is not old enough. Given proper care and growing conditions, coconut palms produce their first fruit in six to ten years, taking 15 – 20 years to reach peak production. It will take longer if it is in poor health or stressed. Some coconut palms require cross pollination from another tree.
            On fertile soil, a tall coconut palm tree can yield up to 75 fruits per year, but more often yield less than 30 mainly due to poor management and fertilizer practices. I don’t think high temperatures of Qatar will be a problem for tree survival but low temperatures will. Refrigerator temperatures for long periods of time outside may discourage coconut production.
            Your coconut palm will have difficulty with new growth during dry weather. The fronds may have trouble opening so if they do, hose them down with water. The fronds will also brown or scorch on the tips, more so than in tropical humid climates. They may not look the best.
            If your temperatures get much below 10° C (refrigerator temperature) and stay there for a while they may not produce fruit. Also, some coconut palms may require cross pollination to set fruit much like corn does. Some of the specialty coconut palm trees, particularly the dwarf types, are thought to be self-fertile and may set fruit on their own.
Dwarf coconut palm in plastic container
            Coconut palm roots are very similar to grass roots except bigger. A large container is needed if container grown because they need to support themselves as they get taller and require a large enough area to grow this root system. Under natural rainfall, these roots could spread perhaps 30 feet from the trunk.
            They like water but do not keep the soil around them constantly wet. Keeping the fruit continuously wet works for germination of the seed but not once they start growing.
            So, in short, protect it if temperatures drop close to refrigerator temperature and keep it as close to 50 or 55° as you can during these cold periods. Summer temperatures shouldn’t be a problem unless it’s setting fruit during these temperatures. It will probably drop fruit. The fronds may not look the best due to high temperatures, low humidity, and wind.

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