Dates are the fruit of a desert palm tree. There are 220 kinds of dates, or which about 20 are commercially viable. A popular food in the Middle East, they and found in abundance in the desert and around oases. Many parts of the Middle East would be uninhabitable were it not for date palms. It is one of the few crops that grows in the desert. Date palms have been described as the “tree of life.”
Date palm, (Phoenix dactylifera)
Family: Arecaceae, or Palmae
Barhee: Developed in 2016. It is a late maturing variety which matures in mid-August. The trees are tall in height and show vigorous growth. It bears oval shape fruits which are yellow in color and has an average 12.2gm fruit weight. The fruit contains 25.4% T.S.S content. It gives an average yield of 68.6kgper tree at doka stage i.e. early stage of fruit development.
Hillawi: Developed in 2016. It is an early maturing variety which matures in mid-July. The fruits are oblong in shape which is light orange in color having yellowish shade on skin. The fruit contains 29.6% T.S.S content and has 15.2gm average weight. It gives an average yield of 92.6kg per tree at doka stage i.e. early stage of fruit development.
Other state varieties:
Medjool: Late maturing variety. Fruit is large, elongated in shape and medium in size. Average yield of 75-100kg is obtained from individual tree.
Khunezi: Early maturing variety. Fruits are of red color with elongated shape. It can withstand in high humidity level. Average yield of 40kg per tree is obtained.
Khadarawyi: Fruits are soft and of yellow color. Average yield of 60-80kg per tree is obtained.
Khalas: Fruits are elongated shape and of medium size. Fruits are yellowish brown. Sweetness of fruit is medium, not too low, and not too high.
Wild date palm
It can be cultivated in any soil, don’t have any specific requirement. But for good growth and yield, it required well drained, deep sandy loam soil. pH of soil should be in range of 7-8. Avoid soils having hard pan upto 2meter below soil layer. Saline and alkaline soils are also suitable for cultivation but yield obtained is low.
Sowing is done in February to March month and in August to September month. Spacing
For transplantation, dig pits of 1m x 1m x 1m at distance of 6m or 8meter (square system).
For transplantation, dig pits of 1m x 1m x 1m size.
Method of sowing
Transplant suckers in main field.
When row to row and plant to plant spacing of 6meter is used, near about 112 seedling are accommodates in one acre. Whereas for 8m x 8m spacing 63 seedlings are accommodates per acre.
To stimulate rooting, before transplantation in pit, dipped shoot base of suckers in IBA@1000ppm and Chlorpyrifos@5ml per Ltr of water for two to five minutes.
For first harvesting, 4 to 5 years are required. In between vegetables like gaur gum, rice, chilly, peas, brinjal etc. can be taken as intercrop.
In summers, irrigation is given at the interval of 10-15 days and in winters irrigation is given at the interval of 30-40 days. Prior irrigation is necessary after spathe emergence. After fruit set irrigation is given at regular intervals.
Pest and their control:
Termites: These pests attack on the roots of the plants. For termite control apply Chlorpyrifos through drip irrigation.
To control termites, mix 800ml chlorpyrifos in 150 ltr of water and apply in the roots of the plants.
Lesser Date Moth: As a preventive measure, take two spray of Deltamethrin@2ml/Ltr of water with interval of 15 days. Take first spray at fruit bearing stage.
Bird: When crop reaches in doka stage, fruits are damaged by bird. Cover bunch with thin wire net.
White/red Scale: Remove scale infested branches or leaves and destroyed them away from field. If infestation is observed, take spray of Acetamiprid@60gm/100Ltr or Imidacloprid@60ml/100Ltr of water.
Graphiola leaf spot: They are caused by fungus under humid conditions. Gray color spots are observed on both sides of leaves.
To control this disease take foliar spray of Copper Oxychloride@3gm/Ltr of water or Mancozeb@2gm/Ltr of water.
Alternaria leaf blight: If infestation is observed, take spray of Mancozeb + Carbendazim@2gm/Ltr of water. Take second spray with interval of 15 days.
Fruit rot: Rainfall or high humidity at time of fruiting to maturity stage is main cause of fruit rot.
Cover bunches with paper in early khalal stage. Remove few fruit strands from centre of bunch, it will provide ventilation and drying of wet fruits. If infestation is observed, take spray of Mancozeb + Carbendazim@2gm/Ltr of water.