Date palm cultivation

Date palm cultivation

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


Date palm cultivation

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.

 Fruits are elongated shape and of medium size. Fruits are yellowish brown. Sweetness of fruit is medium, not too low, and not too high.  

Shamran (Sayer)


Wild date palm


The date palm must have full sun. It cannot live in the shade. It will grow in all warm climates where the temper ature rarely falls to 20°F (-6.67°C). When the palm is dormant, it can stand temperatures that low, but when in flower or fruit the mean temperature must be above 64°F (17.78°C). Commercial fruit production is possible only where there is a long, hot growing season with daily maximum temperatures of 90°F (32.22°C) and virtually no rain—less than 1/2 in (1.25 cm) in the ripening season. The date can tolerate long periods of drought though, for heavy bearing, it has a high water requirement. This is best supplied by periodic flooding from the rivers in North Africa and by subsurface water rather than by rain. (See remarks on irrigation under “Culture”).
Date palm cultivation


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.


Time of sowing
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).

Sowing Depth

For transplantation, dig pits of 1m x 1m x 1m size.

Method of sowing

Transplant suckers in main field.

Date palm cultivation
Seed Rate 
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.

Seed Treatment

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.


Propagation of date palm is done with help of suckers as propagation with seeds is impractical. Select Suckers or offshoots from mother plant. Suckers are obtained from 4 or 5th year after planting. Ideal weight of suckers should be of 15-20kg. Mould mixture of well decomposed cowdung, sand and sawdust around suckers, six month or year before its separation. At time of separation, remove older leaves and take single cut.


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 September to October month, application of FYM@10-15kg to young plants and 30-40kg per tree to mature plant is done. Urea@4.4kg is applied on one year plant to mature tree. Application of urea is done in two equal splits, first dose is given before flowering and the remaining half dose is given after fruit set is done in April.


Keep field clean and free from weeds. Take weeding or hoeing operations depending upon intensity of weeds. Use mulch for weed control.
Date palm cultivation


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.


Date palm cultivation

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.

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Date palm cultivation

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.

Date palm cultivation

Bird: When crop reaches in doka stage, fruits are damaged by bird. Cover bunch with thin wire net.

Date palm cultivation

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.

Date palm cultivation

Disease and their control:

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.

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Date palm cultivation

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.


Four to five year after plantation, date palm tree are ready for first harvest. Fruits are harvested at three stages, Khalal or doka stage (fresh fruits), soft or ripen stage (pind or tamar) and dry stage (chuhhara). Complete harvesting before start of monsoon season.


Ordinarily, in palms 5 to 8 years old, the first crop will be 17.5 to 22 lbs (8-10 kg) per palm; at 13 years, 132 to 176 lbs (60-80 kg). Some improved cultivars, at high densities, have yielded over 220 lbs (100 kg) per year. ‘Deglet Noor’ in California may yield 4.5 to 7 tons per acre (11-17 tons/ha).

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