choosing site and spacing for coconuts

Choosing Site, Season, and Spacing for Coconut Planting

  • Best Season for Coconut Planting

Planting season varies from state to state depending upon the local climatic condition. The
best time for planting will be the beginning of the monsoon. Where irrigation facilities are
available planting can be done at any time. In low lying areas, coconut planting is appropriate after the monsoon or long before the monsoon.

Planting the seedlings during May with the onset of pre-monsoon rain is an ideal time. In irrigated land, planting can be done in April, before the commencement of the monsoon so that the seedlings get well established before heavy rains. In low-lying areas, seedlings can be planted in September after the heavy rains. Planting can also be done before the onset of the northeast monsoon.

Site Selection for Coconut Planting

Coconut grows in different soil types. These include loamy, laterite, coastal sandy, alluvial and clayey. It grows in reclaimed soils of the marshy lowlands as well. Low-lying areas with water stagnation and soil with heavy clay are not conducive for coconut. Soil with underlying hard rock is also not suitable. However, coconut can grow well in lands reclaimed by heaping alternate layers of sand and clay.

Moisture availability through rainfall or irrigation and adequate drainage are necessary for coconut. Soil with good water holding capacity is ideal. For coconut cultivation, soil with a minimum depth of 1.2 m is required.

Coconut palm tolerates salinity and a wide range of pH levels. The palm can grow in soil with pH in the range of 5.2 – 8.6.

The soil conditions ideal for good growth and performance of coconut palm include good water holding capacity, the presence of a water table within 3m, absence of rock within 2m of the surface and opportunity for proper drainage.

Spacing Coconut plants: Systems of Layouts

In terms of spacing and field layout of coconut planting, several systems are followed. However, the choice of a suitable system depends on soil type, climate, plant variety, etc. Adoption of an inappropriate system results in overlapping of plant leaves, competition for water, light and nutrients and unequal distribution of water, etc., resulting in poor performance.

The spacing requirements for different coconut varieties vary significantly:

  • Tall varieties: 7.5 x 7.5 m (25’ x 25’)
  • Dwarf varieties: 6.5 x 6.5 m (20’ x 20’)
  • Hybrids: 8.5 x 8.5 m (26’ x 26’)

The layout systems selected should take into account the specific requirements of the coconut variety.

The systems of layout followed in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka include the Square system, Rectangular system, Triangular system, Hedge system and Contour system.

Some of the common systems followed are the following systems of layout :


Source: Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Expert System for coconut


Generally, the square system of planting with a spacing of 7.5m x 7.5m is followed. A total of 177 palms can be accommodated in a hectare of land, according to this system.  :


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