The coconut palm is a variety that grows to a height of 80 feet and produces edible coconut fruit. The tree is hardy to plant in USDA growing zones 10 through 11 where there is little risk of frost as the tree does not respond to long periods of cold temperatures. Coconut palm trees grow well near water as they are tolerant of flooding, high winds and salt.
Select a planting location for the coconut palm that has a sandy, well-draining soil, full sunlight conditions and an average temperature of 72 degrees F. The trees are found growing along sandy shorelines but will also grow inland. Test the soil pH prior to planting as the tree grows best in a soil that has a pH of 5.0 to 8.0. Work ground rock sulfur into the soil prior to planting to lower the pH if needed.
How to Plant
Dig a hole that is the same depth as the container the coconut palm came in and twice as wide. Mix topsoil into the planting are if the ground is rocky. Set the tree into the hole so the root ball is one inch below ground level. Fill soil around the root ball and gently pack in place. Water the tree immediately after planting and every 2 to 3 days until the root system becomes established. Space the trees 18 to 30 feet apart as long as all trees have full sunlight conditions.
Care and Maintenance
Fertilize the coconut palm tree 4 to 6 times a year with a palm tree fertilizer. Use a rotary spreader to apply fertilizer to the soil area under the canopy of the tree and water well to increase absorption. Irrigate the soil under the tree during periods of drought to prevent a decline in health and fruit production. Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the tree to control weed growth. Do not apply more than three inches as this could promote root rot. The coconut tree only requires pruning to remove dead or damaged branches.
Propagate the coconut palm tree by planting a fresh coconut with the husk intact on its side. Bury the coconut with moist soil so half of the shell is exposed above ground. Keep the coconut moist and it will sprout in 2 to 3 months. Transplant the palm to a container or growing location once the seedling is six months old.
Monitor the coconut palm tree for the presence of a caterpillar called a palm leaf skeletonizer. The insect attacks the stem frond tissue to kill it. Apply a palm tree insecticide to eliminate the insect. Coconut palm trees are susceptible to diseases when the trunk becomes injured. Lethal yellowing causes the tree foliage to discolor or die and the fruit to drop. Apply an oxycycline antibiotic three times a year through a hole drilled into the trunk. The treatment must be administered for the remaining life of the tree.