The coconut is a large, single-trunked palm tree that can reach heights up to 100 feet. The palm grows 3- to 5-inch spineless foliage. Its blooms are light yellow in color and begin to produce around the coconut tree’s fifth or sixth year. The coconut palm’s fruit is a nut that ranges from 10 to 12 inches long with a 6- to 8-inch diameter. The coconut tree is relatively easily grown when established in an ideal location with the proper care.
Select a well-drained planting location for the coconut palm. Pick a location with loose, nutrient-rich soil that has a pH range between 5.0 and 8.0. Choose a warm location that averages an annual 72 degrees with winter temperatures above 32 degrees F. Always choose a location that provides at least eight hours of full sunlight. Make sure that coconut tree has plenty of space to grow and is not crowded by other trees or vegetation.
Plant the coconut palm during warm, rainy periods to promote good establishment of the tree. Dig a hole for the tree that is equivalent to the width and depth of the root system. Plant the tree in the center of the hole to ensure that the top level roots rest no more than 1 inch from the planting surface. Ensure that the final planting surface is elevated from the surrounding surface to promote a good drainage system.
Irrigate the coconut tree immediately after planting. Provide the tree with approximately 1 to 2 inches of water. Water the coconut tree with a weekly irrigation that provides approximately 1 to 2 inches of water. Use a slow irrigation process such as drip irrigation or trickle system. Irrigate the tree in the early morning to avoid the evaporation effects of the afternoon sun. Early irrigation will also provide the coconut tree with ample time to produce and use its nutrients. Adjust the irrigation schedule for drought and rainy periods, providing approximately 30 to 50 inches of annual water. Protect the soil’s moisture levels by adding a layer of mulch around the diameter of the tree.
Feed the coconut tree regularly to prevent nutrient deficiencies. Use controlled-release fertilizers that are especially designed for palm trees. Distribute the fertilizer evenly under the coconut tree’s canopy providing approximately 1 lb. of fertilizer per 100 square feet. Feed the tree every two to three months. Adjust the schedule according to the individualized needs of the tree.
Harvest the coconut tree as the fruit becomes ripe. Remove the coconuts from the tree using a sharp knife or blade. Avoid using climbing spikes as permanent wood damage will result. Harvest drinking coconuts at approximately seven months and baking coconuts at approximately 12 months