Arecanut planting procedures and production techniques

The botanical name of Arecanut is Areca catechu L.;  it belongs to the family Palmae

Varieties: Mangala, Sumangala, Subamangala, Mohitnagar, Srimangala and Samruthi (Andaman)

Soil and climate: Arecanut is capable of growing in a variety of soils. It thrives best in well drained soils. Adequate protection from exposure to South-Western sun is essential to avoid sun-scorch. Quick growing shade trees have to be planted on the southern and western sides well in advance of planting seedlings. It is sensitive to moisture deficit and should be grown where adequate water facilities are available.

Season: June - December.

Seeds and sowing: For raising seedlings seed nuts from pre-marked and pre-potent mother palms of outstanding performance are selected and sown at a spacing of 5 - 6 cm apart in sand beds under partial shade with their stalk end pointing upwards. After the sprouts have produced two to three leaves, they are transplanted to a polythene bag 30 x 10 cm filled with forest soil and are allowed to grow for 12 to 18 months under partial shade. The seedlings can also be transplanted in secondary nursery beds with a spacing of 30 cm on either side. Periodical watering should be given.

Planting: Dwarf and compact seedlings with more number of leaves should be selected. 
Seedlings of 1 - 2 years age are planted in pits of about 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm at a spacing of 2.75 m either way and covered with soil to the collar level and pressed around. Provide shade during summer months. Growing Banana or other crops in advance may also provide shade.

Irrigation: Irrigation should be given as and when necessary.

Manuring: Apply to each bearing palm (5 years and above) 10 - 15 kg of FYM or green leaf. 100 g N, 40 g P and 150 g K. To palms less than five years old, half of the above dose is recommended. Manures are applied during January - February after the North - East monsoon in a basin of 0.75-1.00 m radius around the tree to a depth of 20 - 30 cm.

Aftercultivation: Weeding is done twice or thrice a year by giving mammutti digging. Wherever the land is slopy terracing has to be done to prevent soil erosion.

Plant protection against Pests
Mites: Dicofol 18.5 EC at 2.5 ml/lit.
Spindle bug: The bugs of the spindles may be given a drenching spray with lindane 1.3 D @ 2.5 g/lit of water.
Inflorescence caterpillars: Spray with lindane 20 EC 2 ml/lit or WP @ 2.5 g in one litre of water.

Protection against Diseases
Bud rot or Mahali disease: Infected tissues of the bud should be scooped off and treated with 10 % Bordeaux paste. Destruction and removal of seed palms and also bunches affected by Mahali and drenching crowns of surrounding healthy palms with 1 % Bordeaux mixture would
help in minimising the incidence of the 
Foot rot or anabe: Affected palms have to be isolated by digging trenches all round. The severely affected palms should be cut and destroyed. The stumps should be pulled out by digging and the drainage improved.
Root feeding with 125 ml of 1.5 % (15 ml/litre of water) Tridemorph at 3 months interval.
Stem breaking: Wrapping up of the green portion of the stem which are exposed to the South West sun to protect against sun-scorch.

Harvest: The bearing starts after 5 years of planting. Nuts are harvested when they are three quarters ripe. The number of harvests will vary from three to five in one year depending upon the season and place of cultivation.

Yield: 1250 kg/ha.

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