12 Tips to Start Coconut Nursery Business

Coconut Nursery Business:  Planting coconut seed nut directly on the field is not recommended and seedlings reached up to 7-10 months.

Laid in a nursery are only recommended for the field establishment.

In this process it enables to grow seedlings vigorously and uniformly.

Success of coconut plantation establishment starts with the production of good quality planting materials.

¾ Rearing coconut seedlings in a well-maintained nursery facilitates efficient selection of normal uniform seedlings.

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Coconut Nursery Business

¾ High quality planting materials provide a good head start to sustain the coconut palms productive and economic
lifespan of 60 or more long years in the field under extremely variable conditions.

¾ Selecting the best planting materials before field planting assures higher productivity per unit area per unit time.

Coconut Nursery Business: BusinessHAB.com
Coconut Nursery Business

1. Nursery Site Selection

A good nursery should:
™ Be open, level and well drained;
™ Have light or loose textured soil to facilitate nursery operations;
™ Have a good source of water without possibility of being flooded;
™ Be accessible to transportation;
™ Be far from existing potential sources of coconut insect pests and diseases, e.g., saw mills, pile of decaying
logs, site to animal manure, etc.
A nursery site with a minimum area of 3,600 m2
is needed to accommodate about 12,000 seednuts good for 50 ha.

To be fully operational, the nursery should have a fence for security; a shed to house the implements and supplies; farm
implements and small equipment; a source of water for irrigation; and sufficient trained manpower.

Coconut Nursery Business

2. Selection of the Nursery Site.

Proposed land should be flat and low gradient.

Soil should be well drain sandy or sandy loam soil.

Adequate amount of sunlight, scattered shade and water source in close proximity are fundamental factors in selecting the land.

Uniform level of shade can be provided by establishing a Gliricidia fence.

02. Nursery Beds. Width of the nursery should be decided based on the feasibility of management practices including routine activities.

Coconut Nursery Business

Length of the nursery can be determined by the length and shape of the lands.

It is feasible to have 5 seedling layers per one bed.

The seed bed should be averagely 15–25 cm above the ground level while distance among two seed nuts layers should be positioned at 25 cm distance.

Seed nuts should be laid in trench in which the depth is 10-15 cm.

The distance between two adjacent seed nuts should be 15 cm.

Seed nuts place horizontally and simply cover with soil so that upper surface of the seed nut is merely visible.

Seed nuts that are laid in any trench should be placed in to one direction and opposite direction to the adjoining rows.

Coconut Nursery Business

03. Moisture conservation in Soil bed Normally Coconut fronds or 3-5 cm dimension coir layers can be utilized as mulch for the seed bed.

If in case coir dusts are used as a mulching material should rotate the material.

In areas where above components are not freely available, can shift to saw dust, paddy husks and weed thrash as a mulching material.

04. Irrigation Regular application of water is compulsory under dry weather conditions.

Watering is necessary if there is no rain continuously for about 6 days, watering should be done at least once in four days (0.25 mm of rain is received it be considered as a rainy day).

05. Weed control Weeding helps in moisture conservation of the seed bed and reduce the impact on seedbeds. Therefore it is essential to practice weeding once a month or twice corresponding with the prevailing weather conditions.

06. (I) Termites attack. Considerable impact is done by termites in seed nurseries.

Further, termites highly damage to seed nuts by attacking the kernel parts.

Therefore great attention is required in this regard. Recommended pesticides Dosage

  1. Seed nuts should be soaked 3 minutes in 20 % cloropyrifos, 3-5 ml mix in one liter of water.
  2. Spread to the soil 15-25ml of 20% cloropyrifos mix in 5 litter of water is adequate for one square meter of land, to be spread

07. Removal of non germinated seedling.

It allows to laid seed nuts for about 5 month time until it germinated in the seed bed.

Seed nuts which are failed to germinate will be removed after 5 months time.

It is believe to be that, 80% of seed nuts become germinate after 5 months from laying.

08. Removal of low quality seedlings Laid seed nuts start to germinate 2½ months from laying and allow them to grow until 5 months time.

Once rejected seed nuts are removed from the field, germinated seedlings are removed after 7 months times from the laying when disease affected and low quality seedlings are removed from the nursery.

Seedlings which are completed 7 months are recommended for field establishment.

3. The Seedbed

The seedbed should preferably be in the center of the nursery.

To facilitate sowing of nuts, it should be cleared, plowed
and harrowed to a fine tilth.
Seedbeds are prepared with the following dimensions:
Elevation: 10-20 cm high to provide drainage.
Width: 1 m to avoid stepping on seednuts during maintenance and
transfer operations.

Coconut Nursery Business

Length: a 2 m long seedbed is ideal for easy inspection, management
and maintenance; a seedbed measuring 1 x 40 m can
accommodate about 1,000 seednuts.
Pathway: 0.75-1 m between seedbeds should be provided to facilitate
inspection, selection, pricking, maintenance and seedling transfer activities.
♦ Nuts are planted firmly setting them either upright or slightly tilted with the germ end at the top.
♦ The nuts are set close to one another to prevent them from floating in case of heavy rains.
♦ The nuts are then covered with soil, with about 2/3 of their size buried.

Coconut Nursery Business

4. Production of poly bags seedlings

  1. Nursery preparations of Seed nuts Seed nuts should be laid vertically in a pre nursery until they produce a sprout and transfer to poly bag.
  2. Mixture of poly bag seedling The mixture should compose of surface soil, cow dung and coir dust. Areas where coir dust is not freely available saw dust can be used instead of it. When using saw dust aware on fungal diseases which seedling are prone to be.Ratio of the mixture Top soil 3 Part Cow dung 2 Part Coir Dust 1 Part
  3. Material used for poly bag Black polythene with 12’’ 6’’ is used to prepare this poly bags.

Coconut Nursery Business

5. Sowing of Seed-nuts

In addition to keeping a record file, a sign board, placed in front of each bed, provides the following information:
9 Name of variety/type
9 Date of sowing
9 Number of nuts sown
9 Seedbed number
9 Date when nuts are harvested, if available
9 Date when nuts are received in the nursery

Coconut Nursery Business

6. Maintenance of Seedbed

This activity involves daily watering except when it is raining.

Weeding, if necessary; partial shading when needed; and
inspection for disease and pest incidence.
o When the sprout emerges though the husk to a height of 4-6 cm, seedlings are planted in the field nursery
either directly in the soil or in polybags to allow them more space to grow.

Coconut Nursery Business

o Seedlings of the same age are pricked on the same day and immediately planted in the field or polybag
nursery. Pricking can be scheduled once a week.
o After pricking the germinated seednuts from the seedbed, the vacated plot is refilled with soil so as not to
destabilize the remaining ungerminated seednuts.
o Discard all nuts producing sprouts, which are multiple, thin or etiolated, bent or spindled, and albinos.
o The optimum waiting period for ending the observations of germination in each seedbed is around 16 weeks
from the date of sowing or when 85% germination had been achieved, whichever comes first.

7. The Polybag Nursery

A polybag nursery makes use of black polyethylene bags, hence its name. It is preferred over field nursery because:
• Transplanting shock is greatly minimized, thereby promoting early establishment of transplanted seedlings;
• Seedlings can be retained longer in the nursery when conditions for field planting are not favorable; and
• Age-wise, seedling selection is easily accomplished.

Coconut Nursery Business

8. Polybagging of Germinated Nuts

o A polybag, preferably black, UV resistant for durability and measuring 40 x 40 x 0.015 cm (for smaller nuts)
or 45 x 45 x 0.015 cm (for bigger nuts) with 8-10 holes at the bottom sides, is half-filled with soil and compost
mixed at 50:50 ratio.
o Decomposed sawdust, corncobs, rice hull and other organic materials can be used.
This will reduce the weight of the half-filled polybag and improve sol fertility.
o If the polybags are not gusseted (Note: polybags with folds at the bottom maybe
ordered), the bottom corners should be folded inward to make the bottom of the bag
round and for it to stand firmly.

Coconut Nursery Business

The open edge of the bag is also folded back (about
3 cm) to prevent it from tearing easily.
o The germinated nut is then placed in the half-filled bag with sprout in the upright
position in the center of the bag.
o Next, the bag is filled with soil with the sides slightly pressed to keep the nut firm
until it is fully covered.
o As the soil settles, it will cover up to 2/3 of the nut after some time.
o When the polybagged seedlings are already, they are laid out in the polybag

Coconut Nursery Business

9. Laying Out of the Polybag Nursery (Staking)

™ Equal setting of the seednuts at optimum distance allows them to grow and develop normally.
™ The technique follows a triangular system with equal spacing of 60 cm.
™ The materials needed are the following:
1) About 30 m rope or twine for establishing a straight
line and making a 3, 4, 5 triangular
2) 100 pcs bamboo pegs or equivalent 30 cm long
3) A measuring tape or stick
4) Twine for making 30-cm spaces, about 10 m long
5) Pieces of stick, 52 cm long
6) A sharp bolo, or its equivalent
7) Compass and marking pen
™ A 60-cm long spacing in triangular manner
™ To minimize shading, rows should be oriented in a NorthSouth

Coconut Nursery Business

™ As a start, about 10 m twine is marked every 30 cm along its entire length.
™ First, establish a straight line and a 90o
corner with the longer side towards the North. This is done by
making a 3, 4, 5 triangle using the 30 m rope. Boundaries are set by means of rope or twine to guide the
setting of rows. This is made to establish four straight boundary lines and four 90o
™ The next step is to lay the 10 m string in the direction of the North and then mark the 30 cm spaces. This
becomes line 1 or row 1. Then, align the string marked every 30 cm and subsequently peg the 30 cm marks.
Repeat the procedure to make rows 3, 4, 5, etc.
™ To establish 60 cm, remove the pegs every other 30 cm starting from the second mark in line 2. These are
marked X in the apposite figure.
™ As the work progresses and as the workers gain experience, the marks are pegged every 60 cm by

Coconut Nursery Business

10. Setting the Polybagged Seedlings

The polybagged seedlings are placed in front of the stake, set firmly and with the erect shoot aligned at the stake. Since centering of the sprout in the polybag may not be precise, the emerging shoot should be set in only one direction at a point closest to the stake. Set the polybagged seedlings in the same order as they germinated.

The earliest germinating seedlings are placed in the first row in the eastern side of the area.

The last ones to germinate are placed in the western section of the area.

This practice reduces the competition from sunlight from among the earliest and latest germinating seedlings.
Most importantly, selection of vigorous seedlings is facilitated and since the first pricked seedlings are placed in rows,
culling or judging by age is easily accomplished. A signboard indicating the type/variety, the number of seedlings and
date of sowing is installed in front of each plot.

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Selecting of mother palms & seed nuts

In order to full the annual seedling requirement existing model gardens are not adequate.

Therefore high quality seed nuts are selected from identified seed gardens.

Approved types of hybrid seedling by nurseries of the board

  1. Tax x tall – DT
  2. Tall x tall – TT
  3. Morock tall – MT
  4. Plus palms – PP

This procedure is as follows.

  1. First identity high yielding lands.
  2. Out of them find out high yield blocks.
  3. By applying relevant agronomic practices for that block select high yielding plants.

Morphological features of a good palm.

  1. Stout, sturdy & straight (erect) stem and closely set leaf scars.
  2. Short leaves in the crown should be in a spherical orientation should compose with 25-30 fully opened fronds with bunches in different ages.
  3. Petiole of seed bunches should not be lengthy and should strong enough to hold bunch of seed nuts by fronds and medium sized sufficient number of nuts should be in a bunch.

Coconut Nursery Business

Lands which composed of above mention palms should process below mention criteria.

  1. Land extent more than 5 acres.
  2. Production of 3500 nuts per acre per year and 55 mature palms per acre should be remaining in the land.
  3. Bearing palms with the age of 15-45 palms.

Selecting mother palms done methodically after a studying of all factors above mention.

  • Exclude palms which shows unusual morphological futures.
  • Collect 03 seed nuts randomly from those palms and record the weight of a seed nuts (husk is removed) and should be more than 2100g.
  • Palms which are selected in that should be marked properly as plus palms.
  • Selecting of the nursery.
  • After selecting high quality palms. Pick seed nut separately from selected palms (Never allow to mix the selected seed nut with seed nut which harvest from un selected palms).
  • Next pest attacked seed nuts should be removed and cover to protect from sunlight until send them to the nursery.

11. Maintenance of the Polybagged Nursery

In order of priority, this involves watering, weeding, and inspection for pest and disease incidence.
Fertilizer application for each seedling is recommended as follows:
Age (NH4)2 SO4 KCl or NaCl
(Months) (21-0-0) (0-0-60)
(After germination) (g) (g) (g)
2 20 20 20
5 40 45 40

Coconut Nursery Business

12. Maintenance of the Polybagged Nursery

The fertilizers are mixed and applied directly to the soil around the nuts. Afterwards, the soil is lightly cultivated to promote faster dissolution and absorption of fertilizer.

At 6-8 months after polybagging, leaf splitting occurs, indicating that the seedlings are ready for field planting.

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