We are all aware of the limited amount of nutrients that natural soil can provide to the tree and the difficulty of obtaining chemical fertilizers. Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium and Magnesium can be considered as the basic and essential nutrients required for the growth and yield of any plant. Although these nutrients are usually obtained from the soil, it has become mandatory to apply artificial fertilizer to the coconut tree due to the removal of coconut leaves, twigs and stalks… etc. from the field for human consumption.
Organic fertilizers add all the basic, secondary and molecular nutrients required for plant growth to the soil. Although this does not happen all at once, it is a process that takes place gradually over a period of time. Therefore, organic fertilizers have the ability to release plant nutrients slowly and easily over a long period of time.
In addition, the rapid release of plant nutrients by chemical fertilizers can lead to rapid erosion of the nutrient environment, contaminating water sources and harming animals. Indirectly, this toxic addition to human consumption also leads to spontaneous exposure to severe cancers and kidney disease.
Therefore, the use of organic manure reduces the wastage of manure due to its ability to retain plant nutrients which is an important chemical feature of the soil.
Some of the advantages of using organic fertilizer are:
• Provide high quality produce.
• Improving the activity of soil organisms.
• Provide all the nutrients (primary, secondary and trace elements) required for plant growth.
• Improving the physical and chemical properties of the soil due to the increase in the amount of organic matter in the soil.
E.g.: – Soil Structure, Water Retention Ability, Optimum pH Value and Improve Cation Exchange Capacity in soil (CEC).
• Resistant to plant diseases and pests Increases resistance of pests and diseases to plants.
• Controls soil fungal diseases.
Basically, as mentioned earlier, the essential nitrogen element is common in these fertilizers.
1.Animal manure – Cow dung, Poultry manure and goat manure
- Chicken manure should be removed from the cages and kept in the field for 2-3 months and used after hardening.
- Ideal if moisture content is around 20% -30%.
2.Plant fertilizers (Gliricidia, Giant Mexican Sunflower and Indian coral tree)
3.Compost (coco – Compost)
“NB – The amount of nutrients required per year should be considered when applying organic fertilizer to the coconut tree. Organic fertilizers contain low concentrations of key nutrients, so the amount to be applied is large”
Time to apply organic fertilizer
• When the soil is moist or at the beginning of the rainy season.
• Fertilizer should be applied at the end of heavy rains if the soil is loose or waterlogged frequently.
When applying organic manure to coconut trees during the seedling stage,
Fertilizer should be spread in a manure circle from the basal of the tree, mixed with soil and mulched. As usual, the size of the manure circle increases with the age of the tree.
When applying organic manure to fruit bearing coconut trees,
For fruit bearing trees, Dig 2 to 3 ft wide from the base of the tree, 3 ft wide and 3 to 4 inches deep with a hoe, and thinned.
Add organic manure to it and mix it with the soil and then mulch the manure circle with coconut twigs or suitable covering material.
Depending on the type of organic fertilizer which you use and the climatic zones, it is important to apply the recommended amount once a year for coconut seedlings as well as fruit bearing trees.
When applying organic fertilizer,
Coconut growers can choose one of the following methods to apply organic manure according to their needs.
1.Use of additional chemical fertilizers along with organic fertilizers.
- Additional fertilizers to be applied along with organic fertilizers are provided by chemical / inorganic fertilizers.
2.Use only organic fertilizer.
- In addition to the organic fertilizer used here, additional nutrients to be applied are provided by the mineral or organic matter obtained from the deposit. This method is called organic coconut cultivation.
3.Use of organic and inorganic fertilizers. (Integrated nutrient management)
- Fertilizer recommendations include semi-organic manure and the remaining half inorganic manure. This method is very convenient and advantageous when the complete amount of organic manure required for coconut cultivation cannot be found.
Methods of using only organic manure for coconut cultivation
A. For coconut seedlings
Potassium (K), an essential nutrient for the growth and yield of coconut, is deficient in organic fertilizers. Muriate of Potash (MOP – “KCl”) is not used as a potassium nutrient in organic farming. Sulfate of potash (SOP – “K2SO4”) and coconut husks are the main sources of organic potassium currently found.
In addition, Dolomite (MgCO3.CaCO3) is used as the Magnesium (Mg) source and Eppawala rock phosphate (Ca5 (PO4) 3Cl) is used as the phosphorus (P) source.