All about plant fertilization

How and when to fertilize coconut tree

The coconut tree is a palm tree that belongs to the Arecaceae family, which has the peculiarity of having only one spice (Cocos nucifera). It is the classic palm tree that we all associate with a beach, and it can grow up to 30 meters in height. Although specialists still do not agree on whether its origin is from the tropical coasts of Asia or America, today it can be found decorating warm beaches anywhere in the world. In this article we will analyze how to use fertilizer for coconut palms, when to apply it and what type of fertilizer should be used.

Interesting fact: according to certain sources it is believed that the name “coconut” was given by some Portuguese sailors in the 16th century. They say they saw it as similar to a person’s face, and called it “coconut” as it means “grimace” or “smiley face”.

1. Caring your coconut tree

We will start this post by analyzing what care you should have for a coconut tree to develop healthy and strong. As you might suppose, fertilization is far from the only necessary care, but several more are needed.

Please note that care varies depending on whether your coconut tree is outdoors or indoors. This last option is not very common, but it is currently being used a lot, giving an exotic touch to any home.

Fertilizer for coconut tree
Coconut tree
  • Soil: it is essential that it has a high degree of sand. If you grow it in a pot, make a mixture of 50% leaf mulch and 50% sand.
  • Temperature: used to the warm climates of the tropics, it does not support temperature ranges below 16 ° C at all.
  • Light: the light needs are very great for a coconut tree. That’s why if you grow it in areas outside the tropics, where winters have short days, you may need to move the pot indoors to give it more hours of sunshine.
  • Humidity: as you can imagine you need high levels of humidity. If you grow it indoors, be careful to place containers of water nearby to raise the humidity.
  • Watering: during the spring and summer days it is convenient to water about twice a week. Whereas in winter three times a month can be enough.
  • Fertilization: you can make use of both organic and commercial fertilizers, or even common salt can be an excellent ally. We will discuss this in the next sections.

2. NPK values – What do it mean?

If you’ve already fertilized some other garden plant with some commercial fertilizer, you probably notice that each package has three numbers separated by a hyphen. In case you are an inexperienced gardener, you may not know what these numbers mean and how important they are.

Since I consider it extremely important to know what these three issues are, we will begin this post by explaining it. They are what are known as NPK values. Where each of the letters represents one of the main nutrients.

  • N stands for nitrogen. It is the main nutrient that influences the growth of a plant.
  • P stands for phosphorous. It is responsible for promoting the formation of roots and the development of flowers and fruits.
  • K stands for potassium. It is very useful to help the transfer of water and nutrients in your plants.

Therefore, each number is the percentage by weight of each nutrient with respect to the total weight. In case you do not finish understanding, we will see an example:

“Suppose you bought a small bag of 5-10-15 mix fertilizer that weighs 1kg. So 50g of the total is nitrogen, 100g is phosphorous and 150g is potassium. The rest is completed with minor elements.”

I think that with the previous example it must have been more than clear that they are NPK values. Therefore, we can continue with this article on coconut tree.

If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.

3. Fertilizer for coconut tree

In coconut production crops, fertilization is determined by the level of production, the age of the plant, the content and availability of nutrients in the soil, the type of coconut tree, the planting density, the type of irrigation and the commercially available fertilizer source.

When it comes to new plantings, to determine the amount of fertilizer per plant, the first thing we must do is a soil sampling and analysis. When the crop develops, the soil analysis is completed with foliar analyzes to determine a deficiency of especially minor elements.

In the case of coconut trees that fulfill ornamental functions in a garden, it is not necessary to take so many precautions when fertilizing. But when what is sought is to optimize production, we will see that it is essential to control several factors.

3.1 When to fertilize coconut tree

The fertilizer application season on a coconut tree is also variable, especially due to weather conditions and soil type. Although there may be hundreds of possibilities in general, we can divide ourselves into two large groups:

  • When the crop is managed in dry conditions, on sandy or coarse-textured soils, nitrogen should be applied in three fractions during the rainy season.
  • In clay soils that can retain more nutrients, the application can be applied twice a year, once at the beginning and once at the end of the rainy season.

When it comes to an indoor crop, the fertilization time is in spring and summer. In autumn winter, with cold days and lower temperatures, the coconut tree will not develop so it is better not to fertilize.

3.2 How to fertilize coconut tree

The fertilization of coconut trees should begin at the time of planting them. This will ensure better and faster growth in the early stages of life.

Since phosphorous fertilizers have little mobility in the soil, they are the best to incorporate at planting time. The dose to be placed is closely linked to a soil analysis. Anyway, a general requirement is around 70 gr. of P2O5 or 350 gr. per single superphosphate plant. The method of application is by mixing the fertilizer with the soil with which you will fill the planting hole.

During the first year from sowing, the compost must be incorporated into the soil in a strip of 15 centimeters to one meter wide and separated by a radius of 50 cm measured from the stem of the coconut tree. In subsequent years, the radius should increase, reaching up to 2 m in adult silver. For a better understanding, you can see the following picture.

How to apply fertilizer for coconut tree
How to apply fertilizer for coconut tree

Just as when we gave the fertilization doses during planting we said that they are subject to soil analysis, this will happen throughout the life of the coconut tree. To give you an idea, we will provide you with the following table with the nutrient requirements throughout the life of this plant.

Amount of nutrientes  coconut tree
Amount of nutrientes in grams per plant

4. Why coconut trees need salt

When we talk about fertilizing the coconut tree, it is common to find the following query; Can we use salt as fertilizer for coconut trees? As when I started writing this post I saw that this question is asked by many users, I will dedicate this short section to answer it.

The short answer is yes, you can use common salt or sodium chloride to fertilize coconut trees. And without a doubt it is one of the cheapest options when it comes to fertilizing these plants. As proof of this I leave the following table where you can see the annual yield and the cost of production of fertilization with NaCl in coconut.

Salt as fertilizer for coconut tree
Salt as fertilizer for coconut tree

Among the advantages provided by the use of this simple fertilizer we can mention the following:

  • It improves the production both in quantity and in weight of coconuts.
  • According to the analysis there is an increase in the growth rate.
  • It can help us fight a very common problem such as leaf spots.

Remember to be careful with the doses of salt that you are going to use. And try to save something for the kitchen. 😉

5. Video Organic fertilizer for coconut tree

I must admit that most of the article, if not all, is about fertilizing a productive crop of coconut trees. To touch the coconut trees in the garden a little more, I have selected a video (Rehoboth Organic channel) where you can see how the fertilization with organic fertilizer is carried out in these cases.

You will see that to a large extent it is very similar to how it is fertilized in production crops. In the same way, I have no doubt that watching the video will be of great help to you. Especially to understand more graphically what has been seen so far.

If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.

We have finished the article, I hope you have understood everything that we explain here, and have no doubts about applying fertilizer for coconut tree.

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