1
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Citrus row spacing in coconut multi-storied cropping system

Coconut    Erode, TamilNadu, India

In my land in Erode, South India, we are planning to plant coconut trees in double hedge pattern. Soil is mostly sandy, clayey, lateritic deep loam with slightly higher water table.
Each coconut hedge row will be planted in north-south orientation with 6m between each coconut tree in same hedge row and 6m between each of the 2 hedge rows.
If I want to plant citrus (acid lime) in the center between two coconut double hedges, then what should be the minimum spacing between the coconut double hedges? Please see attached image for the layout & question.
I am also planning to grow forage crops like (cowpea, guinea grass, lablab) between citrus row and the coconut double hedge, but this is optional.

Please note that both coconut & citrus will be planted at the same time (ie., coconut stand will be less than one year old when citrus will be planted)



Posted by: deactivated (2 points) deactivated
Posted: November 21, 2015




Answers

1
point
There is a lot of detail on the web about double hedging systems for coconuts. The distances your propose for the coconut seem justifiable based on what I have read by FAO
http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/af298e/...

And the coconut board http://www.coconutboard.nic.in/cdb4.htm

But I would have assumed that the citrus would ultimately be shaded out by the coconut.

There was a 6 year study in Ghana on citrus and coconut and there
http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajfand...

They had two trials:
1) Coconut-citrus intercrop I (Coconut planted at 9.5m triangular spacing at 128 palms ha-1 and intercropped with citrus at 100 trees ha-1)
2) Coconut-citrus intercrop II (Coconut planted at 10.5m triangular spacing at 105 palms ha-1 and intercropped with citrus at 80 trees ha-1).
Citrus was planted at the convergence point of any two diagonal lines linked with four adjacent coconut palms. The MYD x VTT coconut hybrid (good against a virus) was planted at 9.5m triangular provided optimal spacing for citrus intercropping. The intercropping
system did not hinder the optimal growth and yield of coconut or citrus.

So, the question is how wide will the canpopy be when mature as this will affect light. Citrus needs a lot of light. Other trees like Cocoa require much less light.


There is an issue of farm labor which is covered in this report of intercropping in Sri Lanka. http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNAAZ31...
Can you find the farm labor?



I received a reply from E. Andoh-Mensah who conducted teh 6 year study of cocount and citrus in Ghana http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajfand...

...............Update Nov 27th....................
"
Hi David,

The proposed spacing for the coconut (6m x 6m) will be too small for citrus intercropping and that coconut at that spacing will shade citrus in the intercropping. The minimum spacing of coconut for citrus intercropping is 9.5 m triangular. Citrus is planted at the intersection of the two diagonal lines linking four adjacent coconut palms. Find attached coconut-citrus spatial arrangement diagram.

Wishing you the best

E. Andoh-Mensah"
...

His paper shows high productivity for citrus with Coconut so I suppose that at 9.5 m the shading issue is not a problem'

Are other growers in your areas seeing diseases in citrus? Like HuangLongBing or Citrus Greening?


Posted by: David Hughes (43 points) David Hughes
Posted: November 23, 2015


deactivated commented,
Thanks Dave!
I already read those links that you have shared. But wanted to really talk to someone like you than going by the documents in internet as they are more generic in their studies.

"But I would have assumed that the citrus would ultimately be shaded out by the coconut. "
Many of the neighboring farmers say the same thing to me. As citrus are maintained at the height of 10-15ft then I should skip citrus I believe.

"There is an issue of farm labor which is covered in this report of intercropping in Sri Lanka."
Mmm. Thats really an acute problem nowadays in urbanized states of India particularly my area which is also an industrial belt.

Most of coconut farmers in my place do banana & turmeric inter cropping with coconut but nowadays planting, fertilizer, labor costs are too high here for maintaining these crops apart from unpredictable monsoons.

In the pic "Planned multi-storied layout", I had shortlisted the following low water demanding crops with keeping the coconut hedges as constant. Also mentioning the value for '?' (distance between the coconut double hedges) that I had in my mind for the crops.
Plan is to choose only one of the following 3 to be planted between the coconut double hedges.

Citrus (acid lime) - lots of fertilizer, high maintenance, easily sale-able, maintenance height 12-15ft
intra-row spacing 20ft
'?' will be 40ft
- As you have also pointed about the possibility of shading then I think I will skip this.

Pomegranate - medium maintenance, bulk marketing issues, pests, maintenance height 12-15ft
intra-row spacing 15-20ft
'?' will be 40ft
- Pomegranate being a much shorter than coconut, any idea if it could sustain the shading of coconut?

Tamarind (pkm1) - low maintenance, easily sale-able, maintenance height (>50ft)
intra-row spacing 30ft
'?' will be 60ft
- As tamarind also will be taller, will this combination work fine?

Can you recommend pomegranate or tamarind?
Atleast I am not able to find any studies in internet for coconut-tamarind multi-storied cropping like I have proposed. Do you think that will work?
If yes, do you think we will be able to grow shade tolerant forage like cowpea, guinea grass & etc... in between the coconut hedges & the tamarind?

Kindly clarify.

almost 4 years ago.

David Hughes commented,
I updated my original answer
almost 4 years ago.

deactivated commented,
Thanks Dave!

"His paper shows high productivity for citrus with Coconut so I suppose that at 9.5 m the shading issue is not a problem'"
- Based on your update, I understand that if the distance between the coconut double hedges (? in my pic) should be at least 9.5m.
coconut double hedge intra row spacing 30ft
citrus intra-row spacing 30ft
Distance between right side row of first double-hedge & left side row of the next double hedge ('?') will be 40ft

"Are other growers in your areas seeing diseases in citrus? Like HuangLongBing or Citrus Greening?"
- As I told earlier, my place is mostly coconut, turmeric, sugarcane growing region. If I am planting citrus here , then I might be the first person to do so I believe. So, not sure about any of the pests/diseases for citrus.

almost 4 years ago.

David Hughes commented,
then I think citrus could be a good intercrop tree for you
almost 4 years ago.

Anil commented,
Hi Ram, Could you please shed some light on how you planted citrus lime in coconut plantation. I am also looking to do the same.. I want to plant both at same time and would like to know the spacing option you adopted. I am thinking of 8m square method for coconut and 4m square for lime.. do you think that works?
over 3 years ago.



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