Date

Date

The date, is a large subtropical erect palm that grows up to 25-30m tall, often clumped with several plants from the same root system, but will also grow separately, containing a trunk clothed from the ground up with overlapping, upward pointing, woody leaf bases. Leaves present a featherlike appearance and extend as far as 3 – 5m. The dates form in clusters below the fronds with some clusters holding up to 1,500 dates. The fruit itself is of an oval shape and is either darkish brown, reddish, or yellowish-brown when ripe with thin or thick skin that contains a sweet fleshy inside and a very hard grooved stone in the centre. The exact native distribution is unknown, but the date is believed to have most likely originated in the desert oases of northern Africa or the Middle East.

  • Plant & Growing Tips:

    Dates will grow readily from seed and will germinate best when seeds are fresh.

    Date palms enjoy warm climates and must be grown in locations with full sun. In date growing countries, the preferred climate for proper maturing of fruit is between 27°C - 32°C of prolonged summer heat with virtually no rain or high humidity during the fruiting period.

    The date requires high water supplies for heavy bearing and thrives on soils with a high watertable. In contrast, dates are rather resistant to long periods of drought.

    When the date is dormant it will cope with short periods of freezing temperatures as low as -7°C with no permanent injury.

    Dates tend to be more wind tolerant than other crops.

    Dates may be grown over a variety of soils, but grows best in sand, sandy loams, clay and other heavy soils. It is a lot more tolerant than many other plants of alkali or saline soils.

    In large plantations, it is customary to plant one male palm for every 30 females over a 9m square pattern (120 females and 4 males per hectare) which should suffice for artificial pollination.

    Remove any spines from leaf stalks next to the developing flowers to make pollinating easier by hand. Pollen that is not used immediately can be kept up to 3 months at normal room temperature and should be dried out carefully.

    In general, palms are pruned twice a year in August and prior to pollination to remove any dead or partly dead fronds.

    Birds can cause severe damage to fruit, so the use of bunch covers of bird netting may be needed to protect fruit from any harm.

    Plant your young palm during spring or summer.

  • Fertiliser Applications:

    Stage: Young Palms (<18mths)

    Product: Dinofert Organic Fertiliser, Dinofert Standard Pellets

    Gardener Use: 3-5 cups (600-1000g)

    Commercial Use: 1-1.2kg

    Comments: Fertiliser should be applied underneath the entire canopy as uniformly as possible so an even spread is achieved. Fertiliser should be spread 1.5m from the trunk. Apply 3 times a year, in spring, summer and autumn.

     

    Stage: Small Palms (18mths - 5yrs)

    Product: Dinofert Organic Fertiliser, Dinofert Standard Pellets

    Gardener Use: 10 cups (2kg)  

    Commercial Use: Up to 2.5kg

    Comments: Once properly established, small developing palms should be supplemented with the preferred product Dino-Fert Combo, or an equivalent fertiliser as they respond well to higher nitrogen fertilisers. Apply 3 times a year in spring, summer and autumn.

     

    Stage: Mature Palms (Fruiting)   

    Product: Dinofert Organic Fertiliser, Dinofert Standard Pellets

    Gardener Use: 15-22.5 cups (3-4.5kg)

    Commercial Use: Up to 6kg

    Comments: In Iraq and most of the Middle East, farmers traditionally fertilise palms with poultry manures and other fertilisers for years using amounts up to 20kg/palm per year achieving phenomenal results in fruit production. Most farmers will find they may only need 3 applications (spring, summer and autumn) of 3-4kg per palm. However, rates can be increased up to 6kg for large date palms that are heavy bearing (excess of 80kg yields). If you are only able to make 2 applications per year, then it is best to apply in spring and autumn. For those on budget constraints, one application can suffice at 4kg/palm and this should be applied in autumn. 

Disclaimer

Please note that the above information and recommendations are provided in good faith and are given without liability for loss or damage suffered as a result of their application. Optimum response to fertilisers will only be achieved when weeds, insect pests and diseases are controlled and adequate soil water is available.

Fertiliser use recommendations are presented as a practical guide to good agronomic practice under most situations. Local soil, climatic and other conditions should also be taken into account as these could affect plant response to fertiliser rates and applications.

For further information we recommend you seek advice from your local agronomist.