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Growing Conditions And Growth Habits Of Coconut In Relation To Coconut Based Farming Systems

The paper assessed the coconut in relation to: (1) growing conditions (climate and soils); (2) growth habits (morphology and crown development, planting methods and rooting pattern, light profile and planting geometry or arrangements); (3) productivity levels of monoculture coconut system; and (4) amenabi1i ty of coconut in Coconut-Based Farming System (CBFS). Within the suitable climatic environments of coconuts (20 N - 20 S latitudes, < 600 m altitude. 24- 29 C air temperature, 80-90% RH, > 2000 sunshine hours. 1500-2300 mm evenly-distributed rainfall and < 20% typhoon frequency), many intercrops grown under coconut performs satisfactorily; common of which are corn, peanut, sweet potato, pineapple, banana, coffee and cacao. A wide range of soils in term of soil depth, drainage. pH, textural class have been used for CBFS in coconut producing countries, with coconut spaced 7 m to 10 m. At 9 m X 9 m square planting, the underutilized land area of coconut are 96.1% and 84.5% for young plantings < 2 year old and bearing palms, respectively. The high light transmission (80-50%) that occurs at early years of planting and after 20 years (particular-ly palms spaced not closer than 9 m) provides adequate solar energy for intercropping. The older the palms and the wider these are spaced (> 9 meters) under a square or rectangular planting arrangement, the more suitable coconut farms are for CBFS, growing annual, biennial and perennial crops.

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