(FAO - INADES, 1977, 40 p.)

The plantation[edit | edit source]

Preparing the site[edit | edit source]

25. In big plantations the forest trees are pulled up with the help of big machines. But often the grower cannot use these machines.

Begin by marking out the boundaries of the plantation. Next, cut down as many trees as you can around the plantation and take all the trees away, so that the fire cannot burn down the whole forest. This is called making a firebreak. Then set fire to the plantation site.

When the fire is over, the soil is bare. You must protect the soil against the sun, for the sun burns the soil and destroys the humus.

At the beginning of the rainy season, sow a cover crop; a mixture of Pueraria javanica Centrosema pubescens, and Calopogonium muconoides. Sow 4 to 6 kilogrammes of seed per hectare.

Pegging the planting pattern[edit | edit source]

26. When the soil of the plantation has been well cleared by fire, peg out the places where you will plant your seedlings.

To be sure to plant at the right density, you must peg out carefully before planting.

Then you will be sure of having always the same distance between rows and in each row the same distance between oil palms.

To get a good yield, you must plant the oil palms at the right density.

If the oil palms are planted too close together, the roots get in each other's way, and the leaves do not have enough air and sun: the yield will be low.

If the oil palms are not planted close enough together, each separate tree produces much, but the roots do not use all the soil: the yield per hectare will be low.

27. How to peg out the planting pattern

Trace lines across the slope and put in your pegs in straight lines; leave 7.8 metres between rows and 9 metres between pegs.

In this way you can plant 143 oil palms per hectare; this is the best density.

Pull out tree stumps and remove fallen trees close to the pegs, because these stumps and trees would interfere with the oil palms.

Oilpalm P25A.GIF

Planting pattern for plantation

Planting out the oil palm seedlings[edit | edit source]

28. One month before planting, dig a hole at each place where you have put a peg. The hole should be 0.60 metre long and wide, and 0.80 metre deep. When you are digging the holes, cut any roots that you find in the soil. Do not mix the soil from above and the soil from below.

Oilpalm P26A.GIF

Planting out the oil palm seedlings

A few days later fill in the holes with the earth you have dug out. At the bottom of the hole, put the soil you have dug out from the top, and at the top put the soil you have dug out from below.
Fill the hole well, so that no saucer shape forms on top.

Oilpalm P26B.GIF

Bottorn soil now on top

29. Lifting the seedlings from the nursery The right time to plant is the beginning of the rainy season.

In this way the young plants can develop their root system before the dry season arrives.

Choose the biggest and the best-grown seedlings. Leave in the nursery any seedlings that are small or badly grown.

Cut away all the dry leaves and the tip of leaves that are too long. Put grease over the cut ends where you have removed leaf tips. Tie the leaves together.

30. Do not lift the seedlings long before you plant them. Lift and plant them in the course of a single day.

In order to keep a big ball of earth around the roots, lift and plant the palm oil seedlings with a plant setter.

31. If you use a Socfin plant setter, place the seedlings after lifting into a wooden box in order to carry them to the plantation.

32. It you use a Java plant setter, leave the seedling inside the plant setter when you carry it to the plantation. The seedling is tied into the plant setter.

Oilpalm P28A.GIF

Java plant setter

33. Make the holes for planting in the plantation, with the plant setter you use for lifting the seedlings from the nursery beds.

Do not make the holes several days before planting. If you make the holes too long before planting, the rain may wash earth from the sides into the hole, or the sun may dry out the earth on the sides.

The ball of earth around the roots must be level with the soil of the plantation.

The earth must not form a hollow around the crown. Fill in with earth the space between the sides of the hole and the root ball.

Remove with a little stick all the earth that has fallen on the leaves.

Oilpalm P29A.GIF

The crow

Putting wire netting around seedlings[edit | edit source]

34. Certain animals may eat the young oil palm seedlings. To protect the seedlings, surround them with wire netting.

Leave the wire netting in place for about 18 months. When you have put your wire netting in place, spread a mulch 20 centimetres thick around the seedlings. This mulch prevents the soil from drying out, and prevents weeds from growing.

Use dry herbage, and spread it 15 to 20 centimetres thick at a distance of 30 to 40 centimetres around the crown.

Oilpalm P30A.GIF

Wire netting in place

35. A few months after planting, apply fertilizers.

The right time to apply fertilizers is near the end of the rainy season.

The recommended dose of fertilizers for each plant is: 250 to 500 grammes of ammonium sulfate and 250 grammes of potassium chloride.

Spread the fertilizers in a ring underneath the longest leaves.

After you have spread the fertilizer, cover it with a little earth. If there is a mulch around the seedlings, remove the mulch before applying the fertilizer. Afterwards spread a fresh mulch of dry herbage.

Oilpalm P31A.GIF

Spread the fertilizers

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Authors Eric Blazek
Published 2006
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