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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 882: IV International Date Palm Conference

PERFORMANCE AND FIELD MANAGEMENT OF SIX PROMINENT CULTIVARS OF DATE PALM (PHOENIX DACTYLIFERA) IN EXTREME ARID REGIONS OF THAR DESERT, INDIA

Authors:   R.S. Mertia, Birbal, R.N. Kumawat
Keywords:   date palm, Indian Thar Desert, doka and pind stage, fruit characteristics
Abstract:
Ten female cultivars of datepalm were introduced in 1996 at the Chandan research centre located at 27°01’N and 71°01’E in Jaisalmer district of Western Rajasthan, India. Twelve offshoots of six prominent cultivars, each having average weight of 10-12 kg were further transplanted after careful separation from mother plants in the year 2000. It is revealed that transplanting of offshoots in the month of September is more beneficial with higher survival; 90% as against 65% in the offshoots transplanted in the month of March-April. First flowering was observed in ‘Halawi’ and ‘Samran’ in the second year of field planting whereas other cultivars flowered in the fourth and fifth year except ‘Migraf’, which flowered in the sixth year. Minimum thermal degree days were required for ‘Khadravi’; 2213°C for khalal stage to 3125°C for tamar (dang) stage, whereas maximum was recorded in ‘Medjool’; 2640°C for khalal stage to 3440°C for tamar stage during 2009. Physical characteristics of fruits of six prominent cultivars revealed a maximum fruit length of 39.5 mm in ‘Medjool’ and minimum 25.1 mm in ‘Khadrawi’. Similarly, maximum pulp thickness of 16.3 mm was recorded in ‘Medjool’ and least 7.4 mm in ‘Dayani’ at khalal stage. The single fruit weight 16.1 g was also highest in ‘Medjool’ and lowest 3.8 g in ‘Khadrawi’. Significant reduction in pulp and net weight of single fruit was recorded in all the cultivars, which was up to 30-35% in ‘Halawi’. Maximum number of bunch 15 were recorded in ‘Khalas’ followed by 14 in ‘Halawi’. Maximum yield of 125 kg per plant at tamar stage was recorded in ‘Khalas’ followed by ‘Halawi’, 92 kg and closely followed by ‘Medjool’, 89 kg during the year 2009. The prevailing conducive climatic conditions along with the inception of a canal system and ground water in the desert has opened the potential of commercial cultivation of date palm in the Indian Thar desert in millions of hectares in the future ahead.
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