How to revive this Coconut farm? (pics attached)

Dear Experts and Friends,

am enclosing few snaps of a coconut farm . It is not fertilized or given care since long but still manage to get 4k per 500 + tress. could you please advise is there specific diseases to damage these trees, can we get it cured and get these trees to return to good health and yield with proper and guided care? or shall we need to remove all damaged trees and replant . or if the disease is very serious any possible that upcoming orchid also will get affected. pls note all these tress are rain fed and these are current photos ie just after the heavy summer.

you can see that good wind is always in the farm . so whether such location is suitable for black pepper,. G8-9 banana, aracanut…etc?

awaiting for your valuable advice.


Hi Mathew,

From the first look, it looks like lack of nutrient. In general the leaves look healthy green. 4K nuts per 500 trees is too less. Conservatively we can expect around 40K - 50K per year per 500 trees. If looked after well with GAP, it can go up by another 25 - 50K.

Do the buds or young coconuts fall off? If yes, I would spray Bordeux mixture or panchaghavya.

I would suggest few things before you think or replanting:

  1. Plough the entire land. This will help to loosen the soil and help aeration.
  2. For immediate recovery, add compost/cow dung/sheep manure around the tree’s canopy in a circular manner. You can also add it to entire land and mix by ploughing.
  3. For long term, dig pits (may be 3x3) between the rows and add generous amount of farmyard waste, coconut husk etc…
  4. Burying coconut husk around the tree helps to a great extend (This is one of my plans this year).
  5. Try to plant gliricidia or similar green manure trees/plants.
  6. Sow cowpea or similar item as intercrop. This will fix nitrogen as you already know.

It will take alteast 2-3 years to see good improvements after you start reviving the trees. Till then you need to wait patiently. :slight_smile:
I was in a similar situation couple of years back and now I am seeing some improvements.


Hi Biju,

thanks lot. this is the present status of one of the land I have short listed in TN.  I hope I could able to revive and then could generate sufficient income. entire farm has very less tress 500  + so i believe can put more trees or do more integrated farming  to develop complete farm within next 6 yr.s.

your feed back on revive give more lights on plans.

from the snaps what you feel the soil is good one?


I think these coconut trees are the victims of malnutrition :astonished:
Maintain proper moisture in the soil by mulching and weeding around the trees. Grow green manure and plough the land just after flowering.
Apply Farm Yard Manure/Vermicompost.

Hi Mathew,

From the pics, I am not really sure what kind of soil it is. I am guessing it is red loamy soil.
By seeing the vegetation/greenery makes me believe that the soil is good and you should be able to grow pretty much anything from coconut to banana to veggies etc…


Dear Biju

it is red soil.  enclose snaps for better view



Hi Mathew,

The soil looks perfectly fine to me. As I said earlier you should be able to grow pretty much anything.
I too have similar soil in my farm. Last year I added few loads of river silt which seems to have helped.

Coconut trees like “cool weather”. Lot of mulching will help. Unfortunately here in Mysore/Mandya area, people have been traditionally keeping the farm very “clean” by ploughing the land 2-3 times a year and burning all the farm waste including fallen leaves and shells. I am in the process of educating/motivating my labors and few neighbours not to do so. But as expected, it is harder and will take little time I guess.  :slight_smile:

Good luck with your farm hunt…



From what I can see and from my limited experience, you will be better off replanting coconut trees. I don’t think they are in a condition to yield 100 nuts per tree on average, whatever fertilizer you use. Moreover, coconut trees take about 3 years to fully respond to any manure/ care.

Here is what I would suggest:

  1. There can be up to 45 trees in an acre (Biju, correct me if I am wrong). You can start planting new saplings where you have space (ensure about 27-30 feet gap between trees).
  2. You can cut down the worst of the lot (10% of the total) and plant new saplings in their place. Do the same every year. This way, you will have a new set in 10 years. In case some trees respond to your care in the meanwhile and start yielding well, you can leave them alone.
  3. You definitely have to start intercropping. Bananas would be ideal. They have an annual payback and that can get you cash regularly. There can be 500 odd banana trees per acre.
  4. In addition to Banana, you can go for smaller plants like turmeric, chillies in between the banana plants so as to fill up the space. Do not leave any empty space.
  5. You can also start growing pepper on the more healthy trees. That way, you will have one more income source.

With this plan, you will continue to get cash from intercrops while the coconut trees recover. Coconut alone will never give you enough returns on the land cost anyway.

Disclaimer: I am no consultant/ hot shot farmer. I started farming about 3 years ago and inherited 100 sick trees that yielded 800 nuts a year. Now I am at 2400 nuts a year (at 24 nuts per tree, this is still way below what Biju quoted), I haven’t had to cut a single tree yet.  :slight_smile: Take a call after talking to more people.

Best of luck! Let me know if you execute a better plan.


This way, you will have a model

There is a new variety of coconut that has come to the market… lost the name but very vigourous growth and starts yielding in 3-4 years … this has become a rage in the Konkan belt of Maharashtra. See if it makes sense to you. The trees have a thick trunk and look very strong, should yield good number of nuts in a year, a 5 yr tree i had seen had about 30 nuts at one time, the nut also looked very healthy to me.
Hope this helps in some way.


AK, more or less correct. It can vary from around 35 to 70 (Rectangle method) depending upon the distance one wishes to leave between rows/trees which allows to do intercrop.

As well, we need to be little careful with what variety of trees are used for replanting. i.e select a variety that can be sold as fresh coconut or dry them and sell after a year or so as copra depending upon market situation. Some of the hybrid varieties do not have enough copra content.


thank you very much friends, let me get tested soils too

Dear Mr. Mathu,
By introduction, i am a practicing horticulturist having long experience to work almost all over Indian sub-continent apart from my academic qualification in horticulture. So, I  could suggest you proper package of practice which you will apply to 10 plants only in your Kottyam,kerala, plantation and let me know after 2 months.
seen your coconut plants picture. I strongly belive most of the trees could be revived within 60 days time.As your plantation is rain fed you have to take quick action, as water requirement of the plants could be maintained.
I am not going in detail, but  you may contact me at

Dear DG Sir,

It’s interesting to note that you said the trees can be revived. Can you please post a few pointers on how we can decide if a tree can be revived or not? My trees were in better condition than the ones in the phots Mathew attached and people were suggesting to me that I get rid of them and start afresh.

It will enhance our knowledge if you can share a few general pointers on how to decide whether to cut down a coconut tree or to try and revive it.

Thanks in advance,

Yes, it would indeed help many more if you post your ideas/procedures here.
If this is a consultancy offer, feel free to post under ads section, of course.


Your trees underwent severe water starvation in the past. The leaf shedding marks is used to count the age approximately one mark/month. The stem girth in the top portion looks better than bottom of the tree. It implies the the trees thrived agaist severe starvation atleast two years before.
The yellowing of older leaves shows nitrogen and zinc deficiency. Form a small basin like structure and add apply 50 kg of FYM or compost or green manure. 1.3 kg urea (560 g N), 2.0 kg super phosphate (320 g P2O5) and 2.0 kg muriate of potash (1200 g K2O) in two equal splits during June – July and December – January. If possible add micronutrient mix available for coconut in the fertilizer shop.
The hole in the trunk in fig 3 shows red palm weevil infestation in the past. Look all the trees for whole in the base of the trunk, in the hole put celphos tablet or systemic insecticide and plug the whole.
Remove the wilted and dead plants in figure 1.
Cut in the leaves showed infestation of weevil in the past.
Immediate necessary things:
Plough with a tractor.
Form channels or drip and irrigate at least twice once in week. Apply the fertilizer (This is right time) , and irrigate again.
For safety remove all the nuts and root feed with monocrotophos. After root feeding do not pluck nuts for 45 days.
Remove all dried leaves and clean the crown.
You will not get benefit in two months, but after 6 months you will get very good yield.
During surplus water availability sow green manure crops around the base and incorporate after 45-days.
Ploughing in summer will increase the soil aeration and plants can able to obtain the soil nutrients.

Hello Agri1972,

Thanks for the detailed reply. Is there an organic equivalent process? :slight_smile:


Dear Agri,

Wow what a wonderful and in depth analysis together with remedies.

thank you very very much


Thanks for the appreciation from rmathewsin, AK1311, sri2012.

Goat/sheep manure is one of the organic replacement for inorganic fertilizers. But can be replaced with cow dung/pig manure etc.

Organic maintanence: The yield will not be similar to plants supported by inorganic fertilizers, but considering the cost of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides; organic farm will give a considerable profit.

  1. To avoid inorganic fertilizers: Apply 10 KG goat manure (contains 1.68 % nitrogen,  2.5 % phosphorous, and 1.3 % potash) per tree. It is advisable to keep the manure in shade for 6 months prior to use.
  2. Apply Farm yard manure 40 Kg/tree per year. If possible make coir pith compost and apply to trees. Coir pith compost will enhance the water holding capacity of soil.
  3. Biofertilizers: These are accepted as organic. Apply 50 g/tree Azospirillum and 50 g/tree phosphobacterium to make the nitrogen and phosphorus available to plants.
  4. Field sanitation is very important always keep the field clean.
  5. Apply micronutrients Borax 50 g, Gypsum 1.0 kg and Magnesium sulphate 500g/tree
    General Organic pest and disease management practices:
    Apply 2 Kg Neem cake/tree twice in a year on Juen-July and Sep-Oct.
    When cleaning crown apply neem seed kernel powder with 2 parts of sand and pplying inner most three leaf base (~150gram/tree) will prevent rhinocerous beetle attacks.
    Biocontrol agent Metarhizium anisopliae (Fungi) can kill the grubs of rhinocerous beetle. Mix 4 Kg of this biopesticide per tonne of organic manure destroys the new grubs of rhinocerous beetles before they cause any damage. It may be available in Agri universities or Departmentof Agri.
    pheromone traps: rhinolure @ 12/ha for trapping the adult rhinocerous beetle and destroy them. It is available in market/Dept of Agriculture.
    Red palm weevil: Maintain the field asclean as possible. Inspect trees especially young palms twice a month. If injury of small whole appears in trunk or petioles apply used engine iol or tar and pluck the wholes.
    Black beetle: Remove and burn dead and decaying palms in the field, as these are source of multiplication of th beetles. Usually infects young palms careful observation helps to identify this pest. By cultural method it can be killed by using a hook.

In addition several need based natural cultural practices are available.