- Offshoots are axillary buds developed between the leaf base and the trunk trunk during the juvenile phase of the palm.
- Number of offshoots developed per palm is depend on the variety/clone.
- Offshoot production is limited to short vegetative phase of the palms.10 - 15 years with an average of 10-20 offshoots.
- The off shoot development process is very slow, which retard the fast multiplication of the suckers.
- No techniques is available to increase as well as speed up the production of offshoots and also to reduce the time gap.
- The survival rate is very low 40 - 50 % under field conditions.
- The chances of enhancement and spread of pests and diseases.
- It is difficult laborious and need technical skill.
Technology demonstration by dates palm research station:
- During eighties farmers used to remove the offshoots at the initiation itself to increase growth and vigor of the mother palm
- Farmers were unaware of the importance of offshoots to produce true to type palm' and less experienced by the technique of offshoot separation from mother plant
- Lack of the knowledge by which an offshoot can be 'tuned' for transplanting to reduce the mortality
- Due to this farmers propagated by seeds which further added variability in maximum scale in the ecosystem and accumulation of low quality produce in bulk which fetch very low price.farmers used to remove all the suckers at the initial stages itself without understanding the trait of the fruits. by the time quality of the fruits are known, no offshoots were left out for further multiplication.
Choice/Selection of offshoot:
- From palms which are healthy,high yielding with desirable qualities.
- Offshoots are of3-5 years old with a weight of 8-10 kgs.
- Offshoots have enough roots.
Methods of root initiation:
- Select the desirable offshoot, remove the soil from the base and tie a plastic sheet around , spray iba @1000ppm at the base and fill it with FYM, saw dust and soil in equal proportion and sew the sheet properly.
- This has been done about 3-4 months before monsoon.Irrigate regularly to keep the rooting media moist.
- The offshoots will be ready for removal & transplanting within six months with enough roots.
Seperation of offshoots from mother palm:
- Tie the leaves of the off shoots and excavate the soil around the base to see the attachment of offshoots to mother palm.
- By using chisel and hammer cut the joint without damaging the mother palm or offshoots.
- Cut portion of the offshoots and mother palm should treat with copper fungicide and insecticide.
- Transplanting in the month of march-april is preferable with distance of 8x8, 9x9 or 10 x10 mts.in a pit of 1 m x lm.
- At the time of transplanting the pit should be filled with 25kg.fym, 2kg castor cake, dusting with methyl parathion or chlorpyriphos
- The bole portion of the offshoot should be underground and irrigate properly.
- Care should be taken water should not enter the crown portion of the offshoot.
Post transplanting care:
- Transplanted offshoots should not be disturbed.
- It should be protected from extreme heat, cold and wind (by covering with date leaves or green net).
- Mild irrigation should be-provided daily up to 5-6 weeks of transplanting.
Technological impact assessment:
The local elite selection 'yakubi' from the orchard of mr. ishak yakub turk, was chosen for demonstration. the fruit of yakubi is dark red in colour with rain tolerance and the palm is having profuse off shooting behavior. the demonstration was laid in an half acre plot by 8x8m spacing. since then the station was educating the farmers about the importance of offshoots and the techniques of offshoot preparation and separation from mother palm etc.to farmers of different villages.The continuous efforts made by the station have paved the way and slowly and slowly farmers started adopting the procedure. initially the percentage of mortality was high. however, the station has developed a foolproof technique for initiation of rooting in the offshoot before separation by which the percentage of survival was increased tremendously.