The Medjool is a variety of the palm tree Phoenix dactylifera, which produces the fruit, dates. Originally from the arid regions of the Middle East, the Medjool date palm is most commonly grown in drier regions, such as Southern California and Nevada. A mature Medjool date palm typically produces suckers, small offshoot trees that form at the base of the parent plant. To propagate the plant, the suckers can be removed and planted separately. While the procedure is relatively simple, care should be taken to ensure the sucker is treated properly in order to thrive.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Machete or small hatchet
- Pruning shears
- Palm fertiliser
Identify a three- to five-year-old sucker that weighs between 18.1 and 34 Kilogram at the bottom of a mature Medjool date palm. Remove any soil from around the base of the sucker. Carefully cut the sucker away from the parent plant using a machete or small hatchet.
Trim the lower leaves from the sucker, leaving only a few of the stiff outer leaves to protect the inner leaves. Lay the sucker on the ground for 10 to 15 days to allow it to the season in preparation for planting.
Dig a hole in sandy soil three feet deep and an equal amount wide. Water the soil within the hole so that it is moist but not wet.
Place the seasoned Medjool date palm sucker vertically within the hole and back fill the excavated sandy soil around the base. Tamp the soil down firmly to remove any air pockets within the soil around the plant. Water the soil around the sucker thoroughly so that it is damp but not wet.
Continue to water the sucker as needed over the next three to four months to keep the soil constantly damp. Once the sucker begins to produce new roots, usually after two months, discontinue watering the plant.
Maintain a region around the date palm tree that is free of flowers, shrubs, turf and other plants that require regular watering.
Fertilise the Medjool date palm tree four times per year with a fertiliser formulated for palm trees at the amount specified by the manufacturer.
Prune dead palm fronds and old date cluster stalks twice a year to keep the tree open and ready for flowering and to make harvesting easier. Harvest ripe dates as they soften.
Tips and warnings
- Medjool dates are best harvested individually, by hand, because each date may ripen at a different time. Eat the dates fresh or dry them for storage.
- Purdue University states that Medjool date palm trees can grow either male or female. Suckers taken from a tree will retain the sex of the parent plant. For proper pollination to produce fruit, grow both male and female plants.
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