Disease Management. Areca palm is prone to a number of diseases during its different stages of development. Forty fungal species, a bacterium and an algae parasite are associated with areca palm. Yellow leaf disease, a dreaded disease suspected to be caused by phytoplasm, also causes losses to its crop. Koleroga caused by Phytophthora araceae is one of the major diseases of arecanut.
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The arecanut palm is the source of common chewing nut, popularly known as betel nut or Supari. In India it is extensively used by large sections of people and is very much linked with religious practices. India is the largest producer of arecanut and at the same time largest consumer also. Arecanut- Plant and Bunch ready for Harvest. Harvested bunch , single fruit and nuts Betel leaves with arecanut and Disposable plates made from areca-Leaves.
Extremes of temperature and wide diurnal variations are not conducive for the healthy growth of the palms. Arecanut can be grown in areas receiving annual rainfall of mm in Maidan parts of Karnataka to 4, mm in Malnad areas of Karnataka. In areas where there is prolonged dry spell, the palms are irrigated. Due to its susceptibility to low temperature, a good crop of arecanut cannot be obtained at an altitude of more than m MSL.
The largest area under the crop is found in gravelly laterite soils of red clay type. It can also be grown on fertile clay loam soils. Sticky clay, sandy, alluvial, brackish and calcareous soils are not suitable for arecanut cultivation. Arecanut is propagated only by seeds. There are four steps in selection and raising of arecanut seedlings viz. The criteria for the selection of mother palm are; early bearing, regular bearing habit, large number of leaves on the crown, shorter internodes and high fruit set.
Fully ripened nuts having weight of above 35 g should be selected. The nuts selected should float vertically with calyx-end pointing upwards when allowed to float on water. These nuts produce the seedlings of greater vigour. For obtaining good germination, the seed nuts should be sown as whole fruits. The nuts should be sown immediately after the harvest in soil or sand and watered daily to get early and good germination.
The nuts should be sown at 15 cm distance in vertical position with calyx end just covered. The beds may be mulched lightly using areca leaf or paddy straw. After six months in primary nursery, the seedlings are to be transplanted to secondary nursery beds of cm width, 15 cm height and convenient length. A spacing of 30 cm between the seedlings is considered to be optimum for a growth period of one year in the nursery. Sprouts of 3 months old should be used. The secondary nursery should be given a basal dose of decomposed farm yard manure 5 tonnes per ha.
Areca sprouts and seedlings are very delicate and do not withstand exposure to direct sunlight. Hence, proper shade should be provided to the nursery.
The nursery should be watered regularly in the summer and proper drainage should be provided in rainy season. The nursery should be kept clean by periodical weeding. Twelve to eighteen-month-old seedlings are to be selected and transplanted in the main field. Seedlings with maximum number of leaves five or above , minimum height and maximum girth are to be selected for planting. The selected seedlings should be removed with a ball of earth adhering to the roots for planting.
The crop thrives well in humid areas protected well against hot sun and heavy wind. Since the areca palm does not withstand either water logging or drought, the site selected should have proper drainage and adequate source of water for irrigation. Arecanut palm cannot withstand extreme temperature and exposure to direct sun. So the site selected should have protection from southern and western sides.
The soil depth and the depth of water table are other two parameters to be considered while selecting the site. The soil should be deep preferably not less than two meters and water table should be sufficiently low for better root development.
This depends on the rooting pattern of the crop along with the fertility and depth of the soil. The studies conducted at different places with different spacing have revealed that a spacing of 2. In well-drained soils and in the fields where proper drainage can be provided, deep planting is preferred.
Deeper planting provides a firm anchorage and larger volume of space for root development. In areas where water table is high, shallow planting is preferred. Thus in well-drained soils, planting at a depth of 90 cm is recommended and in heavy soils planting at a depth of 60 cm is recommended. In areas where South-West monsoon is severe, planting in the month of September-October is recommended.
In other areas planting can also be done in the months of May-June. For better growth and development of the plants proper drainage is essential. The number of drainage channels depend upon the soil type. In light soils the number of channels may be less and in heavy soils the channels should be dug in each row for proper draining of the excess water.
The channels should be at least 15 — 30 cm deeper than the depth at which the seedlings are planted. The palms are highly susceptible for sun scorching. The seedlings should be given protection against the direct exposure to sun. This may be done either covering the plants with areca or coconut leaves or by raising crops like banana in between two rows of arecanut.
Sun scorching is mostly seen during October — January. During this period even the stems of young palms have to be protected. For this a quick growing shade plant can be planted on Southern and Western sides of the garden.
Annual application of g N g urea , 40 g P2O5 g rock phosphate and g K2O g muriate of potash in addition to 12 kg each of green leaf and compost per palm per year is recommended. The fertilizers are to be applied in two split doses. One third of the fertilizer is applied in May - June and two third along with the organics during September-October. Fertilizers are applied in basins around the palm dug to a depth of cm and 0. After application, the soil is rolled up and covered with organic matter and soil.
Organic matter recycling On an average, 5. This can be effectively used as organic source of nutrients for areca palms. But direct application of these wastes in the garden will take long time for decomposition and will not meet the nutrient demand of the crop immediately. Hence, these materials can be composted using earthworms effectively and used as organic manure in areca gardens.
To prepare vermicompost, areca wastes are chopped into small pieces of 10 cm and heaped. Then the chopped material is arranged in beds of one-meter width and convenient length. Cement tanks or trenches can be used for this purpose. A layer of cm waste material is alternated with 2 cm layer of cow dung over which earthworms are released at the rate of numbers per square meter. The wastes are converted into fine granular, odourless vermicompost within 60 days.
During this period, the earthworm population is doubled. The two species of earthworms Eudrilus eugeniae and Eisenia foetida can be used. The cultural operations vary from area to area. In Maland tracts the main purpose of cultivation is to loosen the soil and to rebuild the soil fertility after the heavy rains during monsoon. In Maidan tracts the purpose of cultivation is to conserve the soil moisture and prevent the hardening of the soil, as the soils are heavy in these areas.
In light soils digging can be done once in two years. But in heavy soils digging has to be done every year. Clean cultivation was found to give better yield. When planting is done on hill slopes, contour planting gave highest yields.
Mulching is another operation being followed in the arecanut gardens. This checks evaporation during summer, erosion during rainy seasons and keeps the weeds under check. Chopped areca leaves, grass, arecanut husk and dry leaves collected from the forests can be used as mulch in areca gardens.
Arecanut cannot withstand drought for a long time. Being a perennial crop, once affected by water stress, it may require two-three years to regain the normal vigour and yield. The death of palms due to moisture stress is also not uncommon. Irrigation intervals of 5 and 10 days were found superior throughout the season. During the summer, majority of the farmers face scarcity of water and it will be difficult to supply the required water to the palms. To overcome this problem, new irrigation methods were tried which can save water without affecting the yield of arecanut.
They are sprinklers and drip irrigation methods. Sprinkler and drip irrigations can save 20 and 44 per cent respectively of water. Application of nutrients through irrigation water is called as fertigation. This procedure can be profitably followed in arecanut. The fertilizer should be split into ten parts and should be applied once in 20 days from November to May.
Arecanut is cultivated with spacing of 2. Banana, pepper, cocoa, elephant foot yam, citrus, betelvine, pineapple etc. However, it is found that as the age of the garden advances, only few crops can be grown profitably as mixed crop viz. An affected nut with lesions left. Infected palm showing characteristic symptoms of bud and crown rot diseases Right.
Control of fruit rot or koleroga disease of arecanut (Areca catechu L.) 
Phytophthora palmivora is an oomycete that causes bud-rot of palms , fruit-rot or kole-roga of coconut and areca nut. These are among the most serious diseases caused by fungi and moulds in South India. Similar diseases of palms are also known to occur in Sri Lanka , Mauritius , and Sumatra. The causative organism was first identified as Phytophthora palmivora by Edwin John Butler in Phytophthora palmivora produces abundant sporangia on V-8 agar under continuous fluorescent light.
Control of fruit rot or koleroga disease of arecanut (Areca catechu L.).