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  1. Cultivation

    You must remove the weeds around the young oil palms.
    This work is done with a hoe or a machete.

    During the first year, cultivate 6 times.
    Remove all the weeds for 2 metres around each stem.
    During the first months, the weeds between rows have to be cut.
    If you leave the weeds, the cover crop will not grow well.

  2. Trimming the plants

    You must always cut away the dry leaves of the oil palm.

    In order to cut the leaves without damage to the oil palm, your tools must be well sharpened.
    Cut the leaves very close to the stem, so that no other plants can grow in the axil of the cut-off leaves.

    Remove from the trunk any plants (ferns) that may grow in the axils of the leaves.
    Remove also the male flowers.

  3. Applying fertilizer

    The oil palm needs a lot of mineral salts to form its leaves and fruit clusters.
    When the oil palm is young, it needs above all nitrogen.

    When the oil palm has begun to produce, it needs a lot of potash.
    Potash increases the number of fruit clusters, and makes them bigger.


Example: Ivory Coast

On plantations (per tree per year)

of oil palm
Year of planting500
Ammonium sulfate
Potassium chloride
Ammonium sulfate
Potassium chloride
1 year750
Ammonium sulfate
Potassium chloride
Ammonium sulfate
Potassium chloride
2 years750
Ammonium sulfate
Potassium chloride
750 to 1 500Potassium chloride
3 and 4 years and afterwards
1 000 to 1 500Potassium chloride750 to 1 500Potassium chloride

On natural palm groves (per tree per year):
1 000 grammes of potassium chloride

Example: Benin

On plantations (per tree per year)

Age of oil palmAmmonium sulfatePotassium chloride
Year of planting250   200
1 year350   200
2 years500   500
3 years600   750
4 years6001 000


  1. Rhinoceros and augosome beetles Strategus beetle

    To protect the young trees, put in the axil of the leaves a mixture of sawdust and BHC.

Palm weevil (Rhynchophora)

To avoid dangerous attacks, be very careful not to wound the trees.
The insects may lay their eggs in the wounds of the oil palm.

There are other insects, but it is difficult for the grower to control them.

Oil palms may also be attacked by rats and agoutis.

Rats and agoutis can eat young oil palms.
Protect your young oil palms against agoutis by wire netting round each tree.
As a protection against rats, you can place little bags with poisoned maize near the oil palms.


Oil palms may be attacked by several diseases.
If you see distorted leaves or leaves that break, ask for advice from the extension service.

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