The duration of time it takes an oil palm tree to bear fruits depends on a lot of factors. Some oil palm varieties can bear fruits in 3 years while some other varieties can bear fruits in 5 – 7 years.
New hybrid oil palm varieties are bred to bear fruits within a short time. They mostly start fruiting in 3 – 4 years while the old open pollinated oil palm varieties fruit in 5 – 7 years, sometimes, as late as 8 – 9 years.
For instance, the Malaysian Hybrid Tenera Oil Palm Variety bears fruits in 3 -4 years. For those who use drip irrigation with Fertigation equipment, fruiting can start in 2.5 years.
Factors that can affect how long it takes for an oil palm tree to bear fruits
The following factors can impact how long it takes for an oil palm to bear fruits:
The Fertility of the Soil
Highly fertile soil supports faster growth and fruiting of oil palm trees. When the soil is fertile, the oil palm crop will be able to access the right nutrients. This can enhance the time to fruiting of the oil palm.
Fertile soils also retain more water than poor soil; the availability of more water to the oil palm tree can lessen the duration to fruiting.
It will naturally take a longer time for an oil palm to fruit in a dry and savannah area while in a wet and rain forest area, the oil palm tree can reach the fruiting stage in a short time.
In areas with abundant rainfall, the oil palm will fruit within a short time while in areas that are dry, the oil palm will take a longer time to fruit.
Pests and Diseases
The activities of pests and diseases can impact the time to fruiting of oil palm trees. If the oil palm tree is affected by pests and diseases, the fruiting may be delayed. In some cases, the oil palm tree may even die.
Pests and diseases should be controlled with pesticides in order to assure a good oil palm farming venture.
Irrigated oil palm trees often fruit earlier than those that rely on rainfall. Rain falls for just a few months in tropical areas, oil palm trees relying on rains may fruit later than those who use irrigation systems like sprinklers centre pivots and drip irrigation system.
Do you have an oil palm plantation? If yes, kindly share with us how long it took your oil palm trees to fruit.