Coconuts Need Salt: Fertilize Them With Salt or Seawater!

peterchristopher's picture

Have you ever noticed that coconut trees very close to the ocean tend to have lots of large nuts!!??  It's because they need lots of chlorine (part of NaCl -- SALT!)

But most of the salt in the world has dissolved into water and gone to the ocean!  So if you plant coconuts inland, you will experience drastic yield increases by fertilizing with salt!  (Buy some salt or if you have a truck and a barrel, bring some salt water and dump it near the trees - then wash your truck!)

"From 1991 to 1997 farmers in the Philippines had fertilized more than 170,000 ha of coconut (approximately 18 M trees) with salt. This had resulted in an average relative yield increase of 125% over unfertilized coconuts."

Download the full pdf of the brochure made by the Philippine Coconut Authority: using salt as coconut fertilizer.



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That's a great tip! I was

That's a great tip! I was thinking about calling San Diego tree service to give me a solution to my coconut trees, I have two of them in my yard and I expected them to have fruits by now and they don't. I want to try the salt trick first and if that doesn't work I'll just give up and keep them only for aesthetic reasons.

Philippines Zinc Coconut Tree Wrappers

coconut treewrapped with zincNow that we're back in the Philippines, I've taken a picture for you of the wrappers they use here to keep the rodents from climbing the coconut trees.  Usually they are at eye level, but in this picture there are a few in the background that are up at around 15 feet, I think because there are some nearby trees that would so close the coconut tree any lower, to allow a squirrel or rat to jump.  I'll try to insert this image in a way that you can click the thumbnail to see the full-size image.

dropped nuts

well  not sure if the squirrel is the one cutting them loose or its like you said the tree is doing it.  I just know I saw his butt up there the other day, and there were maybe 4 on the ground and all of them had that neat little hole cut in them and the whole nut was gone.  today I walked out there and there was another 3 laying there with the same hole.  all the ones with holes in them are yellow, the ones I find that are old looking with no color he doesn't touch.  I guess he likes em fresh!!! lol

sorry to hear that little one was hurt.

I have never cut myself with one, I have been shot in the hand by a bullet fragment at the firing range tho. blew my gun right out of my hand, my first thought was which one of you a holes on the line shot me and how?? guess I was lucky because if it had not hit my thumb it would have hit me in the eye because I was firing at the time it hit me.

Yeah, know what you mean

I've definitely had to get a few stiches from machete wounds.  Some of them self-inflicted due to carelessness.  I don't know about anyone who has cut their own balls off, but I just recently heard that the neighbor (boy) cut off the thumb and forefinger of his sister's hand when she was holding the coconut for him to split.

By the way, the squirrels do not usually cut the coconuts from the tree.  I won't say it never happens, because maybe you have some extraordinarily conscienscious squirrels down there in Panama.  Usually the squirrel (or the rat!) does the damage and the coconut tree promptly drops the nut.  It doesn't take the tree more than a few days to disown a problem child, no sympathy in their little world order.

By the way, I just redid the page on Homemade Virgin Coconut Oil.  Have you ever tried it?  You can get it in Panama by mail from a gringo in the Volcan area who buys it from a local guy near the beach.  Good luck with the dump truck import by the way.  We look forward to hearing the progress.


yeah your right, I see the guys down the road that come in on the weekend and they whack em  open like its nothing. I can see myself trying to open one of these things with a machete and it glancing off the darn thing and open up one of MY NUTS with it. rofl.  all over a .50 cent nut..  well I don't really need them and that squirrel seems to really like them, would hate to shut down one of his favorite eating places.  I have to say tho, he will chew into it, eat the whole nut, and then cut it from the tree and let it drop to the ground.  so I guess in a way he is keeping the tree in good shape for me.

crap I guess he is working for me as well,, anyone know how much by law you have to pay a squirrel per week? or the withholding money?

wrong tool ;)

peter with machete

Hey Mark, Got to get yourself some of these machetes!  My favorite is the 24" straight machete by imacasa.  Hm, I just noticed that my "slide show" about making coconut oil isn't working with "picasa photo albums"... I'll have to put it up some other way.  You should be able to put up some roofing material (ZINC "LISO") about 1' strip at eye level wrapped around the trees so that the squirrels can't climb up and destroy your nuts.


salty nuts

I have two coconut trees down by my stream and I never thought of that, but your right. I will try that soon.  I have tried a few times to open a nut but have given up after a good battle of hitting it with a hammer and throwing it against the wall, I have been finding 4 or 5 on the ground with a neat little hole about the size of a half dollar in them. 

I thought tree rats are getting them, and sure enough as I looked up at them, there sat one chewing away at them..

those trees are really hard to get out of the ground. I had one die and worked on it with a 340 b tractor and had to get the back hoe out to dig it out.  I couldn't believe the root system which didn't seem to be very long could hold on that tight to the ground.

more research

The internet sure is handy  - here is some more research on coconut fertilization I just found.  I was skeptical when I first heard this also, but after I started fertilizing with salt and fertilizer I was pleased with the results.

salt for coconuts

This is an interesting topic. Purified mined salt and sea water are not the same thing. Sea water is sometimes used in a diluted form as a method to remineralize soil. It contains many minor minerals that can be in short supply in inland soils.

Years ago it was considered that coconuts could resist high salt in the soil, but they did not need additional salt. Regular crops not only can resist some salt they may benefit greatly from limited applications of sea water or unpurified sea salt because of a lack of one or more minor minerals.

That coconuts need salt as a fertilizer to supply needed chlorine does not sound right. I think more research work is needed here.

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