Growing Areca Nut (Betel Nut) Information For Beginners

Growing Areca nut.
Growing Areca nut.

Growing Areca Nut Information:

The following information is about “Growing Areca nut”.

Introduction of Areca nut tree

Areca nut is also known by Betel nut (Chewing nut) or Supari. Areca nut is considered as a cash crop and Areca nut is considered as second most cash crop after Coconut. Areca nut is grown on a large scale in India since Areca nut crop has excellent commercial value in India. Areca nut palms can grow different heights depending on environmental conditions and variety. They can even reach up to 30 meters. Areca nut is said to be originated in India and South East countries. When it comes to world production and consumption of Arecanut, India occupies the first place. When it comes to Areca nut plant description, It is a tall stemmed tree can reach a height up to 90 feet. Apart from using in veterinary medicines and Ayurveda, its by-products are being used in commercial leather processing and paper manufacturing.

  • Family name of Areca nut: O. Palmacea.
  • Botanical/Scientific Name of Areca Nut: Areca catechu.
  • Common Names: Supari, Pinang, and Betal nut.

Areca nut in Indian Languages

Dwarf Areca nut Tree.
Dwarf Areca nut Tree.
  • Telugu: Poka/Vakka.
  • Tamil:
  • Hindi:
  • Gujarati: Sopari
  • Malayalam:
  • Assamese:
  • Punjabi:
  • Odia:
  • Bengali: Supari/Supuri.
  • Marathi:
  • Kannada:
  • Urdu: Supari/Dulli/Chhalia.

Top Areca nut Production States of India

Areca nuts.
Areca nuts.
  • Karnataka.
  • Kerala.
  • Assam.
  • Meghalaya.
  • West Bengal.
  • Tripura.
  • Tamil Nadu.
  • Others.
  • Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Mizoram.

Areca nut Varieties / Areca nut Cultivars

Well, there are good yielding varieties of Areca nut available for commercial production.

VTL-12 (Swarnamangala):

  • These trees bear regularly and considerd as a consistent yielder.
  • This variety of Arecanut trees are semi-tall to tall with sturdy atem. They have shorter internodes.
  • This variety has partially drooping crown. And the crownn are with well placed bunches.
  • You can expect an average number of bunches/palm/year : 4.
  • This variety nuts will be orange to deep yellow for riped ones.
  • The nuts shape is oblong to round and bold.
  • Usually, these trees start bearing by fourth year after planting.
  • You can obtain a potential yield of 6.5 kg chali/palm/year.
  • Expect an average yield of 4 kg chali/palm/year.
  • They have high recovery with 27% of chali from fresh nuts.
  • These varieties are recommended for Irrigated areas of Karnataka, and Kerala.

VTLAH-1 (Vittal Areca Hybrid-1):

  • This varity is hybrid between Hirehalli Dwarf and Sumangala.
  • These tree are dwarf type with reduced canopy. They also have sturdy stem.
  • These cultivars have partially drooping crown. These crowns have well spread leaves.
  • When it comes to nut yield, it is considered as a moderate yielder. However, you can expect early stabilization in nut yield.
  • They produce medium sized oval, yellow to orange nuts.
  • These trees can yield abiout : 5200 kg/ha.
  • Expect the recovery over fresh nut: 27%.
  • In case of seed production, artificial crossing is advised between Hirehalli Dwarf and Sumangala.
  • These cultivars are recommended for regions coastal Karnataka, and Kerala.
  • In this variety of Areca nut, harvesting and spraying easy due to their dwarfing nature.
  • There will be minimal damage of sun scorching and wind damage due to thier dwarfing nature.

Climate Requirement for Growing Areca nut

Areca nut trees thrives best in a temperature range of 15ºC and 37ºC and temperatures below 10ºC and above 40ºC will hamper the growth of the palm trees. These trees require an minimum annual rainfall of 800 mm. In areas with low annual rainfall can use drip irrigation to meet the water requirement. Arecanut palms can be grown up to an altitude of more than 1000 meters of mean sea level.

Soil Requirement for Growing Areca nut

Though Areca nut is grown on wide range of soils, The gravelly laterite soils of red clay type is best suited for its cultivation. You can grow these treees in rich loamy soils as well. Avoid  brackish , sticky clay, sandy, calcareous and alluvial soils as they are not ideal for growing areca nut.

Propagation in Growing Areca nut

Propagation of Areca nut plants are done by seeds. You need select a proper planting material in growing Areca nut orchird as it is a pemnial crop.

Raising Areca nut Seedlings

Areaca nut Orchard.
Areca nut Orchard.
  • Mother palm Selection for growing Areca nut: The mother palm should have the following.
  1. The age of the mother palm should be between 20 to 40 years.
  2. Should be early bearing.
  3. Should have regular bearing habit.
  4. Should have large number of leaves on the crown.
  5. Should have shorter internodes.
  6. Should have high percentage of fruit set.
  • Seed nut Selection for growing Areca nut: You should select fully ripened nuts having a weight of 35 grams pr above for use as seeds. Undersized, malformed and low in weight seeds should be discarded. When allowed to float on water, these selected nuts should be floating vertically with calyx-end pointing upwards.
Areca nut Seedlings.
Areca nut Seedlings.
  • Raising of Arecanut Seedlings in Nursery Beds for growing Areca nut: The selected seeds from mother palm should be sown in nursery beds with stalk end up and with a spacing of 5 cm to 6 cm. Make sure to cover the seed bed with sand and watering of the seed bed should be carried frequently for maintaining uniform moisture in the soil, so that the seeds can sprout quickly with large percentage. Usually, you can expect seed germination after 40 to 25 days after sowing in nursery beds. The germinated sprouts will become read for transplanting after 3 months when they attain 3 to 4 leaves. You should start preparing secondary nursery beds of 150 to 160 cm width, 15 cm height and a length as per your conveniance. Application of a well-decomposed farm yard manure (FYM) at the rate of 5 tonnes/ha should be carried as basal dose.To raise sprouts of 3 months old in secondary nursery, polythene bags of 25 cm x 15 cm, and 150 gauge should be filled with potting mixture of top soil : FYM : sand in the ratio of 7:3:2. It is recommended to transplant sprouts at a spacing of 30 cm x 30 cm as soon as rainy season starts. You should provide partial shade to the seedlings with the help of banana trees, or by means of artificial pandal. Hot and dry periods require irrigation supply. During rainy season, proper drainage, periodical weeding and mulching are required in Areca nut orchard.
  • Selection of Arecanut Seedlings for Transplanting: Well, in order to transplant in the main field, you should consider 12 to 14 months old Areca nut seedlings. The selected seedlings should have minimum of 4 to 5 leaves. They should also have minimum height and maximum girth. Remove the  selected seedlings with a ball of soil/mud/earth adhering to the roots for planting.

Site Selection and Layout Required for Growing Areca nut

Areca Palm.
Areca Palm.

The Arecanut trees grow best in areas where there is good humidity. The selected site should be protected from hot sun and high winds.Ensure the the selected orchard site has good drainage as the Areca nut palm do not withstand for water logging conditions. The selected site should have an abundant water source for irrigation. The site should have some protection measures from southern and western sides of site to protect the trees from  direct sun and  high temperatures. You should keep in mind about water table depth and soil depth while choosing the site for Areca nut orchard. The soil depth should be more than 6 feet and water table depth should be low for better root development. It is advised to align the rows in North:South direction with a deviation of 35º Ctowards South:West.  reduces the incidence of sun-scorch.

Season, Spacing and Transplanting in Growing Areca nut

Usually, Areca nut planting is carried in the month of May to June just before monsoon arrival (Indian zone).In case of severe South-West monsoon, it is recommend to plant in the month of September to October.

When it comes to spacing, it depends on planting pattern, soil fertility and soil depth. However, the ideal spacing for Arecannut trees is 2.7 meters x 2.7 meters with a pit size of 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm.

The depeth of Arecanut plants depends on water table depth abd soil depth. Deeper planting is preferred in well-drained soils. The deeper planting provides scope for good root developement. In areas where water table is high, consider shallow planting. Usually, planting depth of 90 cm in well-drained soils and a planting depth of 60 cm in heavy soils is recommended.

Shading and Drainage in Growing Areca nut

Arecanut palms need shading as they are  highly susceptible for sun-scorching. You should protect the seedlings from direct sun exposure for couple of years after planting. You an provide the shade by covering the plants with coconut leaves or raising banana plants in between Areca nut palm rows. You can also plant quick growing shade plants  on Southern and Western sides of the field.

To avoid from root-rot and healthy growth, the soil must have proper drainage. You should make drainage channels depending on soil type. In case of light soil, provide less drainage channels where as heavy soils require more channels. The drainage channels should be at last 20 to 30 cm deeper than the depth at which the seedlings of Areca nut are planted in the field.

Irrigation in Growing Areca nut

Irrigation for Areca nut tree.
Irrigation for Areca nut tree.

Areca  nut plams are not drought resistant. As, these palms can not withstand drough for long time, you should provide irrigation depending in moisture level of the soil. You must avoid water stress especillay during their growth period. The frequency of irrigation depends in soil type, and cliamte. The ideal frequency of irrigation is 5 to 9 days. Each palm require 200 to 250 liters of water. In water scarcity areas and hot summers, drip irigation and sprinkeler irrigation methods are preferred.

Manures and Fertilizers in Growing Areca nut

steady and higher yield will depend considerably on the sufficient availabity of plant nutrients from the soil. Since nearly all of the arecanut growing regions are in heavy rain tracts, the soils are accountable to leaching and erosion consequently making them weak in important plant nutrients and organic matter.

Of all green compost and compost is advocated and also for variety of Mangala,, NPK might be used @ 150:60:210 grams per palm tree each year.

Employ 1/3 dose of compost and complete dose of green mulch and compost during annually, 2/3 dose of compost as well as complete dose of green mulch and compost during next year and complete dose-from third season onwards throughout September-October.

Under irrigated conditions, use fertilizers in two split doses, the first through September-October and the next during February.

Apply fertilizers and fertilizers in round basins of 15-20 cm thickness and . Using a radius of 0.75 to 1 meter out of your palms. Employ second dose of compost around the base of palm trees after weeding and blend into soil by mild forking.

In acidic soils, air lime @ 0.5 kg per palms once in a couple of decades and integrate into soil throughout April-May.

Intercultural operations in Growing Areca nut

Areca nut Plantation.
Areca nut Plantation.
  • Weed Management in growing Areca nut: Light forking or digging after the rainy season should be carried out to keep the orchard weed free. Mulching can be done at plant base to prevent the weed growth and soil erosion. Mulching is also very useful to retaining the moisture at plant base. Number of weeding operations depend on weed intensity and other cultivation practices.
  • Inter/Mixed Cropping in growing Areca nut: Intercropping and mixed crops are useful in generating additional income along with providing shade and fixing nitrogen in the soil. Banana trees, pineapple trees, cocoa plantation, elephant foot yam crop, citrus plants, betel vine plants are said to be suitable for inter/mixed cropping in arecanut farm.
  • Cultural Operations in growing Areca nut: In Mailand tracts that the primary aim of farming would be to loosen the dirt and also to reconstruct the soil fertility following the heavy rains during monsoon. Generally the farming was found to improve the yield by 10 to 15 percent. In light lands digging could be carried out once in a couple of years. However, in heavy lands digging must be done each year. Clean cultivation was found to provide better return. When planting is completed on mountain slopes, contour planting gave maximum yields. Mulching is another task being followed at the arecanut gardens. This checks evaporation during summertime, erosion through rainy seasons and retains the weeds beneath check. Chopped Areca nut palm leaves, Areca nut husk and dry leaves gathered in the woods can be applied as mulch material in Areca nut Orchards.
  • Organic Matter Recycling in growing Areca nut: On an average, 5.5 to 6 tonnes of wastes are available from 1 hectare of Areca garden each year. This may be effectively used as organic source of nourishment for Areca nut trees. But direct application of those wastes in the orchard will require long time for decomposition and will not fulfill the nutrient need of the harvest immediately. Hence, these materials could be composted using earthworms efficiently and used as organic manure in Areca orchards. To prepare vermicompost, Areca wastes are chopped into little pieces of 10 to 12 cm and then heaped. The heap ought to be mixed with cow dung slurry at the rate of 10 kg / 100 kg of waste and retained for 15 days using sprinkling water daily. Subsequently the sliced material is arranged in beds of 1- meter width and convenient span. Cement tanks or trenches can be used for this function. The wastes are changed to nice granular, odourless vermicompost within 2 months. In this time, the earthworm population is doubled. About 8 kg /palm/year of vermicompost fulfills the crop nutrient demand in terms of nitrogen.

Pests and Diseases in Growing Areca nut

Fruit Rot, Yellow Leaf Disease, Yellow Leaf Spot, Nut splitting and Inflorescence die-back and Button shedding are common diseases found in growing Areca nut.

Spindle bug, Cholam or white mite,  Palm or red mite, Root grub, and Inflorescence caterpillar are common pests found in Areca nut orchard.

For symptoms of these pests, diseases and their control measures, coantact your local horticulture department.

Harvesting in Growing Areca nut

Areca nut Tree.
Areca nut Tree.

The pre-bearing age of the palm ranges from 6 to 8 years. Though inflorescence initiation has been observed in every leaf axil, there is absorption of inflorescences to approximately 5 percent. The plant is monoecious, making both male and female flowers on precisely the identical tree. The spadix of a grownup palm produces on an average, 300 female flowers. The color of the fruit during its development varies from green into various shades of yellow and red during ripening. In certain areas, tender nuts are  are harvested. Tender nuts are harvested from July to December and mature nuts from December to March or from May to July. 3 to 4 plucking are done throughout the entire season.

Yield in Growing Areca nut

The yield may depend on many factors like plant density, planting pattern, irrigation, climate and variety. However, you can obtain an average yield of  350 to 400 nuts / palm / year.

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