Bending oil palm seedlings, India Minimize

October 2013. Oil palm seedlings are bending as they grow in a nursery in India. What is the cause? All nutrients are regularly applied at monthly interval. The plants are simply bending towards one side. No disease causing microbe has been isolated from the bent portion or other areas.

A member from PNG thought that it was crown disease, apparently a genetic disorder, not a disease. Young palms are affected and they will usually recover. At the nursery stage, if not too extensive, seedlings should be culled. Herbicides have also been implicated in this disorder so have a look at the nursery practices.

Questions were also asked about basal rots, pH of the soil, soil type, fertiliser regimes, crowding, etc. It was also suggested that some seedlings should be repotted and observed for recovery.

The sender of the query doubted that the problem was genetic as the crown disease described by Corley and Tinker differs from that of the present abnormality where the bending starts from the base of the plant.

Members also wrote asking:

  • How many plants are affected in the nursery (% affected).

  • How isolated or wide spread is the condition in the nursery?

  • Any pattern in the affected plants inside the nursery? i.e. is it randomly seen amongst other plants or restricted to certain parts of the nursery?

  • Is there is any application of any chemical of any sort such growth hormone or spraying in nearby areas that could pose any drift etc.

An article on boron deficiency in palms was sent, and is attached here.