How to Grow Dates in the American West?
Dates usually grow in hot areas. They thrive in the heat; that is why you will commonly see medjool dates in Africa or the Middle East. Now, if you live in North America, growing date trees can be a challenge; it is not, however, impossible. You just have to do your research well, and, of course, be ready for the work needed. Your hard work won’t be a waste either as dates are very nutritious, especially if you plan to grow organic medjool dates, which are high in potassium, low in fats, and very flavorful. Here are some tips to help you grow dates:
Get the Right Genders
Growing dates will need two different genders of tree: a male and a female. You will need one of each gender in order for your tree to bear fruits. That is not to say that you need a representative from each tree gender for every pair. The good news is that one male tree is enough. You can have any number of female trees as long as you have at least one male tree.
Get the Cutting from Existing Palms
Buying seeds and raising them to trees isn’t a good idea. You cannot know the gender of the tree based on the seeds. If you buy seeds, you will have to wait for years to know if you got the two needed genders. It would be very unfortunate if you spend all those times raising trees only to find you got two of the same gender. This is why it’s more ideal to buy cuttings from existing trees. This way, you are sure of what gender of the tree the cuttings were from.
Allot Space Big Enough for at Least Two Trees
Plan where you’ll put your male and female trees. Of course, since at least two trees are needed to grow to have the fruits, you have to find a land big enough for at least two trees. If you plan to plant more than two trees, your space for them should allow it. Note that each tree may grow until 50 feet tall and 30 feet across. Dwarf date palms can be placed in large pots, but it is not advisable.
Choose A Sunny Location
It’s mentioned that date palms thrive in heat. So, choosing a location that’s constantly receiving sunlight would be wise.
You should be aware that dates grow extremely slow. Also, do not try to water it too often as this has the tendency to kill the tree. Water from the rain should be enough.
Unlike other plants, dates are not pollinated by birds or insects. They can pollinate by wind, but if your trees are few, there’s a chance that they won’t reproduce. This is where you come in. Trees can pollinate with the help of your hands, so make sure that you hand-pollinate them yearly.
Cut and Pick
When your trees grow, they may have long and sharp thorns. You can do two things about this: one, place them somewhere that’s not easily accessed by people walking, and the second is to cut these sharp thorns off. It’s also a good idea to thin it out, unless you want to harvest small dates. Pick some to have a better chance of getting better crops.
Harvest may only arrive once the trees reach 4 to 7 years. It’s not a one-time harvest either as fruits can grow at different times. However, the wait is surely worth it.