Progress in the hardening of oil palm clones
Several of the compact clones marketed by ASD have fully confirmed their great commercial potential. These clones are characterized by having short leaves and trunks, which allows the use of planting densities well above those used with traditional varieties for more vigorous growth. However, the cloning program has encountered some drawbacks due to the inability to make some batches of certain clones survive the hardening period, or they withstand it precariously, which generates less vigorous plants and problems in the field.
We have actively worked on searching for solutions to the problem, and one of them is the sale of previously acclimatized or hardened plants. With this the client would only receive plants of the best quality, which would ensure their successful establishment in the nursery and field phases.
Acclimatization or hardening generally consists of gradually exposing the laboratory plantlets (ramets) to the conditions of the environment, since it is in this phase in which some producers have had problems with following and completing the procedures satisfactorily. Pre-hardening consists of carrying out this stage before the ramets reach the buyer. The first experiences have been very encouraging, and a high survival rate has been achieved when the ramets are planted in inert media with special fertilization. At the end of pre-hardening, the ramets are removed from the inert medium in which they were growing, the roots are washed, treated with a fungicide solution and packed for transport to any destination in the world. This new method is expected to overcome many of the problems encountered so far by the pioneering customers who acquired clones.
Partial view of one of the trials for the pre-acclimatization of clones in growth media.