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Complete information about Arecanut tree

PlantationCrops October 30, 2015

Cultivation of Arecanut: Complete guide on Arecanut tree  farming involves in seed treatment, planting, pest management, irrigation, harvesting and uses.

Scientific name of Arecanut (Areca catechu L.) Palmae:

The areca nut is the seed of the areca palm (Areca catechu), which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. It is commonly referred to as betel nut, as it is often chewed wrapped in betel leaves (paan). The term areca originated from a South Asian word during the 16th century, when Dutch and Portuguese sailors took the nut to Europe.

The habit has many harmful effects on health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded after reviewing the published medical research that chewing areca nut is carcinogenic to humans. Various compounds present in the nut, most importantly arecoline (the primary psychoactive ingredient), contribute to histologic changes in the oral mucosa. As with chewing tobacco, its use is discouraged by preventive efforts, such as awareness of the risks of chewing buai.

Habitual chewers of betel leaf and areca nut have a greatly increased risk of developing a range of serious diseases, including cancers of the mouth and esophagus. It has many systemic effects (see box).

Chewing areca nut alone has been linked to oral submucosal fibrosis. According to Medline Plus, “Long-term use [of betel-areca preparations] has been associated with oral submucosal fibrosis (OSF), pre-cancerous oral lesions and squamous cell carcinoma. Acute effects of betel chewing include asthma exacerbation, hypertension, and tachycardia. There may additionally be a higher risk of cancers of the liver, mouth, esophagus, stomach, prostate, cervix, and lung with regular betel use. Other effects can include a possible effect on blood sugar levels, which may in turn increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

Arecanut fruits

Arecanut fruits

Dried Arecanut

Dried Arecanut

Use of areca nut has been associated with deterioration of psychosis in patients with preexisting psychiatric disorders. Areca nut consumption is also tied to chronic kidney disease in men.

In 2003 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a World Health Organization sponsored group, reached the conclusion that there is sufficient evidence that the habit of chewing betel quid, with or without tobacco, is carcinogenic to humans. Support for this conclusion is provided by a recent study which found that paan, even without concurrent tobacco use, is a risk factor for oral cancer. In October, 2009, 30 scientists from 10 countries met at IARC to reassess the carcinogenicity of various agents including areca nut, and mechanisms of carcinogenesis. They confirmed there is sufficient evidence that areca nut, with or without tobacco, can cause cancer

Chewing paan (and/or other areca nut and betel leaf formulations) during pregnancy significantly increases adverse outcomes for the baby. The habit is associated with higher incidences of preterm birth and low birth weight and height. Biologically, these effects may be a consequence of the arecoline that is found in areca nuts. The habit also exposes the unborn baby to various other toxic components linked to cancer.

Mangala, Sumangala, Subamangala, Mohitnagar, Srimangala, Samruthi (Andaman), Hirehalli dwarf, VTLAH 1, 2 and Thirthahalli dwarf.

Soil and climate:
Arecanut is capable of growing in a variety of soils. It thrives best in well drained soils. Adequate protection from exposure to South-Western sun is essential to avoid sun-scorch.  Quick growing shade trees have to be planted on the southern and western sides well in advance of planting seedlings. It is sensitive to moisture deficit and should be grown where adequate water facilities are available.

Grows in a wide range of temperature ranging from minimum of 40C to a maximum of 400C. Altitude upto 1000 m above Msl. Rainfall – 750 – 4500 mm.

June – December is found to be the optimum.

Seeds and sowing:
For raising seedlings seed nuts from pre-marked and pre-potent mother palms of outstanding performance are selected and sown at a spacing of 5 – 6 cm apart in sand beds under partial shade with their stalk end pointing upwards.  After the sprouts have produced two to three leaves, they are transplanted to a polythene bag 30 x 10 cm filled with forest soil and are allowed to grow for 12 to 18 months under partial shade. The seedlings can also be transplanted in secondary nursery beds with a spacing of 30 cm on either side. Periodical watering should be given.

Dwarf and compact seedlings with more number of leaves should be selected. Seedlings of 1 – 2 years age are planted in pits of about 90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm at a spacing of 2.75 m either way and covered with soil to the collar level and pressed around.  Provide shade during summer months. Growing Banana or other crops in advance may also provide shade.

Arecanut Seedlings

Arecanut Seedlings

Irrigate weekly once during November – February, once in 4 days during March – May. Flood irrigation 175 lit/ tree/ day. In drip irrigation 16 – 20 lit/ tree/ day.

Apply to each bearing palm (5 years and above) 10 – 15 kg of FYM or green leaf. 100:40:140 g of NPK/ tree/ year. To palms less than five years old, half of the above dose is recommended. Manures are applied during January – February after the North – East monsoon in a basin of 0.75-1.00 m radius around the tree to a depth of 20 – 30 cm.

Weeding is done twice or thrice a year by spade digging.  Wherever the land is sloppy, terracing has to be done to prevent soil erosion.


Cocoa, black pepper, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and citrus

Plant protection:

Mites can be controlled by spraying Dicofol 18.5 EC at 2.5 ml/lit.

Spindle bug:
Drenching spray with Methyl parathion 1.3 D @ 2.5 g/lit of water or Dimethoate @ 1.5 ml/lit.

Inflorescence caterpillars:
Dust Methyl parathion 20 EC 2 ml/lit or WP @ 2.5 g in one litre of water.

Soil application of P. fluorescens (Pfbv 22) and B. subtilis (Bbv 57) each @ g / vine was found to be effective in reducing the root knot and reniform nematode population in black pepper.


Bud rot or Mahali disease:
Infected tissues of the bud should be scooped off and treated with 10 % Bordeaux paste. Destruction and removal of seed palms and also bunches affected by Mahali and drenching crowns of surrounding healthy palms with 1 % Bordeaux mixture would help in minimizing the incidence of the disease.

Foot rot or Anabe:
Affected palms have to be isolated by digging trenches all round. The severely affected palms should be cut and destroyed. The stumps should be pulled out by digging and the drainage improved.Soil application of neem cake @ 2 kg / palm / year followed by root feeding with 125 ml of 1.5 % (15 ml/litre of water) Tridemorph at 3 months interval or Soil drenching of Bordeaux mixture (1%).

Stem breaking:
Wrap up of the green portion of the stem which is exposed to the South-West sun to protect against sun-scorch.

Yellow Leaf Disease:

  • Application of balanced nutrients with additional quantity of super phosphate

  • Apply 1 kg of lime/tree/year

  • Apply organic manures @ 12 kg/ tree/year.
Yellow leaf disease of arecanut

Yellow leaf disease of arecanut

Leaf spot:
Foliar spray with Bordeaux mixture 1 % or 0.2 % Dithane M 45

Leaf spot in Arecanut

Leaf spot in Arecanut

Nut crack:
Spray Borax 2 g/lit with proper water management


The bearing starts after 5 years of planting. Nuts are harvested when they are three quarters ripe. The number of harvests will vary from three to five in one year depending upon the season and place of cultivation.

An average of about 1250 kg/ha can be obtained.

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