Dates - Cultivation
Dates are the fruits of a palm tree that thrives in extremely hot temperatures, low humidity, and full sun. They need well-draining, sandy loam soil that is mixed with aged manure and requires high amounts of water around the roots. The soil should not be water-logged, but borders are built around the palm to help keep water solely around the roots and weeds from forming. Date palms have both male and female trees and need to be hand pollinated to ensure a healthy crop. They also need to be thinned as the fruit forms to create room for larger fruit growth. Date palms are grown from suckers, or offshoots and take 6-8 years to mature before they can be transplanted. Once the sucker is planted, it will take another 6-7 years before the palm bears fruit. Dates are harvested in the fall and are covered with muslin bags on the trees to protect from birds and insects. Once mature, Dates are hand harvested and sorted for use.