Understory Cover Management in Coconuts
All coconut producers face the problem of deciding how to handle the land area under the palms. Several ways are used to control the cover under coconuts. These include: intercropping with food or cash crops controlling weeds by hand slashing, or mowing, to keep understory growth short enough to reduce competition with the palms and to make nut collection easy; combinations of chemical vegetation control (herbicides) and mechanical control; periodic burning to clear away and reduce understory vegetation; planting the understory to leguminous cover crops; and grazing of cattle or other animals. Weed control is a never-ending process and must continue year in and year out over the life of the crop. For many farmers, grazing livestock under the palms to reduce weed competition is the cheapest and easiest way to overcome their weed control dilemna. Weed control in coconut is difficult because it is mostly a matter of post-emergence control of established, hardy, and even rampant plants.