GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION
Date palms as an ornamental are very popular and grown over a wide geographical area throughout Australia.  Some of the locations we have seen them include: Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Alice Springs and many outback towns.  The date palm is widely adaptable and makes a particularly handsome and hardy ornamental.

The ideal climate for the production of premium table dates is one which has a long, hot dry summer.  The hotter the climate is, the more varieties that will successfully ripen.  We have concentrated our varietal selections on early ripening varieties such as Khadrawy and Medjool.  Also Barhee because it can be harvested when still semi-ripe (khalaal).
Districts which have excessive rain or high humidity at the fruit ripening stage will generally encounter fruit spoilage and yield loss problems.  Some varieties are more prone to rain damage than others.  In some moist climates in the northern hemisphere, dates are harvested at the khalaal stage and artificially ripened to avoid moisture damage from the opening season rains.

Brian Reilly who enjoyed a lengthy career as a forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology has prepared Heat Unit and Summer Rainfall charts for the Date-feasible regions of Australia.  These provide basic guidance on the climatic suitability of existing sites and give an indication of where to look for start-up locations.

 These do not guarantee areas or districts nor do they exclude other areas but are designed as a first glance guide only.  We suggest anyone considering commercial production undertake their own independent studies.

Download the HEAT UNIT CHART here.

Download the SUMMER RAINFALL CHART here.

Download the STATE BY STATE HEAT UNITS AND SUMMER RAINFALL figures

 

Towards an Australian Date Industry - An overview of the Australian domestic and international date industries by Dave Reilly, Anita Reilly and Ian Lewis

Electronically published by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, September 2010 and available at https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/10-174

 

SALINITY TOLERANCE
Date palms are salt tolerant in comparison to other permanent plantings but the fresher the soil/water, the happier and higher yielding the palm will be.  If your water source is salty then we would recommend applying a leaching irrigation every 4-6 waterings to help leach accumulated salts beyond the root-zone.

WATER LOGGING
It is less than ideal to select a planting site that is permanently waterlogged.  It is best if the soil directly around the palm can remain dry.  Dry ankles but wet toes.  However if you are lucky enough to have a high water table that the palms can grow into they will be very happy and minimize irrigation requirements.

Below are some photos of a high water table in a customer’s horticultural block.  This regionally high water table has been created from decades of irrigation throughout a horticultural district.  The water table is undesirable for his mandarin trees due to the poor drainage and reduced root-zone depth.
This is ideal for date palms.  We are anticipating these palms will in coming years, produce good crops while requiring little irrigation.  We expect the palms will help lower the water table and create better drainage for the mandarins.

Enquiries to reilly@gurradowns.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

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