Coconut farmers are advised to apply chlorine as fertilizer to their coconut plants as a safeguard against drought.
Chlorine as it is known is used in water purification and also an essential in improving the growth, yield and minimizing leaf infections in coconut palms.
In a study entitled “The Response of Chlorine Fertilized Coconut Palms to Long Drought,” done for more than ten years in Davao and North Cotabato, Rogaciano Margate, a coconut scientist at the Philippine Coconut Administration (PCA), Davao Research Center, found that chlorine minimized the drying of leaves and breakage of bunches on palms.
He noted this incident during the El Nino phenomenon, one of the worst droughts that struck the country. Margate observed that chlorine delayed the detrimental effect of yield by 1.5 to 2 months.
It was noted that palms that were not treated by chlorine were heavily damaged with fewer nuts, broken fronds and with only two to four leaves left on the crown.
On the other hand, chlorine treated palms remained green with more number of leaves reflecting lesser drying of the foliage noted.
According to Margate and concurred by coconut experts at the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and The Philippine Council for Agriculture Resources, Research and Development (PCARRD), that chlorine ion increases water absorption and reduces transpiration of the palms by stepping up osmotic pressure within the cells.
This scientific observation points out that chlorine is not only indispensable to the growth and development of coconut palms but also to drought tolerance, PCARRD stressed.