What is the main problem in cultivation of Date Palm?

Phoenix dactylifera commonly known as Date Palm is an edible sweet fruit. In cultivation of date palm, the major problem for farmers is to identify the sex of saplings at an early stage so that they can cultivate in their orchards a sufficiently large number of productive female trees with only a minimal number of male trees. This is because; the fruit is borne by female plants only which cannot be identified upto four to five years till the date palm trees bloom for the first time. There have been attempts in the past to identify the sex of the date palm at an early stage and the results have remained frustratingly unsuccessful. For last few years, there have been serious efforts to understand the genetic basis of sex determination in plants and to develop methods to identify sex at an early stage by using molecular marker tools.

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