Pests & Diseases
Pests of concern include coconut mealybugs, rhinoceros beetles, American palm cixiids, red palm weevils and mites, spider mites, palm aphids, and caterpillars. Immature, trimmed coconuts can be treated with preservatives to prevent browning, extending storage by several days. Wet conditions will cause mold, particularly in immature, trimmed coconuts.
Coconut palms are susceptible to lethal yellowing disease, bud rot caused by phytophthora, trunk rot, stem bleeding, and chalara paradoxa fungus. Most can be prevented through well-drained soil and avoidance of damage to tree trunks, particularly during transplantation. Lethal yellowing can be treated with antibiotic injections either on a preventative basis, when the disease is found, or as a repeated treatment after infection.
Storage & Packaging
Nuts to be sold without their outer casing are husked in the field. Mature, husked coconuts are sold in large plastic or burlap bags or small plastic mesh bags. They are also sold in cartons of varying size. Copra is sold fresh-cut in overwrapped trays or plastic bags, and can be sun or kiln dried, roasted, or smoked. Processors sometimes cut a circular hole into a husked coconut and attach a pull-tab for easy access.
Immature coconuts are trimmed to remove most of the husk and shipped with a flat bottom and exposed eyes. Husking, while economical and convenient for marketing, shortens postharvest life to three weeks or less. Mature coconuts should be cooled after harvest, preventing temperature fluctuations to prevent cracking. Film-wrapping or waxing can help prevent dehydration and the resulting loss of quality in both mature and immature coconuts. Storage over six weeks will sour the coconut milk.
References: State of Hawaii (Hawaii.gov), Purdue University, University of Florida/IFAS Extension, University of Hawaii.
GRADES & GOOD ARRIVAL
There is no formal grading process for coconuts. Informal grades, based on size and weight, exist but may differ between countries.