This photo of a valley on the Vaivase side of the Vailele plantation shows how the Germans laid out their trees. They were generally planted in straight lines north to south, with a separation distance of 40ft by 40ft. This was to allow adequate light between trees to sustain pasture growth for browsing cattle, which were a secondary industry. Planting in rows allowed room for bullocks and carts to move through the trees when nuts were being collected. To obtain the best seedlings the Germans marked out the most productive coconut trees. Seedlings from these trees were raised in a nursery and once sprouted were moved to the fields for planting.
This photo was taken at the opening of the Apia Rifle Club at Vaivase at Easter 1925. Coconut palms in Samoa have a prime productive life of around 60-70 years. These trees have reached full maturity, which occurs after about 25 years. They may have been planted in the 1880’s or earlier.
Credit: McKay Family Collection.
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