Offshoots can be planted without roots, but mounding of soil around the base of the mother tree facilitates their rooting. Irrigation is essential to insure survival of offshoots and high productivity. Since the date is dioecious, production of fruit by pistillate clones requires the presence of a source of pollen. In present-day commercial plantations, one male tree to 100 females is sufficient if pollination is performed by hand. In some cases twigs or branches of the male inflorescence from 10 to 15 cm long and bearing 30 to 50 flowers are tied on the female cluster, but this process must be repeated because of variation in time of maturation of pistillate flowers. Pollen has also been distributed by airplanes or helicopters. In antiquity, mass plantings of desirable pistillate clones of date palm would have reduced fruitfulness had nonproductive staminate clones not been introduced. The relation between artificial pollination and fruit set was known to early Sumerians and is mentioned in the
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