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A date tree can be grown from the pit or seed in each fruit, but the chances are 50/50 of getting a male tree. Commercial plantings are done by removing and planting the offshoots, or clone trees, that sprout from the base of the mature producing females. These will always be a genetic copy of the parent tree.

The cycle of work to produce a bountiful crop of dates begins in early spring. In March and April both the male and female trees produce a dozen or more large brown flower pods which split open when mature to reveal the flowers inside. The long stems of male flowers, heavy with pollen, are gathered and placed inside the female flowers to assure complete pollenation. One male tree can supply enough pollen for 40-50 females.

By mid May the developing dates are marble sized and the female flower stalk has grown to a length of 4-6 feet. These flexible green stalks are bent over and tied down to a lower frond on the tree. This gives the developing bundles support as their weight increases and also makes them easier to access for the rest of the season.

In late August the bundles are nearly full-sized, but are still green and immature. Depending upon the variety, the dates will now turn either bright red or golden yellow. At this stage they are covered with heavy paper wraps to protect them from rain, birds, and sunburn.

In the Fall the fruit becomes fully ripe, turning either deep brown or jet black, and softening and sweetening into the lucious fruit that consumers love. The harvest season lasts from September through December, as each of the different varieties ripen. Typical adult trees will produce 200-300 pounds of fruit each season. After the harvest, the trees are trimmed and dethorned in preparation for the next year.