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The role of date palm tree in landscaping

... Thus, date palm tissue culture laboratories have been established across the date palm-growing regions in an attempt to maximize the number of in vitro offshoots besides the in vivo plantlets. Date palm trees have been incorporated into landscaping urban and suburban areas in Iraq (Ibrahim 2006(Ibrahim , 2008. An ambitious plan is under way to combat desertifi cation in dategrowing governorates which are mainly subject to dust storms. ...
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Iraq is the birthplace of the date palm, and historically it was the domestication center of this crop. Moreover, for some years, Iraq was the largest producer of dates in the world. Many factors negatively have affected both the production and natural genetic diversity of the crop. However, efforts are being made by the Iraqi authorities and researchers alike to compensate for the serious damage the date palm sector has experienced over the past 30 years. New approaches have been introduced including biotechnology, grove management, pest control, and industrial practices. Production limitations have been diagnosed and constraints are on their way to be resolved. Date palm plantations are under stress from many biotic and abiotic factors including key insect pests like dubas bug, lesser date moth, trunk and stalk borers, and Old World date mite. Date palm diseases cause serious damages to date palm trees especially where stress factors are present such as palm weakness, soil salinity, high water table, borers, and tree aging. The use of plant tissue culture to support propagation by offshoots is necessary and started in the early 1980s. Both direct organogenesis and callus induction with subsequent asexual embryo formation protocols were achieved. Approximately, 600 date palm cultivars were grown in Iraq before 1980; however, currently their number is reduced to 500. Morphologicaltraits have been used to describe genetic variation in these cultivars which are mainly related to the fruit, leaf, trunk, and other parts of the tree. DNA marker analysis in Iraqi date palm is at the developmental stage and began in 2000. Tree management and fruit handling improvements are required urgently for better quality production. Date trading has to be reassessed in Iraq in order to overcome the outmoded market chains.
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