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Before a Date Palm will produce dates, the tree must first be fertilized by applying 1 saltpeter. After a while, a number of dates will ripen, which can be harvested by anyone. The tree must be re-fertilized with saltpeter to produce more dates.
I've got date yields as high as 17 from one tree at a time. However, yields of one or two are more common. If there is a pattern, I have been unable to determine it. JulianJaynes 14:32, 19 April 2009 (EST)
I can't confirm this 100%, but I believe it takes 2 hours for the first date to appear after fertilizing it. If you check, after the initial 2 hours, there will only be one date. But the longer (after the 2 hours), the more dates appear. In other words, the longer they remain unharvested, the more dates that keep adding to the tree's inventory. I checked at 1 hour and 1.5 hours, no dates. But there was 1 date after 2 hours... ~Cegaiel