Planting selected varieties of fruit trees such as durian, rambutan and others will not necessarily assure you of the best fruits. Of course, planting the best varieties available is the first step. But there is another step that you have to take if you want to produce the best fruits possible. Fruits like pummelo, durian, rambutan and others are sweeter and juicier with more potassium and trace elements.
The step No. 2 is balanced fertilization. Bernie Dizon, a soil technologist and fertilizer expert, advises orchard owners to regularly fertilize their trees with the right kind and amount at the right time Also, the trees should be adequately protected from pests and diseases before they are allowed to bear fruits. Diseased fruit trees tend to produce an unusually big number of fruits. If these fruits are allowed to mature, they will be of inferior quality and they will only hasten the exhaustion and eventually death of the tree. Therefore, the diseased tree should be treated of its malady before it is allowed to produce a lot of fruits.
In durian, the usual disease is phytophthora. The diseased trees should be treated with copper fungicide so it could recover its vigor.
Meanwhile, here are more pointers from Bernie Dizon. Two to three months before flowering, he said, the tree must be fertilized with a balanced formulation (a mixture of complete such as 14-14-14 and microelements). For every 50-kilo bag of 14-14-14, mix thoroughly one to two kilos of microelements such as boracol or rhizocote. If you are not sure of the flowering period, it is safe to fertilize the trees every three months throughout the year.
The amount of fertilizer to apply is based on the vigor of the tree. One-half to one kilo of the mixture can be applied to five-year-old trees that are 6 to 10 feet high. The fertilizer must be placed around the trunk, 3 to 4 feet away, in 10 holes around the trunk and at a depth of two to four inches. Cover the fertilizer with soil to minimize evaporation.
During flowering time, or when the fruits are about the size of corn kernel, apply a combination of nitrogen and potassium (17-0-17). Do not apply urea during flowering because it will abort the flowers. Apply also trace elements if there was no application during the previous six months.
Two of three months before ripening of the fruits, apply a combination of 17-0-17 and muriate of potash (0-0-60) in equal amounts.
Based on Dizon’s experience in farmers’ plantations, apply one kilo of the mixture of 17-0-17 and 0-0-60 per 10 kilos of fruits produced results in juicy and sweet fruits of durian, lychee, pummelo, rambutan and lanzones. In his thesis in college, he found that fruit trees tend to consume a lot of potash without any undesirable effect. The potash is responsible for making the fruits sweeter, according to him.
Dizon also recommends that orchard owners should have their soils analyzed by the Buerau of Soils and Water Management laboratory to determine their pH (acidity). Acidic soils, he points out usually do not have sufficient calcium, muriate of potash and trace elements. Without these elements, the fruits would be of inferior quality.
If the soil is acidic, Dizon recommends the application of agricultural lime following the recommendations of the soils bureau. Apply also organic fertilizer to check soil acidity.
For fruiting during the dry season without any irrigation, foliar fertilizer that is high in potassium may be sprayed early in the morning or late in the afternoon. That’s when the stomata of the leaves are open.
For more information, contact:
Dizon Exotic Fruit Trees
UP Bliss, Brgy. San Vicente
Diliman, Quezon City
Listen to “Tayo’y Magtanin,” with Ka Bernie Dizon
DWWW 774 kHz (AM) Monday to Friday 5:00AM.