Sweet Tamarind, Management and Harvesting


For large-scale planting, intercrop the tamarind with short-season cash crops. This way, some income could be derived while the trees are not yet bearing fruits. When the trees have grown and their branches begin to touch each other, intercropping should be stopped.


Water the plants right after planting. This must be done as the needs arises. Sufficient water should be provided during the early years. In later years, watering becomes less critical. Irrigation is beneficial, especially for the development of flowers and fruits.


Tamarind trees bear fruit well even without fertilization. However, fertilizer application is recommended to keep the trees in healthy condition. As a general recommendation: apply 50 g of 16-20-0 and 100 g of 14-14-14 per tree one month after planting. The same amount is added at the end of the rainy season. The amount of fertilizer is gradually increased as the trees grow.

For early bearing fruits, apply 500 g of 14-14-14 per tree twice a year. A full bearing tree may need at least 3 kg of 14-14-14 per year.

Trimming and Pruning

Young trees require little trimming during the first few years. Remove the very low branches and cut long upright shoots during the early years.

Remove the very low branches and cut long upright shoots during the early years. For bearing trees, remove dead, and weak branches and shoots growing in wrong direction. Unpruned trees tend to have overgrown tops and produce crowded shoots. In a few years, the canopy becomes very dense. These should be trimmed into suitable shape, with an open center. In this way, the trees are easy to manage during harvesting as the bearing canopy covers a large surface area.

Fruits should not be allowed to ripen during the early years of bearing. Remove the flowers/fruits during its second, third, and fourth year. Fruit thinning in young trees will promote the growth of canopy. In mature trees, fruit thinning will improve the fruit quality.

Control of Insect Pest and Diseases

There are no major diseases of sweet tamarind observed. However, insect pests such as bagworms, mealybugs, scale insects, leaf feeding caterpillars, shorthole borers and green locust were recorded. These pests may be controlled by spraying the trees with common insecticides at the recommended dosage.


The fruit may be harvested at half-ripe stage or full-ripe stage. The skin at half-ripe is easily peeled-off and the pulp is yellowish green. The pulp changes to brown and becomes sticky at full-ripe stage.

Grafted sweet tamarind may start fruiting in about a year after planting. The fruit may be harvested half-ripe (malasebo) stage and full ripe stage.

To determine the half-ripe stage, scratch the fruit surface with the fingernail at the side not exposed to the sun to remove the brownish powdery material. Mature fruits have brown shells.

Fully ripened fruits are determined by just tapping with the finger which produces a hollow, loose sound. This is because the pulp shrinks at maturity and the skin becomes brittle. Since the fruits mature at different times, harvesting must be done by priming.

Fruits are usually harvested from January to February as the trees bear flowers in May or June.

Other Uses

There are many uses to which the fruit is put. The pulp is a popular ingredient for curries and preserves. Sometimes it is pressed, preserved and sold by weight in the bazaars. It also makes a good sherbert. Medicinally it is used as a laxative. The seeds, ground to powder and boiled to a paste with gum, make a strong cement; from them, too, is obtained a substitute for wheat or other flour, used by jungle people to make chapattis. The husks of the seeds have even been employed for road surfacing. It was also discovered that from the seeds could be made a cheap, efficient substitute for cereal starch which is used for sizing cotton yarn, jute fabrics and woollens.

Leaves and flowers, too, are useful as they are both edible and the leaves make a good poultice for boils; also an infusion from them makes a fine yellow dye which is used to give a green colour to silks previously dyed with indigo.

The wood is highly prized, though hard and difficult to work and it is unfortunate that the heart wood is so small. However it is widely used for making wheels, mallets, furniture, oil and sugar mills, etc.

Country people have a prejudice against sleeping under Tamarinds because they say the trees exude unhealthy vapors. This is no doubt correct to a degree as the cloth of tents pitched under Tamarinds in wet weather become discolored and rotten after a time; many plants will not grow beneath them but it is a mistake to suppose that this applies to all herbs and shrubs.

For inquiries, write or contact:

Project In-charge: Dr. Filomena K. Reyes
Pampanga Agricultural College, Magalang, Pampanga
Telefax: (045) 866-4800, Mobile: 0916-5291193
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.pac.edu.ph, www.instanet.com.ph

Bureau of Agricultural Research
Department of Agriculture
3/F RDMIC Bldg., Visayas Ave. cor. Elliptical Rd.,
Diliman, Quezon City 1104
Trunklines: (63-2) 928-8505 or 927-0226
Local Nos: 2043, 2042, 2044
Email: [email protected]

source: www.bar.gov.ph, toptropicals.com

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