Durian : King of tropical fruit
Durian(Durio zibethinus murr,)is an exotic fruit popularly known as the “King of tropical fruits.” One of the most highly valued and most desired seasonal fruits in Southeast Asia, the fruit has a pungent odor but is nevertheless delicious.
Durian pulp and seeds are very nutritious and are important sources of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The seeds contain pure starch.
The pup or aril of ripe fruits is usually eaten fresh and is known as a delicacy. It is claimed to have pronounced aphrodisiac quality. Durian may also be processed into jam, preserve, candy, filling for jelly roll or used as ice cream flavoring.
Cultivating durian requires a moist environment with an even distribution of rainfall. It thrives best in deep, well-drained, sandy loam soil rich in organic matter. Since It cannot tolerate low temperatures, planting is restricted to areas below 800 meters elevation.
- Philippine cultivars – have moderate to strong aroma.
a. Arancillo (ACC1497). Prolific and consistent bearer, bears off-season fruits; has excellent, creamy taste with an edible portion of 38.39 percent.
b. Aabrine (DES806). Prolific and consistent bearer; bears off-season fruits; has excellent eating quality; flesh is naples yellow, aromatic, smooth and firm with edible portion of 24.56 percent.
c. Mamer (DES916) Ptolific and consistent bearer; pulp color is barium yellow; has excellent eating quality with edible portion of 24.93 percent.
Introduced varieties – have high percentage edibleportion and mild aroma.
a. Chanee (ACC 2815). Prolific and produce off-season fruits; taste is sweet, flesh is thick-yellow orange in color, non-fibrous, slightly glutinous with and edible portion of 41.654 percent.
b. GD 69 Prolific. Bears fruits three years after planting; produces off-season fruits; yield 50 fruits; flesh is very thick, yellow orange in color with sweet melting taste; non-fibrous and with mild aroma. Edible portion is 44.82 percent.
c. Monthong. Has intermediate aroma. Flesh is bright yellow with sweet buttery flavor. Texture is smooth, firm, moderately flavor. Texture is smooth, firm, and moderately fibrous. Edible portion is 30 percent. There is a distinct protuberance at distal end.
Preparation of planting material
- Select well-develop seeds from mature and ripe fruits.
- Germinate the seeds in a seed boc or seed bed with coir dust or saw dust, or fine river sand as medium.
- Prick the seedlings 9-12 days from germination in 7” x11” x.003 millimeters (mm) polyethylene bags with medium composed of garden, soil, fine river sand and compost. Place the seedlings in a nursery shed.
- Water them immediately after pricking and every two or three days thereafter, or as the need arises.
- Reduce nursery shade and increase gradually from 30% to 70% fall sunlight two months after pricking.
- The seedlings are ready for grafting 21-30 days after picking. Use hypocotyls method. Two to four months use epicotyls side frafting and five to seven months use cleft grafting method.
- Harden the grafted plant materials two weeks before field planting.
- Clear underbrush and remove all stumps.
- Plow and harrow thoroughly to loosen the soil.
- Stake at a distance of 8 meters between hills and 8 meter between rows. High density planting is also recommended for maximum utilization of the land, with a distance of 6 m between rows and 6 m between hills.
- Dig holes 30 centimeters wide and 30 cm deep, separating the top soil from the sub-soil. Use the top soil to cover the hole after planting.
- Areas planted to coconut could be intercropped with durian, provided that coconut trees are already tall (20 years old more) and are widely spaced, usually 10 m x 10m more
- Plant at the start of the rainy season.
- For best results, use large planting materials (LPMs). LPMs are produced by maintaining the plant materials in nursery more than a year or two.
- Apply 50 grams complete fertilizer
- Remove LPMs from the polyethylene bags.
- Plant the seedlings an inch from the original soil line without breaking the ball of soil.
- Cover the hole with top soil and press gently.
- To maximize land use, intercrop with banana (lakatan). Banana should be planted ahead so they could provide shade to the young durian trees.
- Provide shade to the newly planted seedlings for two weeks to a few months depending on the weather conditions. This enables the plants to recover from transplanting shock and protects them from strong sunlight.
- In the absence of soil analysis, apply fertilizer with NPK ratio of 12-4-7 a 100 gm per tree for the first five years. Increase fertilizer application progressively to 4 kg per tree during the 12th year.
- Ring weeding should be done regularly and before every fertilizer applications.
- Grow cash crops between the rows of durian before they reach productive stage.
- Prune/remove dead, broken or diseased branches and water sprouts to obtain the desired canopy shape and enhance production of fruits.
- During the dry season, irrigate the trees and mulch them with dried straw, leaves, cut grasses and coconut husk or banana pseudostem cuttings.
A well-cared for durian tree starts bearing fruits in as early as five years. Harvest the mature fruits with a sharp knife before they fall.
Maturity indicators are used to determine if the fruits are ready for harvest before they fall without impairing its quality.
- Age of fruit – Local varieties can be harvested at 206-108 days old; Chanee at 112-113 days old, and Mothong at 125 days old.
- Changes associated with fruit maturity
- Husk color. From green to light brown with yellowish green tinge.
- The suture of the abscission on the peduncle becomes very distinct
- The sound emitted by the fruit when tapped becomes dull and hollow.
- The fruit has strong perceptible aroma.
- The spine at the equatorial region of the fruit becomes pliable
- The aril becomes sweet with full characteristic flavor of durian.
Source:DA, Southern Mindanao Agriculture and Resources research and development Consortium, Davao National Crop research and Development, Marid Agri