Growing caimito – part 1

Caimito: a tough productive fruit tree

By: Dell H. Grecia and Pit La. Cantilang

Nobody can say with any degree of certainty why it is called star apple or caimito. There have been several wild attempts to explain these names. One corny version has it that the fruit was named caimito because it was first owned and propagated by Mito; thus kay mito

However it got its name, the introduction of this fruit in the Philippines was certainly one of the bsest things to happen to our fruit industry. For star apple or caimito (Chrysiophyllum caimito, L) is now one of the widely appreciated Philippine fruits.

The tree was introduce here in 1905 form the West Indies and Central America. Grown all over the Philippines today, caimito trees are thriving in La Union, Tarlac, Batangas, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulcan, Cavite and many other provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Caimito grows well on almost all soil types that are well-drained, deep, friable and with considerable amounts of humus or organic matter . It requires a warm climate and can be grown profitably in regions with distinct dry season. It is also during the dry season that the fruits mature.

The tree thrives  in areas with low to medium elevation and sometimes, even in poorly drained and shallow soils.

To ensure seedling survival,  is best to transplant at the start the rainy season. Caimito thrives in soil with pH ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 . Slight acidic soil with good physical structure facilitates growth and development.

Propagation is by seed, budding, grafting,  inarching or by marcotting. Seeds germinate in 18 days. TO bud, choose light-brown to brownish ___wood. Cut buds 3.5 to 4.0 cm long and insert these selected stocks. The meeting points between scion and stock must have approximately the same appearance and size.

Plant propagators say patch budding gives a higher percentage of success than either grafting or shield budding.

Marcotted branches can be separated from the parent tree in about a year.

Caimito does not require intensive land preparation. However, when seedlings or budded plants ready for planting, the land must be cleared by plowing or  brush-weeding. To give the young plants a good start, plow and harrow the field at least once. Holes must measure at least 40 cubic centimeters.  The plants should be transplanted when they have been eight months in the nursery. Seedlings should be spaced eight to 10 meters apart.

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