Guyabano or soursop production
By:Onofre Q. Ballesteros
Greenfields March 1993
The increasing preference of health-conscious consumer for non-carbonated drinks has brought more attention to drinks made from tropical fruits like guyabano or soursop. Soursop pulp or meat contains about 80% water; one percent protein; 18 % carbohydrates and small quantities o vitamin B1, B2 and C. Ripe guyabano fruits can be eaten fresh or processed into pureeand dehydrated products. Fruits for processing into puree must be fully mature, ripe and free of bruises. Good quality flesh is white, cottony in texture, and juicy.
Soursop or guyabano is scientifically known as Anona muricata. It belongs to the Anonaceae family and is believed to have originated from tropical America. Other fruit trees belonging to this family are the sugar apple or atis (Anonas squamosa), anonas or custard apple (Anona reticulata), cherimoya (Anona cherimolia) and hybrid between cherimoya and atis known as atemoya.
Guyabano is generally grown as a backyard crop. The area devoted to it averaed 3,0816.6 hectares from 1980 to 1985. Western Visayas had the biggest hectare (740) , followed by Central Luzon (518). The average Philippine production during the same period was 3.31 tons per hectare. Average total production per year was 10,200 tons worth about 8.6 million pesos
Guyabano thrives in a wide range of soil types with a pH ranging from 4.3 to 8.0 Well-drained soil with high organic matter content is highly desirable.
Acidic soil (pH 4.3 to 5.5) is not conducive to good growth because of the toxic effects of acid producing elements like aluminum, iron and manganese.
Soil acidity can be corrected by the application of lime. Agricultural lime can be used but it takes more quantity and a longer time to effect change, unlike hydrated lime or quick lime.
Frequency of lime application depends on the acidity of the soil, soil texture, and extent of crop removal of calcium and magnesium.
Guyabano needs a warm, dry climate during its flowering period. Such a climate favors good fruit set formation as it is generally as cross-pollinated tree. Adequate soil moisture, however, is required for good fruit development. It takes about four months from flowering until fruit maturity.
Based on fruit taste, there are two strains – sweet and sour . They are botanically similar. Both grow up to seven meters tall. The leaves are alternative oval, pointed at both ends smooth and shiny, seven to 20 centimeters long, and with very short petioles. The flowers are large, heart-shaped, and yellowish or greenish yellow.
Guyabano is generally propagated by seeds selected from fully mature fruits. A good-sized fruit mature fruits. A good-sized fruits weighs at least 750 grams and consists of94 percent pulp or meat; 11 percent peel; two percent core and three percent seeds. Seeds from 14 selected fruits are needed to plant one hectare wit a plant population of 625 trees.
Guyabano may also be propagate asexually, but it’s not common practice because trees grown from seed – sexual propagation – start flowering three years after planting.
In Guimaras, we had seedlings that started bearing 18 months after outplanting. When transplanted, the seedlings were six months old.
Asexually propagated trees, therefore, have no distinct advantage over sexually grown seedlings. The seeds should be sown in seedboxes or seedbeds. Seedlins that grow at least four leaves should be transferred to plastic bags. The soil medium for the bags should consist of sterilized loam soil and organic matter. Water the seedlings at least once a day during hot days.
Two to three weeks after you transfer the seedlings, apply a fertilizer solution every four days to accelerate plant growth and root development. Dissolve 100 grams of 14-14-14 per 17 liters of water and use this solution to water the seedlings. It is best to apply the solution at the base of the seedlings to avoid injuring young leaves. Two weeks before outplanting, reduce watering and expose the seedlings to sunlight to harden them.
Clear the field bu underbrushng and plowing. Allow the weeds to decompose before harrowing. Two or more harrowings are needed to thoroughly prepare the land. Provide drainage canals or make contours if the field is slightly rolling to avert soil erosion. Dig holes measuring 2 x 2 x 2 feet and refill with surface soil and organic matter.
Spacing and outplanting
A 4 x 4 meter spacing scheme – or 625 trees per hectare – is suggested for light-texture soils. Wider spacing is recommended for clayey soil. Outplant at the start of the rainy season to give the seedlings time to develop good root systems before the dry months. Remove the plastic bags before setting the seedlings in the holes.