Pointers on growing Rambutan

Rambutan is a popular garden fruit tree and propagated commercially in small orchards. It is one of the best known fruits of Southeast Asia and is also widely cultivated elsewhere in the tropics including Africa, the Caribbean islands, Central America, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. It's fruit has a sweet and mildly acidic flavor make it a suitable fruit for consumption. If you are planning to grow rambutan in your home yard or farm, try to consider these pointers posted by mb.com.ph agriculture section.

Rambutan is one good crop to grow for a number of good reasons, whether in the backyard or in a plantation. For one, rambutan will most likely bear fruit every year without much intervention once it has attained fruiting age. Of course, the trees have to be adequately fertilized and other simple requirements are also provided.

Rambutan can be grown in most places in the Philippines, including in the Ilocos where there is a distinct wet and dry season. One retired judge in Ilocos Sur has been harvesting a lot of fruits every year from his four-hectare rambutan plantation.

Here are some important pointers on growing this exotic fruit tree. One is to plant the right variety. There are many varieties of rambutan but not all of them are recommended. Among those which produce good quality fruits are R-5, Super Red, Rongrein, Jetli, R-162 and some others. Maharlika is an old variety but is not as good as the newer ones and has a lower price in the market.

The planting distance is also important. On farms with rich soil, the distance of planting should be at least 10 meters apart. If the soil is poor, the distance between trees could be 8 meters apart.

How do you take care of the juvenile plants? Planting is best done at the start of the rainy season. However, planting could be done anytime of the year for as long as the trees are provided with adequate moisture during the dry months. Grafted seedlings that are two to three feet tall are usually used for planting.

Monitor the growth of young trees. If the weather is too hot, provide some shade (like coconut fronds) so the plant will not get scorched. Apply organic fertilizer, about a kilo per tree every two months. Also, apply chemical fertilizer every two months at the rate of 150 grams per tree or thereabouts. You can alternate applying urea and complete fertilizer. Watch for insect damage. Insects might feed on the new leaves. Aphids and other pests could be easily controlled by spraying with common insecticides.

It is best to have fruiting trees that are low-growing (about five meters tall) with spreading branches. This can be achieved by cutting the lead trunk and developing the lateral branches. This is best done when the trees are properly distanced. In pruning, cut the weak branches.

Fertilize the trees with both organic and chemical fertilizers. The organic fertilizer may be the processed kind or composted chicken manure, or some other manures. At the beginning of the rainy season, spread a sackful of manure under the canopy of the trees. Repeat this six months later. The chemical fertilizer may be applied every three months, the amount depending on the size of the trees. Two kilos may be applied per tree each time. Organic foliar fertilizer (balanced, complete formulation) may be sprayed on the leaves every month.

During the dry months, make sure that the trees don’t suffer from drought. During the rainy season, on the other hand, make sure that the plantation is properly drained.

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