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Sapotas are as common and beloved in India as strawberries are to westerners. Sapota season occurs twice in a year: from January to February, and again from May to July. When in season, sapotas sell in every shop from pushcart street vendors to upscale produce markets.
Common name: Sapodilla
Height: 9 and 15 m (30 and 49 ft)
Difficulty level: Difficult
Planting & Care
Growing sapodillas are not strictly tropical and adult sapodilla fruit trees can survive temperatures of 26-28 degrees F. for a short period of time. Sapling trees are more likely to sustain major damage or even die at 30 degrees F. Growing sapodillas are not particular when it comes to water requirements. They may do equally well in arid or humid environments, although more severe conditions may result in lack of fruiting.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Soil: Well-drained soil
Water: Water plant once in a week.
Temprature: 26-28 degrees F.
Fertilizer: Apply any organic fertilizer.
- Select a ripe sapote fruit and cut it open with a knife.
- Extract the seeds and rinse them of all pulp.
- Crack the coat of each seed before planting to increase chances of germination, Place a seed between two wooden boards and apply light pressure to the top board, A hairline crack in the seed is ideal.
- Plant sapote seeds in soil-free potting medium, no more than 14 days after harvesting, since sapote seeds do poorly in storage.
- Make sure that the pointed side of each seed faces up 1/2-inch from the surface of the soil.
- Water each seed deeply.
- Continue watering deeply throughout germination, which occurs in two to four weeks, and through seedling growth, keeping the potting medium moist.
- Once seedlings outgrow their pots, transfer them to increasingly larger containers.
- Select an outdoor planting space once trees grow between 2 and 4 feet tall.
- Choose an area with well-drained soil that receives full sun, and with no nearby structures.
- Water each sapote tree thoroughly before planting.
- Dig holes 30 feet apart that are three to four times wider than the root ball and three times as deep as the tree s container.
- Backfill and tamp down soil once trees are planted.
- Mulch newly planted sapote trees with 2 to 6 inches of wood chip mulch, staying 8 to 12 inches away from the trunk of each tree.
- Water each tree with 1 to 2 inches of water.
- To grow a sapodilla tree, most propagation is done by seed, which will be viable for years although some commercial growers use grafting and other practices.
- Once germinated, use some patience as it takes 5-8 years to grow a sapodilla tree of bearing age.
- As mentioned, the fruit tree is tolerant of most conditions but prefers a sunny, warm, and frost free location in most any type of soil with good drainage.
- Additional care for sapodilla trees advises fertilizing the young trees with -8% nitrogen, 2-4% phosphoric acid and 6-8% potash every 2 or 3 months with ¼ pound and increasing gradually to 1 pound.
- After the first year, 2 or 3 application a year is plenty.
- Not only are sapodilla trees tolerant of drought conditions, but they can take soil salinity, need very little pruning and are mostly pest resistant.
- As long as the sapodilla tree is protected from frost and patience is in abundance for this slow grower, flavorful fruit shall be the reward from this tolerant specimen.
Sapote is known for its 3 to 8 inch long fruit, which features pink or red pulp and one to four large seeds inside.
- Edible Fruit.
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