How to Plant a Custard Apple Tree: [Complete Step-by-Step Guide]

Personally I am lucky to have a custard apple tree.

It is a very grateful tree, because it needs little care, it bears many fruits and a good shade.

Spain is the world’s leading producerof this unique fruit. It holds 80% of the total, even though this plant is native to South America (between Peru and Ecuador) it has perfectly adapted to the climate and soils of Granada, Malaga and the Canary Islands.

It is believed that it originates from western India, but it was taken to Central America and then to the south of the American continent, and is currently very popular in Peru and Brazil. Chile is the second world producer.

Important points when planting custard apples

  • When? During the spring. Although it can be done at any time if the weather is appropriate (without sudden variations in temperature).
  • Where? It needs a lot of water, so if you have a natural spring or stream, it will grow very strong and very fast. Otherwise, in a place where it receives good sunlight and the soil is rich in nutrients.
  • As it grows? The cherimoya tree, if the right conditions are met, grows very quickly.
  • How many fruits can it bear? A single tree can bear between 34-45 kg of fruit per year.
  • How do we water? It is ideal to irrigate by drip or micro-sprinkler. The important thing is not to flood.
  • What favorable associations does it have? yucas, bungavillas, yours, palm trees and even poinsettias, avocado or papaya.
  • Plagues and diseases? The chalcid fly, Diplodia annonae.

When to plant cherimoya?

In spring,It is usually the time of greatest pollination success of the custard apple.

Where to plant a cherimoya?

Once the Cherimoya seed germinates, the tree is fast growing and responds very well to organic fertilizers and frequent watering as long as it grows in dry weather during the growing season.

The weather that mostIt is favored by the humid subtropical.If this environment is permanent, we can plant custard apples throughout the year, because they like stable climates where there are no sudden changes in temperature.

How do we prepare the land for growing custard apples?

Actually, the custard apple adapts very well to different types of soil. But it can also be said that it grows much better in loamy soils with drainage and rich in organic matter (animal manure).

It does not support, yes, flooded soils and the PH must be constantly monitored, because the alkalinity generates chlorosis very quickly.

Soils must be kept neutral.

The harvest period begins at the end of winter and lasts until spring.

A single tree can produce between 34 to 45 kg of fruit per year.and they are harvested when they have lost their green color, so that they mature without cracking so that they can be sold in the markets, where they are very appetizing due to their sweetness and large amount of vitamins, especially minerals and calcium.

When the fruit ripens it is very soft to the touch. The central stem can be easily removed and the white inner meat easily separates from the skin. Smoothies and ice creams can also be made with the sweet pulp.

How do we water the cherimoya tree?

The water consumption in this plant is very highdue to the effect of the so-called evapotranspiration of the crop.

Localized micro-sprinkler irrigation is the most convenient. It significantly reduces the waterlogging of the substrates.

How to plant cherimoyas step by step?

The manual pollination process is the most suitableand of excellent results to obtain sweet and fleshy fruits. Human intervention is key because the same flower cannot be pollinated with the same pollen.

And it is that the flower presents the phenomenon of dichogamy, characterized in that they can be male or female at any time of the day, so pollination is difficult and therefore must be done manually and induced.

Another disadvantageis that its flowers are not attractive to insects that do the reproductive work.

It also presents difficulties because this plant of the so-called genusCustard apple includes in its seeds a germination inhibitor,so it is not so easy to make it germinate.

But the good news is that the success rate is above 60%.

Steps to follow:

  1. Collect the pollen manually, together with the stamens of the flowers in the male phase.
  2. It is stored in a cold environment, after collecting the pollen from 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon.
  3. With the help of a brush, deposit the pollen on the pistils of the flowers in the female phase, during the first hours of the morning.
  4. The temperature should be kept around 25°C.
  5. Flowering usually occurs in late spring and early summer, depending on the weather. Once this task has been completed, the fruit will develop until it reaches full maturity in the fall.

What favorable associations does it have?

Since pre-Columbian times, associations of the Cherimoya with yucca plants, bougainvilleas, yours, palm trees and even poinsettias have been practiced .

Later, flavors of custard apple, avocado or papaya were incorporated into European cuisine.

The versatility of uses of the Cherimoya is very, very varied.The leaves have been used in leather tanning and arealso extracts a blue or black dye.

In some areas, its soft but very durable yellow wood is used to make ox yokes.

Another incredible use is associated with medicinal properties. The unripe fruit has high concentrations of tannin. It is dried, pulverized and its use is effective as an antidiarrheal and against dysentery. The same use is given to the bark for its astringent qualities when it is cooked.

There are even those who place fragments of the bark on their gums, when they have a toothache at inappropriate times to go to the dentist.

cherimoya pruning

The pruning of the cherimoya will be carried out in the first three years. The objective of this is to ensure that the tree has an adequate structure that allows it to withstand the different branches and inclement weather.

We will focus on doing a low glass pruning on the 3-6 main branches, which are approximately 1 meter tall. In this way, the problems caused by the wind will be reduced and the harvesting of the fruits will be facilitated.

The maintenance pruning that will be done after three years will be focused mainly on removing dry branches and also interior branches that prevent the passage of air and light (for photosynthesis).

What pests and diseases does it have?

To deepen on this topic: Pests and Diseases of Cherimoya.

Suffers merciless attacks fromthe chalcid fly,where its fruits do not finish ripening because they remain mummified.

It also suffers attacks from the fungus identified as Diplodia annonae, capable of infecting the stem of the fruit until it completely covers it.

In India, the fruits before ripening have to be protected with very dense bags or nets to prevent damage caused by fruit bats.

How long does a cherimoya tree live?

Under ideal conditions and with proper care, the cherimoya tree can be kept alive for up to 40 years.

How long does it take for a cherimoya tree to grow?

It grows slowly, so it could take up to 7 years to reach its maximum height.

How long does it take to produce fruit?

From 3 or 4 years old it will already be able to produce its first flowers and, therefore, the setting of its fruits.

Can it be grown in a pot?

Yes, it can be kept in pots. The main problem is that you will have to keep the growth in check and that will lead to less production.

How many times does a cherimoya tree produce fruit?

It generates a single production per year, but in a staggered way, since all the flowers and fruits are not generated at the same time.

These fruits must be detached from the plant before they fall so that they are intact.

Should a cherimoya tree be pollinated to obtain fruit?

Natural pollination is carried out by pollinating insects.

However, when they are not available in the environment, hand pollination can work.

How cold can a custard apple tree tolerate?

It is capable of tolerating sporadic drops in temperature, as it only likes slight oscillations.

In any case, frosts are not allowed because they affect the leaves and fruits, and can lead the plant to weaken or die.

How many cherimoya trees can be planted per hectare?

The most advisable thing is to work with a density that occupies 150 trees for each hectare of land.

What Kind of Fertilizer Does a Cherimoya Tree Need?

Fertilizations are based on NPK fertilizers with higher nitrogen and potassium content.

The latter is very important because cherimoya is a species that tends to suffer from potassium deficiencies.

How much heat and/or drought can a custard apple tree tolerate?

The maximum temperature that the cherimoya is capable of withstanding is 30° C.

It is not tolerant to drought, so an efficient irrigation system must be proposed to avoid problems.

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