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Crops » Fruits » Sapota

Introduction


Sapota Known by different names such as Chiku, Sapodilla, Bully tree etc.

Native of Mexico.

In tropical America, the latex (Gutta percha) is used for making chewing gum.

Evergreen tree.

A number of Sapotaceae fruits are found in American tropics.

Siderxylon tomentosum grows wild in western Ghats.

Butter lime or West Indian star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito)

grows in Baroda.

Casimiroa edulis (White sapota) belongs to Rutaceae.

The tree puts forth vegetative growth year round. Each extension growth terminates in a whorl of flowers. In each whorl there are 20-40 bisexual flowers. Out of these 80-90% are shed

Soil and climate

Sapota can grow upto 1200m from MSL.

Warm moist climate is suitable.

Temperature range of 11 to 34 ºC . High temperature causes poor fruit set, fruit drop and sun scorch.

225 -375 cm of Rain / year.

Thrives even in marginal and sub-marginal soils.

It can be grown in all types of soil including alkaline soil, but well drained soil is necessary for good growth.

It can tolerate salt in soil and irrigation water.

For good performance, it prefers deep alluvium or sandy loam, red lateritic soil or medium black soil.

The soil should not have hard pan at 60-90 cm.

Varieties

Cricket ball, Oval, Kalipatti, Badami, Baramasi, Calcutta Round, Pala and PKM - 1

Season

The season of planting is May - June. Planting should be avoided during the periods of heavy rains.

Planting materials

Layers and grafts. Manilkara hexandra (khirni / ryan) is the best rootstock for inarching sapota.

Other rootstock tried were Mimusops elengi , Madhuka latifolia , Madhuka longifolia , Palaquium sp. , Siderxylon dulcifolium etc.

They gave poor graft take and subsequent growth compared to Manilkara hexandra.

Method of planting

Planting is done in pits of 60 x 60 x 60 cm at a square spacing of 7 - 8 m.

Fertilization

For full-grown sapota tree per year is: FYM - 55 kg in May- June N:P2O5:K2O - 500:360:750 g/ tree / year in two equal splits.

Apply the fertilizers in two equal split doses, the first during May-June and the second during August-September. Apply the manures and fertilizers in trenches 30 cm deep taken at a distance of 1m from the base of the tree

Irrigation

Irrigation is necessary during the early stages and in the hot weather. Good crops can be obtained with irrigation.

10-11 irrigations at 80 mm depth in a basin of 3 m diameter.

Optimum is 32 days interval in winter and 18 days in summer

IW : CPE ratio for irrigation is 0.5.

Drip 30-40% saving in water & 70-75% in net income. Two drippers 50 cm away from the tree in initial two years and 4 drippers 1m away till 5 years. Dripper discharge 4 l / hr in winter and 7 hr in summer on alternate days.

Weed management

Weeding is required regularly. Weedicides can be used at early stages of growth.

Intercultivation practices

No pruning is necessary; but in old trees, lower branches can be removed up to 1 m height.

Harvesting

The tree flowers continuously in several flushes at short intervals throughout the year.

There are two seasons when flowers will be produced profusely i.e., October to November and February to March.

Grafted sapota begins to bear in the third year after planting.

Fruit production increases with age up to 30 years followed by a decline.

Fruits mature about 4 months after flowering.

A 7 year old tree gives 700 fruits. From 10th year on wards 1000 to 1100 fruits per year can be harvested