How to grow durian from seed

According to research durian is native to Borneo and Sumatra. Durian is found wild or semi-wild in South Tenasserim, Lower Burma, and around villages in peninsular Malaya, and is also commonly cultivated along roads or in orchards from southeastern India and Ceylon to New Guinea. About 400 years ago, there was a lively trade in durians between Lower Burma to Upper Burma where they were prized in the Royal Palace. South Vietnam and Thailand are important producers of durians. An association known as the Association of Durian Growers and Sellers was formed in 1959 to standardize quality and marketing practices.

Furthermore, durian is actually rare in the New World. The durian Seeds from Java were planted at the Federal Experiment Station in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in 1920. The single resulting durian tree bloomed heavily in February and March in 1944 but only 1 fruit matured in July and it had but 3 normal carpels. However, there were six fully developed durian seeds which germinated and were planted. The durian tree has fruited in Jamaica and Dominica.

Durian Varieties

The seedlings have much variation. There are about three hundred named varieties of durian in Thailand. Only a few of these are actually in commercial cultivation. In country like Malaysia about 100 types are graded for size and quality. In peninsular Malaya there are about forty-four clones with small differences in time and extent of flowering, floral and fruit morphology, productivity and edible quality.

Climate Requirement: The durian tree is ultra-tropical and it cannot be grown above an altitude of 2,000 ft (600 m) in Ceylon; 2,300 ft (700 m) in the Philippines, 2,600 ft (800 m) in Malaysia. The durian tree needs abundant rainfall. In country like India, the tree flourishes on the banks of streams, where the roots can easily reach water.

Soil requirement: The best growth of durian tree is achieved on deep alluvial or loamy soil.

Propagation Methods: Actually durian seeds lose viability quickly, most especially if exposed briefly to sunlight. Even in cool storage they can be kept only seven days. Viability can be maintained for as long as thirty-two days if the durian seeds are surface-sterilized and placed in air-tight containers and held at sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit.

Ideally the durian seeds should be planted fresh, flat-side down, and they will then germinate in three to eight days. Seeds washed, dried for one or two days and planted have shown seventy-seven to eighty percent germination. In some countries it has been reported that, durian trees seedling have borne fruit at five years of age. In country like India, they come into bearing nine to twelve years after planting, but in South India they will not produce fruit until they are thirteen to twenty-one years old. In Malaya, seedlings will bloom in seven years; grafted trees in four years or earlier.

Harvesting:  Actually in most rural areas, some villagers clear the ground beneath the durian tree. They build grass huts nearby at harvest time and camp there for about six or eight weeks in order to be ready to collect each of the fruit as soon as it falls. Caution is required when approaching a durian tree during the ripening season, for the falling fruits can really cause serious injury. Also some hunters place traps in the surrounding area because the fallen fruits attract game animals and all kinds of birds.

Yield: Durians actually mature in 3 ½ to 4 ½ months from the time of fruit-set. In India the seedling trees may bear forty to fifty fruits annually. Well-grown, high-yielding cultivars should bear about 6,000 lbs of fruit per acre (6,720 kg/ha).

Keeping Quality: Actually, durians are highly perishable. Durians are fully ripe two to four days after falling and lose eating quality in five or six days.

Pests and Diseases Control: Some minor pests in Philippines are the giant mealybug (Drosicha townsendi) and the white mealybug (Pseudococcus lilacinus) which actually infest the young and developing fruits. Some very few diseases have been reported. Patch canker caused by Phytophthora palmivora was first noted in 1934 in West Malaysia. It is becoming increasingly common on roots and stems of durian seedlings. Infection in the field begins at the collar with oozing of brownish-red gum and extends up the trunk and down to the roots. Sometimes a tree is completely girdled at the base and dies. Testing of thirteen clones showed that all but two were susceptible. The two resistant clones succumbed after the stems were wounded and inoculated. It is evident that pruning injuries have provided access for the organism. The disease is encouraged by close-planting which shades the soil and promotes dampness. Weeds, grass and mulch around the collar are also contributing factors. Budded trees are particularly susceptible because of their habit of putting forth low branches and the occurrence of cracks where these join the main stem. When these low branches are pruned, the wound must be immediately treated with a fungicide.

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