Soursop Fruit Farming Guide:
Introduction of Soursop Fruit Farming:
Soursop also popularly known as guayabano, guanabano, graviola, guyabano, babana is a fruit of Annona muricata L., a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen, upright tree native to the tropical regions of the Americas and now propagated in most parts of the world. Soursop tree can reach a height of 4 meters (12 to 13 feet) and easily adapted to warm winters, humid tropical climatic conditions. The best part of this tree is, it can tolerate poor soil conditions, drought (dry) conditions and partial shade conditions. The flavor of Soursop fruit is a mix of strawberry and pineapple. Commercial cultivation of Soursop fruit is carried out for growing a green fruit of 20 to 30 cm long, and a weight of up to 6.5 kg. This makes the second biggest annona after the junglesop fruit. The flesh of Soursop fruit contains edible white pulp, some fiber, and a core of indigestible black seeds. The Soursop fruit pulp is being used in making fruit nectar, smoothies, fruit juices, candies, sorbets, and flavoring ice creams and desserts. The leaves of the Soursop fruit tree are used in herbal medicine. Apart from these, you can cook the young green Soursop fruits with seeds that are still in the soft stage. One can obtain good profits with minimal maintenance and investment in Soursop fruit farming. Soursop trees can be grown in large containers/pots, backyards and indoors.
Soursop Tree Parts Used:
Leaves, seeds, and fruits.
Scientific Name/Botanical Name of Soursop Fruit:
Family Name of Soursop Fruit:
Genus of Soursop Fruit:
Common Names of Soursop Fruit:
Soursop, Corossolier, Guanavana, Toge-Banreisi, Durian benggala,Graviola, Guanabana, Brazilian Paw Paw, Nangka blanda, and Nangka londa.
Soursop Fruit in Indian languages:
- Soursop (English).
- முள்ளு சீதா (Tamil).
- Ramphalam/Lakshmanaphalam (Telugu).
- മുള്ളാത്ത (Malayalm).
- Ramful (Gujarati).
- Soursop (Punjabi).
- Lakshmanaphal (Kannada).
- Ramphal (Bengali).
Health Benefits of Soursop Fruit:
The following are some of the health benefits of Soursop leaves.
- Soursop leaves can prevent cancer cells growth.
- Soursop leaves can greatly help in treating gout.
- Soursop leaves can treat back pain.
- Eczema can be treated by Soursop leaves due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Soursop leaves can help in treating diabetes.
- Soursop leaves help in fighting with infections.
- Soursop leaves may boost immune system.
Varieties of Soursop Fruit:
There are mainly two types of Soursop fruits; sweet or sour. Generally, the sweet type is preferred for eating, and the sour type is preferred for processing of juice. However, there are commercial varieties grown under these categories, these varieties of information can be obtained from your local horticulture department.
Climate Requirement for Soursop Fruit Farming:
Soursop crop thrives well from sea level up to 300 to 400 meters. The Soursop trees are adapted to regions of high humidity and warm winters. The temperatures below 5 °C may result in damage to tree leaves and small branches and the temperatures below 3 °C can be more harmful. In these conditions, the Soursop fruits will become dry and not good for any concentrate.
Soil Requirement for Soursop Fruit Farming:
When it comes to growing conditions of this fruit, the Soursop fruits can be grown in a wide range of soils. However, it prefers loose, deep loamy, rich in organic matter and well-drained soils with ideal pH ranging from 6.0 to 6.5. Commercial growers of this fruit can go for the soil test to find out the suitability and soil fertility. Any nutrient and micronutrient deficiencies can be supplemented while preparing the soil.
Propagation in Soursop Fruit Farming:
The most common propagation method in Soursop fruit farming is done through seeds. However, air layering, budding, and grafting are also possible propagation methods.
Raising Seedlings in Soursop Fruit Farming:
You must ensure the quality seeds that are required for planting should be obtained from prolific and hardy plants. The selected trees should have medium to large sized fruits. Once the seeds are extracted from the fruit, they should be washed with water and dried. It is recommended to plant these seeds immediately. However, these seeds can be stored temporarily before planting them.
The seeds should be sown in seedbeds with sandy soil. Sowing depth should 1 cm and each seed should about 2.0 to 2.5 cm apart. You need to provide some shade and water the seedbed regularly. Usually, it takes 25 to 30 days to germinate the seeds. The germination may be around 85 to 90%.
The seedlings of Soursop fruit trees should be ready for potting into containers when the first set of plant leaves are mature. Black plastic bags can be used as containers (with a size of 18 x 25 cm). You may have to punch 5 to 6 holes close to the bottom and fill with sandy soil. It is advised to poke a piece of wood at the center of the pot/container and insert the basal part of the seedling into the hole. Water the seedling pot immediately and it should be kept under partial shade conditions. The raised seedlings in plastic bags can be transplanted within 6 to 7 months in the main field.
Land Preparation, Spacing and Planting Soursop Fruit Farming:
The land should be prepared by giving 3 or 4 deep ploughings followed by couple harrowing to bring the soil to fine tilth stage. Level any clods and remove weeds and waste material from previous crops. The planting holes size of 50 cm x 50 cm should be dug in the field. After seedlings are set in the holes, you can refill these with topsoil and applying the water immediately. When it comes to planting spacing, These seedlings may be planted in a rectangular, triangular pattern or square methods at a distance of 5 meters x 5 meters to 7 meters x 7 meters. The plant density may depend on the pattern followed. In the case of a square system, usually, 1-hectare land can accommodate about 200 to 600 plants whereas 250 to 700 in the triangular system. You need to prepare a layout to know the exact number of plants. The Soursop tends to flower and fruit throughout the year, but in every growing region, there is a principal season of ripening.
Irrigation in Soursop Fruit Farming:
Though these trees can tolerate drought conditions, it may require to keep the plant base moist for preventing from leaf shedding. There is no need for water in the rainy season. In case of flooding, make sure the plant basins are drained out quickly. Drip irrigation or flood irrigation can be carried out.
Manures and Fertilizers in Soursop Fruit Farming:
The recommended fertilizer application is as follows; quarterly applications of 10-10-10 N:P:K — .225 kg/tree the first year, .45 kg/tree the second year, 1.36 kg/tree the third year and thereafter. It is also advised to supplement the soil with well-decomposed farmyard manure of 10 to15 quintals/ha during land preparation
Inter-cropping in Soursop Trees:
To get some additional income and reducing the risk of weeds, farmers can go for inter-cropping during initial stages (when trees are young not covered the ground) in Soursop fruit farming. Inter-crops like any vegetables, cereals, pulses/grams, root crops can be grown. As we know these trees are small in size and can tolerate the shade, they can be inter-cropped with other major crops like mango orchards, avocado crop, coconut, and jack fruit crops.
Intercultural Operations in Soursop Fruit Farming:
The timely and proper intercultural operation is required for healthy growth of the trees, quality produce, and higher yields.
- Weed control: In rainy season or when the soil is moist, you can give shallow cultivation between the trees to remove any weeds, hand weeding should be done around the plant base.
- Mulching: Mulching helps in controlling weeds and preventing from soil erosion and water evaporation. It also helps to control the soil temperatures and increases the soil fertility. Mulching material like any dried leaves or hay can be used at the plant base. This mulch material works very well as organic compost later.
- Pruning: Pruning should be carried out to allow the new shoot growth by allowing air movement and light penetration. To maintain the cleans tree framework, any water sprouts, diseased tree branches, and twigs should be eliminated.
Pests and Diseases in Soursop Fruit Farming:
Pest and disease management is one of the major tasks in any crop cultivation. Controlling these are essential for quality fruits and higher crop yields.
The common insect pests found in Soursop fruit farming are; root grubs, fruit flies, mealy bugs, larva, scale insects.
To prevent any damage from the fruit flies, the fruits on the tree can be bagged.
The common diseases found in Soursop fruit farming are; are pink disease, root rot, and anthracnose.
To prevent these pests and disease, maintain clean conditions in the field especially around the plant base. Destroy and diseased plants/branches. For effective control and symptoms of these pests and diseases, talk to horticulture professional in your area.
Note: Your local horticulture department is a good source of finding information about pests and diseases in Soursop Fruit Farming. Don’t experiment on your own without knowing the symptoms and causes of pests and diseases.
Harvesting in Soursop Fruit Farming:
The Soursop trees grow rapidly and begins to bear fruit in 3 to 5 years after planting in the field. Harvest the fruits when they are still green but fully developed. You must harvest these fruits while they still firm and yellow-green in colour. Usually, at the time of maturity, the shiny green colour of the fruits turn into a dull green color. fruits may ripen throughout the year, however, there are 1 to 3 harvest periods/year.
Yield in Soursop Fruit Farming:
The yield of the crop depends on many factors like variety/type, tree age, planting method followed, soil, irrigation, climate, and other orchard management practices. Yields are generally low and can expect 20 to 24 fruit per/tree/year. On average, these fruits weigh about 1 to 1.5 kg.
Marketing of Soursop Fruit:
You can transport freshly picked fruits to local fruit markets or contact any fruit processing factories for bulk purchase.