|Propagation and Cultivation
Climatic and Soil Requirements. Pili thrives best in areas where rainfall
is almost evenly distributed throughout the year and in sandy
loam soil rich in organic matter and in volcanic soils. Being
a hardy tree, however it can also grow in marginal lands. It
can grow in steep hillsides and even under coconuts.
Propagation. There are
two ways of propagating pili seedlings, sexually or asexually
such as marcotting, grafting and budding. Pili is generally propagated
by seeds. It is a dilecious tree, meaning that the male and female
flowers are not present in the same tree. The female productive
trees are only known at fruit-bearing age and the seeds from
the bearing trees will not necessarily be totally female.
Seed propagation is being discouraged for the following reasons:
- Being a dioecious specie, 50%
of the resulting trees would turn out to be male
- The long juvenile period of
the seedling trees and high degree of variability in many horticultural
characters among seedling trees;
- Pili seeds take an average
of 57 days to germinate, about 70 days after sowing the seedling
has a pair of mature leaves
- Average seedling trees start
fruiting 5 - 6 years after seed germination.
- Asexual propagation on the
other hand is preferred because it ensures uniformity and true-to-type
characters of the selection. It is early maturing 2-4 years.
This method also assures uniform plant structure to facilitate
cultural management operations. It also enables planting of more
productive trees per hectare. Cleft grafting and inarching are
recommended for propagating pili asexually. Success ranges from
50-85% depending o the physiological state of mother trees and
propagators skill. Grafting operation is usually done in November
to February Cleft grafting technique is now proven successful,
relatively easy and is gaining popularity for large-scale commercial
- Planting. Plant seedlings
when the diameter has attained the size of a pencil. Plant at
least two seedlings 30 to 40 cm apart per hill. Some male trees
are needed as sources of pollen for pollination. Grafted plants/seedlings
are planted in the field as soon as the first flush are matured.
Hardening of seedlings require at least three-to-six month period
prior to planting.
- Fertilizer Application.
Most of the trees in Bicol are allowed to grow untended. Agriculturists,
however, say that if the trees are given proper care and adequate
fertilizer, faster growth and higher yields will be realized.
Apply about 100 to 15o grams of nitrogen fertilizer per hill
at least twice a year after ring weeding within the first three
years after planting, and apply complete fertilizer (14-14-14)
from the fourth year onward.
- Pest and Diseases.
The most common pests are the twig borers (Niphonclea albata
News) and (Niphonoclea capito Pasc.) and gray mealy bugs (Ferrisia
virgata CK 11.). "Tiyangaw" a rice pest, was also observed.
Borers hatch inside a stem eat anf grow there as caterpillars.
The presence of borers is indicated by the sudden wilting of
plant tops. Pest attack can be controlled by spraying with insecticide.
Occurrence of pest attack and diseases is negligible so as to
- Harvesting. Harvesting
is usually done during the months of May to October. The maturity
index for pili nut is the full purplish black pulp of the whole
nut. Pili fruits in cluster do not mature at the same time. Therefore,
harvest only the ripened fruits. Harvesting matured fruits is
done by priming or picking only the ripe fruits. A long pole,
a cutter or knife and a basket may be used.
- Harvested fruits are placed
in baskets or sacks. If the pulp of the fruit is intended to
be sold for food purposes, harvesting is done late in the afternoon
or early in the morning and placed in a well aerated container
to prevent softening of the pulp.
- To facilitate the gathering
or collection and for high recovery of fallen fruits, the following
strategy can be done.
1. Clean the area corresponding to the canopy of the tree
2. Spread a straw mat or net around the tree