KUALA LUMPUR: Farmers who wish to grow durian trees, especially the Musang King or D197, must learn the right planting methods and vary their crop in order to achieve the best quality, says the Agriculture Department.
Serdang Agriculture Department Horticulture Division assistant director Mohd Auzaie Komarudin said although Musang King, also known as Raja Kunyit, was the most sought-after durian, farmers should grow at least three other varieties on the same farm.
“If farmers want to plant 100 durian trees, they should adopt a mixed cultivation concept on a 60:20:20 ratio – that is, 60 Musang King and 20 each of other varieties,” he said at the department’s farm in Serdang, near here.
Mohd Auzaie said the mix should include the D24 (Bukit Merah or Sultan), and D168 (IOI or Hajah Hasmah) varities.
He said the trees should also be at least 10m apart.
“The mixed cultivation technique is important to ensure a smooth pollination process,” he said.
Not relying on a single type would also help to get a steady yield, Mohd Auzaie said.
“Farmers can also grow the D99 or Cop Kecil for good harvests. In fact, it has a longer fruiting period than other varieties,” he said.
He said farmers should be watchful of the saplings and be vigilant for pests such as termites, stem borer beetles and leaf-eating insects.
They should also take precautionary measures by spraying pesticides and using the appropriate fertilisers to increase the trees’ defence mechanism.
“Saplings should also be protected from too much sun,” Mohd Auzaie said. “If the saplings have healthy growth, farmers can harvest as early as five years.”
Mohd Auzaie said each tree would only produce about 20 durians the first time.
“Trees will bear more, up to 50 durians each once they are 10 years old,” he said.
To ensure the fruits were of the highest quality and suitable for export, Mohd Auzaie suggested that farmers install safety nets at the base of each tree to ensure falling durians did not hit the ground.
“If the fruits fall, it would cause them to break or split open. This will reduce value as durians with soil residue on the skin are not accepted for export,” he said. — Bernama