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Jackfruit Plantation: How to cultivate jackfruit

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Jackfruit Plantation Guide

Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is one of the most remunerative and important fruits of India. It belongs to the family Moraceae. In this article we will learn about jackfruit plantation.

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Originally, jackfruit is a native of India and presently cultivated throughout the tropical low land in both the hemispheres. It is commonly grown in Burma and Malaysia and to a certain extent in Brazil.

Wild jackfruit is found in Western Ghats of India. In India, jackfruit plantation is mostly done in Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Orissa, Kerela and Tamil Nadu. Its regular plantations are found only in U.P. where marginal orchards exist.

In other parts of the country, it is rarely grown in plantations but preferred very much in homesteads or as a shade tree or as a mixed crop. It grows throughout South India up to an elevation of 2,400 meters.

Jackfruit Plantation: Uses and Composition

Its fruits are used both for culinary purposes and as table fruit but it is mainly used for culinary purposes. Tender fruits appear in the market in spring and continue till late summer as popular vegetable. Since common vegetables are scarce and costly at that time of the year, jackfruit enjoys a high demand and premier price.

Ripe fruits are very sweet and have high nutritive value. The fruit contains minerals and vitamins A and C. Some people believe that jack fruit causes digestive ailments if taken regularly.

The fruits are also used for preparation of pickles, dehydrated leather, thin papad, soft drinks like nectar, squash and to some extent for canning purposes.

The rind of the fruit is rich in protein. Extract from the rind can be used for jelly making. The skin of the fruit and leaves are excellent cattle feed. Jackfruit tree is a valuable timber for making furniture as it is rarely attacked by white ants.

The latex from the bark contains resin. Sometimes it is used to plug holes in earthern vats and baskets. Thus the tree is useful in many ways to the mankind. The composition of edible portion is given as below:

S.No. Constituents Per 100 g of edible portion
Tender Ripe Seed
1. Moisture (%) 84.0 77.2 64.5
2. Carbohydrate (g) 9.4 18.9 25.8
3. Protein (g) 2.6 1.9 6.6
4. Fat (g) 0.3 0.1 0.4
5. Fibre (g) 1.1
6. Total mineral matter (g) 0.9 0.8 1.2
7. Calcium (mg) 50.0 20.0 21.0
8. Phosphorus (mg) 97.0 30.0 28.0
9. Iron (mg) 1.5 500.0
10. Potassium (mg) 246.0
11. Vitamin A (IU) 0.0 540.0 17.0
12. Thiamine (mg) 0.25 30.0
13. Riboflavin (mg) 0.11
14. Vitamin C (mg) 11.0
15. Caorific value 84.0

Soil and Climate for Jackfruit Plantation

Proper Jackfruit plantation requires rich and well drained sandy loam soil. Soil drainage is of great importance to jack fruit as is evidenced by the sudden decline of numerous trees in the areas suffering from a sudden rise of water level.

Jack fruit tree can not tolerate moisture stress but presence of lime and chlorine is tolerable to some extent. Areas near the river beds are ideally suitable for its cultivation.

Warm humid plains are suitable for jack fruit cultivation and it flourishes in humid hill slopes up to an elevation of 1,500 meters. Quality of fruit deteriorates in higher altitudes but grows satisfactorily in arid and warm plains of South India.

Cold weather and frost are harmful to its cultivation. Hot desiccating winds in summer also adversely affect the growth of trees.

Recommended Read: How to Cultivate Lychee

Jackfruit Varieties

Being a cross pollinated and mostly seed propagated, the existing population of jackfruit consists of innumerable trees, differing from each other in shape, size, density of tubercles, rind colour, bulb size, fibre content, fruit quality and maturity.

This provides unlimited scope for clone selection of promising strains for various purposes. Many types available under various local names have been originated through clone selection.

Gulabi (rose-scented), Champa (flavour like that of champak flower), Hazaric (bearing large number of fruits), etc. are few examples.

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However, distinct varieties are not available in jackfruit. Cultivated types are broadly classed into two groups by consumers, namely, soft flesh and firm flesh.

A. Soft flesh

When fully ripe, the fruits yield to the thrust of a finger easily. The pulp is very juicy and soft. The taste varies from very sweet, sweet acidic to insipid.

B. Firm flesh

The rind does not yield to the thrust of finger easily. The pulp is firm and crispy. The taste is variable in degree of sweetness. Some distinct types are capable of maintaining their individuality even after propagation by seeds. These are:

i. Rudrakshi

It produces roundish fruits of the size of the pummelo. The rind is smooth, less spiny than the common jackfruit and the perianth is fleshy but the quality is inferior.

ii. Singapore or Ceylon jack

It has been introduced to India by Sri Lanka. This is highly precocious type, producing fruits after approximately 2½ years of planting the seedling.

The size of fruit is like common jack fruit. Some trees produce light off-season crop between September and December.

Jackfruit Propagation

It is generally propagated by seeds and this leads to immense variation and prolonged juvenility. The seeds are sown immediately after extraction either in beds, polythene bags, earthen pots or in coconut husk pieces containing enough soil to cover the seeds.

Heavier seeds should be used for sowing purposes. The seeds should be soaked 24 hours in water and thereafter treated either with 25-50 ppm solution of NAA or 500 ppm gibberellic acid which results in improved germination and enhanced seedling growth.

Propagation by vegetative means offers handicap. Different methods of grafting have not given encouraging results or success.

However, inarching and layering have been found effective in multiplying the jack fruit and it should be done from June to August.

The poor success in budding of jackfruit is probably due to severe oozing out of latex from the freshly cut surfaces. Under North Indian conditions, cent per cent success has been reported by patch budding, when it is performed from mid-May to mid-August after collecting buds from a defoliated shoots.

In recent years, epicotyl grafting has also given encouraging results. It has been observed that often there is a poor establishment of air layered shoots in their permanent places because of their non-fibrous and brittle root system.

Stool layering has proved better as there is no problem of establishment in field due to the presence of fibrous roots. The lifting of seedlings from beds as well as the transplanting of the grafts from the pot to the field should be done with care, as the seedling plants have pronounced tap root system.

Any injury to roots or breaking of earth ball will lead to the poor establishment of the plants at their permanent position. Direct sowing of seeds in the field and budding in situ from promising strains have been found beneficial to ensure better establishment of plants.

Jackfruit Plantation

For jackfruit plantation, 1 x 1 x 1 m pits are dug at least 10 days before planting. About 30 kg well rotten farmyard manure and 500 g super phosphate are mixed with the soil of each pit and the pit is refilled. Approximately, 2 g/litre chloropyriphos should be applied in the pit to avoid insect attack.

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In situ planting of 3 to 4 seed per pit leads to stronger plants. But nursing and raising of a large number of plants in this way is difficult. After planting, the soil is pressed firmly to avoid waterlogging in pits during rainy season.

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This is important for jackfruit plantation as the jackfruit can not withstand waterlogging. The best time for planting grafts or seedling is June to August.

Prolonged dry weather after planting may lead to the death of plants. The tap root should not be disturbed while planting, to avoid damage to the plants.

The square system of planting is commonly practiced for planting but hexagonal system may be followed in less fertile soils. In fertile soils, a spacing of 12 x 12 m accommodating 70 plants per hectare will suffice for this fruit crop.

On average soil, trees may be planted 11 m apart. High density planting can be practiced in lighter and poorer soils.

Care of Jackfruit Plants

The leaves of jackfruit are favourite feed for goats. Thus, the young plants are frequently damaged by stray goats and cattle unless adequately protected by providing gabions for about two years. Gabions may have to be replaced after a year.

Hand watering of young plants during one or two summers is necessary for assured survival and good growth of plants. Frequent weeding and mulching are necessary to achieve normal plant growth.

Fertilizer application

In Jackfruit plantation, an application of 75:60:50 g of NPK per year respectively up to 8 years and thereafter, the dose of 8th year taken as the constant dose for subsequent years, should be followed in jackfruit trees.

It has been observed that the young fruits (0.5-1.0 kg) suffer from browning and mature fruits show the symptoms of developing spongy and corky tissues along with whitish pockets in the fruit mesocarp.

The problem is found only in Tarai and Bhabar regions of Uttar Pradesh. This malady is believed to be caused due to lack of boron in the soil which can be controlled by spraying the trees with 1 % solution of Borax at monthly intervals starting from January to May or by adding borax @ 250 g per tree along with fertilizer application.

Irrigation for Jackfruit Plantation

In India, hardly any irrigation is given to jackfruit. The tree is sensitive to drought, therefore, irrigation during dry periods is considered essential in arid regions for normal plant growth.

Generally, ring system of irrigation should be adopted for irrigating jackfruit trees as it also economises the use of water.

For young orchards, hand watering is necessary during first two to three years. The frequency of irrigation will depend on the soil moisture condition.

Intercropping

It starts bearing after 5 to 7 years of its transplanting. Therefore, during this period the interspaces of the orchard should be properly utilized. Suitable crops should be grown every year till the trees reach bearing stage.

When the soil moisture is not a limiting factor, vegetable crop like okra, brinjal, chilli, tomato, and pulses like moong, gram etc. can be conventially grown. These crops will also improve the nitrogen status of the soil.

Insect and Pest

There are about 7-8 insects attacking jackfruit but three of them are of economic importance. Two common pests are described here:

i. Shoot and trunk borer

It is often a serious pest in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It bores into the tender shoots and buds. After sometimes the affected parts become dried and ultimately they (buds) drop off.

To control this pest, application of Sevin 50 % @ 4 g/litre of water by spray is advisable. Affected parts should be nipped off and destroyed.

ii. Brown weevil

It is also reported to bore into the tender buds and shoots. They may be controlled by destroying fallen fruits and buds and by collecting grubs and adults.

In addition, mealy bug and jack scale are also found to attack jack fruit which can be controlled by use of a suitable contact insecticide.

Common Diseases for Jackfruit

Soft rot and pink disease are common diseases in jackfruit.

i. Soft rot

It is a fungal disease found in jackfruit. In this disease, male flowers and small fruits are badly affected, whereas female flowers and mature fruits escape this disease. Humid atmosphere facilitates the spread of this disease. To control this disease, spray of Bordeaux mixture (0.4 %) in the month of January, February and March at an interval of 21 days should be done.

ii. Pink disease

Pink disease in Jackfruit mainly occurs in the Western Ghat and Niligiri regions of India. White or pink spots are formed on the affected branches. It gradually covers the whole branch. When the disease becomes serious, peeling of the bark takes place.

All the affected branches should be severed and Bordeaux paste be painted on cut portions. To check the further spread of the disease, spray of Bordeaux mixture (2.75 kg copper sulphate + 1.8 kg slaked lime + 200 litres of water) should be sprayed.

Flowering and Fruiting

Jackfruit is a monoecious fruit tree. Large number of flowers is borne on club-shaped rachis. The female spikes are borne on footstalks while male spikes appear both on the footstalks as well as the terminal branchlets.

Footstalks bearing female spikes are vigorous and have granular surface, while the male spikes are in the central and top region of the tree with thinner stalks and smoother surface.

Sex of a spike can be easily identified when it is small. The length and diameter of female spikes are much more than those of the males. Surface of a young male spike is smooth, while in the case of a female flower it is granular.

Both pollination and fertilization completes within 3 to 6 days after the opening of flowers (anthesis).Irrespective of method of propagation, the tree starts bearing from the 7th or 8th year after transplanting.

The flowers generally start appearing in December and continue upto March and the fruit ripens in summer.

At higher altitudes, jack fruit growth may continue upto September. Occasionally, though rare, off-season flowering may be noticed. The axis of inflorescence, the multiple fruit, botanically called sorosis, the pericarp around each seed and the fleshy perianth are edible.

Jackfruit is a multipurpose fruit tree. It can be cooked as vegetable, ripe fruits used for table purpose and green mature fruit can be used for making pickles. The fruits develop during spring and summer. The fruits become ready for harvest in June or early July.

If the flowers on all sides are not pollinated, the fruit does not develop normally. The size is small and the shape may be irregular in less pollinated fruits.

However, lack of pollination may lead to the drop of female spike.

Jackfruit Harvesting and Yield

Bearing in jackfruit starts from the 7th to 8th year when a few fruits may develop, while the tree reaches its peak bearing stage within 15th to 16th years after planting.

Tender fruits are harvested for use as vegetables during early spring and summer until the seeds harden. The fruit matures towards the end of summer in June. Period of fruit development is February to June.

Harvesting is done by cutting the stalks carrying the fruits. Normally, a tree bears a few to 250 fruits annually at this stage. The weight of the fruit varies widely depending on the type. Individual jackfruit may weigh upto 50 kg.

Jackfruit Storage and Marketing

In Jackfruit plantation, storage is also very important. Jackfruit has a good storage quality because of its thick peel.

Jackfruit storage life of about 6 weeks is expected when the temperature is 0.1 to 12.7 C and humidity between 85 to 90 per cent.

The initial quality and stage of maturity at harvest are important factors on which the storage life depends. Because of its good storage life, it can be transported to distant places for marketing. It does not need any packing or wrapping before sending to markets.

Contributed By:

Dr. Parshant Bakshi, Associate Professor

Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology, Jammu