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Friday, 4 May 2012

JACK - a tree that can be grown easily for sweet fruits and timber

Unripe Jack fruit
The scientific name of jack is Artocarpus hetrophyllus . Jack fruit is commonly used as fruit and vegetable among Keralites. Tender and unripe fruits are used as vegetable. In almost all homes in Kerala, at least one jack tree can be seen grown. It might not be planted by house owner or others, but grown from a seed thrown out after having fruit received somewhere. This jack tree may not be of high yielding and quality fruits. For getting high yield and quality fruits, promising varieties have to be grown.
Jack fruit differs in size, shape, and quality. It may be classified in to two types, that is, soft fleshed and firm fleshed. Promising varieties available in India are Singapore Jack, Ceylon Jack, Muttan varikka,Safeda, khaja, Bhusila, Bhadaiyan, etc. Singapore jack, Ceylon jack and Muttan varikka are early bearing and of quality fruits.
one year old plant
Planting: Usually seeds are used for propagation. For early bearing, grafts are better for planting. Jack is adapted only to humid tropical and near tropical climates.  The best time for planting is at the onset of monsoon showers. Grafts or seedlings can be planted in pits of 60x60x60 cm size. Refill pits with mixture of top soil and 10 kg compost or cow dung per pit to a higher level of ground. Plant the graft in the same depth as they were in the containers. Ensure that the graft joint is above the ground level. Irrigate the plants if necessary.
Jack is rarely manured. Even without fertilizer, the Jack trees come up well under Kerala condition.
The seedlings plants generally bear after eight years and the grafted plants after three years of planting. The fruiting season lasts about four months Jan-February to May-June.
A ripe Jack fruit
The jack wood is an important timber which gets high value in India. It is also exported to other countries. The leaves of jack is also used as fodder.

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