The Q&A Archives: Fertilizing

Question: Is it true that to successfully grow chirimoya fruit, you must have two trees? and how do you fertilize the trees to obtain fruit?

Answer: You only need one Cherimoya to produce fruit. The fragrant flowers are borne solitary or in groups of 2 or 3 on short, hairy stalks along the branches. They appear with new growth flushes, continuing as new growth proceeds and on old wood until midsummer. The flowers are made up of three fleshy, greenish-brown, oblong, downy outer petals and three smaller, pinkish inner petals. They are perfect but dichogamous, lasting approximately two days, and opening in two stages, first as female flowers for approximately 36 hours. and later as male flowers.

Maturity of the tree is the important part of fruit production. When they are mature enough they will produce flowers and since the flowers are usually pollinated by insects, you won't need to do anything to ensure fruit. Cherimoyas should be fertilized on a regular basis. Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 8-8-8 NPK, in midwinter, then every three months. Increase the amount of fertilizer each year until the trees begin to bear fruit. Mature trees require an annual application of 4 ounces of actual nitrogen per inch of trunk diameter. Cherimoyas also respond to organic amendments such as compost or aged-manure.

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