Growing Nutmeg Trees


Nutmeg’s seeds are necessary for its propagation. Farmers usually use its darker brown seeds for propagation, since the darker the nutmeg, the better its quality. These seeds are taken from the fruits that have split open. Seeds that have hollows inside, usually will not germinate, because they are too dry. The seeds with their shell on that are taken from the fruit need to be sown as soon as possible, since their viability is lost in eight to ten days. The seeds are lightly buried so that part of the shell is exposed. They should be watered and left in shade to germinate. This germination takes between four and eight weeks. The seedlings need to be remained in the shade for six to eight months. The best time to sow seeds are at the beginning of rainy season. During its growth, fertilizers usually are not used.
Seedlings can be planted close together so that later on when the male trees have been identified (after the first flowering) most of them can be removed, as they do not bear fruit. One thing to keep in mind is that we need to grow the tree up to 6 or 8 years to figure out the tree’s gender. Some male trees must remain for pollination. The ratio for male trees and female trees is 1:10.
Pruning the trees will help maintain production of flower, fruit and seed. Water shoots, upright branches, dead wood and some lower branches can be removed. Other than pruning the trees, the most threatening diseases in nutmeg is called Nutmeg Wilt. When a nutmeg tree has this disease then, its fruits and leaves will fell to the grown. There is no definitive treatment available for this disease. Soil fungi also attack nutmeg trees. The main pests for nutmegs are borers, or bark beetles, which are small dark brown weevils about 3mm long.

The yield of nutmeg trees depend on the size and the age of the tree. The trees will start to bear fruit from around 5 to 7 years old. The trees’ yield will increase when the trees reach the age of 25 years old and then have a slowly increase in yield until the age of 35 to 45 years old.
In order to harvest the nutmeg trees, we have to wait until the trees reaches 5 to 8 years old. The fruit will turn yellow and the pulpy outer husks splits into two halves exposing its mace and seed. Usually the fruits are allowed to split and fall to the ground before harvesting. The fruits that fall to the ground must be collected as soon as possible, otherwise the fruit will become discolored and the risk of getting it molded will increase. In some areas, a long pole is used to get the fruit from the trees. This method is great because it ensures great quality harvest but can also result damages to the flowers and younger fruits.


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