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The Life Cycle of a Durian Tree

Durian fruits are a staple for people in Southern Asia. Commonly cultivated in Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia, it is an exotic fruit that is very popular in creating sweets despite its smell.

Many of us love the smell and taste of handmade durian cakes. However, very few people know how the durian fruit comes into being, and how it grows from seed to full durian trees.

To fully appreciate the King of Fruits, you must know exactly how it grows. What does it take for the tree to bear fruit, and what is the production process? We will find out soon enough.

Growth Habits

Given the optimum conditions, young durian trees can grow very tall. When they are fully grown, they are majestic, fit for their "King Of Fruits" nickname.

They can go as high as 40 m, and their trunk size can hit 120 cm.

Grafted trees will have a relatively characteristic shape, one that strangely resembles a big Christmas tree, with the branches going in every other direction from the tree trunk.

Unless durian growers decide that the form should look otherwise, the adult tree will take on a similar aspect later on in life. Thai durians are believed to live up to 150 years on average, but they also have the potential to live for centuries.

Stages of Durian Production & Development

The durian production stage starts from the moment of harvesting. Once the mature fruits ripen and are picked up, durian pollination and proper durian tree preparation begin.

Here are the stages that durian trees go through before they provide us with edible fruits.

Harvesting Stage

Depending on how durian cultivars apply their organic fertilizer, durian fruit production should take around 3-5 months after the first flower buds begin to show up.

Natural fruit drop will take around 10 weeks, peaking in intensity somewhere around the second and third weeks. In the later weeks, the fruits will begin to fall less.

The trees need proper pruning to enhance fruit growth. They also need NPK express or foliar fertilizer, to prepare the durian orchard for a new round of tropical fruit.

Leaf Growth Stage

Once the harvested fruit is taken away, you will begin to notice new leaves appearing on the tree. If there aren't too many new leaves, then you may want to apply supplementary plant food for the soil, as well as foliar sprays.

Irrigating the tree is also necessary during the durian season, to stimulate flowering and help the Thailand fruit mature.

Tree Preparation

Durian orchard management must ensure that the correct durian production technologies are used. Before

Durian flowers show up (an average of 2 months before), durian farmers will apply NPK fertilizers to help the maturing of the leaves. This will also enhance flower initiation.

Flowering Stage

This stage is essential, as durian flesh forms once the flowers start appearing. When the flowers are open, the trees will not need that much water, even if the area is generally windy.

Before the young flower buds open, the water should be reduced to one-third of what the tree usually has. Once it begins to bear fruits, slowly, you will need to apply more water.

Pollination is necessary during this stage, as it enhances healthy growth for the next harvest. Foliar application and tree fertilizers are also added, to increase the quality of the durian once the fruit ripens.

Fruit Growth Stage

Thin young fruits will begin to appear around 95-130 days after the tree pollination. Durian fruits will mature when the dry season ends, although you will still see multiple unripe durians.

At the start of the rainy season, the durian will start falling. To prevent rotten fruits, they must be picked right away. The final fruit should have around 2-5 kg.

When Christmas comes around, we will turn the durian flesh into a delicious-tasting durian log cake for all you durian lovers out there.

Durian Botany

The durian crop production cycle will affect how every part is grown or used. Here is how each part looks, once it reaches the right stage of the crop production cycle.

Durian Seeds

Durian seeds are either heart or round-shaped, in a reddish-brown or yellow-brown color. The seeds themselves are poisonous when they are raw, but can be very delicious if they are fried, boiled, or roasted.

Durian Flowers

Durian flowers have the same color as the durian flesh - yellow color with a reddish hue. They have a strong fragrance, and they often grow in clusters. Each cluster can have from 1 to 45 flowers, depending on the care given by the farmer.

These clusters can hang from the main branches, and sometimes even from the tree trunk. It takes an average of one month for the flower to turn into a bud.

Durian Leaf

When matured, durian leaves are around 3-7.5 centimeters wide and 10-20 centimeters long. They have an olive-green upper surface with a bronze-like lower surface. Once the wind starts blowing through the trees, the leaves will begin to change color.

Durian Roots

Durian trees don't have any root hairs. Instead of that, they have fungus roots capable of absorbing nutrients and water. These roots only grow around 40-50 centimeters below the surface of the soil.

Durian Wood

Once the trees reach their final stage and harvesting mature fruits is no longer possible, they are cut down for wood. The resulting wood is coarse and light and while not very durable, it is commonly used to create lightweight furniture.

Durian Usage

The flesh of the harvested durian makes up to 35% of the fruit weight, once the shell is removed. It is highly nourishing, as it has around 2.5% healthy fat, 2.5% protein, 28% carbohydrates, and an average of 67% water.

There are also some small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The fruit is used to make durian cakes, biscuits, ice cream and even durian chips. Frozen durian treats are also popular during the warm season.

The Bottom Line

From seed to harvested fruits and baked goods, durian trees have a very long and satisfying life. As the trees are so popular, they receive the utmost care in orchards, rewarding us with delicious treats.

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