GARDENING | SOURSOP
Annona muricata, commonly known as soursop, is an evergreen tree from the annonaceae family.
The tree grows up to three to 10 meters high. It can be used as a shade tree in the compound. The tree produces thorny-like green fruits.
Planting and caring
David Mwesige, a landscaper, says the plant is propagated from seeds, which are sown in seedbeds or seed boxes. However, one should wash the seeds before planting.
They should be planted about 2cm apart and 1cm deep. To thrive well, Mwesige says one should provide shade and keep the seedbed or seed box moist by
watering it regularly.
“The seeds will germinate within 15 to 30 days, although they can stay viable up to six months,” he notes.
Mwesige states that seedlings are outplanted from seedbeds or seed boxes when they are about six to eight months old. When preparing the garden, one should dig ditches 50cm wide and 50cm deep for the seedlings.
“The planting distance of soursop seedlings in the garden is four metres between plants and seven metres between rows,” he says.
Soursop produces its first fruits within three to five years of planting. Mwesige says soursop prefers well-drained rich sandy soils, full sunlight and average watering, although it is a drought-tolerant tree.
When ripe, the soursop changes colour from green to a yellowish-green. if harvested raw, it will take four to five days to ripen.
Uses of the tree
Mwesige says soursop trees boost the boost the immune system and its leaves reduces vomiting, diarrhoea, dysentery, back and leg pain when boiled with water and taken.
The fruits and leaves contain nutrients such as potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin C and A.
Pests and diseases
Soursop is usually attacked by pests such as mealy bugs, scale insects and fruitflies. Use pesticides to treat the plant.
Its common diseases are root rot and anthracnose. These can be treated using fungicides.