The calamansi (citrus madurencis) is considered as one of the major fruit crops in the Philippines, which is indigenous to the country. This plant is characterized by wing-like appendages on the leaf stalks and white or purplish flowers. Its fruit has either a spongy or leathery rind with a juicy pulp that is divided into sections. Calamansi is said to be a good source of vitamin C and has been processed into syrups, juices, concentrates, and purees. Its juice is used as flavouring or as an additive in various food preparations to enhance iron absorption. It can also be a
preserve ingredient for sweet pickles or marmalade. Its trees have an average life span of five years. Peak season of calamansi is during the months of June to October and lean months from November to May. (Source: Department of Agriculture- Agriculture and Fisheries Market Information System, Date accessed 25 March 2014)
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Soil and Climatic Requirements
It is easy to cultivate calamansi. This plant grows well in cool and elevated areas and in sandy soils rich in organic matter. Waterlogged areas are not suitable for cultivation because calamansi plants cannot tolerate too much moisture.
Calamansi can be propagated by seeds, still, it is much better to grow this citrus crop using its vegetative parts. It is best to buy planting materials from reliable sources, particularly from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), or government agency under the Department of Agriculture.
Establish the planting materials at the start of the rainy season. Dig a hole, at least 40 cm wide and 40 cm deep. Set the seedling into the hole and put back the dug soil mixed with compost. Water the plant daily, at least every morning. The usual distance for planting calamansi is five meters between plants.
To produce big, luscious fruits, it is recommended to fertilize the plants regularly. Apply 50 g to 100g ammonium sulfate or urea, around each tree one month after planting. Do this every four (4) months but on the second year, increase the amount of fertilizer to 200g or 300g. Use the same kind of fertilizer per tree every four months thereafter.
The tree bears fruit on the fourth year, it is best to apply complete fertilizer, like ammophos and potash, to increase fruit yield at the rate of 500g per tree. At eight (8) to ten (10) years old, apply more fertilizers to the trees, from two to three kg per tree, three times a year. First, during the rainy season before the flowering stage; next, two months after flowering, and last, after harvesting.
To properly apply the fertilizer, mix it with the soil. It is also good to cover the soil around each tree with dry leaves to conserve moisture. Weed from time to time.
Pests and Diseases ManagementTo keep the trees healthy and allow them to attain maximum yield, it is always best to protect them from pests and diseases. Pests in calamansi are easy to spot.
1. Citrus bark borers - Zigzag marks, savoyed cuts, and rugged edges on the bark indicate that the tree is infested with citrus bark borers. These are light brown or bluish-black beetles that lay their eggs in the cuts and cavities of the calamansi bark. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the bark and leaves. To control the citrus bark borers, spray the trees with pesticides recommended for citrus trees. To prevent the pest from spreading, cut off the infected parts and burn them.
2. Aphid- Greenish or brownish insect not only retards the plant's growth, but also acts as a disease carrier. To control, spray the trees with pesticides recommended for aphids but if the pests have already attacked, cut off the infected parts of the plants and burn them.
Other harmful pests of the calamansi are the Purple Scale and Glover's Scale. These pests suck the tree's sap until its leaves and fruits wither and fall, and the tree finally dies.
Aside from pests, the calamansi is also prone to diseases, such as gummosis, citrus canker, and citrus scab.
1. Gummosis - caused by either a lack of, or an excess of fertilizer, or damage from insect pests or machinery. The disease is marked by a dark sticky substance or gum oozing out of the infected branches and trunk. As the disease worsens, gum secretion increases. It is recommended that as soon as this gum-like substance is noticed, spray the trees with chemicals especially recommended for gummosis control. Apply the chemical directly to the diseased bark.
2. Citrus canker- a disease caused by bacteria, is characterized by raised lesions and glazed margins, with an oily appearance. Citrus canker affects the leaves, twigs, branches and the fruits. To control the canker, spray the trees with fungicide solutions when the trees area at dormant stage. Consult the dealers of fungicides for proper application of the chemicals.
3. Citrus scab - a disease caused by a fungus. It starts as a small pale-orange, somewhat circular, elevated spot on the leaf. A severely infected leaf becomes so distorted, crinkled and stunted that whatever remains has very little semblance to a normal leaf. To control this disease, spray with a copper fungicide solution. Following the manufacturer's recommended application or formula. Spray when new flushes of growth have developed, or during blooming stage when two-thirds of the petals have fallen and, also two weeks thereafter until the fruits are half mature.
HarvestingCalamansi trees will start to bear fruit one or two years after planting. To harvest, pick the fruits from the branch, either by hand or by using a pair of scissors. Take extra care to prevent damage to the branches or to the leaves. To keep the fruit fresh, leave a portion of the stem attached to the fruit and avoid injury to the skin when harvesting.
Source: Pinoyagribusiness.com, Date accessed 25 March 2014