Grafted Custard Apple Cultivation in Kenya

Custard apple is among fruits that do well in the tropics and can be grown successfully in most parts of the country.  Custards are delicious mainly consumed fresh when ripe or can be baked on fire when unripe.  This fruit is gaining commercial significance because it is rich in nutrients that boost your immune system. We have identified grafted varieties that produce well sized fruits of good quality that can be cultivated commercially. Our aim is for farmers to produce high quality marketable fruit.  We hope this post will expose you to the basic knowledge of what governs custard apple cultivation and will encourage you to plant a few custards.

  1. Climate and soil requirement

Custards prefer warm climate with high humidity. Dry climate is ideal during flowering and high humidity helps aid fruit set. They are relatively sensitive to very low temperatures. An annual rainfall of 600-800 mm is adequate for proper growth. With the changing weather patterns trees should be irrigated on a need basis when rainfall is not sufficient. Custard apple can be grown in a variety of soil types from clay to sandy but for optimum production, deep well drained fertile soil is desired. A soil PH of 6.0-6.5 is proper.

  1. Propagation

Most of the trees planted by farmers are propagated from seed that takes long to start fruiting, produces non-uniform inferior fruit quality and makes it hard to realize the desired true to type fruit. Therefore grafted custard apple seedlings are ideal for the production of high quality uniform fruit. Our custard apple plants are propagated by grafting using scions and seed for rootstocks selected from trees of proven performance. Grafted plants take 2-3 years to start fruiting.

Grafted Custard Apple

Grafted Custard Apple Seedlings

  1. Planting and fertilization

A spacing of 5 by 5 metres is recommended in commercial orchards. However with proper pruning and training, a spacing of 3 by 3 can be implanted in home orchards. Ensure your chosen location receives adequate sunlight.  A fertilization program should be informed by the soil and plant nutrient requirement. Avoid applying fertilizer throughout the season without knowing whether the plant or soil needs it or not. Conduct soil tests and leaf analysis to monitor nutrient levels and apply only required amount of fertilizer. This in turn reduces fertilizer cost and improves crop yield and fruit quality.

  1. Irrigation

Water stress during the development of the plant greatly affects fruit size, yield and quality. For good orchard performance a good irrigation and monitoring system is essential. Avoid under watering or overwatering. When irrigating, your goal is to provide the required amount of water when needed and avoiding any water wastage. It is important to have a schedule that informs you when and how much water your fruit trees need.

Custard Apple Tree

Custard Apple Tree

  1. Pruning and training

There are several benefits of pruning and training your fruit trees, these include:

  • Controlling tree size.
  • Making the fruit tree strong and well balanced.
  • For easy penetration of sunlight and sprays.
  • Pruned and well trained trees produce high quality fruits.
  • Allows easy access when harvesting.

You should do more research on the different pruning and training methods and embrace what suits you.

  1. Pests and disease management

When it comes to pest and disease attack we do believe prevention is better than cure so should you. The following should be considered;

  • Plant healthy disease free seedlings.
  • Use a variety resistant to major pests and diseases.
  • Avoid water stress, irrigate fruit trees as required.
  • Apply adequate manure and biofertilizers, excess or low application both make fruit trees. susceptible to pest and disease attack.
  • Observe high phytosanitary standards.

Important pests that are likely to attack custards in Kenya include;

  • Fruit fly
  • Mealy bugs
  • Scales


  • Leaf spot
  • Anthracnose
  • Black canker
  1. Harvesting

You can harvest between 100-150 fruits from a mature custard apple tree. Fruits are handpicked at the correct stage of maturity. It is advisable to pick the fruits before they are ripe to allow them ripen off the tree. Store the fruits in a cool place to slightly increase shelf life of the fruits.

We are always there with you in the journey of fruit cultivation to provide technical support and guidelines to ensure you are successful in your venture.



PLANT A FRUIT is a CSR initiative supported by Natural Green Farm technologies

Posted on March 24, 2023, in Environment and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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