HAVE a very healthy tamarillo - the yellow kind - which is about
2m high with lush growth. While it seems happy in its situation,
it flowers but few fruit form. If fruit does form, it turns black
and dies when no bigger than a marble. What can I do to solve this?
is a tricky one, as most experts I've talked to say fruit drop is
seldom a problem with tamarillos and the tree would probably have
to be quite severely stressed for this to happen. Yet it sounds
as if your tree is quite healthy.
If it's a young tree
the situation may well improve with age. Root problems associated
with poor drainage or lack of water in the soil during periods of
drought could be the cause, but you'd probably also see symptoms
such as drooping leaves and poor growth.
The best approach would
be to try to create ideal conditions for fruit formation. Ensure
there is good drainage during wet periods - a good dressing of lime
or gypsum (1-2kg) around the root area has been suggested by one
commercial tamarillo grower to improve soil condition if poorly
drained. Mulch with organic material to conserve soil moisture in
summer and, if necessary, water during dry periods. Tamarillos like
plenty of nutrients so feed in spring with a general fertiliser.
To avoid any possible
disease infections, you could spray occasionally. Alternating between
Copper Oxychloride and Super Sulphur will control most tamarillo
Gardener, Issue 172, 2005, Page 24
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.