Cocoa Tree Seeds: Tips On Growing Cacao Trees
Growing cacao trees is not difficult, but it requires patience and dedication. There are many things that need to be considered when trying to grow a cacao tree. You will have to spend time planning your garden and selecting the best location for your new tree. If you want to learn more about how to successfully grow a cacao tree, then read on!
If you want to start growing cacao trees, you must first decide what kind of tree you would like to grow. There are two types of cacao trees: tree and shrub. A tree is a type of fruit bearing plant with a trunk and branches that grows from one or several roots. They usually produce fruits, which are edible and used in desserts such as chocolate or coffee.
A shrub is a small perennial herbaceous plant that produces flowers and berries. Some examples include the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), the banana (Musa balbisiana) and the yam (Lagenaria spp.). These plants are often called “shrub” because they resemble shrubs in some way. Shrubs are generally easy to grow, although they require less care than trees do.
There are many types of cacao trees to choose from, so be sure to research the various options before planting your new tree. Some of the most popular types of cacao trees include Forastero, Criollo, Trinitario and Maranon.
If you want to start growing cacao tree seeds, then you need to prepare your soil before planting. You should start by preparing a bed where you will plant your new tree in the next few months. You should remove any weeds, debris, rocks, sticks and anything else that wouldn’t naturally be in the soil.
You should till the soil to a depth of eight inches. After tilling, you should add organic material such as compost or rotted manure. If you aren’t using organic material, you should consider using it for the best results. It is important to incorporate fertilizer into your soil because cacao trees need high levels of phosphorus to grow properly.
The next step is to construct a frame for your cacao tree. You can use wood, PVC pipe or metal piping to build a rectangular or square-shaped rigid frame. The dimensions of the frame should be at least three feet by three feet.
After building your frame, you should place it over the spot in your garden where you will be planting your tree. It is important that the top of the soil in the frame is even with the ground outside of the frame. If the top of the soil is uneven, then the base of your cacao tree’s roots will also be uneven. This will cause the roots to grow in an unnatural way, which could ultimately kill your tree.
The next step is to place a few layers of newspaper over the soil in your frame. You will need to cover the entire surface, making sure there are several layers to ensure that the soil does not become waterlogged. The newspaper will help to keep the soil from becoming waterlogged because the soaking rain in the area often leads to water permeating down to the soil below. Keeping the soil wet will cause many different problems for your new tree.
After placing the newspaper, you should fill your frame with good quality topsoil. Any type of soil will work, but it is best if you can find a good, fertile soil that is light and fluffy. If you need to, you can fill small plastic bags with soil and break them up over the surface of the newspaper. Always remember to make sure there are several layers of soil to prevent water from pooling.
It is time to dig a hole for your actual cacao tree. You should dig the hole a few feet away from the frame. The hole should be twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. You should make sure that the top of the root ball is level with the rest of the soil in the hole.
You should water your new tree well before placing it in its hole. You should lower the tree carefully into the hole and gently firm the soil around its base. You should be careful not to pack the soil around the base too firmly, as this can cause unnecessary stress for your new tree.
When your tree is standing straight and solid in its hole, you should place a few layers of newspaper around the base. The newspaper will act as a barrier between the soil and the frame so that water does not flow out of the hole and onto the newspaper outside of the frame. If this happens, it can cause mold to form on the roots of your new tree because the soil will always be saturated.
After you have packed the soil around the base of your tree and placed the layers of newspaper, you can place your frame on top of the newspaper around the base to keep it from falling in on itself.
Your new tree should be watered regularly because it will use a lot of water as it gets started.
Remember to watch over your tree for the first few months until you are sure that it is growing strong and straight. It can sometimes be difficult to tell if a tree is sick. Not all sicknesses show on the leaves, so you should lift the leaves and look at the stems as well as tug at them to see if they are firm.
Your new tree should grow strong and hardy if you keep it well-watered and tended to. In a few years, it will produce cacao pods that can be harvested and turned into delicious chocolate treats. When your tree is mature, you can even allow others around you to harvest some of the pods as long as you still get a generous amount for yourself.
You’ve done it! You’ve grown and cared for your first cacao tree. Maybe one day your picture will be in a gardening magazine!
Good luck and happy gardening!
Sources & references used in this article:
Botany and pharmacognosy of the cacao tree by ML Colombo, MT Pinorini-Godly, A Conti – Chocolate and health, 2012 – Springer
Ecophysiology of the cacao tree by AAF Almeida, RR Valle – Brazilian Journal of Plant Physiology, 2007 – SciELO Brasil
STATUS OF CACAO WITCHES’BROOM: Biology, Epidemiology, and Management by LH Purdy, RA Schmidt – Annual review of phytopathology, 1996 – annualreviews.org
Relations between several traits linked to sexual plant reproduction in Theobroma cacao L.: number of ovules per ovary, number of seeds per pod, and seed weight by C Cilas, R Machado, JC Motamayor – Tree genetics & genomes, 2010 – Springer
Antibiosis, mycoparasitism, and colonization success for endophytic Trichoderma isolates with biological control potential in Theobroma cacao by BA Bailey, H Bae, MD Strem, J Crozier, SE Thomas… – Biological control, 2008 – Elsevier
Colonization of cacao seedlings by Trichoderma stromaticum, a mycoparasite of the witches’ broom pathogen, and its influence on plant growth and resistance by JT De Souza, BA Bailey, AWV Pomella, EF Erbe… – Biological Control, 2008 – Elsevier
Transmission of cocoa swollen shoot virus by seeds by AK Quainoo, AC Wetten, J Allainguillaume – Journal of Virological Methods, 2008 – Elsevier