Basic Principles of Planting and Managing ACKEE Trees

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Basic Principles of Planting and Managing ACKEE Trees


  • Planting trees in areas prone to flooding.
  • Very steep slopes (greater than 35º)


  • Soil contaminated by toxic waste, and in which similar type crops were affected by soil-borne disease.

Where Possible

Choose sites with fertile, deep and free-draining soil and readily available irrigation water.



Land Preparation

  • Clear site of bushes, trees and rubble.
  • Stake out area according to the recommended planting distance for the crop being considered. 25’x25’ (7.5m x 7.5m).
  • Dig holes 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm (24” x24”x24”) or larger.


Ensure that first 30 cm (12”) of top soil is placed on one side of the hole and the remaining subsoil is put on another side. Add 2-4 kg (5-10 lbs) organic matter to each hole plus top soil and mix well into the hole, after which subsoil should be added.



Only plants that have been properly hardened and labelled should be chosen. Select healthy plants showing a good root system. Never plants with bench, fork and swan neck roots.


How to Plant

  • Carefully remove plant from bag avoiding damage to the “root ball”
  • Examine the root for defects; any bench root should be cut above the bend.
  • Remove enough soil from the centre of the hole to allow plant to fit inside.
  • Cover plants with soil no higher than level at which it was in the bag.
  • Compact the soil around the rootball of the plant to remove air pockets and allow roots to make contact with the soil.
  • Irrigate immediately after planting.
  • Mulch where possible and stake as required.
  • Irrigate 3 times per week. A general recommendation is to apply 4 – 8 litre (1-2 gal.) per cycle per tree in the early stages of crop growth.


Weed Control

This activity is vital to the health and productivity of the plant and should be conducted, as often as necessary.


Fertilizer should be applied based upon leaf and soil analysis, which should be repeated every 5 years.

Where analysis is not done the following is recommended.

Apply 454g (1 lb.) mixed fertilizer per plant in 2-3 split application during the first year. Increase by 454b (1 lb.) per plant per year up to 10 years.

How to fertilize

  • In year one bury fertilizer in 2-3 holes around the plant 30 cm (12’) from the main stem


  • From year two onwards, apply fertilizer to the outer two thirds of the drip circle.



  • Watering should follow fertilizer application.


To prune a tree is to cut off unwanted parts from it.

Reason for pruning

To keep tree at a height that allow for easy reaping and general tree management.  Trees should be pruned to prevent them attaining a height beyond 15 feet (4.5m).  (See fig. 9)

  • For young trees, pruning should start at a height of 3’ – 4’ (90 cm – 120 cm).
  • For bearing trees, pruning should take place after reaping.

Types of Pruning

  1. Pinch pruning
  2. Rejuvenating pruning
  3. Regulated pruning
  4. Remedial pruning
  5. Renewal pruning