Germinating and Growing

Common African Indigenous Trees

 

 

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Jackal Berry/African Ebony

Diospyros mespiliformis
 

 

1/ Viability of the seed is high for a long period. The seed can be placed in boiling water and left to soak overnight. Sow seed during spring in flat seedling trays filled with river sand. Seedlings should be planted out when they reach the 3-leaf stage; if left longer the taproot may be damaged. They are rather slow growing initially but the growth speeds up considerably after a year. They prefer deep soil and sheltered conditions in colder areas. A fast grower in frost-free areas. The jackal­berry is a protected tree in South Africa.

 

 

2/ Propagate this tree from seed, coppice or root suckers. To break the dormancy, soak seeds in hot water or roast them for a few minutes. In the southern hemisphere the seed must be sown from August to March. Germination is very good. Diospyros mespiliformis prefers moist areas and grows well in red loam soil. It is fairly slow growing and requires plenty of water to speed up the growth rate. Prune off unnecessary shoots to encourage an upright growth form. It is ideal for large gardens and makes an excellent shade tree.

 

 

3/ Fruits are produced in abundance and are seldom damaged by insects. They remain viable for one season only. Pick fruits from the tree and remove the exocarp (skin). No treatment is necessary. Plant in deep, sandy soil. They take about 1 month to germinate, and should be sown in early summer. Seedlings need plenty of water and are very frost-sensitive. Young plants should be transplanted before the roots have grown too long. The slightest injury to these roots causes the plant to die. Another method is to carefully sever and remove shoots which have developed on damaged superficial roots at the bottom of the tree., exercising caution not to damage the shoot’s newly-formed roots.

 

 

 

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This web page was last updated on: 07 August, 2012