- Are your varieties of breadfruit trees genetically modified (GMO)?
- What is the minimum number of trees I can order?
- How many trees can I plant on an acre/hectare?
- From where do the trees ship?
- How are the trees shipped?
- Do you recommend a customs broker in the destination country?
- What are the conditions of your growing facility from where the breadfruit trees are shipped?
- What do I do once I receive the trees?
- How much water do the trees need?
- How do I manage pests and diseases?
- Do the trees need to be fertilized?
- When can I plant the trees in the ground?
- Does breadfruit prefer to be planted as a monoculture or incorporated in an agroforest?
- What do I need to do in preparation for planting the trees in the ground?
- What is a nursery setting?
- Do the trees need to be mulched?
- Do the trees need to be pruned?
- When will the trees fruit?
- How much fruit will the tree produce?
- How long will the trees bear fruit?
Are your varieties of breadfruit trees genetically modified (GMO)?
Our varieties are not genetically modified, but are traditional varieties chosen by the people of the Pacific over many thousands of years as they migrated from island to island. In consultation with the experts at the Breadfruit Institute, we have selected the best varieties of the more than 120 varieties in the Institute’s collection. Our commercial varieties were chosen based on their superior growth habit, adaptability, long fruiting seasons, and nutrient-rich fruit.
What is the minimum number of trees I can order?
Domestic US, including Hawaii
Minimum order: One tray of 72 trees of the same variety.
Flat shipping rate to Hawaii of $150 per box (two 72-count trays) or billed to customer FedEx account.
(US territories in the Caribbean require a $60 phytosanitary certificate from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and have the same minimum order requirements and box counts as the domestic US)
International shipments are quoted on a case-by-case basis. International freight generally costs at least $500 regardless of the number of trees, therefore a minimum of 504 plants (seven 72-count trays) is suggested.
How many trees can I plant on an acre/hectare?
Plants per Acre (Hectare)
Recommended number of plants per acre (hectare):
- Ma’afala: 48/acre (120/hectare)
- Other varieties: 40/acre (100/hectare)
Space the trunks of the trees approximately 30 feet (9 meters) apart or 48 trees per acre (120/hectare).
- Other varieties:
Space the trunks of the trees approximately 33 feet (10 meters) apart or 40 trees per acre (100/hectare).
From where do the trees ship?
We have facilities in Florida, US; Frankfurt, Germany; and Auckland, New Zealand. This allows us to choose the most appropriate facility depending on the needs and time-frame of the customer. The largest speculative availability is normally maintained at our US facility. The other facilities generally require much longer lead times to produce a substantial number of trees.
How are the trees shipped?
Our trees are shipped via airfreight to reach their destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. Neither FedEx or UPS carry plants from the US to other countries, so these familiar shipping methods are not possible.
Shipping charges are in addition to the cost of the trees and will be quoted prior to shipment to ensure the most efficient and economical route is chosen.
Do you recommend a customs broker in the destination country?
Our experience exporting plants from the US to other countries has taught us the value of a customs broker to facilitate a speedy transition and inspection by agricultural and customs officials. To help ensure survival, it may be in the best interest of the customer to have this type of professional assistance to facilitate the fastest possible customs/agricultural clearance once the plants arrive at their destination. Customers are responsible for all tax and duty in the destination country.
What are the conditions of your growing facility from where the breadfruit trees are shipped?
All trees are grown in an insect-free greenhouse on expanded metal benches. They are weaned from pathogen-indexed tissue cultured plants into a soil-free media of sterilized peat moss/bark/perlite. The plants have never come in contact with the ground and are grown in clean greenhouses from the time they are deflasked until they are shipped. The greenhouse they are sent from is certified nematode-free by the United States Department of Agriculture and Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. A USDA inspector will inspect the plants carefully and issue a phytosanitary certificate that certifies them free of any pathogens or pests named on an import permit.
What do I do once I receive the trees?
The most common cause of death for breadfruit plants is drying out. Carefully remove the trays from the box when you receive them and inspect the plants. If some plugs have been shaken out of the tray and have exposed roots, soak these plugs in water for 10 minutes. If they are dry, submerge the entire plant. Once they absorb water and become hydrated, carefully put them back into the tray and follow the watering instructions below.
Water the trees from the bottom by setting them in a few inches of clean standing water to make sure the soil and root zones are completely soaked (15–20 minutes). Do not set them on soil or grass to avoid contamination with local pathogens, but allow them to drain on a table or on several layers of newspaper. Keep the plants out of direct sunlight. They have been grown under 50 percent shade and spent 2–3 days in a box; direct sun will burn the leaves. Make sure that they will be protected from direct sunlight at all times during the day, keeping in mind that the sun moves and what appears as shade in the morning can be hot sun in the afternoon.
Pot the trees in 1–2 gallon (3–5 liter) pots/bags using a high quality soil mix (never field soil) of composted bark, peat moss, or coconut coir that is specifically formulated for nursery crops. If you do not have access to commercially produced soil, please contact us for specific guidance on how to create your own.
The plants need to be maintained in a nursery setting for 3–5 months until they are ready to be planted in the ground by being large enough to withstand elements. The plants should be kept in 50–75 percent shade for the first 3–4 weeks. After 3–4 weeks, the roots should have grown to the edge of the planting container and the tree can tolerate increased sunlight, they can be transitioned into more direct sunlight but the plants will benefit from a minimum of 30 percent shade for the next 3–5 months.
There is no need to remove side shoots or cut the plants back in any way. However, if some leaves are damaged and dead, the leaf stem can be cut off with a knife, but be careful not to damage the trunk. Plants that are damaged and broken off will likely regrow from the base and should not be planted deeper than they were in the tray.
How much water do the trees need?
Breadfruit requires regular and thorough watering. Optimal annual rainfall/irrigation is 59–118 inches (1,500–3,000 mm), but supplemental water may be necessary, especially in the first few years after planting if the dry season is especially long or the plants show symptoms of stress such as lower-leaf drop or scorching of the outer margins of the leaves.
Prior to planting the trees in the ground (while it is still in a pot/bag) the tree should be watered in the early morning and checked again in mid-afternoon to ensure the soil has not dried out. If during the afternoon check, the soil is completely dry, water the plants again in the late afternoon. If the plant is not wilting and does not appear to be suffering from water stress, wait to water it until the following morning. Best watering practice suggests that the plants should not have wet leaves from manual irrigation during the night because this can promote the growth of disease organisms.
Most breadfruit mortality is due to young plants drying out. Plants should be visibly inspected daily. It’s much easier to see and correct potential problems if you’re looking at the plants regularly than to have larger problems surprise the grower when they are difficult to correct. Almost all problems start slowly and on a few plants. Vigilant growers are always more successful and suffer far fewer losses than those who simply glance at the plants every day. The best groves will come from well-tended young plants that are carefully grown in their youth by an attentive grower.
How do I manage pests and diseases?
Pests and diseases to watch for include but are not limited to: whiteflies, mealy bugs, snails and slugs, and botrytis and mildews.
Slugs and snails can completely destroy thousands of dollars of young trees overnight so careful attention and treatment to guard against them is suggested in advance of planting. Regular scouting under pots and under leaves in the early morning will help detect these pests, therefore avoiding the devastation they can inflict. Many very effective commercial-grade slug and snail treatments are available to manage these pests.
Metaldehyde is the active ingredient in most commercial slug and snail control chemicals, and the branded product SLUGGO is an organic, effective alternative that is sold in the US and Canada for control.
A clean growing area on gravel or concrete that is free of rotting vegetation, weeds or anything where pests can hide will help protect your investment and help ensure high-quality plants. An ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of a cure, and vigilance will always be rewarded with a much better crop.
Fungicides such as copper sulfate can help with fungal diseases or root diseases, though both are uncommon if the grower avoids stressing the plants from excess dry conditions.
Good air circulation is important for optimal plant health so making sure that the plants are not spaced too closely and have room for air to move between them is critical to reduce the chance of disease. Sunlight and air are the best preventatives for foliar and fungal diseases.
Do the trees need to be fertilized?
Fertilizer is only a temporary solution to assist plant growth and will not solve a problem of poor soil with little organic material or bad drainage and inconsistent care. A constant commitment to improving soil structure through mulching, planting cover crops and the addition of organic material to revitalize the soil on a regular basis will guarantee your trees a long, healthy, and productive life.
Growing in pots:
- Fertilizer will encourage growth and should be used on the plants regularly while in containers.
- It should be used 1–2 times per week with water-soluble fertilizer or with a time-release according to label instructions that will continue for the entire time the plants are in containers.
- Water-soluble fertilizer (20-20-20):
Twice per week at 200 ppm
- Time-release fertilizer:
Follow the label instructions at the middle level
Growing in an orchard:
- Once planted in the ground, they should be fertilized seasonally for the duration of their life with either a commercial granular fertilizer with aged organic matter or compost.
- Planting a cover crop of legumes (plants that take nitrogen from the air and add it to the soil) can be very helpful to increasing the growth of the trees. This natural fertilization technique will increase the nitrogen composition of the soil, the main nutrient to support plant growth. Other nutrients can be added with chemical or organic fertilizers or with aged manure or compost. Compost teas are very good at encouraging the plants to grow and protecting the plants from pests and disease.
- For more info on composting visit: http://www.wikihow.com/Compost
- For compost tea information visit: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/compost-tea
When can I plant the trees in the ground?
After 3–5 months in a nursery setting; when the plants have roots that are well developed and hold the soil together when taken out of the pot, the trees are typically ready to be planted in the ground. During this time, the tree will be rapidly adding leaves and growing taller more quickly than it has in the past. The top of the tree will be approximately 12–18 inches (30–46 cm) above the top of the pot and exhibit multiple large, healthy leaves.
Does breadfruit prefer to be planted as a monoculture or incorporated in an agroforest?
Most research indicates that diverse plantings will suffer from fewer disease and pest problems, and have increased productivity over a longer period. However, agroforests are more complicated to mechanically harvest and may be less favorable depending on your desired goals.
What do I need to do in preparation for planting the trees in the ground?
The trees should be spaced according to the plants per acre guidelines above. The holes to plant the trees should be twice as deep and twice as wide as the potting container in which they were grown. Ideally, the soil used to plant the trees should be a mix of field soil and planting soil, compost, aged manure, or any other beneficial soil additives.
Protection from grazing animals, such as goats, cows, or any other animal that could eat the young breadfruit trees is essential both in the nursery and in the grove after planting.
What is a nursery setting?
A nursery setting can be as advanced as a greenhouse or shade structure covered with nursery shade-cloth, or as simple as a lean-to covered with palm fronds or any other material to reduce the plant’s direct exposure to sunlight and heavy rains.
Do the trees need to be mulched?
Mulching the trees after planting is highly recommended. Form a slight basin around each tree and mulch that area to ensure water is directed to the root zone and not lost to runoff.
Do the trees need to be pruned?
Varieties like Ma’afala are naturally compact and need very little pruning except to correct damage or aggressive shoots. Other varieties may benefit from a top cut once they’ve reached 5–6 feet (1.5–2 meters) in height to encourage lateral branching. As with other nursery crops, regular pruning allows a grower to shape the plant to an optimal commercial height that will promote healthy growth as well as facilitate easy harvest. Prune after a major harvest to avoid a delay in fruiting.
When will the trees fruit?
Trees generally begin fruiting within 2–3 years from planting in a grove, and will reach optimal fruiting at the age of 5–6 years. With ideal care and attention, they can continue fruiting for 50 or more years. Some trees are known to continue fruiting for as many as 100 years.
How much fruit will the tree produce?
Depending on the variety and local growing conditions, trees can produce anywhere from 175–250 fruits (200–350 pounds, 90–160 kilograms) over the course of the year during multiple harvests. Under optimal conditions the trees can produce up to twice this amount, especially as they grow larger.
How long will the trees bear fruit?
Under optimal conditions, the trees will bear fruit for decades. Some of the original trees brought to the Caribbean by Captain William Bligh from Tahiti in the 18th century, are still fruiting in Jamaica, having grown back from roots even after being blown over by storms.