By Zac B. Sarian

A fellow who follows our blog, zacsarian.com, asked if Longkong will thrive in Umingan, Pangasinan. Of course, Longkong is the variety of lanzones from Thailand which is sweet, juicy, latexless, and with very few seeds. Some fruits are also seedless. Imported fruits sell for as much as P400 or more per kilo in the local market.

Well, we are sure Longkong will grow satisfactorily in Pangasinan for as long as its basic cultural requirements are provided. In fact, there are plantings, albeit small scale, in Ilocos Sur and La Union that are thriving. Ilocos Norte, according to our fruit expert friend Dr. Pablito Pamplona, is in the same latitude as Uttraradit in Thailand where a lot of Longkong is produced. Ilocos Norte and the provinces south of it are potential areas for growing the fruit tree. Longkong will thrive best from 1 to 600 meters above
sea level.

Dr. Pamplona writes that Longkong will grow best in loamy soil rich in organic matter and easily drained. Hard clayey soil should be avoided, although such soil condition can be amended by making a big planting hole that is filled with a mixture of organic fertilizer (or old animal manure), rice husk, and topsoil.

Longkong should be provided with partial shade, especially during its juvenile stage. One way is to plant four lakatan banana one meter apart. The Longkong is planted in the middle of the square. The bananas should be planted ahead so they will be big enough to provide shade when the Longkong is planted. One practical strategy is to plant LPM or large planting material. This means the plants are about five feet tall or taller. This will result in high survival, maybe 100 percent. Regular watering is important, especially during the dry season. Fertilizing with chemical, as well as organic fertilizer, may be done every one to two months, and supplemented with foliar fertilizer every 15 days. There are organic, as well as inorganic foliar fertilizers.  One effective growth enhancer is Power Grower Combo formulated by Alfonso Puyat. If pests are observed, they can be easily controlled with most insecticides in the market.

One more important thing to remember. Keep your Longkong plantation clean. Control weeds that could rob your trees of nutrients in the soil. The weeds could also be the nesting place of harmful insects.

This was originally published in Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture News section in April 13, 2019.