The Pulasan, Nephelium mutabile Blume (family Sapindaceae), is a tropical fruit closely allied to the rambutan and sometimes confused with it. Usually eaten fresh, it is sweeter than the rambutan and lychee, but very rare outside Southeast Asia. The pulasan tree is an ornamental. It attains a height of 10-15 m and has a short trunk to 30-40 cm thick. The branch lets are brown and hairy when young. The fruit is ovoid, 5-7.5 cm long, dark red, with its thick, leathery rind closely set with conical, blunt-tipped tubercles or thick, fleshy, straight spines, which are up to 1 cm long. There may be one or two small, undeveloped fruits nestled close to the stem. Within is the glistening, white or yellowish-white flesh (aril) to 1 cm thick, more or less clinging to the thin, grayish-brown seedcoat (testa) which separates from the seed. The flavour is generally much sweeter than that of the rambutan. The seed is ovoid, oblong or ellipsoid, light brown, somewhat flattened on one side, and 2 to 3.5 cm long. While very similar to rambutan, the fruit lacks the hairy spines. The flesh is very sweet and juicy, and separates easily from the seed, much more easily than the rambutan. In addition, unlike the seed of the rambutan, the seed of the pulasan is readily edible raw. It has a flavour somewhat similar to that of almonds.
MAINTENANCE OF THE PLANTATION
Once a plantation has been established, the work should not be considered finished. It will be necessary, for example, to protect the plantation against weather, fire, insects and fungi, and animals. A variety of cultural treatments also may be required to meet the purpose of the plantation.
For nursery beds for raising rootstocks/seedlings: 20:2:20 N, P2O5 and K2O + micronutrients; Apply to the foliage and soil once in a week by dissolving 1 g/litre water. For polybags used for transplanting rootstocks/seedlings: 20:2:20 N, P2O5 and K2O + micronutrients; Apply 10g once in 2 months. For Field planting 1–4 years: 6:6:6 or 8:8:8 20:2:20 N, P2O5 and K2O + micronutrients; Apply 100 g/tree, thrice a year. Gradually increase to 250g. 5th year onwards: Only N and K; Work out quantity depending on natural soil fertility. Apply twice a year.
WATERING AND WEED CONTROL
Young pulasan trees should be watered regularly until fully established. In dry western climates, water mature trees deeply at least every one or two weeks. Desert gardeners may have to water more frequently. Mulch the soil around the trees to conserve moisture. Weeding is also very important. Remove all weeds 1.5 meter around the plant.
PRUNING AND SHAPE OF TREE
Minimum pruning is needed just to remove the dead, diseased, broken branches and suckers.
PEST & DISEASE FOR PULASAN TREES
Every fruit tree has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your tree encounters. If available, disease-resistant trees are the best option for easy care; and for all trees, proper maintenance (such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, spraying, weeding, and fall cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.
HARVESTING YOUR PULASAN TREE
Pulasan trees start bearing fruits from fourth year onwards. It may take up to five months for the fruits to develop into ripe fruits from the onset of fruitset. Harvesting time in South East Asia is during July–September (main season) and December–February. Fruit yield per tree is upto 150 kg. But pulasan trees show a tendency for alternate bearing.
1. Prioritize your tree planting with the sun’s direction to maximize shade by planting on the southwestern and western sides of your home
2. There is little information on the soil requirements of the pulasan but Ochse says it must be constantly moist. He was of the opinion that the richer soil around Bogor contributed to the superior quality of the fruits grown in that area.
3. For Commercial Plantation, a spacing of 10 m between plants is recommended for commercial cultivation of pomegranate.
4. In a home garden generally we are planting one or two pulasan trees along with other species of fruit plants. So it is better to keep minimum 7 meter distance from other plants to plant a pulasan tree.
5. 100% sunlight is best but can grow up to 50 % shade
6. During dry weather, initially water the plant once in two days and after one month of planting water every 7 to 10 days during the first year.
7. Do not use chemical fertilizer or any other chemicals on your newly planted trees. Such products will kill your young trees. If needed you can add chemical fertilizers in small quantity (generally below 100gm) after two to three months of planting with sufficient irrigation.
8. Do not over water or allow rain water so much that you see standing water in the pit area of the plant. It will damage the plants roots and results the die of your plant.