Cashew is known scientifically as Anacardium Occidental and it is a nuts tree that originates from the Caribbean Islands and the North East of Brazil. Due to its popularity and the demand on it, the tree is cultivated in several other tropical parts of the world, mostly in Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.
Cashew nut is one of the important nuts grown in the world and ranked first among various nuts such as hazelnuts and almond. Besides its nuts and apple that make the cashew fruit, cashew trees are evergreen plants, thus they’re also beautiful and could be used as ornamental plants.
If you want to successfully grow a cashew tree, follow the below guide on how to grow a shew tree.
1. Soil Requirement
Cashew trees are not demanding when it comes to soil. They can endure many soil varieties without harming their productivity. So, yes, you can grow a cashew tree in poor soil, but it would perform better in a good quality soil.
In general, the best soil quality to grow a cashew is deep and well-drainedsandy loams without a hard pan. They also can grow in pure sandy soil but they may suffer mineral deficiencies. It is recommended that you grow these plants inred sandy loam, lateritic soils and coastal sandswith slightly acidic Ph.
There are some types of soil that you should avoid as cashews won’t grow in them such as Heavy clay soilswith poor drainage and soils with pH more than 8.0.
As you know, these trees come from tropical areas, so they prefer warmth and thrive in moderate to high temperature. Therefore, areas where the temperatures range from20 to 30°C are the best to grow cashews.
Rainfall may hinder the growth and the productivity of cashews. They need well-defined dry season ofat least four months to produce good quality fruits. Areas with excessive rain fall and frost are not recommended for growing a cashew tree.
3. Choosing A Spot and Preparing The Land
As we have mentioned these trees thrive best in warm weather and for that reason, they will need a sunny spot where they can receive at least 6 hours of daylight. Daily sun exposure is necessary for these plants.
After choosing the perfect spot for your cashew tree, prepare the land by moving the soil removing debris, weeds, and clays. Also, we encourage digging soil trenches to ensure better moisture.
The cash fruit is made of nuts and cash apple. The seeds of the cashew are the unshelled nuts. Once you have the seeds from a tree or a local nursery store, dig 10 centimetres pits and plant the seeds in them. You should keep at least 9 meters between each pit.
Since cashew trees love moisture and it is one of the essential conditions for a quality production, then mulching should also be considered necessary as it helps any kind of soil to retain moisture. Avoid plastic or stone mulch and apply organic matter as it does not only keep moisture but also prevents weed.
While your tree is still young, it will need watering once a week around the year to develop a strong root system. Once it matures, keep the same frequency in summer and reduced in cold season. In winter, water only when the top layer of the soil is dry.
7. Fertilizing and Caring
Fertilizing is required to improve the yield of your tree. If you want the best results from your tree, you should maintain adequate N:P:Klevel in the soil. We recommend the application of slow fertilizers twice a year during growth season and once a year when the tree matures.
Pruning is required when the plant matures. Check the tree for dead or infected branches and remove them. This will help your plant focus its growth energy on the healthy branches and avoid spreading diseases.
Also, you should support your plant since it is still young. This will help grow a strong stem and shield it against wind.
You will know your tree is ready for harvest when the cashew apple turns red and the nuts grey.
This means the fruit is ripe and the shell is fully formed. Pick the fruit then separate the cashew apple from the shell. The apple is ready for consumption immediately, but the nuts need processing.
Please leave your questions in the comments below.