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How to Hand Pollinate Snake Fruit to Boost Fruit Production

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Good day fruit lovers, how is life sailing? I hope all goes well. It’s been a long time I didn’t update my blog. So today I will share with you how to hand pollinate snake fruit.

Most of the Salak variety needs pollination, whether it’s natural or artificial. It needs male and female flowers in order for pollination to occur. The female tree will bear fruits while the male tree is the pollen producer, so it will not bear any fruits.

If you have salak in your garden or if you plan to grow it, make sure to grow male and female trees, otherwise, pollination will not occur, flowers will wither and you can’t have the fruits.

Furthermore, if you plan to build a snake fruit plantation you must have a minimum of 1:10 male to female tree ratio. This will allows you to have sufficient male flowers for when female flowers are ready to receive pollen.

Nevertheless, if you grow Salak Bali you don’t need to hand pollinate it. Since it is monoecious (male and female reproductive organs are located on the same plants), it will pollinate by itself or self-pollination.

A. Why you need to hand pollinate snake fruit

To produce fruits, salak must be pollinated either by humans or insects. This is because 95% of the salak variety are diecious (male and female reproductive organs are located on separate plants).

Bees, beetles, and butterflies are among the native pollinators. They visit snake fruit flowers to drink nectar or feed off pollen and flower tissue. These natural pollinators move from spot to spot, and as they move they also drop pollen grains. That is how natural pollination happens.

Nonetheless, the maturity of female and male flowers aren’t always occurred at the same time. This makes natural pollination is not always effective. Conversely, we can increase 85% of fruit production by using artificial pollination.  

B. How do I tell male salak flowers from female

It’s quite easy to identify male and female salak flowers. The characteristics of the female flowers are reddish, usually it is no more than 30cm long, and is larger (fatter) than its counterpart.

Meanwhile, the male flowers have a lot of pollen or some kind of yellow powders, it also longer and thinner (slimmer), and when flicked or dropped the powders are just like puffing up.

In short, female flowers are reddish, larger, and shorter while male flowers are red with yellow powder, and is also longer and thinner.

To make it easier for you to know the difference, check out the picture of the male and female salak flower.

C. When should I hand pollinate snake fruit?

The best time to do the hand pollination is at two days after the flower has fully bloomed. The pollination success rate will decrease over time.

Snake fruit flowering stage

The picture above shows the five stages of female flower growth. Picture A is when the flower in its early stage and still covered. Picture B is when it starts to appear and has a beige color (+- 3 days after stage A). Picture C is when it starts to change color to green (+- 4 days after stage B).

Picture D is when it starts to open and the green color starts to fade away (+- 3 days after stage C). Picture E is when the flower bloom and the color change to red (+- 4 days after stage D).

E. How to pollinate snake fruit, a step by step guide

Simply put, pollination is the process of transferring pollen to the female reproductive organ so that fertilization occurs. Your task is to put stamens from the male flower into the stigma of the female flower.

Follow these pollination steps, and keep on practicing, I’m sure you’ll be a human bee in no time!

Step #1, Find in bloom female flowers in your garden

In bloom salak female flowers

Try to spot flowers that are in bloom. It is useful when you have a lot of snake fruit trees. By spotting them you’ll know how many male flowers you need to pollinate the female flowers.

It also makes it easy to remember the location of the flowers that are ready for pollination so you don’t have to search while pollinating, it’s time-consuming.

Step #2, Prepare the male flowers

Salak male flower

One male flower can be used to pollinate for up to 20 female flowers. So, now you can estimate how many flowers you need to bring to your garden.

Step #3, Be a human bee!

Pollinating snake fruit

Salak pollination isn’t complicated at all, it’s very easy. All you need to do is shaking or scraping the male flower and drop the pollen grain into the pink open female flower, that’s it.

Step #4, Cover it

Snake fruit flower covered with leaf

After being pollinated, you should cover the flower with salak leaves or plastic bottles, or anything you find simple and practical. This is meant to avoid direct contact from sunlight or heavy rain.

F. How will I know if the pollination was successful?

Within a few days, the flower will harden, and in less than two weeks tiny tiny fruits will start to appear. If the flowers are withering or dry it means that the pollination was unsuccessful. The ripening process of salak fruit takes about six months.

I hope this information is helpful, if you have any questions please send me an email.

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