Time to prune your longan trees!
Longan (Dimocarpus longan, Sapindaceae) is a fruit tree which is native to Lanna (Northern Thailand). Longan is Chinese meaning ‘Dragon’s eye’. The Thai name is ‘Lamjay’. Ever since the introduction of orchards in the 1930’s, China has been a big importer. This year, the price has been quite high (29 Baht/kg for grade AA), because many provinces suffered from drought.
The best variety is considered to be ‘Idoh’ which we sell here at Dokmai Garden. A home owner may not care too much about his longan, it is just a curiosity with nice tasty fruits in July. A commercial grower would irrigate if dry in the rainy season, and he would add extra nutrients and spray against insect attacks (mites and moths). A home owner does not rely on a maximised harvest to sustain his family, which is why such precautions may not be necessary in a recreational garden. However, some people like to prune their fruit trees. As can be seen from the picture below, some owners take away all branches inside the tree, and only leave a small cluster of leaves at the end of the main branches. Some prune even more, they remove all small twigs, leaving naked main branches only. As the fruits are formed on the new shoots, this might be a good practice.
Pruning of longan takes place after harvest. In this case in early August.
The bamboo poles give support to the branches when they are heavy with fruit.