DURIAN DIMAPORO SPECIAL: This Has To Be Protected, Multiplied

DURIAN DIMAPORO SPECIAL: This Has To Be Protected, Multiplied

On December 7, 2015 we came face to face, so to speak, with a majestic 30-year-old durian tree in a 36-hectare farm owned by the Dimaporo family in Matungao, Lanao del Norte. The tree is considered very special for very good reasons.

DURIAN DIMAPORO SPECIAL: This Has To Be Protected, Multiplied
The majestic Durian Dimaporo Special in Matungao, Lanao del Norte Very healthy.

To reach the farm means two hours of negotiating well-paved as well as bumpy dirt roads, and then we had to contend with a thick growth of shoulder-high weeds to get near the tree. But all the efforts were worth it.

Raul Maghilom, an agriculturist working for the Dimaporo family, related to us how special the durian tree is, and they have named it Durian Dimaporo Special or simply DDS.

DURIAN DIMAPORO SPECIAL: This Has To Be Protected, Multiplied
Unlike DDS, the other durian trees in the farm are suffering from die-back disease. Note the dead top branches.

They called it Special because of its superior eating quality. They compared its taste with such favorites as Puyat, Chanee, Monthong or Golden Pillow of Thailand and other introduced varieties. DDS simply stands out in terms of its taste. Its golden yellow flesh is very attractive, too.

The fruit is different from most varieties not only in taste but also in size and shape. It is very round like a basketball and is big – it weighs five to seven kilos each.

DURIAN DIMAPORO SPECIAL: This Has To Be Protected, Multiplied
Tagoloan Vice Mayor Mighty Dimakuta and Zac B. Sarian looking at the DDS tree.

VERY HEALTHY – To us, DDS is very special in one more aspect. Compared to the other varieties in the farm, the DDS tree stands out as very healthy as if unaffected by diseases such as anthracnose and die-back. In contrast, many of the other varieties in the farm are suffering from die-back disease. Many of their top branches have died.

SPECIAL PROJECT – If I were the owner of the tree, I will undertake a special project to perpetuate the special qualities of DDS. It should be a profitable, sustainable project that will benefit other farmers and all durian-loving consumers in the long term.

DURIAN DIMAPORO SPECIAL: This Has To Be Protected, Multiplied
These low-lying healthy branches of DDS could be the source of scions for propagation.

This is what I will do. I will make the tree really special. I will clean the weeds and bushes all around the DDS tree, say 10 meters beyond the spread of the canopy. I will even put a sturdy fence all around so no stray animals will intrude that could damage the tree. I will put up a special marker proclaiming that this particular durian tree is a very special treasure.

NOURISH THE TREE – I will see to it that the tree gets adequate nutrients to maintain its good health and enable it to produce a reasonable amount of fruits. To do this I will spread at least 8 sacks of processed organic fertilizer all under its canopy. I will even reinforce that with complete chemical fertilizer containing micronutrients. No, I will not skimp on fertilizers. I will see to it that there is no waterlogging. And I will also make sure that when there is a dry spell, the tree should be watered adequately.

DURIAN DIMAPORO SPECIAL: This Has To Be Protected, Multiplied
Close up of the healthy low-lying branches of DDS, which could be the source of grafting materials.

DDS HAS TO BE MULTIPLIED – There is only one DDS tree among 300 or so durian trees in the farm. It is therefore very urgent that before anything untoward happens to the tree – like being struck by lightning or blown down by strong winds – DDS has to be multiplied by grafting.

Fortunately, there are low-lying branches of the tree that are very healthy which could be the source of scion for grafting. In our own estimate, a good propagator could graft no less than 500 seedlings in one year.

WHAT TO DO NEXT – The grafted seedlings should be given special care. They should be placed in a netted nursery where they receive the right amount of sunlight and also given the right potting medium and the right attention. The next agenda would be to create a scion grove to ensure that DDS will never perish and become extinct. It can be around forever. I will plant at least 100 grafted trees that will serve as the source of propagating materials. In Lanao, we saw a lot of coconut plantations with old coconut trees that are planted about 10 to 12 meters apart. One hectare could be planted to 100 trees for the production of fruits and scions.

With adequate fertilization and watering, the grafted trees could start bearing fruit in five to six years. The other grafted trees can be sold to interested growers. Or they could be planted in other Dimaporo farms.

PROPAGATION EVERY YEAR – Grafting should be continued year after year, getting the scion from the mother tree. The idea is not to make the DDS exclusive to the Dimaporo family. More people from Lanao del Norte and beyond should be encouraged to plant DDS in commercial farms and in home lots. The idea is to share the good things with other people. And that will endear the Dimaporo name to the durian-loving people.

DURIAN DIMAPORO SPECIAL: This Has To Be Protected, Multiplied
Tagoloan Vice Mayor Mighty Dimakuta close to the DDS tree.

The target could be to produce big volumes of fruits later on for export to other places in the Philippines and for overseas such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Fresh fruits as well as processed, vacuum-packed and frozen can be exported.

THE END RESULT – The DDS could become a byword and the Dimaporo name well-loved by the durian-loving community. The original tree could become an agritourism destination. It could become a national treasure that has to be conserved and maintained.

During the durian season, special guests from Manila and elsewhere could be invited to experience tasting the special durian. This could be a well-publicized event to further spread the good news about DDS. It could be featured in social media, print, radio and television. I will be the first to publicize it in my blog and in my writings in the daily newspaper and the vernacular magazines.

THE FARM’S FOUNDER – The 36-hectare farm was developed by the late Congressman Ali Dimaporo, the grand old man of the reigning Dimaporo political clan in Lanao del Norte. Raul Maghilom relates that the late political kingpin Ali loved to collect durian varieties during his travels abroad. And one of them is this DDS which is doing very well despite the apparent lack of attention and care being given. Many of the other durian trees in the farm are suffering from die-back disease. But not DDS.

There is still time to make DDS a commercially viable variety and a tourist attraction in Lanao del Norte. This can be possible by planting more DDS propagations and giving them the special care they deserve.

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