Tropical Fruit at a Glance—Sapodilla
by Jeff Wasielewski, Laura Vasquez, and Jonathan H. Crane
Common name: Sapodilla
Botanical name: Manilkara zapota
Good varieties: Alano, Makok, Hasyá, Morena and Tikal
About the fruit: Underneath their dull brown exterior is an extremely sweet pulp tasting similar to brown sugar. Much like its cousin the mamey, it is hard to tell when this fruit is mature and ready to pick without nicking the skin of the fruit to look for a tan or tannish-green color. If the nicked spot is still green, the fruit is not mature (ready to pick).
Season: Main season is December through June.
Why you should consider it: Most varieties are heavy producers and can have fruit for several months of the year.
Be aware: There are some caterpillars that attack the bloom and fruit. The tree also has a lot of latex which can gum up your tools while you are picking the fruit or pruning the tree.
Pruning: This tree should be kept at fifteen feet or less through annual selective pruning. Some cultivars are difficult to prune due to their upright branch structure. Remove strong verticals and encourage lateral growth.
Planting: Make sure not to plant too deep. Dig the hole bigger than the container but refill the hole with the native soil so the plant’s first flare root is at or just above ground level. Protect the tree from mechanical damage (string trimmers and mowers).
Fertilizer: Use an 8-3-9 or something similar two to three times during the rainy season (May to October). Drench with chelated iron (EDDHA) and use a micro-element foliar spray two to three times from May to October.
For more information see: Sapodilla growing in the Florida home landscape: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg057.