Green Sapote

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The green sapote (Pouteria viride) tree grows very well in the Brisbane area as long as the soil is well drained. In marginal areas it is, like the avocado, very prone to root rot. The tree is an attractive one similar to the mamey sapote, but smaller. It originates from volcanic, mountainous regions of Central America, which is very well drained.

I recommend planting grafted of marcotted trees only in ideal conditions, otherwise plant seedlings. Hill the soil well if its condition is poor, or not well drained, this way the tree will survive quite wet conditions. Green sapotes can be grafted on mamey sapote rootstock; it can handle wet conditions much better. My experience has shown me that the tree may survive wet periods more successfully, but will drop its fruit in very wet weather. After planting, put a few rocks or concrete slabs on the north side of the newly planted trees, cover the ground and rocks with black plastic, and the tree will grow even in the winter as the ground temperature will be up to 5 deg. C warmer. Green sapote trees will not take more than the lightest of frosts.

I also graft green sapote trees on green sapote seedlings, or marcot them. The grafted and air-layered trees bear fruit in 3-5 years; quicker than trees grown from seed, which bear in 5-7 years. The casualty rate is higher in marcotted trees, this is easy to understand, given their natural habitat in Central America.

They flower in late spring or early summer. The fruit takes 12 months to ripen. Fruit that ripens in spring is not nearly as sweet as summer fruit. Cold weather or too much at flowering can affect fruit set. As the flowering season is quite extended the trees are mostly heavily laden with fruit.

The fruit weighs 200-500 gr. It is green in appearance, turning yellow when ripe. It is delicious eaten fresh out of hand, blended with milk, or served with ice cream. My experience has shown me it is not as popular as mamey sapotes with my Central American customers, and appeals more to Asian and European tastes. Its flavour is milder than the mamey sapote’s, and somewhat sweeter. Its flesh is lighter orange-red, compared to mamey’s deeper red. This suggests to me that green sapote is more suitable for eating fresh, mamey for cooking. My son Peter, who works in the hotel industry, puts a small amount of vanilla or coffee essence in the smoothies he makes, to enhance the flavour, and says both the mamey and green sapotes are fantastic in milk drinks or with ice cream.