Position : Tree Tomato’s should be planted in partial shade, not direct sunlight. Dappled shade from a larger tree would be preferable.
Fertilise : Apply a specialised fruit tree fertiliser each summer. For the first two months after planting, fertilise once a month.
It is an evergreen semi-tree (up to 5 meters tall), although it can be deciduous in cool climates. It is fast growing and will reach peak production after four years with a life expectancy of 8-12 years. It grows as a single upright trunk with lateral branches and has large heart-shaped leaves.
Fruit is borne on laterals, so once the desired height is achieved, snip off the growing top(s) to encourage lateral formation. Laterals will carry clusters of white flowers and 3-12 egg-shaped fruits per cluster. Laterals that have fruited must be removed and replaced with new branches, as they will produce fewer fruits in the following year.
Your Tree Tomato, Tamarillo, should start to produce fruits after about 18 months.
Fruits will be produced all year round in climates with slight seasonal variations.
Pests: Aphids, leafhoppers, and whitefly are a big problem and can amass huge numbers on the new deep red growth. Building up plant resistance through regular fertilising is crucial, and when pests are noticed, (usually when leaves curl at their tips) the culprits will be hiding underneath.
Spray the tree regularly with a Neem Oil solution or EM Control to remove pests.
Pruning : Pruning is key to good fruit yield to limit uneven ripening.
Harvesting: They are harvested by pulling in a snapping motion or preferably using scissors, leaving 2-3 cm of the stem still attached for more extended storage.
The fruits may be refrigerated for up to 10 weeks, however discolouration could occur should temperatures dip below three degrees.
They are versatile and can be eaten raw, made into jam, chutneys, and added to stews. Tamarillo has a lot of pectin, making its preservation easy.