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Messages - TonyinCC

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: 5+ must have for SW Florida??
« on: February 20, 2018, 06:40:07 AM »
I would save a space for a Bell carambola (starfruit), probably the heaviest fruiting tree at an early age. Heavier crop in Winter and a lighter crop in Summer. Not the best fruit in the world but this variety is decent.

Not sure if any palm species have been tissue cultured, but if there was ever a plant that needed to be tissue cultured due to its life cycle , this is it.....

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: NS-1 vs J-31 characteristics
« on: December 06, 2017, 08:01:48 AM »
I don't have either tree planted but have bought and eaten both types grown in SW Florida.  NS1 fruit is a little smaller, its aroma and flavor are milder. I have bought several fruit sold as NS1 from different sources, all were similar.
I expect it would have a broader appeal to most American tastes than J-31.  Most NS1 plants sold here are seedlings,apparently they must be fairly true to type.
 J-31 had a much stronger funkier aroma and an additional flavor element that put me off, it had a very noticeable celery taste in the background.
 If it is present in unripe fruit, that might be actually be desirable assuming you want to eat it as a vegetable, but it kept me from enjoying the ripe fruit.
I have a tip for you on reducing latex, chill fruit before cutting. I would chill the fruit in a cooler or a spare fridge since the aroma will pervade your fridge. If the fruit is very aromatic,double bag it before refrigerating or freezing the cut fruit.
 Most Jackfruit freezes well in my experience. The thicker the fruit pieces, the longer they seem to stay good frozen. Thin pieces maybe 2 months,thicker pieces 6 months or longer.

You could try using only fairly slow growing compact varieties like skhan suggested,grafting them as low as possible, and then  trying to temporarily bury them in mulch past the graft unions during a severe freeze. Then cover them wtih blankets or row cover cloth or trying something like pitching a bottomless tent over them to give a few extra degrees of frost protection.
A small kerosense lamp inside a temporary structure on a really cold night will help,they generate a good amount of heat.
You could build a temporary structure and drape blankets over the trees if you don't use a lamp. I wouldn't try Rosigold unless you do lots of fungicide sprays. The other approach is to try using extremely vigorous varieties for faster regrowth after a freeze,while still protecting them as much as possible. You will get faster regrowth from a very vigorous variety like Valencia pride. I think there are a few even more vigrous than that.. You can also wrap branches in foam pipe insulation too.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: feijoa
« on: October 20, 2017, 05:42:13 AM »
It is an attractive bush and I have never seen it attacked by disease or insects. Hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Doesn't seem to be picky about soil type.
The problem is that unless you have access to improved cultivars , the fruit is mediocre and gritty. Has a nice aroma, I suppose it could be blended into fruit drinks and smoothies or maybe processed into jelly, but not really a fruit you want to eat out of hand unless there is nothing better available. I think strawberry guava is better, and that is considered a less than desirable fruit by many people.
Feijoa flowers taste better than the fruit and are a great addition to salads. The flowers and ornamental value alone make it worth growing,even if the fruit disappoint.

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Pawpaw fruits
« on: October 01, 2017, 09:53:46 PM »
Santee state park not too far from Charleston has a lot of pawpaws growing near the lakefront visible from the hiking trails.
 It is a good long hike to the spots where they are though.
They seem to be the dominant understory tree in some spots, probably several acres in total of thriving mature trees.
Worth a look next Summer, maybe you can beat the raccoons to some fruit or at least pocket a few seeds....
I haven't seen pawpaws anywhere else in the South Carolina lowcountry. That far South you will probably need to grow them in heavy shade similar to the areas they grow in at the State park.
 I was shocked to see a forest of pawpaws beneath the taller trees, it was like being in Kentucky or Tennessee ....

If I had to move back North and could bring one mango in a pot it would be Pickering. Nice healthy,symmetrical tree,crops heavily at an early age,very nice fruit.
It will make a really nice tree while some others might get overly tall and leggy in a pot. I think Maha would be the best choice out of those you listed. I think the best fruit out of your choices is Mallika,but you will need to bonsai it more than Pickering or Maha to keep it bushy.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Banana haul at Canal Point
« on: September 18, 2017, 09:47:38 PM »
I got a bunch of Njalli Poovan fruit and some pups recently from Nick and they were small fruit with thin skin but NOT white fleshed when grown in South Florida in the muck soil at Canal Point.
 Maybe climate differences from those in California?
 They were dark yellow/orange fleshed with a hint of pink near the core, pretty sweet and mildly aromatic with sort of a strawberry banana flavor. Very nice tasting banana,but bunch size wasn't very large.
I wonder if it will taste different grown on my high pH sand soil in Cape Coral? I am looking forward to eating more,have 3 pups in the ground...

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: fruit/tree royalities question?
« on: September 04, 2017, 06:29:21 AM »
Curious how the law would apply in the case of a plant like a banana that propagates itself naturally with no interference from the grower.
 It would seem preposterous to have to kill off a banana patch after the main stem bears and dies.....

I did look at the obviously untouched mature trees in the ground and that is what made me think drastic pruning early on this particular tree would be a good idea. Tikal seems to be one of the lankier cultivars if left unpruned. There is no place in my yard for a 20 foot tree holding a dozen fruit.
I will be patient but will likely be making a lot of heading cuts on new lanky growth to thicken branches and encourage them to branch more.. The tree will have to behave itself or die trying...... I also planted 3 gal Tikal and Hasya trees at the same time, it will be very interesting to see how trees shaped from an early age compare a few years from now to a lanky older tree that has gone through rehab.
For now I think l willl just pinch the growing tips by hand to try to encourage branching.

Thanks to all for their help. I guess I will be conservative and just mostly leave the tree alone for now.  Just need one more question clarified. When tip pruning sapodillas on hardened older branches, is it just the tiny growing tip, or the whole terminal leaf cluster that gets pruned?
 This is one of those Fruitscapes trees....  They did have one older Sapodilla tree that got broken off at about 4 feet and had put out nice growth near the broken top afterwards, but it was not a Tikal.
That was the tree that gave me the drastic amputation idea, it looks like it will be a really nice tree in a few years.  I guess managing my Tikal tree like that can still be a plan B if we get hit by a really bad storm that even staking won't protect.....

So when you guys are talking about tip pruning you mean JUST the actual growing tip? The tree will still be leggy and mostly empty even if there is branching from where the tips are now, at least for a while. The branches have a very willowy growth habit. Ideally I would like to prune all the main branches back to about a foot of length if feasible, just unsure if I will get growth out of them after pruning. Maybe one at a time over a period of time to leave enough foliage on the tree.
 Almost all the branches would be bare if I pruned them back just a couple inches, since almost all the leaves are very near the tips.
When I first pruned the top couple feet of the tree, I cut all those branches back a few inches to a foot leaving bare tips, and nothing grew back from them even though it was at the peak of the rainy season. I gave it almost a month and then took 3 feet off the top of the tree.
Also, the trunk damage at about 3 feet was about one third to one half of the diameter deep,  I worry about the tree getting too top heavy and very vulnerable to wind breakage in a storm, that is why I was considering a drastic amputation. It is healing over well, in 2 more years it should not be an issue but it will snap at that point if I get a bad storm before then.
If I didn't have the lower trunk damage and risk of losing the whole top, I would probably let the tree umbrella out with frequent detail pruning from 5-6 feet high. If I do the drastic amputation, as long as I get regrowth, in 2 years I will at least have the chance to select branches to get a more bushy but very strong tree. Usually I am pretty confident pruning trees and have good instincts in that regard but I admit this tree still has me baffled as to the best course of action.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Gotta love all the Florida pests :(
« on: August 20, 2017, 09:26:50 PM »
There must be some thing that eats them wherever they came from. Wondering if there are any lizard or frog species that eat them..
Even if there is a predator that eats them, there are so many burrowing owls in my neighborhood that they have decimated all the treefrogs and lizards that might help. Literally a half dozen owl nests within a few blocks of me.


I planted this tree about 6 months ago into the ground, I got a reduced price since it had some damage to trunk about 3 feet off the ground. It has been slowly healing over, if I leave it alone in a year or so it should be healed up. It has replaced most of its leaves since planting and actively growing from the tips. It has been blooming almost continuously but not setting fruit yet.
  I am more concerned about the leggy growth habit. I am wondering if the tree will put out vigorous growth if it is cut back severely. I tipped the growth at the top of the tree hoping to get more branching but nothing happened in over a month so I just took off about 3 feet from the top before taking this picture. It seems like there are no visible buds on older wood and I am afraid to hack away at existing branches unless I am told it will be ok. Was thinking about cutting most of the branches back about halfway or more, hoping to get more branching to fill the empty spaces, but after no regrowth from tipping the top, am now unsure.
 Would I be better off just cutting back the main trunk to below the damaged area at around 3 foot height? If it is better than having a top heavy tree in the future I am patient enough to amputate the top half of the tree....
Tree is now about 9 feet tall.

I found some varieties I was looking for on Craigslist , sometimes homeowners sell excess pups.... Worth a look anyway.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Starting over after a housefire
« on: July 09, 2017, 10:36:04 PM »
I would add one citrus, Meiwa kumquat. Slow grower, get the biggest one you can.
 I had a potted Eureka lemon years ago that had fragrant blooms almost year round. I used to use a crushed leaf as a substitute for a lemon wedge in drinks if I was out of lemons at any given moment.
Ditch the papaya unless you can find a dwarf, most papayas grow very tall. Even a dwarf might be too tall after a year or so.
Get a Bell Carambola  (starfruit). The only readily available variety that is worth growing and eating IMO.
The Jamaican cherry is a very fast growing tree, mine got to 20 feet with about the same spread and a trunk a half foot thick in about a year in the ground. I guess you could bonsai one but its roots dry out quick and I think it would get water stressed easily, the leaves wilt easily if in a pot. The one I had was trying to wilt daily in a 3 gallon pot despite being watered often until I got it planted in the ground. Even then it acted drought stressed for months before it took off like Jack's beanstalk.  Attractive tree and fruit is good to nibble on but don't expect large harvests. Could potentially be a bonsai showpiece if you could figure out the right balance of moisture, pruning, and soil to limit growth, but I think it would be difficult and maybe not worth the space. Would be a really pretty atrium tree in a shopping mall if it didn't drop fruit everywhere.
Sambac jasmine is not really an edible unless you add the blossoms to tea but you won't regret having one.
 Grumichama is an attractive plant with cherrylike fruit.
Miracle fruit is a must. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Rain = Washed Out Mango Flavor?
« on: July 01, 2017, 12:43:35 AM »
Carrie and Mallika were not washed out at my Dad's place in North Ft Myers this entire month of June even though when picked, the stems and fruit both squirted for a couple seconds at every picking. Mallikas have been outstanding this year when properly ripened off the tree 7-14 days,picked off the tree at the first hint of yellowing. Started picking Mallika around June 7, ate the first one June 14  and picked the last bunch June 21, will be eating them until about July 4. Did about 3 pickings a week apart. Could probably have left some on the tree another week if not for squirrel attacks. Picked Carrie this year between May 15-June 21.
  Mallika is a well balanced mango that literally makes your mouth water when eaten, multiple waves of flavor, orange creamsicle was the dominant flavor element with coconut,vanilla,pineapple,and just a hint of muskmelon in the background. I don't know where people are complaining about carrot flavor, they must be picking it too late or otherwise letting it get overripe. Mallika does get that funky mango death flavor if it gets TOO ripe, I guess at its earliest stages of overripe, some detect carrot,I did not.  I am going to plant a Mallika for myself, it is top notch. I would say it is distinct from but on the level of a perfect Dot, but a much healthier,productive tree. One of the few top tier early-mid mangos that don't get washed out by rain, are there others?

One important thing to consider is that varieties described as having a strong aroma can smell like a sickly sweet rotting compost pile or worse when nearing ripeness on the tree,even if the fruit tastes great once it is cleaned. If you clean it indoors your house can smell the same for hours or even days.
  Once the fruit is cleaned the aroma will improve and smell sweet and strong in a lot of varieties,  but will permeate your fridge or freezer and make everything in it smell like jackfruit. I find a strong sweet jackfruit aroma pleasant, but everyone else in my family does not.
 My family won't let me clean a fruit indoors or keep fruit in the fridge or freezer along with other food unless I triple bag it outdoors before I even bring it in.  I need a dedicated freezer for jackfruit.
  If aroma is a potential issue,search for varieties that are described as having little aroma or a mild,sweet one.
  One other tip is to chill fruit in a cooler under ice before cutting to minimize latex flow and minimize aroma when cleaning it. Oil your knife and hands with vegetable oil and cut out the core as quickly as possible,wiping as much latex off of cut surfaces before touching them.
Most varieties taste pretty good,the only one that I didn't like was J-31, it had a definite lingering celery component to the taste and was one of the worst offenders in the unpleasant aroma category according to my family. A few other varieties have a barely detectable vegetable taste only when overripe but J-31 is objectionable to me. It got knocked off my list despite the supposed potential for off season fruit. So did any others described as having an earthy aroma.
Best fruit I tasted was Borneo red, cleaned sections were the about the size of a small woman's fist. Mild aroma and outstanding flavor but heard from the grower is was a very finicky hard to grow variety and VERY cold sensitive. Most jackfruit are pretty good, so having the absolute best isn't that important to me. I also heard that the ripening season descriptions aren't a hard and fast rule.
 I have Sweet Fairchild, Lemon crunch, and Black Gold planted out but no fruit yet.

The mulberry and fig expert in North Carolina is Dr A.J Bullard. I don't have his number or remember his address anymore,  but I am sure you can get in contact with him from this link.I have known him since the mid 90's but haven't seen him in over 15 years.  Well worth the trip, if you show interest in mulberries it is likely you can talk him into a tour of his place in NC. He was an early pioneer of zone pushing for lots of subtropical fruiting plants and a member of the North American Fruit Explorers.  I know he has a particular fondness for mulberries and has probably tried every variety possible. I would expect he still maintains the best varieties from decades of searching. I can't make promises but you might be able to get scions mailed from him.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: The Happiest Plant Story You Have
« on: June 06, 2017, 02:09:08 PM »
It would be easy for your friends to root a small cutting from it just by placing the bottom few inches in water a few weeks before they next see you, that way you could literally have the same plant back next time you see your friends....

The Cape Coral canal fill soil in my neighborhood (Burnt Store area near Matlacha) is sandy with up to about 10% made of little bits of fossil shells and coral. There has to lots of Calcium, but I don't know how available it is to the plants.
While digging holes I find some larger chunks of coral up to a foot in diameter. When the ground gets dry, water just beads off and doesn't want to soak in. I had the exact same soil type near Charleston,SC and hated it there too. I had bad blossom rot on tomatoes there and Calcium nitrate cured it, but it doesn't seem to be available in SW Florida. In any event,the sapodillas seem very happy so far in the soil but I have struggled with a lot of other plants, especially avocados.Pretty much anything I plant has to be mulched or as soon as the soil surface dries out,water just beads off and won't soak in.

It has surprised me that my small tree is not looking one bit stressed though. Powdered kelp is wonderful stuff. I will probably pull the fruit off so I don't get branch breakage but juvenility doesn't seem to be an issue with it wanting to set fruit. (assuming my tree wasn't mislabeled...)

  I planted out a 3 gallon size Hasya a couple months ago that was apparently recently potted up,the roots only filled half the pot. It has been heavily mulched but underwatered through the drought, but already set acorn sized fruit and is still blooming. I gave it powdered kelp and Scotts Mor-Bloom and a chelated iron drench and mulched heavily around the tree. I have a much larger 30 gal? Tikal nearby that was also planted about the same time and has been blooming along with Hasya. They seem to like the Cape Coral canal fill spoil that passes for soil here.  Maybe your soil has been amended too much and the tree feels no stress to make it bloom?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Valencia Pride - Dwarf Tree
« on: May 17, 2017, 11:37:05 PM »
Pruning a naturally vigorous tree to an open center like that helps keep it much smaller and stimulates fruiting. I have also heard it described as pruning to a basket shape or vase. Trees like mangos and peaches can be kept much shorter with several competing leaders, it minimizes apical dominance. The Japanese have been masters of the art of pruning for centuries, if they can bonsai a redwood, I am reasonably sure that I can keep a VP productive between 15-20 feet indefinitely.

 My Dad's Valencia pride was out of control only a few years after planting, it was over 20 feet and growing fast. I topped the central leader(tallest main stem) and any other side branches at 10 feet in mid October 2015. All pruning cuts were made above outward or downward facing buds when possible.  It only produced about 30 or so mangos before pruning. In 2016,The year after I topped it, it produced more than double the previous crop. It regrew to about 15 feet by the end of Summer 2016. Vigor was visibly reduced the first year after pruning.
  After it cropped last year, I took out the central leader completely at its base, so the lower side branches are the new leaders. It is important to keep the new leaders competing so one doesn't regain apical dominance. It was at about 12 feet after pruning. This year it has set from 3 different blooms. The tree now puts more energy into fruiting. I have not pruned since after the crop was done last year and it has only gotten about 3 feet taller. That shows that vigor has been further reduced by removing the central leader.(the apex of the tree)  The basic idea when making pruning cuts is to make cuts above a bud that is facing in the direction you want the new branch to grow.(usually not vertically unless you need to replace part of the inner canopy.) This makes the tree spread out rather than up. Every year the inner canopy branches will need to be topped and rotationally replaced every few years, but I bet I will be able to keep my Dad's tree indefinitely at a height such that all fruit are harvestable with a picking pole.... The tallest branches in late Summer might eventually reach 17-20 feet in a few more years, but the fruit should hang no higher than 15 feet. After the crop is done this year, I will prune it to about 12 feet. It looks like the vigor is reduced to the point where I will just need to do maintenance pruning back to about 12-15 or so feet yearly to keep its yearly maximum height in the high teens. I feel keeping a very vigorous tree semi-dwarfed is a reasonable compromise.  If I had not pruned my Dad's tree I am sure it would be well over 30 feet by now. Pic is tree in 2016 before I took out the main central leader.

A lot of Cape Coral home wells are salty enough to kill avocado and other fruit trees. Salt injury to leaves makes the ends turn brown. I hand water all my trees with Revere osmosis water from my whole house system until they are established. I lost my first round of trees due to salty well water.I had some leaf tip damage like you,but as soon as I added fertilizer, the total salt content was enough to kill trees.. I am on the Western end of the Cape near Matlacha. Supposed to get city water here a couple years ago.... The local soil excavated from digging the canal systems is really horrible stuff too,I gave up on avocados after several rounds of slowly declining trees.

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