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Messages - simon_grow

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Please help me save this M4 mango tree
« on: December 15, 2018, 11:35:31 PM »
I actually donít recommend growing Alphonso in SoCal because of fungal issues and also because the fruit can get internal breakdown, Jellyseed and the fruit quality doesnít reach its full potential compared to the fruit grown in India. I would recommend Kesar or Jumbo Kesar instead of Alphonso.


NDM seedlings grow vigorously. The PPK line( PPK, LZ, OS) also grows vigorously. I recommend getting your hands on as many of the better tasting varieties as you can get and growing them because what grows well in my yard may not necessarily grow well in your yard.

Besides the ones I recommended already, Sweet Tart, CAC, Coconut Cream, Pina Colada.

These are just based off of taste.

If you can find them, E4, M4, Buttercream

PiŮa Colada starts out slow, Iím waiting to see how it does after the seedling stage.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: You can all thank me for today's rain.
« on: December 15, 2018, 06:18:33 PM »
We can use you in SoCal.


Hereís a brief summary of our new technique for growing Polyembryonic mango seedlings.

Plant a Polyembryonic mango seed. You will need at least two sprouts from the seed to almost guarantee you get a clone. Based on literature, there can be more than one zygotic seedling so I canít say for sure youíll get a clone.

If you get a lot of seedlings coming up from a seed, select the largest one to use as rootstock and select the next biggest one as a scion donor to graft onto the rootstock. Before you graft onto the rootstock, ensure you save at least one branch from the rootstock in case it is the clone. Because the scion donor is slightly less vigorous, it should be grafted up higher.

In a batch of seedlings coming up from one Polyembryonic mango seed, if there are multiple seedlings that look the same and have similar growth rates, there is a good chance that they are the clones. Remember that I have hypothesized that the Zygotic seedling arising from a Polyembryonic seed can have the potential to yield good tasting fruit. I believe this to be true because such a seedling will have at least 50% of its genes from the maternal parent and the other 50% of its genes will be from another variety or itself.

Even if the zygotic seedling is selfed( pollinated by its own pollen) there will be rearrangement of its genetic material and the resulting fruit can be very different from the parent fruit.

Since most of us are only growing top tier varieties, the paternal pollen(if not selfed) will likely come from another top tier variety.



NDM is a great variety to grow from seed.

Brad and I have actually come up with a better way to grow out Polyembryonic seedlings compared to what I recommended about a year ago. Last year, I recommended that we plant Polyembryonic seeds and simply let all the seedlings grow but in our field plantings, we noticed that the seedlings started pushing each other aside, causing them to grow slanted to one side.

Brad came up with the idea to graft one of the seedlings onto another seedling so that we can have a single trunk with two seedling varieties coming out of it. In hindsight, this should have clearly been foreseeable but we have so many different projects we are working on that itís hard to put too much thought into any one project.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Leo Manuel's yard tour 10/26/12
« on: December 14, 2018, 06:41:17 PM »
Chris, it took about 1 week to ripen at room temperature and they were pretty much perfect.

Thanks John, happy holidays to everyone!


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Leo Manuel's yard tour 10/26/12
« on: December 12, 2018, 12:00:15 PM »
Leo called me up last week asking me if Iíd like some Mangos and of course I said yes. Many of his Mangos were knocked off the tree by the last couple thunderstorms we had a couple weeks ago but he still had plenty hanging on his large trees.

The great thing about Leoís trees are that they produce fruit without any spraying. Not all his varieties produce consistently, some hardly produce, but these are mostly the named Florida varieties like Lemon Zest. I put on a few small Lemon Zest grafts on his trees about two years ago and this is the first year they held any fruit although they were nubbins. If his LZ grafts progress the way my LZ tree did, he should get full sized fruit in the coming years.

Leoís trees are pretty tightly packed in considering their size so he gets quite a lot of fungus issues. Because he doesnít spray, he uses pruning to open up the canopy and allow for proper air flow to minimize moist stagnant air.

The seedling varieties he has selected over the past several decades are excellent eating quality and SoCal growers should take note because they grow well in our climate here. Leo and I both live in what is considered as coastal inland and we get dense heavy fog that makes it look like it just rained, most of this is around winter time where our mango trees, especially their blooms, are especially susceptible to damage by pathogens. The varieties that Leo selected will get hit with lots of fungus that is clearly visible to the naked eye yet his varieties still produce excellent crops.

About 10 years ago, I asked Leo why he doesnít spray. I mentioned the obvious and said ďyou would get so much more fruit if you had a spray regimenĒ. Leo replied that he had so much fruit already that he couldnít eat them all.

Anyways, I picked up some excellent tasting Gold Nugget tangerines along with his Leo Keitt seedling, Leo 2, Maha Chanok, and Peggy.

The first one we sampled was his seedling Keitt. This variety was one of the top picks from a mango tasting about two years ago. It had a perfect balance of sugars and acidity. The sugar acid balance reminded me of a milder Sweet Tart. This fruit has an aborted seed and a Brix reading of 23%.

The next fruit we sampled was the Leo 2. This fruit was a beautiful yellow with a blush of red. It was very sweet and my daughters loved it. It had a Brix reading of 23%. I like this Mango a lot but wished it had a bit more acidity to balance out the high sugars. If I ate this mango a day or two earlier, i would imagine it would taste even better.

The last Mango we sampled was the Peggy. This mango has a yellow base color with just a very slight pink blush. This mango is fatter and more rounded than the Leo 2. It also has more prominent lenticels. This mango was the best tasting of the three we sampled so far. It had a stronger flavor and perfect sugar acid balance. It also had a Brix reading of 23% but the added acid balance and slight mango turpene flavor components pushed it over the top.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: 1st cherimoya of the season
« on: December 12, 2018, 11:05:18 AM »
Nice fruit, Pierce is an excellent variety. Your fruit should get bigger as the tree matures, especially if you plant it into the ground.



Iíve been recommending LaVern Manilla because it has been tried and tested over many years but recent plantings have revealed to me that most random seedlings(that are vigorous) will work as well and in many cases, even better than LaVern Manilla.

I recommend you plant seeds from both Monoembryonic and Polyembryonic varieties. Plant both types around the areas where you want your tree to be and just let them grow and establish. Once they are established, you can top work them.

The younger they are when you top work them, the fewer number of grafts you have to perform because you can graft the main scaffold branches when they are young. The added benefit of grafting low is that you donít need to give your tree as much attention because you wonít have to worry as much about the rootstock sending up shoots.

The downside to grafting young and low is that because you grafted with mature scions, your grafts will likely flower and fruit in its first or second winter. When flowering is initiated, the weight of the flower panicles will cause the branches to droop towards the ground.

The bending of the branches from a vertical position to a horizontal position further exacerbates the problem because branches that are bent horizontally triggers a hormonal chain reaction which further pushes the balance of the tree towards floral initiation and away from vegetative growth.

We do NOT want our young Mango trees to flower and fruit at a young age! This may sound counter intuitive but trust me on this. We want to delay flowering and fruit production as long as possible.

One technique that helps a bit is to stake up your tree branches as vertical as possible. This is the opposite of what our friends in Florida and other warmer regions want to do but you have to remember that we are growing in a marginal climate for Mangos.

Brad and I have a ton of experimental mango plants growing and we are working on a best practice in order to come up with a technique that will grow the strongest healthiest mango trees with the least amount of effort.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Please help me save this M4 mango tree
« on: December 10, 2018, 07:15:26 PM »
JM, when you get trees from the nursery, it is best to step up the size of the pot slowly. From the pictures you posted, it looks like you have a small plant inside a big pot. When I up pot, i usually use a pot that is about 1-2 inches deeper and/or wider.

When you up pot a small plant into a big pot, you have to wet the entire volume of soil and by the time the top of the soil dries and is ready for more water, the bottom of the pot is still moist. If you water again before the bottom dries out, you can encourage the growth of objectionable organisms, some of which promotes or causes root rot.

If you tree is still alive, you can down pot it with a fast draining mix and give it bottom heat while you treat it with the systemics.

If you lose this tree, Iím sure nurseries will carry it in the future and you will probably be able to order scions in the future as well.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Potted Longan - keep or toss?
« on: December 09, 2018, 06:40:21 PM »
If you thin your Longan panicles when the fruit are about pea sized, you can significantly increase the size of the fruit. Thin them by removing half the fruit in each panicle.

With proper fertilization, you can increase the flavor/sweetness of your fruit. For potted plants, Iíve found out that frequent diluted feedings significantly helps with growth and flavor of the fruit although I have not fruited Longan in a pot before. I have noticed that that giving my Longan plenty of water while holding fruit will give me larger fruit but the flavor is not as sweet nor concentrated. What I do is water a lot during early to mid Fruit development and then I taper off watering towards the end when the fruit is almost ready to harvest.

The attributes of the Longan( size and taste), are very much influenced by genetics and as you probably are aware, grafted trees are much better in this respect.

If you love Longan, just not the one youíre currently growing, I would suggest you hat rack your Longan and graft it with Biew Kiew and/or Sri Chompoo. If you have low scaffold branches, you can easily graft a few of these branches.

Since you mentioned you grew your Longan from seed, Iíll assume it is tall and Christmas tree shaped. In this case, you may want to cut off everything at knee level(18-22 inches). If you can keep your greenhouse warm enough, you can cut it now but if it gets too cold, you may want to hold off till Spring. After you top your tree, you should see lots of new growth from below your cut.

Select about 3-5 evenly spaced branches and remove everything else. Once the branches are large enough, innarch them if you are not good at grafting or graft the branches if you are good at grafting.

If you are good at grafting, you only need to select about three branches but Longan can be difficult to graft if you are not familiar with grafting.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Please help me save this M4 mango tree
« on: December 09, 2018, 12:26:13 AM »
That is a Florida tree. Does it have any green leaves left on it. What kind of soil do you have it in?

It does look like die back, pretty typical of what we see here caused by Phomopsis. If there is enough green leaves, you can treat it with a systemic through foliar application along with a soil drench but so far from the pictures you posted, that tree looks like itís on the verge of death, especially considering that we are entering into our coldest, wettest months.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Best mango variety.
« on: December 08, 2018, 08:55:10 PM »
Yeah Iím glad people in SoCal are starting to use proper rootstocks.

LZ, Sweet Tart, CAC, PPK, Kesar, Pineapple Pleasure are some excellent varieties to grow.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: SCREC Cherimoya tasting
« on: December 07, 2018, 05:00:09 PM »
If youíve never gone before, I would recommend you go. Itís a great event to be able to taste so many different varieties all at once. If you plan on growing, you can figure out what varieties suit your palate before purchasing a tree. I second the recommendation of going early.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Anonas
« on: December 04, 2018, 11:57:21 PM »
The inside of the fruit looks pretty good. If thereís not enough acidity, it could be the variety. El Bumpo has excellent sugar acid balance. Most Cherimoyas are pretty sweet but the longer you let it hold on the tree, to a certain extent, the sweeter it will be. Also, proper fertilization will increase sweetness.

As your tree matures, you will get more fruit and the quality will increase. With more fruit, you can wait until the first fruit drops and observe the color of the fruit to tell when other fruit will soon drop. You want to pick the fruit before it drops otherwise the stem end will pull out and the opening will rot or get fungus.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Best mango variety.
« on: December 04, 2018, 07:23:05 PM »
Start reading this:

Some of the newer Zill varieties have not been sampled enough to conclude if they are consistently excellent.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Anonas
« on: December 02, 2018, 05:43:08 PM »
Yeah, when you can hear the seeds rattle, that is a great sign you picked it when itís mature. Let us know how it tastes.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Anonas
« on: December 01, 2018, 09:12:10 PM »
When you shake it, can you hear the seeds rattle? By the color and size of your fruit, it looks like it will ripen but I usually let my fruit turn slightly more yellowish green before harvesting in order to maximize sugars.

If your tree is fully established and you have a regular watering schedule, your fruit will probably not split from the rain but in your case, it looks like you may have already had some cracking prior to the rain so it was a good idea for you to pick it before more damage is done.

The wind from the last storm blew loose a lot of my ripe fruit but the remaining fruit from my trees have no signs of cracking even after all the rain I just received. Giving your trees enough Calcium may help with any cracking issues.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Soft cherimoya seeds.
« on: December 01, 2018, 09:04:27 PM »
Do. Oh have a picture of your tree? How big, old is it? What do you fertilize with? The more information you give, the better.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Anonas
« on: November 30, 2018, 05:33:59 PM »

I just picked my first cherimoya ever! It's supposedly a chaffey (got it from la verne).

It started to have very small cracks last time it rained, and now that its raining again, I decided to pick it. Did I make the right decision?

Also, how would you reccomend ripening it? I have it in a paper bag on the counter right now.

Just ripen on the counter out of air conditioning. If it was picked mature, it will usually ripen in about 1-3 days. Putting it inside a brown paper bag, especially if you include other ripe fruit, will hasten ripening.

Brads got a variety thatís super good and super fragrant when ripe, it is very creamy and sweet and the whole seed ball separates easily. It might be Mexican Cream, maybe Brad can confirm.

I personally like the green crunchy types and the best one Iíve had was a Seedless variety.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Soft cherimoya seeds.
« on: November 30, 2018, 10:25:41 AM »
Iíve had soft seeds inside my fully ripe Cherimoyas. The Cherimoya usually has mostly fully hardened seeds and then a couple will be super soft. The area around the soft seeds tastes like insecticide. The soft seeds also tend to be lighter brown in color compared to the black of normal seeds.

In Leo Manuelís Hybrid fruit, there is a slightly increased rate of the softer brown seeds although in his hybrid, the soft seeded areas do not taste any different. I believe it could at least be partially attributed to the African Pride background?


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: 2019 Mango season (Florida) flower stimuli
« on: November 28, 2018, 11:31:49 PM »
Interesting article Simon, thanks for sharing. Going to take another read or 2 to comprehend better. 

Could laying ice under a tree for multiple days on end cool the roots enough to further encourage flowering?

Squam can probably answer this better than myself but from my recollection, it is a combination of cold stimuli(besides all the other factors) to the roots and shoots that will ultimately determine if the plant will or will not flower. Putting ice over the rhizosphere will decrease the temps of the soil directly adjacent to the ice but there is a lot of thermal mass in the soil and air pockets in the soil will buffer the cooling properties of the ice.

In my opinion, it would not be worth the effort. Timely pruning and a proper fertilization schedule may help those in warmer climates achieve more consistent yields.

I have not heard anyone talk about girdling mango trees but I would assume this is a viable and often overlooked technique.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Best tasting mangos of 2018
« on: November 28, 2018, 10:05:12 PM »
i ordered my original trees from Plantogram.

Sweet Tart and Lemon Zest grow pretty well on the Florida Turpentine rootstock but I would still recommend grafting up your own tree on Manilla or other seedling rootstocks. The Florida trees get droopy and seem really susceptible to gummosis and Phomopsis.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Anonas
« on: November 28, 2018, 06:48:36 PM »
Thanks for the info Har!  I normally I collect pollen from multiple flowers before I hand pollinate and I refresh my brush with new pollen after every flower. Next year, Iíll try to pollinate 10-15 flowers before refreshing with new pollen to see if that helps.

I will also test to see if Atemoya pollen will produce less or more seeds.


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