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Messages - FrankDrebinOfFruits

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I have seedlings that fruited in 3 years and another going on 6 years with no fruits.  Planted within 15' of each other.  The one that produced in 3 years was not attacked by the japanese rose beetle. I feel as though the beetle sets it back tremendously. I would suspect there is something in the leaves that either makes the tree attractive or not attractive. If breeding, success would be increased by finding a type the beetle doesn't care for.  If you find your tree continuously getting attacked by beetles, start over, as it may be faster.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Longan Pride
« on: June 16, 2018, 05:28:51 PM »
I drove by a truck on the highway heading home after getting a load of fertilizers. I saw a truck with a sticker in the back. It read "Longan Pride". I said, right on, it's about time people grow quality fruits to be proud of. Later I was next to him on the highway with my window down I almost shouted "I love Longans! I also have love for the lychees, rambutans, and pulasans".

.. And I realized it was Tongan  :o . I am still thinking of getting a sticker that says "Avocado Pride"  ;D

BTW, if you've never seen an iron bog, they're really curious things.  For the first couple years of owning my land I honestly thought I had a couple oil slicks where someone had just dumped their motor oil.  Basically it means that uphill from me, pyrite is breaking down to form sulfuric acid, which dissolves (ferric) iron from the basalt, and then when it gets to air, special bacteria oxidize it, leaving these black, iridescent slicks on the surface (goethite, if I remember right) and brown iron muck (limonite + decomposed bacteria) on the bottom.

And wow have I ever gotten sidetracked from the conversation here....
Does this "iron bog" have an awful foul smell? I came across something like this recently, and I was very curious to the cause.  It happens near a swamp area of mine.

I wish I had more rock at my place. I found maybe a few dozen 1 foot diameter rocks. They have tons of rock on the west side of Kauai.  I would love to make some retaining walls, walking paths, privacy fences, landscaping etc. I have gone so far to lava rock concrete stamps (almost cheaper to get cement than buy and truck rock).  Then I think about the extreme opposite (i.e. all rock and no dirt), and it is scary if you are trying to grow stuff. Not sure which problem is worse, paying for rock or paying for dirt. I think I would rather pay for rock, then every time I dig I hit rock.  I was visiting someone in Kona and had to bare root the trees, and they were so excited to have the soil from the pots. I had this look  :o being from Kauai, there is so much dirt.

This thread has been an eye opener, especially the last few posts about the different types of flows. Thanks!

Whatever you do, don't freeze the lychee and then mail it. When it thaws it rots super fast (2 days they are black and gross, even if refrigerated).

I heard that plant supplied one quarter of the big island's energy needs. What was the alternative source that they switched to?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Dwarf durian tree
« on: May 16, 2018, 10:29:40 PM »
So are there definitely no dwarf durian varieties?

If not, could a seedling durian be kept at ~ 10 feet and still fruit?

Assuming this is an idea to do inside a greenhouse, anything is possible with enough $$$.  If I was to try, I would try air pots, and maybe a single or double graft to reduce my work and increase the likelihood of success. Then after 1 year, and seeing the investment, I would either
a.) eat frozen durian
b.) save my money and every few years fly to somewhere and eat until I had enough, and still save on the labor and heartache.

Perhaps eventually a seedling at 10’ could fruit but I imagine it would be very long haul.  The durian doesn’t need height per se to fruit.  But it does need development and constantly cutting it back is going to cause delay to development.  Durian seedlings are naturally forest trees that want to grow to 100’ in their ideal environment.

We had a speaker here recently (maybe 3 years ago), and I don't want to quote them because its just from memory, not from notes or videos (and reviewing their presentation, I see no mention). They said that cutting back a durian tree, keeping it well pruned, caused it to fruit in 8 years instead of 10. I don't know from experience, so I have no hat in this game. I am going to try it, but I won't remember to report back in 8 years...  ;D

Hopefully Mike T will chime in again on this one.  I recall Mike's buddy Peter Saleras in Aus showed durian fruiting on his special trellis system and as I recall they were relatively small trees.  I don't know if they were 10' in the pics but probably not much bigger -- Mike would be the one for more details.  But as Peter (from Costa Rica)  & others have pointed out, most want to be big trees so it will take some work to maintain them that small.


Yea. Here is the slides from the presentation

How old are your trees and is this the first year they are producing?

My oldest was planted from a 3 gal May 2016. Another one last year. I have two freshly grafted ones ready to be planted soon.
The oldest is 7 ft tall, the first to flower, and large enough to hold fruit if the rains let up.

Of course, even this was decades old tech (before we even had computer modeling), let alone the century-old tech last attempted on Hawaii  :)

Modelling. HA! Our DMV is still tracking cars with 3x5 cards and a typewriter. I wish I was joking. You know how DMV is sometimes slow, well wait until the nice aunty gets the typewriter unjammed.

I have 2 trees, doing ok, just got blooms, but the wet spring / summer is surely going to cause anthracnose and powdery mildew.

I need to beef up my spraying.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Loaded little Sweet Tart
« on: May 04, 2018, 02:35:40 AM »
To say I am jealous would be an understatement. What are you feeding it? Looks like heavy mulch, but what else?

I spotted flowers on my sweet tart today... looks like its going to be a late season here. Now only if it would dry up, way too much rain here.

Hi Mark, I'm about to make a RootBuilderII purchase of the 100' rolls.  I mean to use it on the side of my house (as you can view here:  I haven't yet decided whether to block the bottom of the pot (no in ground roots) or allow root penetration (up/down).  The reason I would want to disallow below surface rooting are:
1) I might want to relocate these trees in the mid-term future.
2) The neighbor has three well established fruit trees, and I don't want those roots "feeding" into my rootbuilder soil
3) I had several trees in the area that I recently pulled up, and their roots are overrunning the sub-surface.

I'd love to hear what folks think about blocking the roots at the ground surface.

Another choice point I have.  I can purchase the double-height (34") Root-Builder roll.  This is double the cost, but it might work better if I were to block the surface off.  It would also give me more room to create a mulching layer.  Thoughts?

BTW, working with a local Hydro store, I was able to get the Wholesale pricing for these ($250/roll standard height).  Something to consider if others are looking to purchase in bulk.


3M makes an product, I forget the exact name. Its the one used by Dr Yonnemoto (Japanese greenhouse mangos) for keeping the roots from penetrating. I believe I posted the name on the forum a few years ago.  It's similar to tyvek but I think its thicker. If In a pinch I would use tyvek.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Any drawback to Maha chanok?
« on: March 09, 2018, 12:39:51 PM »

Kauai Nursery and landscaping (808-241-5165) carries a Maha Janok...might
be just a different spelling...try ask them.

It was discussed in a another thread, but I doubt the KNL Maha Chanok is the same as the Florida one (and I would venture to guess its different than the one at Frankie's). The scion for the KNL was "borrowed from King's garden in Thailand".  I expect flowers this year on one tree. I can take stem and leaf photos for comparison.

I would love to grow the the Floridian version against the KNL version. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Hoop house
« on: March 08, 2018, 02:23:29 PM »
I have a lot of weeds in the hoop house.  Big surprise I know.  What do you guys think about spraying with a pre emerchant?  I hate to spray chemicals in there but I wonder if I kill the weeds and sterilize it with pre emerchent that weeds will stay gone?

I have heard 95% shade cloth pulled tight and staked is the best solution. I used junk plywood on top of visquine, rotted in 2 years...

I would second what Simon says.

Also, from experience, the worst plan is to run out and buy 200 of a type of tree, say sapodilla (with a plan to farm), and then come a few years later it doesn't do well due to soil/climate. Best to try things on a small scale, wait a few years, then scale it up on what works. Fighting mother nature is relentless.

I just pugged my second lemon zest in an attempt to keep it short. I may have to pug my second sweet tart in order to keep it tame.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Homemade foliar spray
« on: February 23, 2018, 04:38:07 PM »
I am trying to keep our farm in compliance with Demeter organic farm standard. Which means at least 85% of all inputs/fertilizers, etc. need to be generated onsite. [...]

That seems highly challenging... or maybe not.  Maybe in that 15% you can supply all 3 mains and micros. The only thing you will be able to generate on site is nitrogen...

Back to the topic, I use kelp and EM1. I wonder if you can start a shallow algae pond.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Using weights on young mango trees
« on: February 23, 2018, 02:50:19 PM »
I had been using 7' long steel poles to try to pull down branches, and I was not extremely successful due to winds lifting the poles out that were hammered in. I recently watched a video on the youtube channel "What's Ripening". The video reviewed a technique of using weights that I had read about several times (and heard described by several speakers and posters on TFF).  Seeing it on video gave me the courage to try it on a few trees. It was very practical for the reasons described in the video.

One thing I have noticed over the last couple years, the first scaffold is extremely critical in the mango's growth habit. The better formed the first scaffold up from the ground the better shape the tree takes on over its life. I would like to hear other opinions.

I had some old broken hollow tile blocks I was planning to use for fill. Bought a few hundred feet of rope for a few dollars. So its a cheap fix.

Here is Simon discussing the idea a few years ago.

Here is a link to the video. I appreciate he shares his successes and failures, and hope to do the same for the fruit community. The video is long but watching a 10min video is better than recovering from a bunch of failures :)

One other thing I remember from Dr Yonnemoto (...I think it was him...), you want to keep an angle 10 degrees above the horizon. This encourages new growth on the terminal (via the auxins). If you bend it too far down, the tree will try to form new buds or push growth elsewhere. There was also another note on heaving a branch heavily loaded with fruit and the benefits of a slight upward angle.  Anyone hear of anything similar?

Here is an example (this is a slightly sick Juliette):



Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Any Info on Cotton Candy Mango?
« on: February 21, 2018, 04:39:59 PM »
I would like to note an observation, that the cotton candy branches are really stiff compared to other mango varieties. Could be just mine. I am optimistic that in the long run this will be a good habit for holding fruit (?. Hopefully stiff doesn't mean it will snap instead bend in the future...?!?).  I have two planted with 24 feet, fed about the same. The branches are mine don't bend at the same diameter that other mango varieties would easily bend. This has made it harder to shape the tree with weights unless they are tied at a very young age.  I am comparing this against about 40 other varieties of mango.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Good keledang and safu
« on: February 20, 2018, 07:57:26 PM »
Note, never bareroot Keledang (artocarpus Lanceifolius). They don't like it.

Lost a lot of good starters, even after nursing.

Carlos from Miami recommended these rotor sprays, I put them on 18" risers one on each side of trees. It is very easy to see if they clog, usually it is ants or spiders coming in from outside, the orifices are large enough to not clog. With low pressure they still cover 4 ft. diameter, with max pressure they cover +10 ft diameter. I interplant smaller plants heavily around trees and this pattern covers the entire root zone. I feel that keeping the entire root zone moist helps maintain soil life and encourage roots across a larger area than drip or microsprays.

I use a similar model found at the local hyrdo place.  They can be had for a couple bucks ea. They clog way less with ants.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pantin Mamey Height Reduction.
« on: February 13, 2018, 03:27:28 PM »
I visited the McBryde Garden (here on Kauai). They had a Mamey tree that must have been 60+ feet tall (wish I took a picture). Problem is when the Mamey's fell it was like a cannon hitting the ground and the fruit was completely destroyed.  Chickens ate the fragments. It was then that I decided that my Mamey cannot get too tall. 

Its been a battle to try to keep it low, as the tree wants to reach for the sky.

Most people don't prune. Just look around.

About Holiday:
I'm not sure why Julie Frink mentions it as one to plant if you have a small space in your yard, except that the tree is very small. I've never known a Holiday tree that is very productive, especially compared to some other smallish avocado trees like Pinkerton or Gwen. My suggestion to someone with a small space would be to grow one of those or a Reed or Lamb, and use your pruning shears to keep it to size. You're guaranteed to get more fruit that way. And isn't the fruit the reason to grow an avocado tree?

I agree with both these points. Another point, precociousness. Most homeowners want fruit now. The younger the tree that produces fruit, the happier the buyers.  People don't want to wait 3 years.  Holiday, Lamb Hass, Hass, Fantastic all produced fruit the first year out of a 3 gal. I didn't let them hold, but that would make homeowner's happy with a dooryard tree.

My favorite this year might be green gold. Solid flavor, late season.  That was out of Hass, Lamb Hass, Ota, Sharwil, Holiday, Murashige, and a few others.

Lemon zest needs pruning a little more than other varieties. Most I prune once a year, lemon zest gets a haircut twice a year.

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