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Messages - Cookie Monster

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1
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mulch problem - need your help
« on: April 19, 2019, 09:34:05 PM »
Yay! Usually they are willing to work with you.

@Cookie Monster : I wish Cerritos has that program.  If it did, I would be in a better place :)  I remember you have about 1000+ cubic yard of mulch added to your property?  My current count is about 70 yards.

@seanny : I used to have those black edging around the trees but the trees outgrew it.

@sahai1 : You remind me of those guys from Primitive Technology on youtube.  Haha.  They can dig a huge hole with just a sharp stick!  Crazy.

@Behl : Your front yard looks great!  I bet you have a lust tropical forest hiding behind your wall.

The city enforcement officer came out today to see what I did to the yard.  I moved the dead leaves under the lychee tree to the longan tree and he seems ok with it since it is no longer visible from the street.  I also tidy up the yard by raking the mulch to spread it more evenly.  He told me to add more ground cover to the area under the mango trees and he will pull my public hearing from the city's agenda next week!  To which I enthusiasticly said, you got it.  This is indeed a happy Good Friday.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

2
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Sweetheart Lychee 2019 FL
« on: April 19, 2019, 06:50:37 PM »
Lucky. Sweetheart are ridiculously delicious.

3
I use 1 tbs per gallon.

I purchased Nordox a few months ago based on someone's recommendation. Not entirely sure how much I should be using per gallon though. I've been using around 1 TBSP for a 3 gallon container.

4
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mulch problem - need your help
« on: April 18, 2019, 11:35:05 PM »
That doesn't sound right. I don't see any references to your city code defining mulch. You may want to politely ask him for the reference from municipal code that defines mulch as such.

Moreover, most cities encourage tree trimmer mulch, as it diverts waste from landfills. For example, here's what the city of Long Beach has to say on the subject:

Every year the City of Long Beach produces an average of 12,000 tons of green waste from standard tree trimming maintenance. The City works to keep this resource from going to landfills by placing mulch on vacant property owned by the City. Every year, Operation Mulch-A-Lot places 6,000 tons of mulch on vacant City lots, with an additional 600 tons annually being delivered to Long Beach residents through our Mulch Delivery Program.

Mulch from City tree trimming operations offers a number of landscaping advantages including weed reduction, added nutrients, soil temperature moderation, water retention, improved soil structure, beautification, and improved root systems. We recommend the mulch be used as ground cover, at least 2" thick (4" if being used for weed reduction). After about 12-18 months, the mulch will become a fine, compost material that can then be worked into the soil.


http://www.longbeach.gov/sustainability/programs/mulch-delivery-and-pickup/

Today, the city planner approved my parkway design including the mulch.  She said it must be clean looking, that is, the mulch should not spread to the sidewalk or the street.  However, when I took the approved plan to the code enforcement officer and showed it to him, he said mulch cannot include dead leaves.  Dead leaves equal dead vegetation and you cannot have dead vegetation visible for public view.  I think mulch as defined by him is a bag of mulch that you get from the big box store.

5
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mulch problem - need your help
« on: April 17, 2019, 07:59:06 PM »
I think City of Tamarac changed their code since I last looked. They used to have a calculation that described the amount of nonliving ground cover permitted based on tree size. Now it reads as follows:

"All lot areas not covered by driveways, or other paved areas or structures shall be planted with lawn grass, ground cover or other appropriate landscape materials, free of weeds. Lawns shall be neatly maintained at a height of four (4) inches or less."

And they define landscape materials as

"Landscape material means any of the following, or a combination thereof, including, but not limited to, grass, ground cover, shrubs, vines, hedges, trees or palms and other materials such as rocks, pebbles, sand, mulch; but not including paving."

Victory for the Tamarac mulchers?

6
HAHAHA yah there is some sort of positive correlation between wealth and aversion to foliage / nature / anything remotely unkempt.

What neighborhood in Parkland? Several of the HOAs (suchbas Heron Bay) specifically do not allow fruit trees. Others are insane with requiring architectural drawings, disclosure of the type of trees, etc. to the point I'd probably just pull my hair out (such as Cypress Head).

7
If memory serves, I got that from "An Illustrated Guide to Pruning" by Gilman (this guy: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_a24555900) several years ago and eventually agreed with the results after giving it a shot (I had previously been pruning under growth too quickly, in an attempt to push trees upwards and give myself some space to walk).

8
It's a good idea to leave low branches until the tree is somewhat established. Doing so helps the trunk to thicken. If you encourage direct vertical growth at a young age, it can encourage thin / spindly trunks.

Usually, though, we try to encourage bi- or tri-furcation on our fruit trees at 3 - 4 foot height, with the goal of producing trees that are wider than tall.

9
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: To Mulch or Not to Mulch (Fruit Trees)
« on: April 17, 2019, 10:41:52 AM »
Thanks. The soil is very healthy. Lots of earthworms and microbial activity. The counter-intuitive part was that my trees were all experiencing worsening nutrient deficiencies and the quality of fruit was steadily declining year after year as I continued to apply mulch. That's when I hired Har to consult, who guided me through the process of discovery that mulch alone is not sufficient for healthy plants. Took me a couple of years before I finally was able to believe it.

The awesome part is -- once I started laying down nutrition, tree health and fruit quality started to improve, and now my trees are healthier than ever. That soil is sort of like a giant reservoir. Once you fill it up, it holds nutrients very well. CEC is in the 20's.

A lot of people reference environments like the amazon rainforest as evidence as to why mulch alone is sufficient. However, few realize that the amazon rainforest actually gets its nutrition from the sky -- in the form of dust storms from ancient sea beds, which travel across the ocean. Unfortunately, Florida doesn't benefit from that :-).

Contrary to what I once believed, conventional fertilizers don't seem to have an impact on soil beneficials. I've been using conventional fertilizers for over 3 years, and worm activity has not declined as far as I can tell.

At any rate, the key is to come to grips with the notion that mulching alone is usually not sufficient, which for me was a tough pill to swallow. Over the short term, mulch doesn't have much of an effect. But after many years of mulching and the accumulation several inches of decomposed plant matter (where feeder roots begin to live exclusively in the decomposed mulch), the effects are easily observed. Also, a simple mulch ring around a tree will likely never have a significant impact on tree health nor fruit quality. It's only when you mulch over the entire yard, where one is substantially changing the soil composition, that the adverse affects are readily visible.

That there is a healthy layer of topsoil you've generated.  After two years of mulching I'm now starting to see this too.

10
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mulch problem - need your help
« on: April 17, 2019, 09:58:48 AM »
I don't think a right to farm act would help this individual. Had his farm been established prior to the urbanization of the neighborhood, then it would definitely be protected (under FL law at least). But establishing a new farm in a residential area is going to be an issue. A lot of cities specifically prohibit the conducting of commercial businesses in a residential area. In the case of Florida, one even forfeits their right to homestead protection if the home is used to conduct business.

OP should attend the hearing and try to work out a compromise. They are very likely going to want some trees to be removed and the mulching to be curtailed to some degree. But trying to defy them is going to be an uphill battle. If the situation is not addressed, they will ultimately place a lien against the property, at which point lawyers will need to get involved... a messy situation.

Alternately, OP could consider fencing in the property?

Here's the section of code that they are probably referencing:

"(2) The condition of the property is unsightly in appearance and is out of harmony or conformity with the maintenance standards of adjacent properties so as to cause a substantial diminution of the enjoyment, use or property values of such adjacent properties;"

11
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Mulch problem - need your help
« on: April 16, 2019, 08:57:48 PM »
What section of municipal code are they citing? https://www.codepublishing.com/CA/Cerritos/

This is the reason why I've chosen to live in a blue-collar neighborhood.. even though I've paid off the mortgage and could easily "upgrade." It seems that there is a positive correlation between picky / finicky neighbors and median household income (or alternately median household wealth).

I asked my HOA if it would be OK to mulch over the entire back yard. The response I got was "we need to consult our attorney." I just went ahead and did it anyway. That was 12 years ago.

At any rate, cities only tend to be concerned with mulching the front yard. Backyard shouldn't be an issue. What's odd is that a Leftist California city would prefer grass over mulch -- in an area known for its water shortages and where environmental issues as mundane as cow flatulation are regulated by state law.

12
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: To Mulch or Not to Mulch (Fruit Trees)
« on: April 16, 2019, 07:09:53 PM »
The related issue is that the feeder roots start to favor the thin layer of decomposed mulch (which holds moisture) and when drought hits, the trees do poorly due to the shallow root system.

The only issue i have had with mulching is once you start its hard to stop. The tree roots grow up into the mulch and when the mulch is gone the roots are exposed. Black sapote trees that we have here suffered from this badly.

13
for the regular jabo, it's by color. Should be as black as possible. Not sure about the red one.

14
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: To Mulch or Not to Mulch (Fruit Trees)
« on: April 16, 2019, 05:53:19 PM »
Here's what 12+ years of mulching looks like after it's fully decomposed. This layer is 6 - 10 inches deep across 1/3 acre. The earthworms do a great job of mixing the sand below with the decomposed mulch above.









15
Thanks! Mine is somewhere around 6 - 7 feet tall but over 10 years old.

Wow Jeff - congrats !! I havenít been on the forum for awhile , Happily surprised to see your Lucs fruiting so well !

My Lucs is putting on size, no fruit growing so far this year.  Over 10í tall.

Seems as yours is genetically more prolific.

16
Looking forward to it. This is an awesome resource.

Thanks for the comments Jeff. We Plan on updating those descriptions again after the season is over as thereís a decent amount of stuff fruiting for first time.

17
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: My pickering mango tree is hurt...
« on: April 14, 2019, 12:35:41 PM »
New disease that was described in another post from a few weeks ago. Harmless. Most of my trees have it now too.

18
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Aichacharu first fruits - SFl
« on: April 14, 2019, 12:34:05 PM »
Nuts! Must update on flavor when ripe.

19
OK this one had more acidity to it. I think I let the others ripen too long. Seed to flesh ratio isn't quite what I was hoping for. The 2 seeds were huge on this one. Flavor is quite good though.


20
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: To Mulch or Not to Mulch (Fruit Trees)
« on: April 13, 2019, 10:47:27 AM »
How long does it take for mulch to decompose there?

How far inland are you? Coastal San Diego was a dream when I was out there, except for the occasional Santa Ana winds that would kick the temps up 15 - 20 degrees with 0* humidity (which was nice 'cause the night time temps would get up into the 70's for a change).

I lived in Ventura County for 30 years (mostly Santa Paula), fled to Florida when housing prices started to go nuts. 12 years later, I still miss the climate. With the humidity here, I think our heat index is probably around 110* -- but for like 5 straight months without a single day of reprieve.

Yah, you spoiled southern californians don't have the psycho heat, humidity, and rain that we have here. That load of mulch would be fully decomposed in 12 to 18 months here. After 12 years of doing that, you get a layer of muck.

The very first layer of mulch takes a bit longer (24+ months here). But once the first layer decomposes and the soil builds up bacteria / fungi, the next layer decomposes a lot quicker.

If you feed it nitrogen, it's even quicker.

I don't end up with muck after it breaks down either like cookie mentioned.  Below the mulch and above the original soil is about an inch or so layer of soft fluffy black stuff that looks like worm castings.  Its not mucky at all.

I will take some of that humidity off your hands.  When its 115 and 0% RH out and strong wind it makes gardening a challenge.

21
Ahh darnit. I wanted tart. As for flavor comparisons, too early to say. I've only ever had a couple of mangosteens that I got at an asian market.

Are these supposed to be sub-acid? The couple I've had so far have been really sweet but with no detectable acidity.

I remember Raul mentioned that if u want with sub-acid u go with the sharpie variety..

I suppose u have the regular luc variety. How does it taste compare to mangosteen and what fruit is it comparable to? Like an improved achaacha?

22
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: To Mulch or Not to Mulch (Fruit Trees)
« on: April 12, 2019, 10:26:29 PM »
Yah, you spoiled southern californians don't have the psycho heat, humidity, and rain that we have here. That load of mulch would be fully decomposed in 12 to 18 months here. After 12 years of doing that, you get a layer of muck.

The very first layer of mulch takes a bit longer (24+ months here). But once the first layer decomposes and the soil builds up bacteria / fungi, the next layer decomposes a lot quicker.

If you feed it nitrogen, it's even quicker.

I don't end up with muck after it breaks down either like cookie mentioned.  Below the mulch and above the original soil is about an inch or so layer of soft fluffy black stuff that looks like worm castings.  Its not mucky at all.

23
Are these supposed to be sub-acid? The couple I've had so far have been really sweet but with no detectable acidity.

24
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: To Mulch or Not to Mulch (Fruit Trees)
« on: April 12, 2019, 05:05:52 PM »
Mulch does provide a significant amount of P and K, (and N depending on the source ,ie, leafy vs woody). But the ratio of K to Ca in mulch is usually 1 to 1, which is bad for brix and flesh quality, since K takes up exchange sites that would normally be occupied by Ca. Generally want K to Ca to be 1 to 10.

You can literally watch the quality / color / flesh / brix changes by manipulating K - to - Ca ratios. I've done it.

Mulch also provides off-the-charts P in relation to K. Again not a good thing.

However while mulch provides N-P-K, organic matter locks up some micronutrients. For example, a method to ameliorate copper toxicity in soil is to add organic matter (which makes it less available).

I suppose this is somewhat dependent on mulch type. I used tree trimmer mulch, which was a mix of leaf + wood.

25
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: To Mulch or Not to Mulch (Fruit Trees)
« on: April 12, 2019, 04:15:28 PM »
There are myriad other factors. For example, the amazon rainforest gets nutrition from the sky: https://www.wired.com/2015/02/sahara-keeps-amazon-green/

Also, plants like mangoes are not necessarily what one would find in a rain forest :-).

At any rate, those were my observations from a little over a decade of heavy mulching (> thousand cu yards). There's plenty of info online indicating that my experience wasn't unique.

If you go into a forest the ground is littered with fallen leaves, twigs, branches etc. Noone is watering or fertilizing these trees and they may be hundreds or thousands of years old. There are vast mycorrhizal networks connecting these trees and they share nutrients and water. They thrive in a fungally dominated soil that is created by the trees themselves. I believe replication of this by layering tree trimmer mulch is an ideal environment to grow trees. I have been adding mulch for years consisting of tree trimmer mulch, oak leaves and yard waste and have observed no negative effects nor mineral deficiencies. The soil life is alive and loaded with worms, fungi etc.

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