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Messages - jbclem

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Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Avocado fruit
« on: January 25, 2020, 10:36:30 PM »
How would you compare the taste of Bacon, and Reed, to that of Fuerte?

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Wood chips for growing media
« on: October 14, 2019, 06:56:23 AM »
If you can find Earthgro Groundcover Bark, that was my favorite.  After Home Depot stoped carrying it, and OSH closed, I tried two types from Lowes.  I didn't like the pine bark mulch, but their Pathway Bark was better and I've been using it for a year now.  It sometimes has more heart wood than you'd like and it's as much shredded as chunks, but the only other solution I've found is to buy the larger Bark Nuggets and run them through an electric shredder.

If you have a pickup truck, landscape supply yards usually sell small bark by the yard or half yard, and it's much cheaper.  They call it Groundcover bark, pathway bark, or just small bark and I think the size is 1/4" to 1/2" though sometimes larger.

I've been using EB Stone pumice and the size varies between 1/8" and 1/2", but a lot of it is 3/8" and 1/2".  Do you think that's too large for soil mixes?


Brad, thanks for the're right, the shipping is the killer.  The Calcined Kaolin clay is cheap, there are online places selling it for 2.50/lb but shipping for a pound is high.  I've been calling around trying to find a crafts store or an art supply store that carries it locally, but haven't found anyone yet.  I've discovered that Glomax (Glo Max) is a brand name for calcined kaolin clay so I'll start looking for that also.

I have about 20 mostly young dwarf citrus in containers, and some of them are heavily infested this year and some not at all.  I go out at night and  find the mines/instars and rub them out, but with small leaves it takes a very light touch to unroll the tiny leaf and rub out the mines.  Most of the small leaves stay soft and flexible, but with some varieties(ie a Moro blood orange)  the leaves get stiff and crumbly and break when I try to unroll them. 

And even if the trees can survive the infestation(s), they can look so ugly and I really like a healthy looking citrus tree. 

I didn't know it took that much (6 cups/gallon) Surround to make a batch.  But since I'm only spraying the new very young leaves, I'm not going to use very much of this clay mix, especially since this is an experiment and I don't know if it will even work.

I'll keep looking for art and scupture supply stores.  Los Angeles is a big city, there has to be a source somewhere.

Citrus General Discussion / Calcined kaolin clay and Citrus Leaf Miner?
« on: September 30, 2019, 07:32:55 AM »
I was reading an article on an Australian fruit site where they were discussing dealing with a citrus gall wasp problem they have over there.  One of the treatments they tried was spraying Surround on some of 10 young trees in an experiment.  And they  noticed that none of the trees sprayed with Surround has any sign of CLM, although other adjacent trees had plenty of it. 

I'm going to try this if I can find a source of Surround in small quantity, a pound or less.  Has anyone tried this, and does anyone know where to buy Surround in small size bags?

Here in S.Calif, Fuerte has always been one of the most popular and best tasting avocados, comparable to Hass.  For some reason, I haven't seen Fuerte fruit in the stores for the last few years.  But the trees are easy to find at nurseries and big box stores.

I have a seedling Fuerte in a container and a store bought Fuerte I planted this past spring.  They can take the occasional 28F that I get, and if they can handle mid 20's F they should survive here.  But I don't think I'd plant a Fuerte if 15F was common every few years.  I'd be looking for some Duke seeds (which I am anyways) since Duke trees grow in a town just  north of Oroville, Calif where it's a lot colder than where I live.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: new growth flushes turning yellow/white
« on: September 24, 2019, 12:36:39 AM »
I've been dealing with spider mites on vegetable plants for years, fortunately not yet on my citrus.  But you guys seem to be guessing about the spider mites and the effect of the various treatments.  By the time you see webbing, you usually have a huge population of spider mites and their eggs.  By the time the leaves are all stippled, you have many many spider mites.

Here's an easy way to know exactly if you have spider mites and how many are left after you've soaked yourself trying to wash them off the trees (where do they go when they are washed off, and are the eggs also washed off?):

Try a hand held microscope, somewhere between 10x and 20x.  Here are links to the two kinds I've been using for about 5 years.  They work really well.  The first one isn't anywhere near the advertised 60x, but it gets you close enough to count the eggs, see the really young spider mites, watch them all wiggling their feelers/whiskers/front legs as they suck the life out of the plant.  The second one is a little less powerful than the first, but has a larger field of view and is better made.

Myself,  I don't use pesticides, so I'm stuck with Safer Soap which kills them dead but you have to be very persistent since the eggs will keep hatching if you don't come back every 3 or 4 days.  I'm also experimenting with a handheld vacuum cleaner, trying to find a way to do it without damaging the leaves. Citrus leaves are much tougher than vegetable leaves, so vacuuming might be easier to use on Citrus.

Ilya, thanks for the photos.  They are very useful.  I made my way through the French and looks like it's not recommended for containers.  I wish they had given the percentage in the mix of each ingredient (bark, vegetable compost, vegetable matter and fiber).  For my potting mix I'm using aprox 1/3rd groundcover bark, 1/3rd peat moss, 1/3rd compost, but I often kick up the percentage of bark.  Since my bark isn't composted, the mix isn't as fine as the one in the photo.

This looks much better than just adding peat moss to the soil.  I think I'll try a variation of my mix with a citrus tree and see how it works.  I wonder how much I should add in a 3'x3' hole, 24" deep.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Leaf miners
« on: September 23, 2019, 11:22:25 PM »
Would horticultural oil work as well as the neem oil?  Or does the neem oil have a repellent component?

I do have some 100% neem oil but it's at least 5 years old, and I don't know if it's still good to use.  And I just bought horticultural oil (Bonide).  I've also read that when you mix a batch of neem oil it's only good for about 6 hours, though I'm not sure why. 

Any opinions on my adding small bark chunks to the soil to help with water retention?


Do you know how that pine bark compost is made...and if it's mixed with anything else.  i make my potting soil mix with what's called Groundcover Bark, which are small pieces of bark usually pine or fir, and compost, and about 1/3rd peat moss.  It provides more air space than peat moss would.  The question is how much it has to be composted.  I've been using it straight out of the bag for my potting soil mix.

If you know the brand name I might be able to look it up, depending on which language the information is in. 


I've read that you don't need to and shouldn't add any soil amendments when you are planting a citrus tree in the ground.  But my soil doesn't hold moisture that well and I end up watering a lot in the long hot summers.  Soil tests show that I have sandy silt and/or silty sand type soil.  And my own jar soil tests usually don't show any(or very little) organic matter.   So I'm thinking of trying what I've been doing with my vegetable plantings, adding peat moss to the soil.  For the vegetables I've also been adding compost from my compost piles when it's available.

I'd like to hear some opinions about this, especially why it might not be advisable.



Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Red rover passionfruit plant
« on: July 12, 2019, 05:28:55 AM »
Hi Brad,  I'd like to get 4 Red Rover cuttings from you.  Also, do you have Avocado scionwood, or by any chance Loquat? 

How much do you need for shipping?

Topanga, Ca 90290

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Where to buy shade cloth?
« on: July 12, 2019, 04:54:32 AM »
I don't know how easy it will be to find 30% shade cloth, most that I've seen at stores and nurseries is between 50% and 70%, with 60% being the most common.

If you have a Harbor Freight nearby, go check out what they call Mesh Weave Tarp.  I've been using it for a couple of years, and buy more every time they have a 25%off sale.  I think it's 65% shade cloth, very good quality, comes in four or 5 sizes, has a reinforced hem with grommets.  I'm using the 8' x 16' size and it's $30 regular price so I've been paying $23-24 for it.  Harbor Freight has more sales than a dog has fleas.  Get on their mailing list and wait for the 20-25% off coupons.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Current UCR budwood prices ?
« on: May 19, 2019, 05:56:32 AM »
That's what I was thinking of doing.  I wonder if I can take a bud directly off a branch without cutting the branch off.  Would this harm the branch or will it eventually callous over and heal. 

Citrus General Discussion / Current UCR budwood prices ?
« on: May 18, 2019, 08:47:52 PM »
When I've ordered previously, the UCR (CCPP) budwood prices were $0.75 per bud.  And although it is still listed as this on one website, when I try to place an order, on their revamped order form site, the price is $1.50 per bud.  Which makes it too high for me given my low percentage of takes when bud grafting.
Could someone confirm this new price level?  I've tried emailing them twice but no one is answering.


If I can get some budwood, looks iike I'll be the first to try it here in S. Calif.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grafting Question: Advice Needed
« on: April 16, 2019, 07:19:59 AM »
Aren't you talking about buds in forks?  What I've read here is that the first 2-4 nodes on the branch (that is cut off to become scionwood) are the blind ones.  You count from the attachment point of this branch/cutting.  So if the CCPP is giving you cuttings that include the end that was attached to the trunk, or to a branch, then you are getting 2-4 blind buds.  If they are deliberately counting 4 buds away from the trunk or branch and then making the cut, they are giving you a cutting without blind buds.  That's how I'm understanding it.

I've been exchanging emails with Rock Christiano at the CCPP.  I'll ask him about this.


Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grafting Question: Advice Needed
« on: April 16, 2019, 04:46:52 AM »
Kelley, how can you tell that the buds aren't blind.  Do they look different from blind buds?

MrTexas said this: "You can usually tell if the lowest buds are blind or not by inspecting to make sure there is a bud there."  But this statement didn't make sense to me.  Unless "blind bud" literally means a junction (leaf junction?)  on a piece of wood without a bud in the junction. 

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grafting Question: Advice Needed
« on: April 15, 2019, 08:40:49 PM »
I'm curious to know if the bud sticks that we order from UCR are entire branches, including blind buds, or if they make their cuts to avoid these buds.

Is anyone growing Femminello Siracusano 2KR lemon in the Los Angeles area.  I ask because I've read that it can't tolerate dry weather and wind.  And we are nothing if not dry in these parts, not to mention the yearly bouts of strong SantaAna winds.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Growing avocado in sandy soil
« on: November 05, 2018, 03:43:33 AM »
Thanks everyone for the ideas.  This Fuerte was kept in the container (a deep 9x16" black plastic from Stuewe) for at least two years.  It flushed and bloomed(a bit) last year but didn't set any fruit.  The tree came from C&M Nursery in Nipono.  It's planted on the side of a steep hill on a 8'x4' ledge behind a small retaining wall I built. About 5 feet below it is an Oak tree (probably scrub Oak) that shades the tree from the hot late afternoon sun...that's why I planted the Fuerte in this spot.

Soil tests were done five years ago, the holes dug 4-5' deep,  and showed silty sand and sandy silt.  No mention of organic matter.  And when I've done the settling soil test in a jar of water, there is very little organic matter, and usually just one layer of what I'd guess is sandy silt. Or silty sand.

When I planted it in June this year 2018 (on a small mound but it's settled now to ground level.) the root system looked good and there was a lot of it in the middle and lower part of the container.  There is a 2-3' diameter stucco wire (high quality chicken wire 1" holes) cage around the roots because this is a gopher hill it's planted on.  Right now there are no gophers present in the hill and no sign of tunnels pointed at this tree.  I believe I added some compost to the soil but judging by how often I have to water, not enough.  A few months after I planted it I spread bark mulch around the base, but not up to the base.  A month ago I pulled some o it back because I couldn't see the ground when I was watering the tree.

The trunk is protected from the sun by the cardboard that came with the tree and a piece of shade cloth I draped in front of the trunk.  The tree itself is inside a five foot high, 4 foot diameter deer cage.  Since I planted the tree I've had some 60% shade cloth hug on the front of the deer cage so most of the summer sun has been filtered through the shade cloth.  Windwise, on the north side of the tree there are some thick trees that block a lot of the common Santa Ana winds we get this time of the year.  The sea breeze (from the S and SW) usually isn't very strong up here (1100 ft elevation) in Topanga Canyon.  The strong winds are the NE-NW Santa Ana's and they haven't affected the tree at all so far.  Grasswise, grass does not grow in this sandy soil without lot's of water.  So the only things that grow are native weeds and plants I've planted and watered.  I water by hand.  Yesterday I let the hose run for 15 minutes to the base of the tree, filling the mulch basin I built around it. Previous watering was three days ago, and yesterday the tree was drooping before I watered it.  It had picked up when I checked it today.

This tree hasn't flushed any new growth since I planted it, but the leaves look healthy and I don't think it's dropped any.  It just droops if I don't water every 2 or 3 days.  And the soil feels moist even when it's drooping, so the soil isn't drying out that much in the interval.

I like the idea of planting some hairy vetch if the roots would put organic matter into the soil...did I understand that correctly?

Jack from you know how many gallons of water each day you give each avocado trees in the summer, and how hot does it get there?  Summer's here give us 90-95F weather sometimes until Sept-Oct.  It's been cool-ish lately, the days 80-85F, nights in the low 50's this week but low 60's the past two weeks.

Top dress with a foot of compost?  That's a lot of compost...there are no worms in this dry soil, but I have red worms in my compost pile.  Will they really move the compost down into the soil?  That would be worth trying.

I haven't fertilized the tree since I planted it, and I did so sparingly when it was in the container.  I'd like to hear some suggestions about this.  I do have Osmocote Plus which is slow release.  I also have Jack's Citrus fertilizer, and Miracle Gro, and Ammonium Sulfate, and Mir-Acid.

I hope I've covered all the questions...

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Growing avocado in sandy soil
« on: November 02, 2018, 05:27:16 AM »
I have a two year old Fuerte that I recently planted in soil that's classified as sandy silt or silty sand.  The problem seems to be either that it drains too fast or just doesn't retain enough moisture for the roots to take in.  Even now, in daytime 70-80F fall weather(S. Calif zip 90290), I need to water every two or three days or the leaves will start to droop.  They pick up after I water, but I'd like to know what I can do to lengthen the watering interval.

I'm also concerned about root rot (from watering so much) even though the soil is sandy.

And for the next avocado I plant, I'd like to add to the sandy soil to try to alleviate this problem.  I'm thinking of peat moss, and compost, but also worried that too much organic matter might increase the chances of root rot.

Any opinions and suggestions for me?


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Growing avocados in gopher land
« on: November 19, 2016, 06:12:30 AM »
Fruitlovers, do you remember the mesh size of the hardware cloth you used when you were living in S. Calif.  It's easy to find 100 ft rolls of  1/2" mesh, but much harder to find larger sizes.  I'd like to find some 3/4" or 1" mesh hardware cloth.

ScottR, check out Stucco wire.  You can find it at Home Depot, it's about $45 for a 36" x 150ft roll and much higher quality than the Chinese chicken wire that's available everywhere.  It's made in the USA. by Davis Wire.  I find that the holes are usually exactly 1" whereas chicken wire holes vary up to 1.5" which might let a skinny gopher through.  So it's much cheaper and will last longer than the Chinese chicken wire.  You can see the quality difference just by looking at it in the store.

I like the idea of gopher snakes.  Will they stick around after they eat the resident gopher?


I read in an older Willets & Newcomb newsletter(2007), that magnesium nitrate was the best way to correct magnesium deficiency in citrus.  " Magnesium sulfate has not
been found effective as a foliar spray.  Magnesium nitrate has been demonstrated to correct magnesium deficiency."  They also mentioned that in the acidic citrus soils of Florida, magnesium deficiencies had been successfully treated with magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salts).  And that "correcting magnesium deficiency in the soil can be slow in acid soils and very difficult in alkaline soils. Foliar sprays have had the best effect".
 Willets & Newcomb are a wholesale nursery here in California, one of the citrus suppliers for Costco.

I also have a 1969 paper from the Florida State Horticultural Society about correcting magnesium deficiencies in limes, in calcareous soils, using magnesium nitrate.  They wrote: "magnesium nitrate at 10 pounds per 100 gallons was  sprayed  on  spring-flush  leaves 2/3rds to 3/4 expanded.  Magnesium deficiency symptoms were practically eliminated in 4 to 6 months.  The use of  magnesium  sulfate  alone  as  a foliar  spray has produced little or no correction of magnesium deficiency in leaves(5)".  Also, for maximum absorption, magnesium nitrate residues should remain on leaf surfaces for 72 hours or longer before rain or irrigation."  I have this paper as a pdf file if anyone wants a copy.

It took me a while to find magnesium nitrate in small quantities at a reasonable price, found it at a hydroponics website.  It was called Magnisal.  I bought a pound of it and used it for a while, but ran out and haven't re-ordered.  I mostly used it mixed with a soluble fertilizer, only tried it once as a foliar I'm not sure if it's what worked but nine months later my container citrus leaves are looking pretty good, the yellow areas in older leaves mostly gone..   It's available if anyone wants to try it.  I ordered it from this place:

As an aside, I also ordered S.T.E.M  (soluble trace element mix) from them.  And I've occasionally added it to my miracle-gro soluble fertilizer application.

Sorry to barge in, but I'd like to know what you think of this information Millet.

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