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Messages - pineislander

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Guava pest help!
« on: June 06, 2020, 05:48:10 PM »
It looks like the pest is attacking during the fresh growth flush. The rolled up leaves are typical of caterpillars. Guava when growing strong is very resistant and should have little pest problems. Can you post some photos of the overall plants, how old they are, what the environment they are growing in is like? You are really going to have to identify what is happening to your fresh young growth and just spraying might help for a while but maybe not, as quick fixes usually do.

Just from a Florida perspective the Dwarf Plantain has been very good to me. I sell quite a few and planted 12 more last month.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What happened to Carambola?
« on: May 29, 2020, 06:45:16 PM »
Tell us about your Carambola. What size pot, what size tree, how long in the pot, what type water used, that sort of thing.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Blue Java Bananas
« on: May 29, 2020, 06:34:15 PM »

so i'm trying to find some of these. i'm in florida US and i'm having no luck. i havne't left hte house yet... just done a bit of googling. however, all i'm finding is seeds for the tree. i'm not looking for that. i'm looking to get some of the fruits themselves. and since i'm having no luck by myself, figured i'd go to a fruit forum and ask around. pls help.
Banana seeds are usually a scam, certainly for Blue Java. There are a few bananas which grow from seeds but they aren't edible. also be aware plenty of people photoshop the bananas blue. Lots of hype with the craze about "ice cream" bananas.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Squirrels
« on: May 28, 2020, 05:42:13 PM »
We had a saying regarding a supposed creature which Fish and Game somewhere said didn't exist but everybody knew they did.
S-O-S. Shoot shovel, shut up.
Eventually the beast from the forest became common enough they were killed on the roadways and Fish and Game said they "had escaped from someone". Then game cameras came along and the truth could no longer be denied. The Beast which could kill livestock and children was "Resident" to the state.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What Fruit/Tree is This???
« on: May 28, 2020, 05:35:39 PM »
Are those aerial roots coming from the tree, or unassociated vines? If aerial roots and from the leaves it looks like sort of fig there are many.


One of the most prolific plants for me this past dry season is called "Longevity spinach", it is edible but I am mainly using it as a living ground cover. It isn't a legume but is prolific in making succulent green matter. I have found that when trimmed and laid under/around trees the millipedes and other critters quickly convert it to manure which is free fertilizer exactly where it can be needed.

Here is a guava tree with the spinach placed underneath, probably 3-4 armfuls:

To preserve the moisture in the spinach and protect the creatures eating it I top off the mass with dried banana leaves:

The strategy is working. Here are some pics where I uncovered the spinach green manure to show it is being eaten by millipedes who are depositing their manure as small droplets. I've continued the process with many more trees.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What Fruit/Tree is This???
« on: May 28, 2020, 06:29:11 AM »
Take better pictures. leaf, fruit, seed, bark, trunk, leaf arrangement on stem, underside topside of leaf, smell when crushed, sap. Those are the sort of info needed.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Sour Sop Cold Dieback?
« on: May 27, 2020, 06:42:31 PM »
So I have a potted SourSop tree that has some cold damage from this past winter...It had some dieback but is pushing new leafs and branches starting at the base working up...Is there a chance that this tree will fruit this year ..My first soursop So still trying to figure it out.. Thanks
In semi/tropical conditions usually minimum 3 years to flower with trunk diameter ~ 3 inches.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Inches of Rain today Fl
« on: May 26, 2020, 08:43:23 PM »
Wish you had sent it SWFL some of us are still 6 inches in deficit, but we got a couple of inches over the weekend.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: How to get rid of birds?
« on: May 26, 2020, 08:41:52 PM »
I'm losing my mind trying to stop these damn black birds from pecking little holes in my lemon tree.
Maybe thee blackbirds are similar to crows, which are very intelligent and social. I used to grow quite a bit of sweet corn but far away from most other corn fields so the crows didn't have many corn fields to choose from except mine. Crows learn quickly enough that the just-sprouted sweet corn that emerges from the ground is a great treat, they can spot the light green ines right away and go down the line pulling and eating all day until they see you coming. My solution was to go hunt and shoot a crow somewhere then hang the dead crow up swinging next to the corn field. I usually would do it illegally in a drive-by fashion using a shotgun, but the technique really did work very well. The crows realized the threat and would not come around the other dead crow at all.

I grow a lot of papaya and some parts of the year this can be 100 pounds/week. This year I have 30 plants getting close to transplanting size. I always plant on mounds to keep the roots from drowning, but also plant the seedlings deeper in ground than they were in the pot. My ideal would be to plant from 10 inch diam pots a plant that is 12 inches tall, burying the plant halfway. As the plants grw they produce adventitioous roots along the trunk and within a short while are indistinguishable from ordinary planted papaya.

I haven't lost any of these planted deeply to either toppling or drowning, despite plenty of flooding and winds. I have had some blown so hard that they broke off with the fruit load. I actually dug out some 2 years old plants, rather like NewGen's pictures above, they just got too tall to harvest even with a ladder. If I get two years I consider that a good lifetime, it is time to replace them. The ones I dug which had been planted deeply had a huge root mass very deep and broad.

 I do find some volunteers which usually come up en masse with very many small plants, and I often select one or two and pull the rest, but they are usually so superficially rooted they eventually topple over or require propping up. These trees I usually just use for selling green papaya when people want to use it as a vegetable.

Just build a mound about a foot tall and six feet wide, plant on top then amend the top of the mound with compost, etc. Don't use a highly organic compost etc to build the mound it will collapse and expose the tree's rootball, use typical native soil for your area.
Be aware that the first 2-3 years potted trees are very sensitive to flooding imagine that they are essentially still in their pots. As they grow out their roots can somehow find some air to breathe. I watched 2 year old sugar apples sit in water with no problem for a week while all adjacent sugar apples just planted quicly drowned.

Yes you will need to water but budtropicals grows mainly in pots so should be used to it. Once the Jack gets it's roots down it will seldom want for water on most sites.

The palm growers use a power shovel to cleanly cut a root ball through dense palm roots. Our Florida sandy soils tend to not hold a good root ball together the sand tends to slough off. Using one of these shovels may get you a cleaner cut around the circumfrence and a better root mass than hacking with shovels. I agree with others, a rootball can weigh many hundreds of pounds I used a front end loader to move these palms they were probably 500 pounds.
The machine is clled a "Dyna Digger"


Well, if you are talking about a tiny shaded area with most plants/trees in pots your options for chop/drop plants decreases quickly. Most of these are pioneer species of plants which help in the recovery of barren, disturbed or degraded land or specialists which can take advantage of clearings in a forest. They are accumulators that can increase resources from very little with low inputs.

From the sound of it your conditions won't be accumulating they will have to rely on external inputs. 

All chop/drop plants mentioned above are 95% water so very very limited in effect/ Get a pile of wood chips dropped off. Talk to tree trimmers and get some. If you have the space and no HOA then use some to mulch now and leave half to rot in a pile.
No problem but no need to be dismissive, I will explain some of the effects you may be overlooking.
First off, my chop/drop technique really isn't much different from brought in tree trimmer mulch, is it?
Tree trimmer mulch itself is a chop/drop product, just done off site by others, mechanically sized and hauled in.
Well I only mentioned one plant out of many I use. And yes, it has a very high percentage water, but when consumed by the masses of millipedes on my property it directly becomes manure with a good nitrogen content. Especially when dried, the tree trimmer mulch is mainly carbon, yes that is good too. It has been about a week and I will try to uncover and take a photo of how it works. I also do get tree trimmer mulch for younger systems, 3 loads this week. You get a different profile of nutrients and carbon in fresh material, dry material, and the manure. Some chop/drop trees I am growing will have the huge carbon content which is found in woody mulch.

My goal like the original poster is to not need to haul in or haul around material. It is nice to be able to have your mulch located directly beside the crop you want to protect. Yes, I do begin by bringing in mulch but the goal is to create a self-accumulating ecosystem. Who mulches, irrigates and fertilizes the forest?

Here are two pics of systems I use. One uses a border of lemongrass which, when cut, does dry down to mainly carbon. The other is a tree row bordered by the legume Cajan cajanus (pigeon pea). Grown in place mulches have other benefits which tree trimmer mulch applied on the surface don't have. They break wind flow influencing evapotranspiration. They protect the soil from sun differently from mulch to provide direct shade not only for the soil but also for the plants, it is an open layered shade which mulch doesn't exactly provide. The legumes actually have roots which capture nitrogen from the air through nodulation. When the legumes are cut, the root mass sheds nitrogen at the same time the branches and leaves (also rich in nitrogen) become mulch in the chop/drop process. Further, while brought in mulch does cover the soil just like chop/drop mulch does it doesn't have the accompanying root system tht plants have. That unseen root system can represent an equal mass to the above ground mass working deep into the soil, creating nutrient pathways through soil & even decomposing to feeding soil life.

So I am getting getting multiple benefits tree trimmer mulch doesn't give, these benefits of these methods are considerable.

Pigeon peas:


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Lemon Zest
« on: May 22, 2020, 10:40:16 PM »
I see the 'beak' on cythompson's LZ so I think it's the real deal.
I happened to have both LZ and LM on the plate last week for a photoshoot.
Pretty sure my LZ is the real deal too since I bought 10 trees direct from ZHPP.
The LZ was picked a little early but they are first fruit on a 2 year old tree.

Not my tag I haven't sold any Lychee. Probably Pine Island nursery down in Miami. Almost certainly your tree was air layered and you might get fruit next year if grown well. I live on the real Pine Island, the biggest island in Florida most have never heard of. It is in Lee County just north of Sanibel which most have heard of.
Shhhh, keep Pine Island a secret, it really should be called Palm Island anyway, no beaches but a great place to grow things.

No, don't expect any one plant or even a dozen to solve all fertilizer or mulch problems. You could put whatever you like or nothing at all over things which are chop/drop. There really aren't specific prescriptions for any of this and it's up to the user to figure out what works and make use of what is around. Surely somewhere you could come up with palm  leaves, grass clippings, leaves of some sort that others don't want, that sort of thing. On days before yard waste pickup I drive through some residential areas and pick up free mulch materials when I have time. Once I loaded my truck with bags full of oak leaves someone raked up and placed by the curb. I took it back and it mulched a huge area. Then I noticed the leaves had been packed into used bags. That person had bought a whole pallet of dyed red mulch and then raked up all her leaves and threw them away!

I'm trying every legume plant possible here on Pine Island SWFL zone 10b/11. I'm also trialing other plants as 'chop and drop'.
The legumes can vary from short term annuals to long term fairly large trees with lifespan from 1 to 2 to 10 to 25 years, and growing heights from ground covers to 10 feet, 20 feet or as tall as you like.

Other plants can be used as chop/drop to produce mulch for ground cover, food for microorganisms and even food for macroorganisms. I am currently doing the chop/drop across 2 acres, the idea is to get this done about the same time that precipitation exceeds evaporation, which for us is the beginning of the rainy season.
One of the most prolific plants for me this past dry season is called "Longevity spinach", it is edible but I am mainly using it as a living ground cover. It isn't a legume but is prolific in making succulent green matter. I have found that when trimmed and laid under/around trees the millipedes and other critters quickly convert it to manure which is free fertilizer exactly where it can be needed.

Here is a guava tree with the spinach placed underneath, probably 3-4 armfuls:

To preserve the moisture in the spinach and protect the creatures eating it I top off the mass with dried banana leaves:

I only have a few legume trees which are big enough to use as chop/drop because most take time, years, to get large enough. There are quite a few fast biomass producers some legumes and others not. Ideally, if planted at the same time as the main element fruit trees, the legume and chop/drop trees will initially dominate but eventually be reduced as the system matures. There are other considerations like competition for resources like space, light, water, and nutrients. The mix should change over time in a sequence planned to increase the accumulated 'capital' of the site in terms of overall biomass being produced going to organic matter and soil cover.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Squirrels
« on: May 22, 2020, 06:30:29 PM »
2-3 buckets of grapes sounds like masked critters visited you every night, sometimes the whole family comes for a party while you sleep.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Papaya (again)
« on: May 22, 2020, 07:41:59 AM »
Regarding the sex of the plant Red Lady is described as:
F1 Hybrid with 50/50 ratio of hermaphrodite to female trees.

I have grown seedlings of Red Lady twice and out of 200 seeds never got a male. Somehow they select for this and the hermaphrodites act as pollen donors but if you were to get a female and had no nearby sources you might lack for pollination. I eventually got some males by self sown volunteer seedlings. The female are more round and hermaphroodite are more elongated. I had some fruit completeely seedless and many had very few seeds.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Garden hose
« on: May 21, 2020, 09:10:45 PM »
Lee County in SW Floridaa is a model for sewage sludge recovery. Most counties in Florida dump their sludge on land which is not a good practice. Our county teamed up with adjacent ones to compost the sludge at high tmperature very professionally along with ground yard waste. The product is tested and high quality.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Cold hearty tropicals
« on: May 21, 2020, 08:59:10 PM »
Try the Sweetie Pie thronless blackberries a sprawling variety very sweet and very low chill, they fruited this year in zone 10B.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Squirrels
« on: May 21, 2020, 08:54:28 PM »
I put my seeds in pots then put a wire cage over them so the squirrels can't eat them.
yes, I've seeen a large cage structure made of PVC 3ftH x 4 ft W/L and covered with chicken wire which can be easily lifted over for working.

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