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Topics - Mark in Texas

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Citrus General Discussion / Citrus harvest - recovery, grafts, harvests
« on: November 24, 2019, 10:44:43 AM »
March 2018 after Jan. 2018 heater failure. 18F temps.

Grafted at least 50 scions on 2 trees.  All 4 citrus trees are bearing heavy.  Bet I harvested 400 key limes & Eustis limequats (delish!) this year.  Now comes Persian.  Lots of oranges - Blood, Hamlin, Marrs.  Some of these Marrs are as big as grapefruit.   Super sweet and juicy. Meyer lemon tree is loaded.  Scion was put grafted to Flying Dragon around 2008.  Local grocery store is selling 5 Meyers for $6. 

Ya'll have a fun and safe Tday!

Citrus General Discussion / Marrs oranges
« on: September 23, 2019, 08:15:14 AM »
Did about 50 grafts to citrus trees last year that were frozen to the ground Jan. 2018.  Here's a cluster of 7 huge Marrs oranges on one graft.  Word is folks from California call this one "Texas Sweet". it's low acid very sweet and juicy fruit that hasn't been sold in local nurseries for a long time. 

Have been juicing, zesting and freezing super fragrant, oily key limes for months.  All citrus froze to the ground Jan. 2018 and is making a huge crop now from original stock and about 50 grafts to 3 trees.

Nothing like a frozen cocktail during this Texas heat.  Ice cubes/juice of fresh blood oranges, key limes; limequat concentrate, Blanco tequila, Bacardi, Triple Sec, agave syrup, water, ice cubes.  Blend, freeze overnight, blend, serve.  Topped off with an Italian Amarena black cherry.

Funny but I've been growing avocados since the 80's and never given any thought as to what foliar flushes the flowers push from.  Can I assume it's the previous year's growth including several flushes back, OR, is it only the most recent one?  Reason why I ask is my Reed is super vigorous and needs another haircut, it's 3rd for this year at least.  Am keeping it below 13'. 

Change gears, ate our first pitaya yesterday.  I started planted cuttings last year and the 4 are blooming like crazy - Sugar, Physical Graffiti, Santa Barbara Red, Frankie's Red.  In fact, the vigor is over the top on everything but the cocktail cherimoya which looks like crap. I don't think it likes the 100F + days.

Reed in June.  Add 2' all around now.

White Sugarloaf and others are doing the same thing - all pups, and mama won't grow big enough to fruit.  Before the Jan. 2018 freeze hit I had some 4' or so wide, big enough to fruit. 

Citrus General Discussion / No growth on a Persian lime tree
« on: May 27, 2019, 08:15:38 AM »
Am stumped.  Last year I bought a Persian lime tree (probably on Swingle rootstock) with the intention of only taking scions and grafting them.  Well, the scions took and are growing well on host trees like key lime.  I decided to plant the little tree in my usual RootBuilder pot.  it flowered, set fruit but it has been stunted with NO foliage output since I planted it.  Don't think it has HLB.  May have had a case of mites which I nailed. 

Have hit it with a high N food trying to kick it in the rear.  Here it is June and nothing.  Weird......

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Paclobutrazol on avocado
« on: March 03, 2019, 09:08:48 AM »
Anyone have first hand experience using paclo on avocados?  It's been used for decades on mangos in India.

I've been using it for years to decrease internode length, for dwarfing.  According to this study the increase in yields are not only incredible during "good" years but also during off years.   We're talking - "reaching 97 and 174% above the controls in two groves".  "The best additional yields, of 379 and 546% in two different groves, were obtained from sprays at the stages of elongating inflorescences and incipient anthesis."

Some of my mangos are taking a beating. In making up a batch of soil I used compost that was obviously made with manure tainted with broad leaf herbicides sourced from our local stockyard.   Young mangos planted late spring with a soil mix containing this compost shows the  usual herbicide signs - twisted branches and leaves,  new grafts that don't grow right, leaves with chlorosis.  Hoping to leech it out I have drenched the raised beds with well and rain water but it's not working.  I have also planted grasses like bluestem grass seeds with the intent of uptake and then disposing of the infected grasses.  My veggie garden was a total failure this year after working in a lot of this local compost on it.   Any active "micro" life that is the real deal that might work to break down this crap?

I have a 6 yr. old propane fed Reznor UDAP 120K heater which crapped out on me last year resulting in years of grafting/growing losses, much less the emotional strain.  Tech fixed it and sure enough, we get 23F lows the other day and it failed at about 5:00.  Luckily had only a low of 30F but still lost a few new grafts and a large bearing tomato plant.  I did 86 grafts this year on citrus, avocado, annona and mango and don't want to go thru this again! 

After narrowing my choices down between a L.B. White Thermoglow 120 and a Sterling GG 105, think I'm gonna go with the Sterling.  Lots to like and the change out will be easy. 

Thoughts based on experience?  Am looking for a heater that is reliable.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Easy peasy (and cheap) pitaya trellis
« on: September 22, 2018, 08:56:49 AM »
Pitaya trellis is in place. Easy peasy - 1" PVC, old cattle panel laying around, wire loom on the perimeter to protect the tender tissue.  5' high X 2' W X 6' long.

Santa Barbara red, Physical Graffiti, Sugar, and the bare spot on the left will host a Frankie's red now in a pot in a bottomless, raised bed of RootBuilder.  Food is exclusively Osmocote Indoor/Outdoor.

Top, ready for the 6 legs.

As an aside, checked the pH of my rainwater. 5.32!  Don't have a clue why.

All my fairly young PIN mango trees are showing what I suspect is broadleaf herbicide damage due to mixing in and top dressing the pots with pine bark mulch, Lowe's Landscaping brand and another one from a local lumber yard which was pine bark fines.  What I don't understand is why some of the leaves are huge and perfect and others on the same plant are twisted and cupped like this Pickering.

Here's an old pot with 3 varieties on what was a Mallika, now Turpentine - Pineapple Pleasure, Juicy Peach and Orange Sherbet growing very well.  2 mos. ago I put the OS on it and it's already on its 3rd set of leaves - bottom right.  Has to be the mulch, right?   ???

I highly recommend getting certified disease free wood from the TX Aggies, Weslaco....and it aint just HLB you need to worry about, it's stuff like tristeza and about a dozen other diseases.  Since March I've done 37 citrus grafts and recently got 40 buds from the Aggie budwood program and shared some of it with 2 other growers.

From Mark VanNess, program manager, via an email:

"One of the biggest threats to the citrus industry is the spread of disease by movement of plants or receiving budwood from an unknown, uncertified source.  We spend over $40,000 annually in an extensive testing program for our Foundation and Scion source trees.  All trees are individually tested for Huanglongbing (Citrus greening) , Citrus tristeza virus, Citrus Tatter Leaf virus, Citrus leaf blotch virus, Citrus psorosis virus, Citrus exocortis viroid, Hop stunt viroid, and Citrus dwarfing viroid.  Therefore I again encourage you and others to always order from our program.  It will be well worth the cost to ensure that you are receiving clean, pathogen-free, true-to-type citrus budwood."

My 4 cocktail trees now have these oranges - Hamlin, Marrs, Calamondin, Olinda Valencia and the bloods - Moro and Tarocco.  Lemons - Meyer, Pomona seedless (cold hardy into the teens FWIW).  Limes - key, limequat  (cold hardy substitute) and Persian.

And don't forget the clothespins when doing T-buds.  :D

Trust me, that's the easiest way to really clamp down to insure good cambium contact on wood that's up to 1/2" in girth.  Beats the helluva rubber bands and vinyl tape.  The Buddy Tape helps cushion any epidermal tissue damage. I remove them after 2 weeks.

With a heater failure in Jan. and a complete die back of all my greenhouse stock including this bearing Reed, I thought I had lost it. Temps went down to 18F, for how long I don't know.  I think the heavy mulch and thick canopy was enough of a heat blanket to save it and more importantly it had been acclimated to low/mid 30F temps days before the big one hit.

Stump in March 6:

August 15.  This is a big tree with 3 trunks now.  Photo doesn't do it justice.  It's in a raised bed, a bottomless 100 gal. RootBuilder pot which is dwarfed by this tall and wide gorgeous tree.  There's not a blemish anywhere on it and fast approaching the 10' gutter.

I don't know what happened to all my greenhouse trees that survived but it's like they're on steroids now.  I had a complete die back of my citrus.  I now have a key lime that I've grafted 3 orange varieties to, persian lime, limequat, etc. that's 9' tall.  Fertilizer has been like always, a slow release pill, this year Osmocote Indoor/Outdoor, 6 mo.

This Sugar cutting has been in the ground for weeks, nothing.  I'm beginning to think I have it upside down.   :o  Should the cut side go in or the point?   


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Excellent video on mango canopy management
« on: March 25, 2018, 08:47:15 AM »
Note, this starts at 9 minutes. The beginning of the video shows how to prune or re-train an older commercial mango farm.

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Need atemoya or cherimoya rootstock
« on: February 25, 2018, 10:05:09 AM »
Have checked ebay and done searches on Google.  Stock is either pricey, too small for grating, or both.


Any one have any luck rooting annona sticks?  As soon as they arrive I plan on trying it by using different hormones, one being Clonex.  Thoughts are to wrap the stick with buddy tape leaving at least one node treated and underground.  It's the node that has the most dormant buds which will pop first.


Citrus General Discussion / Good greenhouse management site
« on: February 12, 2018, 08:07:53 AM »

I found the comparisons between indirect greenhouse heaters and direct heaters, their effect on plant growth, efficiency, etc. really interesting too.

Got a few bottles on sale at Home Depot, like 80% off.  Called Bonide tech help for some answers to questions.  Will share.......

1.  For starts the product is an ultra refined paraffinic oil that does not require any surfactants or a spreader-sticker.  2-3% of the product contains emulsifiers which also acts as a sticker.

2.  Found a small bit of mealy bug and scale on a Sweet Tart mango that is putting off a lot of large, tender red leaves, so, the question was "will this young tender foliage be subject to phyto toxicity if applied below the recommended application temps of 90F?  Rep said they have never had a problem with leaf burn on young tender foliage.  I'll hit some trees this morn and see.

Here's the product -

Well, like I've said before, it's probably a feel good drill but I've innoculated, drenched, 1,000's of transplants for field planting and pots with MycoApply Soluble Maxx.  Apparently I don't need it in lieu of good soil and adding compost.

Caveat regarding the author's approach, the benefit is there.  Adding a retail source is not and could be harmful to the natural microbe colony. 

I also did not frame Mycorrhiza in a negative way. In fact what I said was “There is no doubt that mycorrhizae fungi play an important role in plant growth. They help aggregate the soil which in turn provides plant roots with better access to water and oxygen. Their symbiotic relationship with plants helps them access water and nutrients.” The point of the post, was that there is no good reason to add purchased product to your garden. I have talked to experts in the field and they agree that adding mycorrhizae to gardens is a waste of money.

Wife and I tried to get thru a medium size Sweet Tart yesterday, couldn't do it.  It was actually too rich (yes, i know this sounds weird) so we put the rest back in the fridge.  IOW we need to pair it with a meal to balance out the experience.  This may be a case too of us not being accustomed to great mangos.

I followed the advice of several by supplementing the trees with dressing the pot with Gypsum about 3 weeks ago and using my well water which is super high in Ca and Mg bicarbs.  Brix of a Lemon Zest came in at 28* and the complexity is just crazy.  Have more to go on these young, first year fruiting trees and here it is September!

Just pulled more Sweet Tarts and Lemon Zest.  Will zest/juice the key limes and freeze them.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Avocado pickles!
« on: September 01, 2017, 08:48:02 AM »
Another homie project in the making.  These sound "delish".

Still have some Reeds hanging too.

About 2 mos. ago sprayed my greenhouse citrus with a dormant spray and surfactant.  Had to, had a few branches and fruit covered in scale.  Temps got over 92F.  Noted immediate young tender leaf damage so I water blasted the next day.

Now, most of the new growth has leaf margin cupping, a symptom of moisture stress.  I've been growing citrus for 40 years and this one has me stumped.  No insects noted.

Grafted last year, am letting 4 fruit hang on one branch of a Frankencado.  Bloomed in February.  When to harvest, November or when the skin starts turning black?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / New Zill grafts are really going crazy
« on: August 01, 2017, 01:28:06 PM »
Cotton Candy, Pineapple Pleasure, Fruit Punch, Juicy Peach, 7 grafts total on a stubbed Mallika.  I used the shoots to do 6 cleft and one veneer.

3 days ago. 

This morning, the 1st. Some leaves are a good 10" long!   Last year's (small) grafted Sweet Tart is in the background holding 7 fruit.  That ST taste is just incredible.   :o

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