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Author Topic: Growing non-tropics in Florida  (Read 2029 times)

Jansky

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Growing non-tropics in Florida
« on: February 24, 2015, 11:07:01 PM »
I know this is a “tropical fruit forum” so this may be out of place but in-line with our “tropical tree” discussion, I have this to post/ask:  I moved to this country as a teenager from then Czechoslovakia and still have a large family there I keep in touch with. In @ year 2000 when I brought  my wife to meet my family  there, I brought 3 baby chestnut trees back from my uncle’s farm.  My plan was to grow them in a container until we find a property that we’ll keep for the rest of our lives that also has the climate comparable to theirs in Europe, then plant them in the ground for good.  Here’s what happened:

In Bohemia, which has fairly severe, snowy winters, the trees drop leaves and go dormant @ October and start putting out leaves again @ April.  Well, fooled by California’s climate my continent-transplanted trees started to shoot out in February and, however, lose their leaves as soon as early August (!!)  They are EXTREMELY SLOWLY after all these years beginning to adjust to the existing season cycle, and have essentially turned into bonsai plants.  I got them to actually flower and produce chestnuts twice.

Now that we have “gone all in” for the Florida Keys property, the Czech chestnuts will have to go with us. Soooo: what are anybody’s experiences trying to grow an out-of-the-tropics tree in southern US? Even in a container?  Has anybody tried to grow a New Hampshire maple in Florida or Hawaii? What are the chances for my Czech chestnuts
.?

Or is our move a sure death for my family trees???

Bob407

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2015, 11:21:52 PM »
Your nuts definitely wont freeze in the Keys.
Life is good

BMc

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2015, 12:44:25 AM »
There are low-chill chestnuts, but I doubt Czech ones are bred for producing with little chill. Even low-chill ones would probably struggle to produce in the keys though?
Since they are your trees and you'll want to at least try for personal reasons, then this experiment can be your gift to the horticultural world  ;D

From the sea

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2015, 03:55:46 AM »
I have seen a sweet gum growing in Key West, I would try and see.

Tropheus76

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2015, 07:48:15 PM »
Well not like you have a choice in the matter. Give it a try and see.

Doglips

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2015, 06:55:10 AM »
I have seen a sweet gum growing in Key West, I would try and see.
Nasty trees.  Nothing like stepping on spikey balls.

From the sea

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2015, 09:02:58 AM »
I agree

LivingParadise

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2015, 01:38:41 PM »
My personal experience of trying to grow such things in the Keys is to, if possible, try container growing indoors. If you have some seedlings or seeds that you can sacrifice, give them a try in the ground and see what happens. But outdoors is so difficult to control... you can't plant anything that needs cooler temps in the sun because it will kill it quickly (fortunately the shade is bright enough that I have had temperate plants fruit in full shade with no problem), plus the soil is highly alkaline which will kill many such plants, plus then there is the high humidity and unpredictable heavy rain which can cause lots of disease, plus of course hurricanes or tropical storms which can wipe out several years of hard work. Indoors you can control the climate, keep the humidity much lower as it should be, control water and soil conditions, control lighting, and you can also attempt to simulate chill hours more easily. But of course, then you have a tree in your house, and that may not be ideal for all people.

Grandmotherbear

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2015, 09:36:00 PM »
I am a newby, but I am only a little north of you- a half hour from the nw corner of Lake Okeechobee. Check out www.chestnuthilltreefarm.com They have worked on blight proof chestnuts that will grow in FL for years.  (I've never bought any from them)
Next, I have killed a LOT of plants trying to grow in the sugar sand that is full of nematodes and funguses. My answer has been to grow in containers. I go to a real nursery (not home depot or lowes) and buy 35 gallon and up pots for my trees. Yes, I have a Pachira Nut in a 50 gallon pot. It looks similar to a chestnut and is better suited to our extreme climate. My apples, figs,peaches,  yacon, blueberries, blackberries, etc are all in pots. I don't use potting soil- it doesn't give enough support to shrubs/trees/corn, and dries out within a day of being watered. I use 1/2 miraclegro garden soil and 1/2 black kow. Also, if there is a shortage of pots- like when I pruned the suckers off the roots of my apples- I buy 17gallon pots from the storage department at Walmart or KMart, cut drainage holes 2 inches up the sides and plant in them.

Citradia

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Re: Growing non-tropics in Florida
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2015, 12:38:42 PM »
I grew up in south central FL on gulf coast just below Tampa, and tried growing crabapples and dogwoods and red buds and Bradford pear, but they always died. They would not go dormant in "winter" there and the trees became stressed and out of balance with their natural cycle. They also didn't bloom well or at all since they couldn't get their annual chilling hours required to set flower buds. They all died. The only flowering temperate tree I saw there, and only saw one specimen, was a native Chickasaw plum tree in Bradenton, in full bloom in December. Chestnuts natural range in this continent is from Vermont down to northern FL. That Chestnut Hills Nursery is in Alachua county near Gainesville I believe, and the climate there is much colder in winter than Bradenton; I've lived there too. All the trees I mentioned earlier grow well in Gainesville but die in Bradenton after a year or so in the ground. That's why I moved to NC so I can grow beautiful flowering trees without worrying about chilling hours. I can pump heat to a covered "cold hardy citrus" here, but can't put a crabapple tree in the freezer.

 

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