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Author Topic: Lychee pruning and air layers  (Read 611 times)

sunworshiper

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Lychee pruning and air layers
« on: July 26, 2018, 07:43:07 PM »
Just finished harvesting my emperor lychee- good crop this year! I made some air layers on branches that would otherwise be pruned off. Thought the canopy height difference was a good illustration of how aggressively I prune to keep my tree small enough to frost protect.



Anyone know if making 3 airlayers simultanrously will divert too much energy from a tree this size (it is pruned to 6')?  I've previously only done one air layer in a season.

simon_grow

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2018, 08:19:45 PM »
Putting on three air layers simultaneously should not adversely affect the tree. Your tree looks pretty well established and you would have pruned those branches off anyways. Iíve put on about 5-6 air layers at one time on a larger tree and the tree didnít even flinch. How did the Emperors taste for you? Iíve noticed that Emperors can be a bit tart if picked even slightly under ripe but when they are fully ripe, the tartness is gone and they taste sweet and well balanced.

Simon

kc_moses

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2018, 01:00:18 PM »
How old is your tree? My Mauritius lychee is about 2 years old, close to 5 ft but no where as lush as yours.

Ethan

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2018, 01:23:07 PM »
Nice job Sunworshiper! Is your Emperor in the ground?

bsbullie

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2018, 04:26:11 AM »
How old is your tree? My Mauritius lychee is about 2 years old, close to 5 ft but no where as lush as yours.

Cant compare the two.  The Emperor is a more compact of a tree with a naturally bushier growth habit while the Mauritius is the most vigorous of the available lychees varieties in Florida, being a mix of upright and spreading.  At two years old and 5 feet tall, your is just a baby.
- Rob

kc_moses

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2018, 09:08:12 AM »
Thanks Rob, I have more questions about lychee, specifically for young plant so I will ask in another thread.

sunworshiper

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2018, 11:03:46 AM »
Thanks for the great info on air layering Simon! I'll let all 3 air layers grow. The fruit is my favorite! I know most people don't rate emperor as high flavor wise, but I've had it side by side with mauritius and brewster, and I prefer emperor. They are tart if picked underripe though. When perfectly ripe, they have a tiny bit of tang left but mostly sweet, and when slightly overripe, they are all sweet. Tree was loaded this year and I started selectively picking just when they started ripening, each day picking off the ripest ones. They also hold on the tree for a little while because of that tartness which is great for dooryard growers. Since they don't keep fresh once picked, the tartness lets me leave ripe ones on the tree and they will stay nice flavored for about 2 weeks past when they were ripe to pick. All in all, I got about 20 days of consecutive harvesting from the tree - most days picking around 2-3 strawberry containers full.

kc_moses & Ethan - I planted this tree in ground in 2009 and this is about its 5th year fruiting. It could easily be 15' tall by now, but I prune it hard every year to maintain this shape, which is just small enough to go under a frost shelter erected around it in winter and to keep fruit within reach for harvest without needing a ladder. Here's what it looked like in 2011 when it was 2 years old so you can compare what it looked like before it matured.




kc_moses

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2018, 02:02:58 PM »
Thanks sunworshiper, that was a very gorgeous 2 years old lychee tree! I love the shape very much! It looks like my tree's grow rate is normal after compared to yours.

sunworshiper

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2018, 02:54:07 PM »
Thanks! Here's a pic from the other side where if you look closely you can see how the original v s shape branches thickened.




And here's what it looked like about 2 weeks ago loaded with fruit.




A lot of what makes it bushy is doing a shaping prune each year after harvest. I'll try to remember to post another pic in a couple weeks when it flushes after pruning. Each pruned branch will send out 2-5 shoots near the pruning cut.

kc_moses

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2018, 03:07:50 PM »
Thanks sunworshiper, now I get what you mean by the center will be fill out. Your V shape primary scaffold is more upright, I can see that over time the center get a bit crowded. Good to see that a 9 year old tree can maintain at that height and yield so much fruits!

For the plastic clamshell protection, have you used one of these mesh bag?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010BA17X2/?coliid=I19HNSFP6KF9V5&colid=TH83Y2NNTEAJ&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Once my lychee fruit, I plan on getting the 8"x12" bag, not sure if squirrel will chew through them. I think the mesh is small enough that bugs/flies/ant won't get to the fruit. Right now I use the smaller version of the mesh bag for my fig and no ant on my fig!


Coach62

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2018, 11:01:06 PM »
Be careful, there is some new pest out there attacking lychees.  Lee county has been shut down from even transporting any out of the county.  Watch your trees closely, you might consider a good systemic like the Bayer product. 

Ethan

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2018, 03:31:26 PM »
Thank you Sunworshiper, I think I may finally plant mine in the ground, next spring. My fruits are just starting to turn pink! :)

andrewq

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2018, 09:45:05 PM »
would any lychee growers have any advice about conditions that change the flavor of the fruit? i just harvested emperor, mauritius, and sweetheart from container lychees. the sweetheart was sweet (not overly), but the emperor was very subtle. i even picked them at different stages, with the last batch being almost brown colored skin.

bsbullie

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2018, 09:59:07 PM »
would any lychee growers have any advice about conditions that change the flavor of the fruit? i just harvested emperor, mauritius, and sweetheart from container lychees. the sweetheart was sweet (not overly), but the emperor was very subtle. i even picked them at different stages, with the last batch being almost brown colored skin.

I think the quality and taste of container grown fruit, not lychees but many/most fruit, can be compromised just for the fact of being grown in a pot vs grown in the ground  there are many variables I would attribute to this, including but not limited to watering, potting mix type, feeding of nutrients, limited root development and ability to properly feed the tree.
- Rob

simon_grow

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2018, 08:24:45 AM »
would any lychee growers have any advice about conditions that change the flavor of the fruit? i just harvested emperor, mauritius, and sweetheart from container lychees. the sweetheart was sweet (not overly), but the emperor was very subtle. i even picked them at different stages, with the last batch being almost brown colored skin.

For container grown Lychees and all other fruit I can think of, itís better to give frequent small feedings of dilute fertilizer so that it can get a steady supply of minerals. Potted plants are typically watered much more frequently than in ground trees and minerals get washed away with each watering.

A small amount of smart or time release fertilizer combined with some organic fertilizer is a good way to feed potted plants. Combine this with Foliar feeding and occasional soil drenches and your tree should produce good tasting fruit.

For my dads Lychee farm in China, he used to use cow manure as the main fertilizer and fish pond waste as the second major fertilizer. The Lychees were delicious.

Simon

sunworshiper

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2018, 09:25:14 PM »
Congrats on almost ripe fruit Ethan!

Kc-Moses - I use the clamshells because they are easy to get for free - I just ask my coworkers to save the, for me during strawberry season. I haven't tried those bags, but bags I've tried are not a deterrent to raccoons. My cats do a good job of keeping squirrels away but bags might help with squirrels. I don't think the lychees actually need protection at all. I protect a few in the most exposed  areas so pests don't get a taste for them. Mostly  I use the clamshells to protect mangos from raccoons - about 80% success rate. Most of the time raccoons can't get them open. Bit for varieties they really like such as Pickering they still get a few. But my Pickering only set 1 fruit this year and a raccoon  got it despite the clamshell! Evil bugger!

I don't have any insight on what growing conditions impact flavor. My one tree has been very consistent in flavor year to year. But then again I take care of it about the same way each year.

andrewq

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2018, 12:26:54 AM »
thanks for the tips!

i had 1/2 dose osmocote plus but avoided my usual fertilizing schedule because i was afraid it would cause fruit drop. will try scheduled low dose ferts next year.

i actually used black cow for a container lychee once... it was like growing in mud and the high nitrogen content initially burned the leaves. after the tree got established it ended up being happy as a clam. i would definitely try it if i put my lychees in ground in the future.

simon_grow

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2018, 12:35:12 AM »
Be very careful when using fertilizers with Lychees. Even organic fertilizers can burn the plants. If the Lychee tree is large and is actively growing, it can take a bit more nitrogen without burning but trees that are small and growing slowly will not need much Nitrogen.

Once a Lychee tree is fruiting size, you want to reduce leaf Nitrogen levels and smart/ time release fertilizers can be detrimental because if they are applied too late in the year or you use an extended release fertilizer, there can be a lot of Nitrogen left in the prills.

Simon

sunworshiper

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Re: Lychee pruning and air layers
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2018, 07:47:22 PM »
I have little idea how potted plants vary, but for my in ground tree most of its nutrients are from foliage sprays like keyplex. That way extra rain doesn't dissolve soil based fertilizer too fast and cause root burn. If there is interest I can look up in my task tracker my full yearly yearly schedule and post it later.

 

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