Author Topic: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions  (Read 2294 times)

Kay

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Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« on: July 02, 2013, 01:25:21 AM »
We just bought a new farm, currently its all banana.  I have started making a path through the banana to have cleared.

Our land is basically like a triangle, the base is higher than  the point and the land is divided into 2 parts there, high (=dry) and low (=wet).  dry and wet are relative, the soil wont ever fully dry, but the high part wont flood.  the low part i am going to dig it better so it floods in some spots and not others for different species.  This farm is all about stock plants and variety, but i still ant fruit production happening full scale on them.


Right now i am trying to workout tree planting.  I am planting lots of different species, not lots of 1 species.   

First question is about Lychee.   given its pickiness to light and pruning I am a bit stumped.  they need full light coverage to fruit, so they cant be too close to each other.  they also don't prune well for next years harvest.  or i should say i am still learning.  Ideally i want to pack in many smaller trees rather than fewer monsters.

So my question is, what do you think the minimum spacing for lychee is if one were to try an annual pruning schedule.

fruitlovers

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Re: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2013, 01:36:41 AM »
Suggest planting at 15 ft. (4.5 m) apart. Later when they get bigger you have choice of maintaining your yearly pruning schedule or thinning out every other tree. My guess is you will do the second.
Oscar

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Re: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2013, 04:09:05 AM »
This site has first hand cultivation information from a commercial S. Florida lychee grower. After reading it you may want to leave some of the banana plants in place as a windbreak. Tree spacing will depend on the amount of pruning you are willing to do. I recall reading that the authors initially planted their lychee trees too close together and had to eventually thin them out.
Best of all, drive around and see how others are growing lychees in your area.
http://www.lycheesonline.com/lycheeinfo.cfm
Richard

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Re: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2013, 12:52:52 PM »
Kay,

Since you are in Taiwan, you may investigate what they do in mainland China.  There are massive lychee fields in China, where they use a chemical to cause dwarfing in the lychee trees, which makes picking lychee a lot easier.  The chemicals are banned in the United States.  If you use these chemicals, the lychees can be much closer.

Lychee are an irregular crop, so you cannot rely on the lychee trees producing every year, unless the chemicals can cause the lychee trees to fruit also.

For the flooded portion, you might consider Jaboticaba.  They love wet conditions, but they are a very, very slow growing tree (can take 10 years to fruit).

As far as spacing, I heard plant every 15-20 feet apart, then after 10 years, cut down every other lychee tree (to allow further growth).

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Kay

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Re: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2013, 12:54:15 AM »
Thanks guys.  great resource too!

4.5m!  yikes.  more than i was hoping.  Right off the bat i should say Taiwan has massive lychee plantations too, i live in the middle of it and have family growing it, but i am 100% organic (i don't sell table fruit, i eat it) and here they use a lot of chemicals on their crops.  There are many good developments here for fruit, but rarely do they not involve chemicals so i tend not to adopt them.

so 4.5m is the minimum.  is there anyway i can cut that down to 3m and do small trees like they do with other crops such as mango?  I assume the issue is with pruning them short all the time then?

I think i may start thinking about keeping some stock plants in pots and just keep them closer without worrying about fruit then have a few out in the ground at proper spacing.  biggest thing for me is i need stock plants of many varieties for grafting/propagating.

Quote
For the flooded portion, you might consider Jaboticaba.  They love wet conditions, but they are a very, very slow growing tree (can take 10 years to fruit).


you arent kidding.  i bought 4' trees 5 years ago and they still have not given me  a fruit.  i will be planting these for sure.  Any other suggestions for wet loving plants?  i can control how wet the area stays directly by how much i let out.  so it will all be pretty customizable.

Quote
After reading it you may want to leave some of the banana plants in place as a windbreak.

good idea.  i just lost a lot of trees at my other farm from a freak storm.  had hail too!  we will be building a 6' chainlink fence around the whole place with concrete base.  a lot of people here use black plastic on said fences for wind break, but i will be leaving bananas as you say and also growing various vines i enjoy along the fence.  will probably be growing lots of different gingers along the fence which wont provide wind break for at least a year when they grow taller.

Here is a basic layout of the new farm, we are also going to live there once house is built.  we will have a well, irrigation ditches and also pipes, so water anywhere is easy to do.  the light shaded grey area is where is going to be raised further to avoid any flooding.  the black area is going to be concrete, so no in ground plants there.



EDIT  I also wanted to ask about cacao.  I have grown it for 5 years, in pots, without issue. My other farm floods badly in summer, sometimes a week under water (-1m), and T. cacao ALWAYS dies in ground there, no matter what i do even putting them on mounds.  The dirt is the same i use in their pots.  So i want to grow lots at the new farm, and am wondering should i place them in the higher half where its drier?  or lower half where its more moist.


Also note, our wet season is May-Oct, dry season can last up to 6 months without a drop of rain, but still always humid and i mulch lots so ground never dries too bad.


« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 12:57:27 AM by Kay »

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Re: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2013, 04:46:06 AM »
The minimum spacing of the lychees will depend on the cultivars you are planning to grow? Some, like Wai Chee, Salathiel, and Kaimana are much smaller than others, like Brewster which gets huge. I'm sure you have other lychee cultivars in Taiwan that stay small? If you grow the smaller cultivars and prune often you could maintain spacing as small as 3 meters (10 feet).
Oscar

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Re: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2013, 08:15:17 AM »
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« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 02:53:24 PM by Mr. Clean »
www.MangosByMail.com

110+ fruit trees/plants; 70+ mango trees; 12 jackfruit; 6 avocado; 3 persimmon; 2 longan; and a dog that keeps raccoons and squirrels away.

Kay

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Re: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2013, 11:25:09 AM »
well that is promising.  I will aim for fruiting trees at 3m of smaller types and keep bigger types in big pots and just use them for scion stock.

Yes, mango do well here.  We are going to use them to fill in spots because they are one of the hardiest fruit trees for our area.  they handle heat, wind, drought, floods, salt you name it.  Gotta love them.  tipping is something i have been doing better lately, but i am honestly not too educated on how to structure the branches of fruit trees.  What i got from that video is you just want a dense cluster of new branch tips for next years floral bud set and future fruit, right?

Is there  a right or wrong "structure" of branches for things like mango and lychee which grow into big trees and have fruit coming off large inflorescence. more or less similar?  or is the goal more uniform crown shade and many many individual new stems?

I plan on making this a in progress kind of thread and post as i go if thats ok.  so i have more questiosn all teh time.

on the topic of pruning and stem structure, im guessing things like mango, lychee, rambutan etc are similar.  So what about things like jaboticaba, durian and cacao, all fruit which grow from the stem.  for these i assume focusing on a few main solid stems is ideal?  Would there be some kind of formula or logic to how it should be done, or just keep strength and air flow in mind?

phantomcrab

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Re: Building a new farm, looking for suggestions
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2013, 12:03:23 PM »
Kay:
Mango pruning - http://lee.ifas.ufl.edu/AgNatRes/Pubs/Pruning_Mango_Trees.pdf
About lychees -
Picking and Pruning Lychees
and lychee faq
Frequently Asked Questions Growing Lychee Trees

As Richard Campbell says, pruning is not an exact science. Just never take more than 25% of a plant off at one time.
With jaboticaba, small branches should be removed from the lower parts of the main trunks for best fruiting. Presumably this lets light into the plant (stimulating flowers?) and also makes them easier to pick. If you look at pictures of fruiting/flowering jaboticabas you will notice that the main stems are mostly bare of twigs.
Richard