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Messages - TucsonKen

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1
I have Rainbow and can share for reimbursement of mailing costs, or may trade for cuttings of some cold-hardy avocados.




2
I'd be interested in buying some saijo persimmon cuttings from you. I still have the possibility of freezes for another 1-2 months but probably won't be much below 30F if that. Figure I could try grafting my trees now. Or is waiting a month better?

I sent you a PM.

3
In search of cold-hardy avocado scions on a very limited budget, so I would prefer to trade, rather than purchase, if I have anything of interest to you.

I can offer Wilma & Aravaipa Avocado, Rainbow and Suebelle White Sapote, Ormond and Saijo Persimmon, and a dozen or so types of figs.

I'm interested in Brogden/Brogdon, Carolina, Day, Ettinger, Jade, May, Lula, Mexicola, Mexicola Grande, Poncho, Pryor/Fantastic/Del Rio, Puebla, Stewart, and probably anything else I don't have that can take both heat and cold. I'd also be pleased to get a few seeds from Lula, Duke, Zutano, Bacon, or other cold-hardy varieties known to make good rootstocks.

4
I can help you with Wilma & Aravaipa. Opal too, but the tree has never done well for me, and I doubt the scions will be vigorous. I, too, am looking for scions of cold-hardy varieties on a tight budget, and would be willing to trade if you have some I want, or I can just "pay it forward" and send you a few cuttings if you reimburse me for postage.

5
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pugged Pickering
« on: May 03, 2020, 10:26:22 AM »
Lowest Tucson temperatures in recent years
Min F   Date   Min C
27   January 03, 2019   -3
26   December 29, 2018   -3
28   December 22, 2017   -2
28   December 18, 2016 +   -2
27   December 27, 2015   -3
28   December 27, 2014   -2
17   January 15, 2013   -8
29   March 03, 2012   -2
18   February 04, 2011 +   -8
23   November 30, 2010   -5

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Pugged Pickering
« on: May 02, 2020, 05:42:03 PM »
I should have chopped it earlier, but couldn't wait to taste the fruit, so I let it bear a couple of crops when it was really too young. The mangoes were so heavy, the branches bent down almost vertically, and stayed that way, so I chopped the top off to start over. Tucson winters get too cold to grow mangoes in the ground, unprotected, so this will be a container plant forever. I'd like to keep it short and bushy, and there are 9 new branches starting. Should I keep them all, or limit it to just a few main branches and and pinch to promote lateral branching in those?


7
I used to use snap traps (the old-fashioned wood-and-wire jobs) but have killed unintended critters with them. Worst was when I tried to avoid killing one of the numerous lizards in our yard, and so wired it partway up the trunk of a citrus tree the pack rats were ruining. A short time later I found a dead cardinal that had been curious enough to peck the bait tab. :-(  I've caught young rabbits, quail & other birds, lizards, and even a western diamondback in my Havahart. I like being able to release them unharmed if I catch the wrong thing.

8
That works!

9
My system is quick and humane, but takes some practice and dexterity. I've gotten pretty quick at it, and start-to-finish, it takes me about 30 seconds. I've used it about 300 times on pack rats; your rats may be more agile or aggressive, so use your own best judgement on how suitable a method it may be for you: 1 Place the Havahart trap containing the rat on top of a garbage can or similar support, with the left end hanging over the edge as the "setting" mechanism is facing you. 2 "Sleeve" a plastic kitchen-size trash bag over the overhanging end of the trap, up past the hinge-point of the door, and twist up the excess neck of the bag so it's snug around the trap, and then hold the twist with left thumb and forefinger. 3 Use left pinkie finger (through the bag) to pull up the door's locking bar. 4 Use right hand to rotate the "setting" lever (for ONLY the left-hand door!). so it opens into the bag. 5 If the rat doesn't immediately jump into the bag (they usually hunker down against the closed, opposite door), lean close enough to blow sharply at it--that nearly always makes it jump into the bag. (The bag needs to hang down far enough that the rat falls to the bottom and doesn't climb back up between the outside of the trap and the bag.) 6 Almost simultaneously, shift the left hand to gather the neck of the bag closed, just past the end of the trap. (At this point, the rat may try to climb up, so be ready to shake it back down.) 7 Quickly twist the neck of the bag till the rat is confined in a space just a little bigger than its body, and tie a loose slipknot in the twisted neck of the bag. Now the rat is briefly (because if you don't act quickly it can chew its way out and escape) contained. 8 Drop the "packaged" rat into 3-4 plastic grocery bags, pre-nested inside each other to form a heavy-duty, multi-layered bag with handles. 9 Grasp the bag by the handles and, with a fast, overhand swing, slam the rat (hard) onto concrete pavement. I always follow up with an immediate second slam. The rat dies instantly and doesn't suffer, other than any anxiety resulting from being manipulated into the bag. It's far less traumatic than drowning, and more reliable than a pellet gun to the head, unless you're a perfect shot, and never miss, which I'm not.

10
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Wanted--Duke Avocado budwood
« on: March 09, 2020, 02:54:18 PM »
I grafted these Duke Avocado scions a couple years ago, but they didn't make it. I'd like to give Duke another try if someone can spare a piece of budwood.


11
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: cold hardy avocados
« on: February 19, 2020, 02:27:24 PM »
As best I've been able to find out, Del Rio is genetically the same as Pryor/Fantastic. Don't know anything about the others.

12
Looks healthy, Avoman! Good luck with both of them! What's your ultimate plan in such a chilly climate--do you have a greenhouse?

13
Here's another informed opinion on the taste of Aravaipa. I suspect he may be talking about the same tree I saw in San Diego:

"Hi Ken, I'm a former chairman of the San Diego CRFG group. One of our elders has a 10-12 foot tree here. It produces a fruit that is very close to a Fuerte in every respect, thin skinned, small-medium seed, good flavor, creamy, etc. I was not expecting it to be a good taster due to the cold hardiness (you don't typically get both). Growth habit seems "normal" not lateral or columnar, but balanced...Check out my page if you want more from me: https://www.facebook.com/SuburbanFoodFarm

Suburban Food Farm
Urban Farm
San Diego, California 92120"

I'm pretty sure they don't have any seed available to sell, since they were all in the process of being germinated when I was there in November.

14
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What avocados can live in -10C?
« on: January 18, 2020, 03:04:15 PM »
Now I understand--thank you for the explanation. If there's a better word in English, I don't know it, either! The intent of grafting so close to the seed and then burying the graft union is not to grow new roots above the graft (although I suppose that is likely to happen over time, even without etiolation, since avocados can be air layered), but instead, it's simply to protect a less-cold-hardy rootstock from freezing temperatures. I have wondered if there could be any detriment if the scion did end up growing some of its own roots, such as losing salt tolerance or becoming more vulnerable to root rot, but I simply don't know.

15
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What avocados can live in -10C?
« on: January 18, 2020, 10:24:11 AM »
Very interesting article, Shiro--thanks for the link! However, I'm just a backyard hobbyist trying to find varieties that can succeed in a marginal climate and soil. I'm not aware of any avocado root rot problem in my yard yet (maybe that's next), so I haven't been concerned about clonal rootstocks, which sound far beyond my level of expertise. I'm really not an expert in any aspect of avocado propagation, although I've had good success with this grafting approach. I'm not familiar with "emancipation' in the context of grafting/growing avocados--do you mean etiolation? As far as an ideal temperature, I haven't paid close attention, but have had the best success in spring and fall when it's neither too hot nor too cold. I immediately put the newly-grafted plants into morning sun (under the eaves on the east side of my house) and gradually move them further from the house until they have full sun most of the day.

16
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What avocados can live in -10C?
« on: January 17, 2020, 11:00:48 PM »
Avoman, here's a video by Jerry Satterlee in Texas who grows each of the varieties you mentioned in his yard (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5rPwipvHBA). He has other videos on youtube as well. Based on his enthusiasm for Poncho, it's probably one of the better-tasting Texas/Mexican varieties. However, Bill Schneider, who grows several of these avocados commercially and only lives 20 miles or so from Mr. Satterlee, told me that Poncho didn't survive the cold at his own place in Devine--so I assume it's not quite as cold hardy as Wilma, Opal, Pryor, and the other types he has trademarked. I grow Wilma in Tucson and have posted about it on this forum in years past, if you want to search the topic.

Shiro, if you "micrograft" a cold-hardy scion as close as possible to the seed of a newly-sprouted rootstock seedling of a somewhat less-cold-hardy variety, you may be able to protect the rootstock from the cold by raising the soil level until the graft union is a couple inches underground. That way the rootstock stays entirely underground, and is never exposed to the colder, above-ground temperatures. And, even if the grafted variety is frozen to the ground, it may resprout from above the graft, preserving the desired variety. Additional "survival-level" protection can be gained by temporarily mounding mulch or soil higher around the trunk when a hard freeze is predicted.

Here's an example of the grafting technique I use ('Day' scion grafted onto'Wilma' seedling). To avoid contaminating the wound, don't raise the soil level until the graft union is completely healed. Another advantage of this type of grafting is that all the stored energy of the seed is channeled into growing the scion and healing the graft:








17
I second the notion that the quality and performance of avocados is highly influenced by location, and what isn't very good in one part of the country may be much better (or worse) somewhere else. I have a good-sized Wilma (clone of Brazos Belle) and it performs differently than the same cultivar in Florida. Duke avocados grown in Tucson during the mid-40s were reportedly larger and better quality than those grown in Southern California. I have an Opal/Lila that is very low and slow-growing while the same trees elsewhere are vigorous and upright. It's really hard to generalize, but a local nursery owner says his two Mexicola Grande trees produce excellent-tasting fruit (I haven't tasted them). My neighbor likes his Zutanos (I haven't tasted them either), and my Wilmas taste good when they taste good--but often they ripen unevenly or fail to ripen at all, and of course, then they aren't worth eating (just like every other unripe avocado). A grower in Texas likes the green-skinned varieties best, and says Poncho is his favorite among the trees in his yard. A guy in Florida is very enthusiastic about Del Rio (which as near as I can tell is the same as Pryor/Fantastic). Everything I've read about Duke sounds good. I agree with Spaugh that if you don't need the cold hardiness, then you have better choices, but If you just want to give Mexican varieties a try, why not? Since they are so variable, my hope is to graft a bunch of different cold hardy varieties onto two or three trees so I can compare them and find out what works best here, without dedicating the whole yard to them.

18
Yes, it's a genuine Aravaipa. The couple who own it are knowledgeable, long-time botanists & fruit growers. They didn't get it from Shamus; a friend grafted it for them. They currently have a batch of Aravaipa seeds germinating in their greenhouse to try as rootstocks; I believe part of the project involves grafting Aravaipa scions onto Aravaipa seedlings, although I'm not sure what their ultimate goal is as I was mostly focused on tasting the fruit. As far as the taste, I should clarify my earlier comment by saying it was only slightly watery--nothing I found in the least objectionable. I will be very pleased indeed if my Aravaipa ever produces fruit approaching that quality.

19
You might look for Duke or Aravaipa seeds -- take a look at JoeReal's posts on this forum.  They will have the kind of cold tolerance you're looking for.

I don't know about Duke, but I've read on this forum that Aravaipa doesn't taste very good.

I tasted my first Aravaipa in San Diego while visiting family for Thanksgiving; their neighbors had a tree in their yard. I thought the fruit was quite good, although a bit watery. It was the last fruit of the season from the tree, so the photos aren't great because they had it in the fridge, already peeled and cut.






20
Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What avocados can live in -10C?
« on: December 25, 2019, 07:47:19 PM »
Outdoors in -10C sounds pretty unlikely. What about Wurtz/Little Cado in a container that can be kept outdoors in good weather and brought into shelter when it's cold? If totally outdoors is essential, Del Rio sounds promising--this article claims hardiness to -9C, which is pretty close to what you need. https://floridafruitgeek.com/cold-hardy-avocados/?fbclid=IwAR1_bB3mKvWVuHz5SoFD25bZoxvabjDLLgVYEVRnEbfBIU4jP7xIpyFnpEY

Much will depend on the duration of the low temperatures--a short drop into the mid-teens might be doable, but I expect protracted cold lasting many hours or days would be lethal. Also, in a conversation with a grower in Texas, I was told it's particularly damaging when the temperature drops abruptly from mild conditions to a hard freeze.

21
I have a young Fuerte that's doing well so far, but I'm skeptical about its ability to survive a cold Tucson winter. Time will tell. I know the owner of a small nursery in Tucson who thinks Hass could make it here, but I don't know if he's tried it. I believe a few people in Phoenix are trying to grow Reed (and probably everything else--there are a lot of dedicated growers up there). One guy in Phoenix even saw Reeds for sale at a local Lowe's.

I agree with the benefits of letting the trees protect their trunks with heavy flushes of foliage. I encourage mine to grow as bushes, with as little exposed bark as possible.

22
Good luck with the grafts. I'll be interested to hear how they do for you, particularly the Stewart, since that's one I hope to try in Tucson. Someone gave me a cutting once but I didn't have any rootstocks available. I grafted it onto my Wilma in hopes of keeping it alive till I had new seedlings, but it didn't "take."

23
Mark, if you "haven't heard one good comment" about the taste of Wilma, perhaps you should re-read my post (Reply #17) in this same thread. Also, although I haven't experienced a truly cold winter since planting the Wilma & Opal, it got down to 27 this past winter with no appreciable damage (brand new flushes on the Wilma got crisped, but nothing else was harmed). A nursery owner about five miles from my house has three Mexicola Grandes growing in a service area with no protection from cold or heat, and they're doing fine. He says the fruit is delicious, but he rarely gets any because his workers steal them as soon as they're close to being mature. One of my neighbors had a couple of large (maybe 30 feet tall) Zutanos growing in his yard for many years. He eventually lost them to disease, but replaced them with another Zutano because he likes the fruit so much. The Westward Look resort a few miles from my house has a Mexicola and Zutano that are producing well, and the quality is high enough that they serve the fruit to their guests. It's just possible that what hasn't worked well in your area might might do better somewhere else. For example, in the late '30s and early '40s there was a 200-tree avocado grove of various types about a mile south of my home in Tucson. It was reported that the size and quality of the Duke avocados grown in Tucson was better than of Dukes grown in California. I, for one, applaud the efforts of Fygee and any other grower willing to expand our knowledge about how various avocados perform in challenging climates by actually giving them a try.

24
We were talking about Aravaipa over on the CRFG Facebook group and one fellow chimed in to say he had tasted it and it's very good and similar to Fuerte. So there's another data point for you.

Thanks for the heads-up, joehewitt. I wanted to find out a little more, so I contacted the guy who tasted it. Here is his response:

"Hi Ken, I'm a former chairman of the San Diego CRFG group.  One of our elders has a 10-12 foot tree here.  It produces a fruit that is very close to a Fuerte in every respect, thin skinned, small-medium seed, good flavor, creamy, etc.  I was not expecting it to be a good taster due to the cold hardiness (you don't typically get both).  Growth habit seems "normal" not lateral or columnar, but balanced...Check out my page if you want more from me: https://www.facebook.com/SuburbanFoodFarm"

25
Young Water sprouts.  Possible these are sucking the life out of the grafts above?  Should I hack 'em off?


Yes.   Hack off anything that is higher than the graft union.  it's an issue of apical dominance and your new graft/shoots should dominate in that regard.  I usually keep a few "nurse" leaves on.

I've had excellent results with side veneer grafts on avocado.  Cherimoya too, as of late.  Here's a Reed in 2012 that quickly grew to 10' which is the height I kept it at.



A very useful list--thanks for posting the link! I suspect she means Stewart is the most cold hardy of the trees she's comparing on her list, rather than the hardiest of all varieties in existence, but if she rates it that strongly I would definitely like to give it a try. Anything that needs greenhouse protection is certainly not going to survive in my yard.

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