Author Topic: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard  (Read 1714 times)

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« on: September 27, 2023, 03:28:50 AM »
Hello and thank you for reading my post. I am starting an orchard on 5 acres of land in Humboldt County, California. Until I found this forum I didn't even consider growing subtropical fruit trees, but now I have a little hope. If you have experience growing fruit trees in a climate similar to mine, I would be delighted to hear your experience.

The land I own used to be a redwood forest with exceptionally large trees that were cut long before I was born. The land was parceled up and my land used to keep bulls for many years. There is a major river that runs nearby, and there are many large river rocks in my soil, which leads me to believe the river used to run over my land. As a result, my soil is very deep and rich. Being near the river, I am in somewhat of a frost pocket. The coldest it's ever gotten on my land in 77 years (as long as the next door neighbor has lived there) is 22 degrees Fahrenheit, just this last winter. I receive 60 inches of rain per year, mostly in the winter, though summer fog is an almost every day occurrence in the summer, which can bring considerable fog drip. The average summer high is around 80 degrees F.

Currently I do not have a well or any other sort of irrigation besides rainwater I collect in two 5,000 gallon ponds. I have successfully established about 50 trees (mostly chestnuts, persimmon, and pomegranate) so far using the groasis waterboxx but will be putting in a proper irrigation system in the coming years. The orchard is mostly a hobby but if I could grow something to take to local farmer's markets in the future, even better. Thank you so much for reaching, I appreciate any suggestions of trees that might survive my climate. Thanks!

Tropheus76

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2023, 09:36:55 AM »
Pecans might be interesting to try. Arent there some avocados that survive that low in temp? Paw Paws. There are lots of apples, peaches and plums that will work for you. In my opinion you are in a much more ideal temp zone than I am in 9b Florida where we have the worst of all conditions, too cold for tropicals, too hot for sub tropicals, and all the disease and bugs of both.

Fruit Jungle

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2023, 10:10:36 AM »
Not a tree, but I would be growing table grapes. You could see what Nate from wildlandsplants.com has if you want to try something a little more rare. Check Huertas from this forum offerings, he is from a similar climate.

fruitnut1944

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2023, 10:24:13 AM »
That's not the climate for pecans, too cold, nor grapes, too wet and foggy. Plus, nether is subtropical. Will those crops grow there, yes. But they'll have significant issues ripening a good crop. Apples and some pears will be much better adapted than either of those. It's a good climate for berries of all kinds. Many other good options for temperate fruits.

My first thought in subtropicals is citrus and maybe cold hardy avocado. I'm not into other candidates. Maybe someone else can chime in.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2023, 10:42:43 AM by fruitnut1944 »

JCorte

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2023, 10:49:38 AM »
Fruitwood Nursery (permaculture farm and nursery) is located in Humboldt County.  I'd recommend contacting them to visit their farm to get some inspiration from their 40 years of experience.  They offer a huge selection of great plants you can't really find anywhere else.

https://www.fruitwoodnursery.com/

Janet

drymifolia

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2023, 10:56:45 AM »
Arent there some avocados that survive that low in temp? Paw Paws. There are lots of apples, peaches and plums that will work for you.

Yes, many cultivars of avocado will do well there, though there may be some pest/disease pressure with the fog. Some varieties to consider that might be marketable in local farmers markets:
Mexicola
Mexicola Grande
Stewart
Duke
Fuerte (maybe)

And Fruitwood has scions of those (other than Duke, but they have its seedling Duke7), and they have other lesser-known ones that would work in your location too, at pretty good prices. As well as rootstocks.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2023, 11:01:26 AM by drymifolia »

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2023, 11:39:15 AM »
Not a tree, but I would be growing table grapes. You could see what Nate from wildlandsplants.com has if you want to try something a little more rare. Check Huertas from this forum offerings, he is from a similar climate.

Thank you! I ordered an ice cream bean tree from Nate (to plant at a warmer site).

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2023, 11:50:13 AM »
That's not the climate for pecans, too cold, nor grapes, too wet and foggy. Plus, nether is subtropical. Will those crops grow there, yes. But they'll have significant issues ripening a good crop. Apples and some pears will be much better adapted than either of those. It's a good climate for berries of all kinds. Many other good options for temperate fruits.

My first thought in subtropicals is citrus and maybe cold hardy avocado. I'm not into other candidates. Maybe someone else can chime in.

Thank you. There's a massive guide on what grows well around the nearby Humboldt Bay, and pecans certainly aren't on there! Surprisingly there are many varieties of grape on the "grows well here" list, as well as many other berries (I'm trying to fight back invasive blackberry in fact).

There is a nursery just up the road with a healthy blood orange tree, so citrus is definitely on my list, as are avocados though I don't know of any nearby trees. I should also mention that I have planted one subtropical, pineapple guava, as I read it can take down to 10F. Once again, thank you so much for your advice.

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2023, 11:53:25 AM »
Fruitwood Nursery (permaculture farm and nursery) is located in Humboldt County.  I'd recommend contacting them to visit their farm to get some inspiration from their 40 years of experience.  They offer a huge selection of great plants you can't really find anywhere else.

https://www.fruitwoodnursery.com/

Janet

I had no idea this place existed. I've been getting stuff from a Bay Area permaculture nursery called Planting Justice, but they are in a different climate as it almost never freezes at their nursery. Thank you so much for the lead, I am also growing everything very "permaculture".

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2023, 11:55:56 AM »
Arent there some avocados that survive that low in temp? Paw Paws. There are lots of apples, peaches and plums that will work for you.

Yes, many cultivars of avocado will do well there, though there may be some pest/disease pressure with the fog. Some varieties to consider that might be marketable in local farmers markets:
Mexicola
Mexicola Grande
Stewart
Duke
Fuerte (maybe)

And Fruitwood has scions of those (other than Duke, but they have its seedling Duke7), and they have other lesser-known ones that would work in your location too, at pretty good prices. As well as rootstocks.

Amazing. Thank you. I know of an avocado orchard right on the coast just north of Santa Cruz, which gets frequent fog (sea to sky farms), so I'm hopeful that I will have at least a little success with avocados. Should have mentioned that I already have planted a couple paw paw seedlings, doing well so far!

JCorte

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2023, 12:03:09 PM »
Planting Justice is Rolling River Nursery renamed after it was sold.  Original owners of Planting Justice (Rolling River) are the owners of Fruitwood Nursery.

Janet

seng

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2023, 02:11:17 PM »
Damages start a low 30.  Most of subtropical will handle a few hours of  28 degrees.  Some mature ones can handle around 25 degrees. 

FigoVelo

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2023, 02:46:15 PM »
Others more experienced might weigh in, but white sapotes might do well.

Figs with a large breba crop would almost certainly thrive. Desert king and Atreano are 2 varieties that have excelled at my cool spot in Sonoma County. If you picked one, go with desert king.

Rauf

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2023, 03:40:27 PM »
I'd add loquats, black sapote, mandarins, shangjuan lemon and cumquat to this list. Also, you can build small unheated greenhouse like nursery, grow a little less hardy species like blood oranges, lemons, lemon guava for a first couple of years and then put them outside later

ryanscion

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2023, 03:52:13 PM »
I would try Jaboticabas and see how they do for you. That would be an excellent fruit to take to market down the line.

Ryan

foresight

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2023, 04:36:35 PM »
Feijoas. Oak leaf papaya. Maybe Suriname cherry or COTRG.

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2023, 05:27:11 PM »
Planting Justice is Rolling River Nursery renamed after it was sold.  Original owners of Planting Justice (Rolling River) are the owners of Fruitwood Nursery.

Janet

Oh interesting. I'm really interested in many of the trees Fruitwood sells, and surprised at some of them. I had no clue avocados, pistachios, almonds, and pecans would grow along the Klamath River!

Damages start a low 30.  Most of subtropical will handle a few hours of  28 degrees.  Some mature ones can handle around 25 degrees.

Surely this can't be the case for all subtropicals- what about pineapple or chilean guava? Avocado? Citrus? Blue Passion fruit?

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2023, 05:35:45 PM »
Others more experienced might weigh in, but white sapotes might do well.

Figs with a large breba crop would almost certainly thrive. Desert king and Atreano are 2 varieties that have excelled at my cool spot in Sonoma County. If you picked one, go with desert king.

I'm really interested in White Sapote as I hear it can survive 22F (with a full dieback to the roots, but can fruit again heavily that year). I figure grafted trees are out of the question so I will either roll the dice with seedlings or try some other way of clonal propagation of a named variety. Figs are a favorite too and I'd be really excited to grow them on my land as I definitely get more heat than much of Humboldt County does. Thank you.

I'd add loquats, black sapote, mandarins, shangjuan lemon and cumquat to this list. Also, you can build small unheated greenhouse like nursery, grow a little less hardy species like blood oranges, lemons, lemon guava for a first couple of years and then put them outside later

I'd be really interested in trying the black sapote. There seems to be some conflicting info on how much cold it can take. Loquats are on the list as well and I figure they might be marginal as the flowers die at 27F. Kumquats are a favorite and I will definitely add them to my list, thank you. I'm going to be growing my trees in a greenhouse for the first few years, may even put in a greenhouse large enough to accommodate full sized trees if I can get the money together. Thank you.

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2023, 05:47:15 PM »
I would try Jaboticabas and see how they do for you. That would be an excellent fruit to take to market down the line.

Ryan

I've only tried one Jaboticaba and wasn't super impressed. After reading a bit more about them, I am interested in trying more! Tree looks so cool too. I wasn't aware there existed a market for them, but I suppose in California you can find a market for anything. There is a growing polytechnic university in the area which I imagine will bring more and more people from all over the world. Thank you.

Feijoas. Oak leaf papaya. Maybe Suriname cherry or COTRG.

Wasn't aware Oak Leaf papaya could handle that much cold, thanks! Love feijoas and will definitely be planting more. Still have to try the cherry of the rio grande and Suriname cherry, but I'd definitely be willing to plant a tree or two as I have the space.

drymifolia

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2023, 05:57:04 PM »
Loquats are on the list as well and I figure they might be marginal as the flowers die at 27F.

I am somewhat skeptical of that number, since there are loquats that fruit here in Seattle even the last two years when we had 16F and 17F winter lows. The trees are large and planted right against large heated buildings, but when I went to get fruit this summer there were fruit on all parts of the canopy, even far from the building and seemingly exposed branches hanging out on the north side of the tree.

My own seedlings from the Seattle Chinatown tree (the most impressive of the Seattle loquats I've seen) are just a few years old, so no flowers yet, but I did graft one of them with scions from the mother tree this year, so maybe in a couple years I'll know if it'll hold fruit when smaller and less protected than the ortet is.

Humboldt9aRiverBottomland

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2023, 09:38:45 PM »
Loquats are on the list as well and I figure they might be marginal as the flowers die at 27F.

I am somewhat skeptical of that number, since there are loquats that fruit here in Seattle even the last two years when we had 16F and 17F winter lows. The trees are large and planted right against large heated buildings, but when I went to get fruit this summer there were fruit on all parts of the canopy, even far from the building and seemingly exposed branches hanging out on the north side of the tree.

My own seedlings from the Seattle Chinatown tree (the most impressive of the Seattle loquats I've seen) are just a few years old, so no flowers yet, but I did graft one of them with scions from the mother tree this year, so maybe in a couple years I'll know if it'll hold fruit when smaller and less protected than the ortet is.

I love loquats and it's exciting to hear that the flowers can take below 27F! I'd love to hear what else you successfully grow outdoors in 8b, do you have it listed somewhere? Thanks!




Here are a few other subtropicals/zone pushers I'm curious about, I would really appreciate hearing anyone's experience growing them!
-Lychee
-Longan
-Sapodilla
-'Dream' atemoya
-Macadamia
-Lemon Guava
-Blue Passionfruit
-Pistachio
-Date Palm
-'Ice Cream' Banana
-Almond


drymifolia

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2023, 12:21:19 AM »
I'd love to hear what else you successfully grow outdoors in 8b, do you have it listed somewhere? Thanks!

I've only had this house for ~3 years now, and most of the stuff I've planted has been in the ground for two years or less, so I'd say it's too soon to talk about what is "successful" for me. I can only say what has died, and what has survived so far.

Mostly I've planted avocados, closing in on a hundred in my own yard (that's counting the deceased, who outnumber the winter survivors by a good bit). I also distributed about 30 this spring to members of the project in the PNW, and I've got at least that many I'll be distributing next spring, plus a handful more I'll be planting in the ground here at the end of this coming winter. I also have a ~300 sq ft greenhouse with half a dozen multi-grafts I'm hoping will start producing next year, so I can germinate all the seeds and keep distributing seedlings and grafted trees to be tested by members of the project outdoors.

Other than avocados, I've got 4 loquat seedlings a few years old, tallest about 5' tall, a couple feijoa bushes that flowered this year but the fruit never developed (hoping for better luck in future years since this was their first), two Helen's hybrid banana seedlings on their third year regrowing from the corm after melting at first frost, a highly productive Luma apiculata bush, two small guabiju seedlings on their third year in the ground, a handful of first-year Texas persimmon seedlings about to face their first Seattle winter, some maypop vines barely clinging to life after 2 years (they seem to hate the dry season, hate the cool spring and fall, and get devoured by slugs and snails most of the year), an Oregon Curlfree peach tree on its second year since bareroot (minimal PLC but didn't set fruit on the handful of flowers this year), two honeyberries on their second year (very productive for their small size, they love the drizzle and cool spring, I can't wait until they get big), a Dunstan citrumelo that went in the ground on its own roots this summer, a trifoliate seedling on its second year in the ground, a yuzu seedling on its first year in the ground after it thrived in its pot in my relatively cool greenhouse last winter, three grafted pawpaws that have grown very slowly in two years, a bunch of different figs I rooted last year that didn't set any fruit this year but should start next year, a few mulberries, including two different Morus nigra cultivars I grafted this summer, one small Psidium longipetiolatum seedling that has been killed to ground twice but keeps sprouting back, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

It's not outdoors, but I've also got a bunch of other stuff in the greenhouse besides the avocados, like a mango seedling clinging to its third year of life after taking this entire growing season off (still alive, just refused to grow this year), and a couple mandarin trees on their second year (no fruit yet, a squirrel came in and stole the only one that set this spring).

In terms of things I've killed, it's mostly avocados, but also both ubajay seedlings I tried, the one coquito (Jubaea chilensis) palm I tried, all four Chilean guavas (Ugni molinae), and I'm sure other things I'm forgetting.

Sorry for the long list, but maybe you'll find it helpful! I'm colder here, but otherwise a similar climate in many ways to your location, I think.

Rauf

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2023, 04:39:45 AM »
According literature black sapote is not cold tolerant, "young trees are damaged or killed at or below 30F (-1C) and mature trees at or below 28F (-2C)", BUT if you have winters like mine, mean January and February 40-45F, lowest some years just a 2-3 days 30F, but once in 5-7 years drop for a couple of days to 22-23F, it goes dormant and don't suffer from cold. I noticed this in BS their first winter in greenhouse, knew from literature that they are not hardy, but they are very vigorous, my greenhouse is only 350 feet square meters, so I took a risk and put 3 of 5 in ground in spring, they were happy and last year I moved others outside. This February we had severe frezee down to 22F ,  my 3 years seedlings behaved like deciduous, lost all the leaves and became dormant like cherries, apples, no damage at all, even for small branches, while my avocados and some citrus were killed to the ground. I can even add, they all flowered this spring, but unfortunately, didn't fruited ( I read first year it's normal). I think this numbers are right for, say, Florida, where they stay evergreen and I suggest, the cold hardy apples, plums would be damaged if cold is applied during summer.
I agree with drymyfolia about loquat ( damage temperature for flower), mine had good crop this year after exposing to 22F. Would advise you to think about grafting it to quince to improve cold, heat and drought resistance.
I also recently started with most of plants mentioned here,  so still evaluating their hardiness. Have to put my grafted cherimoyas next spring in ground, they are too big now.
Date palm doing fine here, my oldest 5 years seedling ( 3 years outside) flowered this year ( unfortunately male-)), just take it inside first 2 years or cover if outside. I just started with coquito this year but it supposedly  hardy enough for my zone.
 Some photos, if someone is interested:







foresight

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2023, 08:13:37 AM »
If your summer highs are only in the 80's, you're probably not going to get fruit from a date palm. Pindo palm might be worth looking into as well as some of the cold tolerant Brazilian species. Lemon guava and Passiflora caerulea should definitely be doable.

Tropheus76

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Re: Subtropical suggestions for a 5 acre orchard
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2023, 08:19:57 AM »
-lychee
-Longan
-Sapodilla
-'Dream' atemoya
-Macadamia
-Lemon Guava

None of these will survive 22 degrees. Most of them will not survive 30 degrees. Not sure on the others as I have not tried them myself. I dont think almonds particularly like cold weather either.

Curious why pecans wont do well, the temperature is perfect on the cold side. I know the groves in GA regularly get down to the lower 20s and teens. I lived in GA for a time near the groves areas. Is it the lack of 90+ degree weather?