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Messages - Tropheus76

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Spice trees
« on: June 06, 2023, 07:40:55 AM »
All-spice is a great tree. Very slow grower, will survive short freezes. Deer will rub their antlers on it. I have mine in the shade under oak trees. One is a tiny bush from the deer, the other I fenced off and is about 8 foot tall and produces fruit.

Aside from a freak shower here and there its almost a standard dry season for us in Central Florida. Mangos are developing correctly and should be ripe soon. Typical light winter and spring. Still in the 80s, hopefully that continues.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Show Your Loquat Fruits - 2023
« on: April 18, 2023, 11:34:41 AM »
Mine that fruited did their thing back in late Feb, early March and are long gone now. Crazy to be hearing about loquats in mid April. Ripe mango season is coming up soon.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Blame the rain on me
« on: April 17, 2023, 10:03:17 AM »
Meanwhile, I'm in east Orange county and we have barely gotten a drop, most of which evaporates as soon as it hits the hot ground.

Supposedly if you grow a citrus under an oak canopy with oak leaf mulch you are more likely to have less problems. I am experimenting with this currently in a neighboring wooded lot. I know I see a lot of citrus in pine farms under the canopy and they appear from the road to be doing quite well.

You guys are odd. I am 9b, in east Orlando, we get at least one freeze and several frosts a year and it is disastrous every time.  The last one we had in March nuked almost all fruit production on all of my trees for the year and my mangos never recovered fully. This one strikes early where most trees that do it havent even went dormant yet while my mangos are pushing new growth. My Friday is going to suck.

31 degrees as of one forecast on Friday night. National weather apparently has a tendril of hard freeze going right over my house in 9b. Supposedly freezing Christmas night as well. Even better since we are driving long distance on Saturday. I have incandescent christmas lights on all my mango trees. I will cover them on Friday night and put a heat lamp under one of them if I can find a bulb. Anything potted that cares will go in the garage for a few days. My figs(nor anything else) are not dormant so I might have to lug them in as well, in their giant pots. Glad I havent started planting my food forest yet, nothing would have had time to get established. Saturday night, everything will have to hope for the best although I will leave various trunks wrapped.

Its Fall, unless you are in south Florida they will lose their leaves and come back in Spring. It just doesnt do the pretty fall colors like most Northern trees that do this since our Fall doesnt seem very well defined.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Evil weevils
« on: December 06, 2022, 07:53:44 AM »
I use Andora(something) root drench, I believe its some sort of imaclorid. If I see them I mix some in a five gallon bucket and dump it all around the roots of the tree. Then I dont see any for awhile. The worst I see them is on my Lemon Zest mango and on my Brogden avocado. They ignore my other varieties. They were pretty heavy on my key lime as well but its gone now, that last cold snap last year finished it off. I also remove any I see by hand. Shake a branch and their natural reaction is to drop off and they are easy to pick up. If its day time I throw them in the canal and the bream will eat them, if at night I squish them on pavement. This seems to keep them at bay.

Note, defoliating a tree isnt just cosmetic, I have learned from experience dealing with snakehead caterpillars that it will absolutely stunt the growth and hurt the health of the tree.

A number of citrus should survive for you. Kumquat, Satsuma mandarin, and Calamondin to mention a few. Mulberries, Chinese by Jujube, sugarcane, and Cherry of the Rio Grande are some others that might work. Its not a fruit, but I think pecan might grow well for you if you could keep it well watered. If I were in Greece, I would also be growing grapes.

I would say no to Cherry of Rio Grande unless its potted. For me when the temp drops to the low 30s it will die back to the roots and is stupidly slow to grow back, as in years.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Central Florida Food Forest planning ideas
« on: November 30, 2022, 10:23:33 AM »
I take range things with a grain of salt and believe much of it is just in general. I have never gone looking for trees in the woods and if mosquitoes werent so bad right now I might go off into the nearby swamps and pine scrub looking for native pawpaws. I know from experience fauna typically doesnt like to stay in defined ranges humans have made for them, provided their needs are met even if its a small area. Copperhead snakes for example are not "supposed" to be below Gainesville which is about an hour north of me as a crow flies, longer by road. I have found two in the last 8 years within 100feet of a horse farm stable down the street. If I would have known beforehand that this was out of range I would have taken pics and sent them in to the DNR. The farm has since been pretty much abandoned, so their ample rat food source likely left for greener pastures and I havent seen them since, plenty of cool ring necks, rat snakes, corals, black racers out the yin yang, and even one of those rare king snakes. Quite sure when I dig into the palm stand I will find rattlesnakes as well.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Central Florida Food Forest planning ideas
« on: November 28, 2022, 09:38:33 AM »
It's not a perfectly ideal mulch solution, but if O-town's landfill doesn't, the Melbourne (Fl) landfill will give you all the free mulch you can take and isn't that far from you. You'd just want to find access to a dump trailer to make the hour drive worth it.
I've had the same experience with Chipdrop. Going on nothing for a year and a half.  I even stopped and told the Asplund guy when they were in the neighborhood. He pulled out his phone and said "ok, I see you here. The next load's coming your way." -- That was 6 months ago, so I expect it to be a big load  ;)

... And thanks to whoever shared the fruitgeek link. Another fruit blog to obsessively read, just what I needed.
Good ideas, I am not sure if the Orlando dump is making mulch yet. As a crow flies, its literally about 3 miles from me, but by vehicle its closer to 25 minutes with tolls lol.

I actually had a Spanish speaking coworker translate the entire process of talking to tree workers about getting the mulch dropped at my house complete with address and such and keep it on a piece of paper in my glove compartment just in case I see tree people in the neighborhood. As my luck would have it, havent seen a tree company in over a year and a half lol.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Frost hardiness data for White Sapote?
« on: November 28, 2022, 09:32:27 AM »
I have one in cold 9B and it has survived the last few years of winter freezes and frosts. It most likely will lose its leaves however but they come back in spring. I bought it at the Tampa fruit tree show a few years back as a seedling, it was cheap and the owner didnt want to reload it and as a seedling, I couldnt begin to tell you what variety. Its about 8 feet tall now. I found health and growth improved greatly once I started to actively remove those snakehead looking caterpillars that would ravage the thing.

Citrus General Discussion / Variegated varieties and shade?
« on: November 28, 2022, 09:27:24 AM »
Is there any truth to the rumor that variegated varieties of citrus prefer dappled shade over full sun? I have variegated pink lemon and centennial kumquat that have seen better days and I am wondering if they might perk up a bit if I move them to a better, more shady location like some oak woods.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Central Florida Food Forest planning ideas
« on: November 25, 2022, 09:24:10 AM »
LOL I have had some success and no disease issues thus far from my pecans but they are all either new or the two older ones I have are still less than 12 feet. The bigger of the two has actually given me a couple pecans which I didnt even notice until the leaves dropped. Could not tell you the type unfortunately, its been in gournd about 5 years and the tags are long since gone and dumba$$ me forgot to write them down elsewhere. I really love pecans though so I may add one later down the road, this time an Elliot which I have heard is the preferred type for Central Florida.

I do kind of know what works but I am always looking for new things to try. Just because I have all those tree doesnt mean they are all thriving. Heck, I have a Mexican plum tree that after ten years is finally blooming heavily despite no fruit. Going to plant a scarlet and some other Florida plum near it on a couple irrigated mounds and see what happens. Its currently near some fruiting All Spice trees I planted around the same time. Another thing I picked up seed pods of are West Indian locust so I will give them a go.

I went and decided to do some walking and braving the mosquitoes yesterday and discovered some smaller clearings in the property under the oaks amidst the palmetto. I am going to try growing some citrus under the canopy and see how that works. Should be a neat experiment if anything. I have a lemon already that doesnt enjoy potted life, some seeds from an unknown tree with very big, very seedy but very juicy oranges, and I will see what home depot has at lunch for cheap. It is a neat little property, there is even a small mango that I re-planted soon after my first freeze knocked it back to the trunk that is actually doing well and in its warmer micro-climate, hasnt taken any further cold damage over the years. And yes, I totally plan on trying a named cultivar back there before the spring starts to see if that will work again or if its a fluke of the trunk. The thicker part of it is neat and I dont think it has ever been cleared before and I dont plan on doing so either.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Central Florida Food Forest planning ideas
« on: November 23, 2022, 02:39:03 PM »
Tropheus76 -  What kind of olive trees did you plant? Have they produced a good crop of fruit?

I second white sapote and persimmon for your area. I have different varieties planted all over and they love the soil as long as it drains fast. With white sapote, start planting seedlings and then graft once established. My seedlings have grown much faster than my grafted varieties despite comparable conditions.

For bushes, what about feijoa? Chop and drop moringa for soil improvement? For prickly pear, Fruitwood nursery has an interesting selection.

I have 5 olive trees. 2 Arbies and a koroneki which are 7-10 feet tall now. Despite us having three freezes last year, we didnt get near enough sustained chill hours for them or any of my other chill requiring trees and I have not ever had fruit on them in 10 years. I picked up a couple Tunisian olives 3 years ago which supposedly have a lower chill requirement. They are growing well so maybe in a year or two.
Since wood chips are hard to get, are there local lawn services nearby that could drop bagged leaves? Leaf mulch is great for building soil and easier to handle than wood chips.

Perennial spinach (e.g. longevity, okinawa, sissoo) and passion flower might also work for groundcover and/or chop n drop. Perennial herbs like cuban oregano, chives and Italian oregano can also do well.

Katuk, blackberry jam fruit, monstera, PB fruit could be other options for understory plantings.

Native salvia can be quite prolific for attracting pollinators in dappled light. Should be a fun project!

That is a great idea on the lawn stuff even though we are moving into winter now so no one is cutting their lawns lol. I have monstera not too far away, I will have to figure out how to propagate it since mine survived the vicious freezes of last year with no protection. Didnt know we had native salvia, might drop by Lucas and see what they have in stock. Lucas is a huge nursery here in C Florida with extremely expensive fruit tree prices BUT their flowering bushes and shrubs are priced much more reasonably, and they have a crazy variety.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fruit Trees with high ornamental value
« on: November 23, 2022, 11:11:17 AM »
African Sausage Tree- its just a cool looking tree. Or Olive for the same reason

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Central Florida Food Forest planning ideas
« on: November 23, 2022, 10:14:08 AM »
Sometimes, you find that you just need to look at things a little differently or that you need to search a little harder for the right variety. For example, palmetto can be used as heart of palm and is as good as any I have ever tasted. Why not keep it as part of the food forest system by selectively harvesting and eating it?

Also, don't buy into the idea that a food forest is not any work. My perspective on 9b has always been that we can grow anything as long as we are willing to put in the work to grow it. One of the biggest flaws in food forest designs in my opinion (even among big name youtubers) is not providing or maintaining enough light for good fruit production.

Fruits native to your part of the state include, Florida paw paws, persimmon, muscadine grapes, blackberry, blueberry, plum, hickory, maypop passion fruit and mulberry. Many of these can be used as rootstocks for improved varieties. I would encourage you to try Asian persimmon (on american roots), Scarlet Beauty Plum (on native plum roots), Ison, Supreme, and other muscadine grapes, Lake Emerald and Tari's Burgundy are bunch type grapes that make nice juice, Pakistani or other improved mulberry (some may need grafting), Loquat should also do well for you if it gets good drainage, peruvian apple and opuntia cactus are more cold hardy than Dragon fruit and might do better in your location. Some kinds of avocado will also fruit in your zone. Finally, if you have a place that gets full sun, sugarcane would be a great addition. Just make sure to get a cane juicer (see thread on this forum).

I have tons of palmetto scrub, quite literally. Even clearing this area will barely make a dent. Unfortunately palmetto strips the hell out of the soil leaving almost white grey sand compared to the darker grey sand out of the palmetto stands. So there is a lot of work to do to improve the soil which will take years. After walking around yesterday in the light drizzle I will be clearing an area of about 3000 square feet this year to get that going.

Many of your suggested trees are already on the menu. I'll look into the two cacti-types you mentioned. I have about 4 or 5 loquats already on property, they take forever to grow and fruit, even the grafted varieties. Really anxious to try the persimmons again. I havent had much luck in the past with them but I know the late Bob from Green Jungle had several really nice ones in ground at his nursery.

Cattley (strawberry or lemon) guava and White sappote might do ok, too.
I have lemon already and I keep it but am not a big fan. I think the texture is kind of gross. My white sapote is about 7 years old and wasnt growing for years until I started removing those snakehead caterpillars that kept destroying all the leaves. Its grown quite a bit since but no fruit as of yet.

I am not new at fruit trees. I have an existing 2 acre yard with around 80ish trees of everything from mango, pecan and olive to star fruit, 9 pound lemon, and banana. This is more set up widely spaced orchard style instead of the more close knit style of a food forest which I am trying to do on the new property. Mostly to see if I can get better productivity at a higher density out of the same crap soil. I was also planning on trying quite a few flowering trees for looks and attracting pollinators.

I'll have a look at the mango person and the fruit geek guy.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Central Florida Food Forest planning ideas
« on: November 22, 2022, 02:57:40 PM »
I am in 9B but a fairly cold 9b in east Orange county(makes a difference since west OC is typically warmer with more rain). My soil is light grey sand and with water being anywhere from three to five feet below the surface. The property is 150'x105'. Currently it is covered with very thick palmetto, a few small and a large pine tree, and a couple oaks on the outer edges. As it is adjacent to my neighbor's property I am going to plant various flowering shrubs like azalea, I plan on starting to clear from the north to the south and planting as I go since I am doing the work by hand. Palmetto is actually not hard to remove if you have hedge trimmers and a reciprocating saw with a bush blade plus a shovel. I am going to throw the palmetto stumps deeper into the think woods where they will eventually over the next 15 or so years break down. The fronds I plan on using as palm mulch ground cover. The property does get wet during extremely heavy long rain storms like Ian so many of the trees I will be planting on mounds(I have plenty of dirt). Eventually I hope the added wood chips, palm and such will decay and cause build up and cause the rain to run off into the ditch in the front and the area I will not be clearing between the food forest and the road. I might dig a small swale as well.

My first things I plan on planting that I already mostly have clear are some paw paws(A. tribola(?)) which I have a couple seedlings already growing in tall pots. I think these will be the biggest trees so they are on the most northern edge. Slightly forward and between them I was thinking starfruit with jabo tucked in here and there. I am hoping the nearness of the heavy oak/palmetto stand a few feet away will provide a bit of warmer microclimate during the few cold spells we get. Further down along the neighbor's fence on my side is an old oak tree that I am going to use as a scaffold for passion fruit. I will have some dragon fruit in there too as a third attempt to keep it, every attempt I make tends to result in a nasty yellow bacterial infection in the cactus). Mostly this step is planting stuff I currently already have on hand or can easily get.

My neighbor actually dumps the grass clippings and sticks from his large open 5 acre yard on this property which I told him to please continue doing.

Trees are the easy visible part. I am not sure what to plant in between the trees as the bottom layers. I know my Surinam cherries will survive the winter here without protection as will lemon guava. I am not sure on what other low growing under story bushes and small trees I should get and look into. Figs are a no go, the nematodes here will take out an LSU resistant fig in 3 years no problem. I was thinking marigolds scattered throughout and probably some rosemary since it grows without any effort at all.

The problem is no where else in the US is like 9B scrubland Florida. 9B absolutely sucks for growing as we are too cold for tropicals and too warm for temperates and all the disease and pests of both. I even have heard iguanas are moving northward as the years go by(I have a .22, not worried about them). Its hard to go look online at all these youtube people and find someone nearby. Pete Canaris while interesting is more of a edible landscaper(the land being edible). I have read Jon the Good's stuff and it isnt very specific. Everyone else I can find appear to be Yankees and Canadians growing mostly stone fruit and apples. Their information and ideas are great but the specifics are not. They love comfrey, I have tried comfrey, it doesnt last very long in our sand.  I need lots of wood chips but I havent seen a tree trimming truck in years and chip drop is a waste of time thus my using palm fronds until a better option appears.

So in a nutshell:
What are some trees in addition to what I already mentioned?
What are bushes and shrubs that produce food or herbs I should look into?
Anyone know any good youtube Central Florida youtubers with food forests?
Any other suggestions?

I have a couple of the bigger tribolatas(?) and a tiny dwarf pawpaw seedling currently growing out in tall pots. I got the dwarf from tradewinds(I think) and it germinated and sprouted within days. That said I am very leery of tradewinds and tend to have poor luck overall with them on more hard to find seeds. I have a few of the large flower seeds in a heated seed tray right now but they have only been in there about a week.

I think there is a native nursery up in Wild Wood but havent made it up there to see and not sure if they have paw paws. There used to be a paw paw specific nursery but it apparently went out of business a while back.

Does anyone know of any sellers of Florida native Paw Paws? I am looking for either seeds or seedlings. Species I am looking for:
Asimina Parviflora (Smallflower Pawpaw)
Asimina Pygmaea  (Dwarf Pawpaw)
Asimina Incana (Wooly Pawpaw)
Asimina Angustifolia  (Slimleaf Pawpaw)
Asimina Reticulata (Netted Pawpaw)
Asimina Tetramera  (Four Petaled Pawpaw)
Also a source of native plums and blue berries would be cool too.
Setting up a small food forest which is currently a 150x105 foot area of palmetto scrub, pine and oak.

As the only fruit I seem to be able to get lots of, I think mulberry wine might be interesting. I still have bottles and bottles of mead. Chocolate mead is my favorite, but you have to age it for at least 2 years. You use hershey's cocoa powder though. The end product turns a beautiful dark amber color and tastes delicious and nothing like chocolate. Its a very mellow mead. The mass produced crap mead you buy in stores tastes nothing like a properly aged mead from a brewer.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Pine Bark Mulch and Tropical Fruit Trees
« on: November 18, 2022, 10:42:31 AM »
This is Florida, we have more termites than ants. They are a vitally important part of building soil by breaking down fibrous material. They do not touch live wood. If they are not up against your house then it shouldnt be a problem since they spread by flight and its a craps shoot on where they go. Plus if your house is treated then it wont be a problem anyway.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Which is better, Rambutan or Longan?
« on: November 14, 2022, 08:55:21 AM »
Better question, can Rambuttan grow in Texas? I know here in Florida, unless something changed recently the answer here is a no and I think we are a bit more tropical than TX. We can grow longan and lychee no problem in about half the state.

The Duguetia Lanceolata. Its one of those rare holy grail type fruit trees at least for us just because we think we have the conditions but for some reason do not thrive.

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