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Topics - MarkoS

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Just getting my sprinklers running again so I'm hoping for a fruit-full year.  My macadamia trees are starting to flower for the first time ever, so I'm watching them closely.  This evening I spotted 3 spotted oleander caterpillar moths climbing all over the flowers.  I could not tell if they were actually feeding on the pollen. 

From what I could find, the spotted oleander caterpillar moth (Empyreuma pugione) mostly likes oleander trees.  They are actually from the Caribbean and have only been in Florida since the 1970's.   They're about an inch long and look more like a wasp.  They're black with little white spots and orange wings.  I find no references with Macadamia trees. (Linked below)

Any one else have experience with them on macadamia trees?  It's a tall tree so I'm not too nervous about much damage especially as most of what I read folks aren't concerned with the oleander trees.  From what I found only bees, wasps, and beetles are listed as pollinators.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / When do South Florida Macadamia Flower?
« on: April 24, 2014, 02:36:18 PM »
I have a five year old macadamia tree purchased from cutting that has only produced five nuts in the last year.  It was already over 15 feet tall so I cut it back to a "manageable" height.  Another tree that I planted five feet away two years ago already had flowers in late March.  I'm still waiting for the older larger tree to flower.  Did I miss the "flowering" window?  I monitor the tree regularly and have yet to see the small white flowers I'm expecting.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Should I Remove First Year Immature Fruit?
« on: April 24, 2014, 02:33:02 PM »
I once read an article in the local paper that talked about removing the first year's immature fruits from a citrus plant.  The idea being that removing those first fruits allows the plant's energy to go into new branches, leaves, and root system rather than the energy hungry fruit.  I did that with the one fruit that formed the first year and last year I have four and a much larger tree.  Not the impressive growth I expected but "something."

Does this make sense?
Should I do it with others?
Any difference between fruit and berry trees?

I've got a finger lime that "may" fruit this year (just flowered) but the idea of all that time for one fruit rather than growth is leaving me questioning my logic.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / What pod tastes like licorice?
« on: June 12, 2013, 10:06:41 PM »
It's happened.  My neighborhood thinks of me as "the fruit guy".  And I was put on my first mission, to identify this tree growing in a neighbors yard.  It has lots of yellow flowers that become hard long pods about 8" long but 1/2 in thick.  The insides once you crack the hard shell tastes like licorice.  They neighbor said who he bought it from would eat the insides of the pods regularly.  Any thoughts?

WikiFruit / Who's follow WikiFruit discussions
« on: May 13, 2013, 09:38:05 PM »
Thought I'd have a quick role call.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Identifying pitaya (dragon fruit)
« on: May 10, 2013, 10:04:26 AM »
About two years ago after a trip to Hong Kong I became a fan of pitaya.  Soon there after I probably had "sucker" written on my face as every garden sale I went to I would buy every $2 piece of pitaya/ dragon fruit I saw.  Out of four plants, in 3 years I only saw one flower and that became a fruit.  I never got to eat it as it went bad before I realized it.  So I finally did research.  So now I have a collection of several dragon fruit cultivars and a few Peruvian Apple Cacti in my collection.  So now to my question.

This year looks to be a great year.  Several of my dragon fruits are touching the top of my fence and even hanging over.  A sign of good fruit, I'm told.  I even have several I bought in October that are now halfway up the fence.  But while cleaning up some weeds and mulch I found this oddball pitaya I picked up at some garden club sale that doesn't look like anything else I have growing.

First of the cactus is much more flexible than all the other dragon fruits in my yard.  It's a thin cactus not even an inch wide.  It also has only four ribs and they form a perfect cross.  There are no spines to speak of.  Instead it has what I would call hairs 1/4 inch long, 5 from each point where the spike would be.  It's only a foot long right now but I swear it's grown that in the last month.

I know it's hard to identify now, but what should I be looking for to identify what it is?  Is it the fruit that really defines it or the flower?  Is there something else?

So first off, I get the impression that rose apples are not supper topics.  But they are a nice hedge with the neighbor.  My real fear is that this hedge is attached to my tropical orchard. 

So let me jump back last fall.  The seven rose apple trees had grown to heights of over 20 feet and were leaning over huge portions of mine and my neighbors yard.  He/ we thought it would be a good idea to make them manageable and trimmed them back to 12 feet.  We got new growth within a few weeks.

Now just this week I noticed a huge color shift in the trees.  Upon closer inspection, it looks like the new growth has yellow spotty leaves.  The older leaves are find with a few spots.  In fact I think I remember those spots from years before.  Any idea what this could be? (Note I'm in Martin County.)

Is it a disease or fungus?  Could it simply be shock and lack of nutrients?  Any thoughts on how to recover?  Do I need to worry about my other plants?  I see no signs of similar issues on them.

Thanks in advance.

Here I was about to suggest a topic that maybe we should start our own Wiki(pedia) for tropical fruit.  Wikipedia is nice but it doesn't focus on growing and fruit.  There's a lot that I'm learning from everyone and I hate to ask questions before I research them.  That said, WOW.  Looks like the administrators already started that.  I found a discussion from January 2012 about  I then went there and found the wikifruit. 

I saw it was empty but is it ready for prime time?  Can we start adding to it?  Has anyone thought of a format?  Some ideas that come to mind are: Description, native range, planted range, potted range, edible parts, uses, irrigation, fertilizer, sun requirements, chilling requirements.

I like doing the research on my plants before I try to get them.  This would be a great starting point. 

I attended a workshop Adam did on grafting and it has by brain on overdrive with ideas.  I like the idea of "cocktail" trees.  I'm thinking a sapote cocktail tree is in my future.  But that has me thinking, can you graft "cocktail" mail and female scion to one rootstock? 

I know that there is usually a ratio of 1 male to >1 female tree, but I think that only falls into the world of commercial growers.  For those of us home enthusiasts, my thinking is that a single tree would be "fine".  The advantages of cocktail trees as I've heard them are different varieties or even different seasons on a single tree.  But what about being able to have one root stock support a required dioecious (right term?) tree?

Has anyone tried or is currently doing this?

Sometimes the fruits mentioned here catch my attention once I see them for the first time.  I seen the articles posted on the net that talks about the most exotic looking fruits.  The list is rather tame compared to what I've now seen through this forum.  Take for instance "The other miracle fruit - Katemfe".  What do you think is the most unique looking fruits, vegetables, and nuts?  I'll start with the list with those I've seen in top ten lists.  Then add a few I've found here and elsewhere.  I looking for those edibles that become the conversation piece in any tropical fruit garden.  Of course pictures are a must on this one.

-- Top 10 Lists --
Dragon Fruit


Bitter Mellon

Kiwano (African Cucumber)

Star Fruit




Budah's Hand Citrus




-- Other Oddities --
Monkey Pot Nut



*** mod edit:  removed the hot linked images ***

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Mangoes - True to Seed or To Graft?
« on: September 18, 2012, 07:58:08 AM »
I've got, what I've narrowed down by research,  three giant 65+ year old Haden Mango trees growing in my backyard from when it was a mango orchard.  Under one I have six that have sprouted and are currently about a foot tall.  Unfortunately next door is a small mango tree, but I did not flower at the same time.  Several other trees in the neighborhood are also left over from the orchard.  Can I expect this new trees to be "true" Hadens or if I wanted to get the same Haden Mangoes should I graft?  I don't want to misrepresent them as Hadens.

Can I use mango seedlings as rootstock for anything other than mangoes?  I have three mango trees in my yard that have been here since before the 50's when it was a mango grove.  Every year I see one or two seedlings emerge, even though I do a daily cleaning to keep the fruit flies at bay.  This year I've found at least six and some are getting to be a foot tall.  I may clone one of my mango trees but I'm wondering if there would be other uses for the remaining plants as rootstock.  I'm taking a grafting course with Fairchild in October but I'm getting tired of navigating my lawn mower around them. 

I finally have a (giant) Australian finger lime coming my way.  I've been doing research for past several weeks and have little luck in getting a handle on what's needed to get it to grow.  Specifically I'm looking to find the sunlight requirements.  I see that Dave's Garden says "Full Sun" and I've read where commercial orchards do this.  But I've also seen sentence from Australia that mention that young plants specifically like partial sun to shade as they are rain forest trees.  I even saw a mention from California that the fruits and pulps color can be effected by weather during flowering.  I have an empty spot that get's full morning sun until noon which is where I want to put it.

I'm tempted to pot the plant and move it around until I find a good spot.  But I'm also tempted to get it in the ground as my freeze warning storage is my living room and I have sandy soil which I've read they like.  Any advice?

I've started doing more international research on plants after a presentation at TCRFC on jaboticabas mentioned doing just that to get the best information.  I've been surprised that I can't get good home gardening advice on finger limes from Austrlia.

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