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Messages - Epicatt2

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Hurricane Ian Prep
« on: September 28, 2022, 05:01:48 PM »
I see the eyewall now maybe touching Sanibel to Captiva strip of island....

Pine Island look to be next a few minutes away...

Keep your thoughts/prayers out for them today... & of course all others...

One of many tv radar sites:

It's 4:45pm WED at this writing.  Here in Tampa we're currently getting lots of rain & gusting winds up to maybe 35 mph.  IAN made landfall just north of Fort Myers about an hour ago and that area is presently feeling the worst of the storm right now.

Just checked outside here at my house in Tampa and there's a lot of wind blowing from the northeast.  But so far my tropical saplings in pots are all still upright except for one that has blown over but I am not having any flooding in my yard.

We're being told on TV right now that the winds by this evening here in Tampa may gust to 80mph with occasional squalls.  We may lose power and up 'til now we have only had short power outages lasting less than a minute where I am.  The Tampa Bay area will continue to feel the storm's effects 'til Thurdsay afternoon or evening.

IAN is supposted to head slowly (±9mph) NE passing through Lakeland/winter Haven, then Orlando by about 8pm this evening degrading to a Tropical Storm, and continuing NE on to somewhere near Daytona Beach and then out into the Atlantic.  [< Updated at 1:20am Thurs]

Hoping that everyone is hunkered down somewhere that's a safe place and that all your tropical fruit trees make it through with mnimal or no damage.

Hope this post makes it through because during the time I've been writing this there have been three short power outages that interrupted my wifi service.  Waiting now to get connected again.

Fingers X-ed!

Paul M.

If it helps any, there are at least 2 Ilamas in Sebring. They would have gone through 28 at a minimum this last winter (one is bearing fruit this year). I would say they are approximately equal in hardiness to mango and maybe slightly harder. They appear to be more resilient/long lived than sugarapple.

Thanks for the encouraging reply, Galatians. I'm glad to hear this; it offers me some hope.  Though further south than Tampa, Sebring is inland and Tampa is on the coast so I'm guessing that Tampa is a few degrees warmer than inland Sebring is.

Guess I'll hafta bite the bullet and plant my larger ilama in the ground next season.

Fingers X-ed!

Paul M.

I live in Miami so, I haven't had to deal with frost or freezes yet.  Ilama growers in Central Florida and California should have more insight on cold tolerance.

In fact, I was actually hoping that some TFF members from central Florida would chime in about their experiences with their ilama's cold tolerance, but maybe there aren't very many TFF members growing this in central Florida.


Paul M.

Ilamas are surprisingly cold tolerant.  The main issue for ilamas in Florida is excessive rain during certain months

Thanks for the reply Mark.

So, do ilamas require a long dry-off period during their annual cycle?  How long and when, please?

And Mark, how cold have your ilamas survved down to, and how old were they at that time?


Paul M.

Got to wondering whether selecting material (seeds or plants) of Annona macroprophyllata from the upper elevations of its natural habitat range would provide material which would be better suited to tolerating our cool winter temperatures here in Florida (9b).

Are there any TFF members growing such 'upper elevation' ilamas in central Florida who may have noticed better cold tolerance of theirs?

Or maybe member Raul in México will chime in here with some info since he collects seeds of this species in the wild.

¡Pura Tertulia!

Paul M.

You will need a chemical product (bait) that decimates the fungus that the ants are growing from all those cut leaves that they carry back to the nest which they use to farm more fungus with. 

That farmed fungus is the colony's main food source and once their food source is destroyed then the colony will either die or relocate.

There are several of these sorts of bait product on the market to control leaf-cutters' fungal food.  You will need to ask around to see what is available where you are.  Check with your local agricultural offices or with plant nurseries in that area.



Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Squirrel battle
« on: September 17, 2022, 04:43:06 AM »
A18 trap it is sold in the US.

Ebay has them for sale $90.

Alas, nope.  Ebay only has the Good Nature A24 mouse and rat destroyer,
I cannot find their model A18 for squirrels listed anywhere for sale on eBay. 

Do you maybe have a link to  share that shows the Good Nature A18 for sale
on eBay, porfa Juliano?


Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Squirrel battle
« on: September 16, 2022, 03:09:30 AM »
On another thread, someone showed an A18 rodent killer.  Looked good.

This appears to offer an effective quick kill. Unfortunately the Goodnature Pest Control Trap
model A18, specifically for squirrels, is illegal to sell to us in the US. Hopefully that may change
soon.  Maybe there's a TFF member who lives in the UK somewhere who would send one to
us stateside if we were to send them the money for the item and shipping. Alas, it's not cheap!

I empathize with those members reporting damages and losses to their fruit crops.  I've lost
to squirrels every 'Mexicola Grande' avocado fruit on my tree for the last two seasons. They
got all my mangoes, too!  I have no sympathy whatsoever for these fluffy rats!  Grrrrr!

Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Tropical Sources of ALA (Omega-3)
« on: September 16, 2022, 02:47:46 AM »
Evening Primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) is a vegetable source of Omega -3 and -6 Fatty Acids.

Useful for those not wanting to source Omegas from fishoils.


Paul M

Epicatt2, are you personally having success with pomegranates and fejoas? Pomegranates here get a fungus that destroys the fruit unless sprayed several times a year. My fejoas in 9a have flowered for the past 2 years and have yet to produce a fruit.

Hi daisyguy,

I have three pomegranate cultivars that I am growing:  'Parfianka', 'Vietnamese', and also an 'Indian River' seedling.  None of the three are old enough to have flowered or fruited but all three are growing rampantly here in 9b. 

From what I've read, 'Parfianka' is a semi-dwarfing type, which I like for having in my small yard. I received 'Parfianka' in late 2021 sent from a TFF member in north Florida and USPS had it so long in their custody that when it was delivered to me here in Tampa it had lost all its leaves. 

This 'Parfianka' was a 9-in tall rooted cutting in a 4-inch pot which looked like an all-but-dead stick upon arrival, but amazingly it leafed out again shortly after it was placed outside in dappled light and watered. Now eleven months later it's in a 3 gallon pot and 4-ft tall.  It will go into the ground soon.

The 'Vietnamese' cultivar on the other hand is supposed to tolerate the high humidity here in Florida making it resistant to fungal damage to the fruit.  We'll see, fingers X-ed!

As to Feijoa, I tried some a couple years back that I got from Just Fruits in Crawfordville, FL, but they did not survive.  I think they arrived damaged due to too much jostling during shipping and just never recovered from that.  I've held off getting any more feijoas until I can find some particular cultivars like 'Manmmoth' which sounds like it ought to do well here in 9b.


Paul M.

Since then the tree has got larger (the mother died, but a grafted one I have is alive) ...and
it gets covered by ants which wreck the crop (scale bugs mostly actually do the damage, they
cover the flowers entirely)...but when the tree was happy it made so much fruit it was amazing...

What, if anything, do you do to thwart the ants from farming scale on your fruiting biribá?

Mine hasn't bloomed yet but it's four years old now  and in a 7-gal pot. The main stem is 2-in
in diameter and the overall tree is about six feet tall.  I'm hoping for flowers & fruit next season.

Adam, do you feed your biribá?  If so, then with what?


Paul M.


I would suggest you consider trying pomegranates.  There are numerous cultivars to chose from which would be good for Webster.

And for a banana, choose Raja Puri.  My Raja Puri seems to take the cold and wind quite well.  I recall that William Lesard comments in his book,"The Complete Book of Bananas", that Raja Puri is 'bulletproof'.  I really like the fact that Raja Puri is also a smaller banana plant of about seven feet tall.

Don't overlook fejoas, either.  There are a number of cultivars of that, too, which would be right for your area.

Do you have Maypop, i.e., Passiflora incarnata?  It's very cold tolerant and will come back in the springtime after a freeze has knocked it to the ground.

Maybe you could even get away with a pawpaw (Asimina triloba) if your area in Webster has sufficient chilling hours.


Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Blueberries for the True Tropics
« on: September 03, 2022, 05:52:07 PM »
also might be worth sourcing neotropical blueberries if you can get your hands on them, agapetes, macleania, disterigma etc.

There is this well-documented native bluberry species of the highlands of Costa Rica:
Vaccinium consanguineum

A friend of mine living adjacent to the Jardín Botánico Lankester in Paraiso, Costa Rica
is growing one in her garden.

Though not so far taken in hand for breeding studies, this species, V. consanguineum may
well be a prime candidate for the OP of this topic, making it likely to be useful as a parent
to breed with N. American Vacciniums to develop strains suitable for his altitude in Perú

Its range includes the highland páramo of Costa Rica, western Panamá, and other highland
areas of Central America and México.


Paul M.

Thanks Peter.

In addition to Eugenias and Garcinias, I have a number of Annonas including a couple of ilamas and a biribá with a 1-1/2 in diameter trunk.

In addition to our central Florida cool-off during December and January then about that same time there's also a dry-off for the most part, but through all this there are still two nearby streetlights that are on all night.

The streetlight has never affected my Suriname Cherry (Eugenia uniflora) nor any of my bananas nor a sugar apple. but other things maybe are beng impacted by all night long light.

Hoping some more TFF members might share their similar experiences involving streetlights.


Paul M.
Zone 9b

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Night Length and Tropical Fruit Species . . .
« on: September 01, 2022, 02:19:44 AM »
Never seen this discussed on here so I'll ask . . . .

For those of you city-dwelling TFF members living and growing in urban areas of the tropics and sub-tropics:

Do you find that fruit species you are growing which are normally native to tropical areas that receive mostly even amounts of day and night during the annual cycle in their native lands, do these species seem to grow, flower, and fruit even though they may be exposed to a nearby street light that burns all night year round?  Which sepcies in your experience?

And then the converse:  Which species seem to have their growing, flowering, fruiting cycle ineterrupted by nearby street lights?

Just wondering about this and whether street lights may be a problem with some of the Eugenias and Garcinias that I'm growing here in Tampa.


Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: seeds
« on: August 31, 2022, 07:10:11 PM »
Egads — Seeds arrived KA-WIKLY!  And in great condition.

Thanx Mike!

Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: seeds
« on: August 29, 2022, 06:32:55 PM »

 PM sent . . . .

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: cas guava vs lemon guava vs other ID
« on: August 29, 2022, 04:34:45 PM »
I can’t see the foliage very well but it looks like cas.

Looks like cas to me, too, Peter.

Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Id this plant
« on: August 26, 2022, 06:13:53 AM »
Don't overlook the fact that Calicarpa americana's (beautyberry's) leaves, lightly crushed and rubbed onto the skin are a very effective (renewable) mosquito repellent, in addition to the berries providing food for the local birds. 

There is also a white-fruited variety of this same species which is pretty spectacular in its own right.


Paul M.

Great, instructive video whch clearly demonstrates the pollination mechanics of a passionflower and how the bee 'just fits perfectly'.  Now the bee's fuzzy back makes far more sense to me as a pollen collector.  Also the position of the stigmas is important: up when the flower is male and down/horizontal when the stigmas are ready to accept pollen.

Thanx for posting the link, Kevin!

Paul M.

It's alive!
Thankfully I'm not in need of a new lakoocha. =)
Have been watering like crazy, and its paying off.

Sounds like you've managed to have a Lakoocha coup, so to speak . . .

Plants are often way more resilient than we think, so it's always great to see one of our stressed trees
that we think is dead come back to life when it gets treated right.


Paul M.

Could someone please point me toward a Florida nursery that is offering Kwai Muk in say, 3 gallon pots, and that is willing to ship?  So far my searching comes up 'out-of-stock' everywhere.  Not lookng for a tiny seedling and would prefer to pay somewhat less than $100.

Wanting to try growing this here in 9b.

Fingers X-ed.


Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Growing Kwai Muk in Southern CA.
« on: August 16, 2022, 04:14:54 AM »
I keep wondering whether Kwai Muk would be a good choice to grow here in Tampa,, FL - 9b.

Now after reading in this thread that they get very large and are sensitive to the cold (how much cold can they survive?) I am also wondering whether there are any selected varieties in the trade.  And ideally a dwarf or semi-dwarf cultivar that could be recommended for a space-limited yard in town.


Paul M.

I have several trees in my backyard, but I have detected that specifically under the mulching of two trees (an avocado and a lychee), there are thousands of ants.

Every time I water those trees, they start to move everywhere, including climbing the tree.

What can I do to deal with them in a natural way? [ snip ]

The boric acid powder + sugar or syrup made into a thick paste that someone suggested earlier could work but you'd need a lot of it with that many ants.  (This concoction works n clckroaches, too, BTW...)

Ants hate tansy (Tanacetum vulgare = common tansy) so you could plant some of that around the base of the affected trees as an ant repellent.

A couple years ago I had a severe pest ant species (Pheidole megacephala = big-headed ant = BHA) in my yard in Tampa that just walked thru any pesticides that I treated the area with.  Nothing affected them and they were farming aphids and scales on my fruit trees.  Finally in frustration I tried broadcasting Imidacloprid  around the affected trees and watering it in well.  This worked on the scales and aphids, killing them and preventing them from reproducing. This caused the BHAs to move away to farm untreated plants/trees in my yard.  So I treated those trees with Imidacloprid, too, and the ants left those alone, as well.  Eventually the BHAs gave up and moved out of my yard.

One of these ideas may be an option for you try to curb your ant infestation. 

Good Luck!

Paul M.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Tropical Fruit Forum
« on: August 04, 2022, 12:09:15 PM »
Generally TFF members contact the vendor via a PM and make arrangements with the vendor privately.

Send the vendor a PM and tell him what you want and ask how they want you to pay.  There is a little icon on the left side of every post that will let you send a PM to the vendor.


Paul M.

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