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Thanks Mark!

And thanks for that link, I have read some of her papers before, but I have not read that one yet. I do understand what she is saying in the paper. My approach with my persimmon and plum holes was contrary to her advice. I did do a much higher percentage of amendments than she recommends, but as I was doing it I thought about the 'bathtub' effect and fact that I would get settling over the years. So I formed a small mound so that the crown was 3" above the native soil level. This would give me some margin for settling. And I actually want a bathtub in the soil. These trees are somewhat close to obstructions in the yard and I am keeping them to about 6 feet. I am planning to do so by pruning, but I figured constraining the roots (essentially putting them in a 'pot' in the ground) would also help me to achieve that goal.

Regarding the Joey avocado: Please let me know if you put one in and how it does! I frost protect my mango trees and will have to do the same with a Reed avocado (after I graft one :) ), but I did look into some of the much more cold tolerant avocados (like Joey, Stewart, Fantastic) and I can see the appeal of not needing to deal with frost protection.


Awesome man! Good luck, I hope those grafts take! And congrats on that Reed graft! That is the tree that I most want in my yard. I have to say, I am psyched up to do some grafting on my avocado seedlings in the winter!

Back to the points brought in the question about it, trees with deep taproots like pecan and oaks MAY do better if you plant the acorn or nut in it's permanent location.  What the article leaves out is the skill of the gardener - his understanding of plant processes, culture, and soil structure.  I have a heavy clay loam soil but I know how to handle it.  I put in 60 trees (fruit, nut, shade) around my custom built house and in less than 10 years they have grown from potted seedlings the size of a pencil to massive 25 footers (8 meters tall) with trunk girths of 10" +.

Those are excellent points. Knowing your site and soil makes a huge difference. My is very heavy desert soil, with some clay, but very high pH and salt content. There are some trees that I can stick in the ground and do almost nothing (pomegranate) or minimal amendments (citrus) but then I have a couple of holes in the yard that have amendments in them to drainage improvement (plum and persimmon) and then I have a mound with a lot of amendments with good underneath drainage (peaches and avocados). And knowing the right places to put them for shade and sun. I agree, you have to let your land talk to you.

Congrats on all those mature trees grown from seedlings, that must be very satisfying!

Absolutely simon, glad you liked it!

On a side note, several members have contacted me regarding doing this same practice of direct planting of Mango seeds and asked about my opinion. I visited Leo Manuel several months ago and told him about my issues with slow growth of my mango trees and he mentioned that many of his larger trees were seedlings that he planted many years ago. I believe direct planting of Mango seeds would be the best route for people growing Mango in marginal climates.

That is another really good idea!

It seems like this approach will be great for a lot of subtropical trees that we love: avocado, mango, sapotes, cherimoya, atemoya, longan, lychee, etc. Anything that can make a strong and viable seedling, but won't necessarily produce good fruit from the seedling. Then we wait a year and do a graft from scions and have a much stronger site appropriate tree.

I am thinking very strongly about this approach now. The advantages are very compelling that you brought up in the original post (seedling/rootstock born into the environment that it will grow in, compatibility to soil biology, likely increased tolerance to non-optimal soil and water pH because it grew up that way, non-disturbed root system, able to handle seasonal stress better, etc.). One might point out that the disadvantage would be that this requires a lot more planning (which is true, can't argue with that) and will put you a few years behind in fruit production from a nursery-bought tree. And while that is likely true for initial fruit production, it seems likely to me that there is a cross-over point (say in years 3 or 4) where the native rootstock/site-grafted tree will outproduce a nursery rootstock/grafted tree because it is more established and able to send more energy up through the graft.

This point may not make much of a difference in more ideal growing environment for that cultivar, but for someone like me (who lives in the desert) it might make a huge difference in the long run. As you point out above: the best route for people growing in marginal climates.


Temperate Fruit Discussion / Sambucus Mexicana
« on: March 23, 2015, 08:04:54 PM »
This is a question geared more toward the Southwest US growers (based on my climate here near Phoenix), but I wanted to see if anyone has experience with the Mexican Elderberry / Blue Elderberry (Sambucus Mexicana / Sambucus Nigra Caerulea).

I have a spot in my yard that gets baking hot in the summer (western exposure along an eastern block wall, so a lot of direct and indirect/reflected heat in summer afternoons). Instead of trying to adapt this spot to try to grow something more tropical, I wanted to go with a native plant to this area. But I still want it to be a fruit tree / shrub. I was considering a pomegranate but I already have a few and want to try something different.

So it seems to me than an Elderberry would be a good fit. For the past couple of years around cold season my wife picks up Elderberry syrup from the store and it really does seem to help with reducing winter time sicknesses. So there is a desire from me to attempt to make my own. The flavor is very deep and rich sweet-tart. I think it would make a really good pie too.

Does anyone have experience growing these and harvesting these? Positive or negative thoughts? Based on other articles it seems like it would take summer heat in full sun, would you agree?


I found this paper from the California Avocado Association (from 1919!) that talks about so many of the ideas that you have in your post. I think you will really enjoy it!  - . The first three paragraphs are very good. And even if the seedling is started in a pot at a nursery instead of in the ground and then transferred to a pot later, the same issue of an underformed tap root still exists because it will be constrained by the size of the pot. I really did not understand that an avocado tree really wants a long deep tap root until you pointed it out and I started reading about it.

My seedling are still doing great outside. But the real test will be in about 3-4 months :)


That website is awesome! I love tequila and have tried quite a few but nothing like that, I am impressed! I love to drink tequila neat as well. I am quite fond of El Tesoro Anejo, it is one of my all time favorites. But the next time I go to the liquor store I will be on the lookout for Casa Noble and Cabrito.

Thank you for the suggestions, I am definitely bookmarking your Tequila tasting page. Thanks!

We had a nice Meyer Lemon crop this year. My normal margarita is 1 part fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 part dark blue agave syrup, 2 parts of a good Reposado Tequila (Cazadores happens to be one of my favorites). I made a variation on it to take advantage of the Meyer Lemons and highlight it's qualities: 1 part fresh squeezed Meyer Lemon juice, 1 part light blue agave syrup, 2 parts of Blanco Tequila (the light agave syrup and blanco tequila have less flavor which allows the orange-lemon character of the Meyer Lemon to come through more). Drink these on your porch in the middle of the afternoon, that is happiness :)

I very much agree. I ordered a persimmon from them early last year. Customer service was very prompt and helpful, The packaging was excellent (best packaging I have ever received a tree in, and I have tried several mail orders), and the tree was in tremendous shape when I got it. I am highly impressed with Just Fruits and Exotics!

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Flavor King Pluot
« on: March 14, 2015, 01:11:45 PM »
ClayMango, My experiences with Violette de Bordeaux and Panache here in the desert have been very good. Both of my trees are young / small so I only got a couple of small figs last year. But the taste is great. Very fruity with raspberry/strawberry notes to them, and not as 'figgy' tasting as say a Black Mission (and there is no problem with that, I love figs of all flavors!). This spring both trees are just taking off with growth and I already have a VdB fig that is already 1" in diameter, so I am expecting a much bigger crop this year. And of course, besides flavor, the tiger stripe green on the Panache fig is just beautiful.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Girdling seedling avocados?
« on: March 08, 2015, 11:38:43 AM »
Jack, Thanks for this information, I agree that should stress the tree similarly to girdling and the fact that it is used to induced early fruiting in seedlings is very encouraging.

Temperate Fruit Discussion / Re: Persimmon thread
« on: March 08, 2015, 09:54:19 AM »
I have an Izu Persimmon that I got shipped from a Florida nursery early last year. It grew like crazy all through the summer with our heat, I was very impressed. It bloomed like crazy in the spring and set about a dozen fruit. When summer hit, it dropped all the fruit but one. But because it is only a 3 ft tree right now, I went ahead and culled it because I wanted the tree to focus on growth. I like how it grows and takes the heat, and I don't have a lot of room where it is at, so this one is a naturally small tree, which is why I chose it. The taste should be similar, maybe slightly sweeter, than a Fuyu which I like very much.

Has not leafed out yet this year, but it has a huge amount of swollen buds. Based on how fast it grew last year, I am hoping to have a couple of persimmons in September!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Girdling seedling avocados?
« on: March 08, 2015, 09:13:43 AM »
Hi fruitlovers, that is a really good suggestion. Maybe make a high graft on the stem of a seedling and the branches that come out low on the seedling (below the graft) might be 'triggered' to flower earlier than it otherwise wood because of the mature flowering wood above the graft.  I might try that approach.

The reason I am interested is that I have a bunch of seedling avocados on a mound in my yard . I have tried planting grafted avocados from a nursery and they have all burned to a crisp in the summer. And as Simon pointed out in the original post (a buddy of his has the same problem) the seedling directly planted in the final environment will have a much stronger root system. Back to this post: So I have more seedlings than I need, I will pick the strongest few for grafting (I ultimately want a Reed tree) but I would be interested if I left one of the other seedlings to grow up what the fruit might be like. However I am not willing to wait more than 3 years to find out (otherwise I would just graft a known desired cultivar to begin with).

So I like your idea because it gives me the potential for the best of both worlds. I will definitely ponder that one. Thanks for the feedback!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Girdling seedling avocados?
« on: March 07, 2015, 11:32:02 AM »
Here is an idea that I had which is inspired by recent post by crazyforcherimoya regarding girdling a Lychee:

The question I pose is: Since it takes so long to see the quality of fruit is by a seedling avocado (7+ years), can we speed up that discovery process by girdling?

I did a quick search on this forum and didn't find anything. But girdling in the avocado industry looks like it is common to induce fruiting, especially on the Fuerte which is a heavy alternate bearer:
(I have read a paper once similar to this, even though this is just an abstract):

In seedling mango, girdling has some positive results (and sometimes no results):

In seedling avocados, there is a similar story, some positive, some no results:

So what does the community think? Has there been any experimentation with this? Any positive results, any non-results? Does it seem like a task worth undertaking?

darkcoolboo, yeah Aug-Sep is the prime time. I can usually find them up to about mid-September. As for the mix, I would say roughly equal parts of the rest of that stuff. Basically the idea is to improve the drainage because as you know our soil here drains terribly. But I think what is giving them a good start right now is the vermicompost and manure that I have on top of the mound like I mention in reply #65.

Oh, and speaking of the Reed specifically: Avocado Diva ships them when they are in season. But I have also found them the last 2 years at the Whole Foods at 101 and Ray (they might be at other area Whole Foods too, I can only confirm this one). So every week starting in August I am up there snooping around for Reeds. They are my favorites.

No starting mix, just made a small hole and put them on the mound and covered them back up. I would say I get the most germination when the top of the pit is about 1/2" below the surface (enough coverage to just keep it moist but shallow enough so the sun warms it easily).

There are a few services out there that will ship you CA avocados. The one that I use is Avocado Diva ( She basically drives up and down the coast to small ranches between San Diego and LA and with her crew picks them fresh off the tree and ships them that week. We get our avocados and they typically ripen 7-10 days after we receive them. Because they are small ranches they have lots of different trees so we get to experience the full range of the CA avocado seasons. For someone like me who is a major avocado lover and doesn't live anywhere near avocado country, it is a really awesome service. I have been absolutely happy with it.

Thanks Simon!

That is good advice on the grafts, will do. I will hopefully have a few seedlings to choose from after the summer (see which ones survive our heat the best), so I will likely have some choices in matching calibers low on the stem to the scion. And if I can get my hands on a couple of Reed scions I will probably do a grafts on a couple of different seedlings to up my chances for a successful tree.

I will definitely keep you updated, thanks for the support and encouragement!


I just followed the link and found this post: . Nice, I like your summary of the method and advantages. The seedling that I planted are very random. I did not try to group them by variety, I just chucked them all out on my mound at random spots after I was done eating them. The seeds that I have out there are: Reed, Bacon, Lamb, Zutano, Hass, Nobel, Pinkerton, Fuerte and MacArthur. The biggest seedlings are either Reed or Lamb (just judging by the size of the pit, both of which are huge). My mound is made up of half native soil and the other half is: sand, garden soil, deodorized manure, citrus and cactus mix. Basically for good drainage. I have a layer of vermicompost and manure on the top and the avocado seeds are buried in that.

Here is what they look like now:


I wanted to thank you for putting this post together. I also fall into the the camp of planting avocado trees in vain, to see them do good in the spring but as soon as the stress of summer (especially down here) hits they wither up and die. So I also thought to plant some avocado seeds directly on my mound. I planted a bunch last year of all kinds of different varieties with the thought being that there will be enough genetic variation that will produce a rootstock that can withstand our salty water and high temps. I was not even considering the other factors that you point out in the original post (sprouts in the environment it will be living in so it builds a relationship with the soil microbes and chemistry right off the bat, no transplant shock, taproot is allowed to grow unimpeded and undistrubed, etc.). Over this winter I had 3 decent sized seedling (4-6 inches) that had sprouted during the fall and we had a pretty cold snap in December. My yard got to 26 F and stayed there for a few hours for 2 nights. And these seedlings showed absolutely no cold burn or damage at all, I was shocked. Now I have a dozen or so seedlings of various sizes and I will pick 2 or 3 that weathers the summer the best and graft on to those in the fall.

I had given up on growing avocados here, but now I am full of optimism again. Thank you for sharing your process and thought and the success that you have had with it. I love avocados (Reeds are my all-time favorite) and am looking forward to some fall grafting. Thanks again for this post!

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