Author Topic: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?  (Read 445 times)

FigoVelo

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Hi everyone,
I joined this forum a few days ago. I own a piece land in Sonoma County, California and have planted it with figs, Asian pears, persimmons, pawpaws and other temperate fruits. I have also planted avocados and white sapotes -- and it's the white sapotes that I would like to discuss. I want to know if other people in my climate zone -- 9B -- and especially in my immediate area have had success with white sapote and, if so, what extra care (if any) they require. I planted a Vernon white sapote three years ago. In its second spring in the ground, it set blossoms, and it made 8 nice fruits in the fall of 2021. I do not recall the coldest temperatures we had that year -- maybe around 30 or 31. So, it can be done, at least in favorable years. But we do have considerable frost here. In February 2022, temperatures dropped to 27 degrees here. While the literature suggests white sapotes will withstand 22F, my 5 young trees were defoliated. They have rebounded nicely, but they made no blossoms this spring. I am wondering if I am facing a future of sporadic white sapote production, at best.

A few questions:

Is it common for white sapote trees to thrive in Zone 9B but very rarely make fruit? (This is the case for many avocados in my neighborhood.)
At what temperature do white sapote blossoms suffer frost damage?
Have any of you seen white sapotes fruit on an annual basis even when subjected most springs to high-20s frost?

Thanks for any advice, encouragement or specific info you can offer.

Sincerely,
Alastair 

Jack, Nipomo

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2022, 02:36:24 PM »
We have 14 varieties of white sapote growing here and 3 varieties of yellow sapote.  We are in 9B and have experienced frost and freezes in past years.  Recently we experience high 20s or low 30s.  Some of the white sapotes are over 30 years old, some trees are multigrafted.  My largest tree survived 22 degrees years ago with some damage, but have not seen any damage in past 10 years.  They do produce heavy annual crops with little care.  Our location is about 20 miles from the coast on white dune sand.  40 years ago freezes did damage other sensitive plants, but now we barely get enough cold to get a decent crop of apricots.

FigoVelo

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2022, 03:06:07 PM »
Thank you. Very interesting. It sounds like you get to enjoy this wonderful fruit in abundance, even with light frost.

ScottR

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2022, 07:01:44 PM »
I have many,many varieties of w. Sapote I'm in same area as Jack S. only within 3 miles as crow flys from Pacific Ocean. I'm on ancient sand dune soil many of my varities fruit regularly if you get your tree's up big enough they can handle cold with only young tender branch burn in hard freeze. Many older tree's survived 16f in 2006 which was coldest ever been here in 45yrs I've been on property.
Vernon, Pike, unknown my best bearing varieties.

Bush2Beach

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2022, 08:44:34 PM »
Sonoma county is big and many micro climates.
Where are you growing?
Either way though they should be fine, more heat the better and probably not enough cold to zap them hard.

FigoVelo

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2022, 11:02:06 PM »
Sonoma county is big and many micro climates.
Where are you growing?
Either way though they should be fine, more heat the better and probably not enough cold to zap them hard.

Good question. I should have said earlier: I am southwest of Sebastopol about 3 miles. I am 7 miles from the ocean. Summer days average 80 to 85 degrees. Nights cool down dramatically to the low 50s or even high 40s, occasionally staying as warm as 60. Winter frost, as I mentioned, is infrequent but we have a few nights in the low 30s, sometimes high 20s.

Gulfgardener

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2022, 07:41:56 AM »
I used to live in Vacaville but took many trips to Sebastopol and love that town! Marta is a geneticist and gardener that works up in Davis. She has a blog that talks about all that she grows including many white sapote varieties in Vacaville. http://fruitsandgardening.blogspot.com/2021/12/white-sapotes-vernon-suebelle-and-lemon.html

I know Vacaville and Davis is hotter than Sebastopol but they do take the cold hits as well. I've been watching the weather over there since I've moved and never realized how cold and long the winters were. I just remember the 115F days lol.  Anyway, you might want to contact her on her blog and ask about production or what varieties she thinks would do best for you. Some are more vigorous than others.

Bush2Beach

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2022, 12:04:39 PM »
Sebastopol is perfect, and not just for white sapote.
What a great place to be and grow food.
I think they’ll do great there.
I have scion from a bunch of varieties I’ve been trialing in santa cruz if you ever need.

FigoVelo

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2022, 06:17:24 PM »
My white sapote grafting has been marginally successful, with only a 20 percent success rate so far. I grafted in the fall and again in the spring, and only a handful took. So, I would want to be careful about doing it right so that I minimize my failed grafts. All that said, thanks -- yes, I might want scions next year for grafting onto my seedling trees. If you have seen any promising attributes in your trees suggesting they might do well north of Marin, I'd be glad to try them.

Thanks for the offer.
Alastair

Oolie

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2022, 07:25:53 PM »
My white sapote grafting has been marginally successful, with only a 20 percent success rate so far. I grafted in the fall and again in the spring, and only a handful took. So, I would want to be careful about doing it right so that I minimize my failed grafts. All that said, thanks -- yes, I might want scions next year for grafting onto my seedling trees. If you have seen any promising attributes in your trees suggesting they might do well north of Marin, I'd be glad to try them.

Thanks for the offer.
Alastair

I had similar difficulty until my tree was well established, after which point, I had near 100% success.

It had a rough youth with many swallowtail larvae and gopher attacks.

FigoVelo

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2022, 10:30:58 AM »
Gophers?! I didn't know gophers sought out white sapote. I diligently trap gophers, and I have protected an orchard of figs from even a single casualty, but I wonder if I need to step up my guard of the white sapote trees. The trees are in baskets, though not as large as the baskets I gave to my figs.

ScottR

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2022, 10:49:37 AM »
Yeah, gophers will get young trees but they love figs had them take out 3" dameter fig tree's after years when cages rooted away. Especially when you have ground heavily mulched they dont' do mounds of dirt just eat from under ground. Beware

FigoVelo

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Re: White sapote on the California North Coast -- can it be done?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2022, 11:40:21 AM »
Yes, I have recognized that mulch can aggravate the gopher situation.

 

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