Author Topic: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question  (Read 1448 times)

spustacci

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Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« on: August 27, 2022, 09:20:07 AM »
This is my first post to the forum. I'm hoping to get some guidance on cold tolerance and microclimates for tropicals in central Florida. I'm in 9b but right on the border of 9a/9b in central Florida about 50 miles west of Orlando (got down to 25 last winter) and am wondering what tropical fruit trees can survive once mature in the area.

There are two places on the property with space for additional trees. One is out in the open with full sun but little cold protection and the other is under the cover of live oak trees in filtered sunlight. My understanding is that most wouldn't survive winter even once mature (mango, sugar apple, sapote family, june and java plum). Would some of the more cold hardy tropicals be able to survive and fruit in either location (starfruit, white sapote, sapodilla, atemoya, cherimoya, jaboticaba, canistel, longan, wampee)? I'm open to the idea of creating more idea microclimates if that makes a difference.

I've got quite a few of the varieties in pots and plan to plant ones that can survive in the ground after the last frost but want to make sure of a decent chance of survival long term before putting them in ground.

Any guidance would be much appreciated!

Aiptasia904

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2022, 09:37:50 AM »
Lonny Reid at the Reid Farm in DeLand is who I would reach out to on this.

That being said, I'm further north up in Orange Park (9a) and I keep a few of the plants you've mentioned in containers. All of my true tropicals are in pots so that I can move them into my workshop with a hand truck if I need to if it drops below 50f. in the winter. Of your list, carambola (star fruit), white sapote and jaboticaba would probably survive in the winter in ground in a micro-climate under the canopy of your oak trees. I'm not sure about the sapote but the other two like part sun to dappled sunlight anyway. Other subtropicals that would probably do well in full sun to part sun would be citrus, loquat, pitaya (dragonfruit cactus) and pineapple. Low chill hour varieties of temperate fruit trees (peaches, apples, etc.) would also do well in full sun.

1rainman

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2022, 02:08:19 PM »
Definitely not going to get anything like a mango going there. They grow way down around Fort Myers. Occasionally where I'm at in Port Charlotte, but even here is not a good spot.

Florida peaches 100% the best thing to grow in your area. They are great and grow fast. Your pineapples, cold hardy bananas (like raja puri or orinoco) and so forth if you get them big and healthy they will die back when a frost hits them but come back to life afterwards. The bananas would grow back from the roots. If you get them growing fast enough you could get bananas in the fall or late winter before the frost hits. I would plant them where they are protected from the northern wind blowing in.

Florida Pecan (elliot) which is the best tasting would grow there. I would just buy some elliot pecans from the farm, eat most of them but plant a few and grow them. But when I did this something ate my young plants, so have to protect them. They'll also eat the seeds and the plant coming out of the seed when they first sprout. Most other varieties of pecans won't have enough chill hours.

Obviously citrus if you get a greening resistant variety like sugar bell. I don't know about those really exotic stuff I never messed with it.

BohicaBob

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2022, 03:03:02 PM »
I live on a lake and have discovered what kinds of microclimates I have on my one acre property.  I have 24 mango trees, 8 avocado trees, 5 lychee trees, etc. north of Orlando, 9B.

On 1/30/2022 for example, I found the lowest temperature in a couple parts of my yard where I have mango trees got down to 29 degrees F, while other areas like down near the lake where I have 6 mango trees were above freezing.  I frost-cloth covered a number of mango trees in those colder microclimateson 1/29/2022, but I did not put in incandescent lights because I believed the meteorologists (dummy me :( ) that my area would only see 31 degrees F.  Anyway, all of the other mango trees that were not protected were just fine and produced some nice fruit this year. 
 
There are different kinds of avocado trees, some are what I consider super-cold-hardy, some cold-hardy, and other kinds not-cold-hardy at all for this area.

Learned where to put my lychee trees in my back yard the "hard way" so to speak as well. :D

1rainman

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2022, 04:24:56 PM »
If you are directly on a coast or a large lake its a different story because the water cools it a bit on hot days and warms it during cold nights. A large mango tree can take a freeze but not a small one. But sooner or later we will get hit with a cold winter. We haven't had one in a very long time. It will drop down to 10 or 15 degrees at night and not warm up.

It must have been about 12 years ago we had record breaking cold. Went down to the harbor it was floating with dead fish. The cold killed the fish. Dead plants everywhere. It was the only time I remember it was during the day and like 35 degrees that one day but it was snowing in north Florida. We got down to like 15 degrees or something down here.

But even being near water I can see where it didn't freeze here but down the street further from water it froze and more death this past year. Once you get a good set in cold that will pretty damaging to tropical plants probably do them in.

It's like a coconut tree. Technically they don't grow north of punta gorda- this is the border. You might get away with it if you are on the beach. But lots of people grow them here. A freeze will kill a small plant, but the big ones will recover from a freeze. But eventually we will get a hard cold snap and it will kill the coconuts growing this far north- even if they have been here for ten or fifteen years.

Florida isn't tropical unless you are right on the beach or on the southern tip. The keys are fully tropical, they never see a freeze. But being subtropical on an unsusally cold winter we can get hit with a good cold snap. Doesn't happen often but when it does the plants really take a beating.

That's why it's pretty rare to see a big mango or avacado around here. I have seen them sometimes, but they usually don't make it long term. Even a lot of citrus are cold sensitive and will go in a very cold year, though others are more cold tolerant. Something like a more cold tolerant banana is bullet proof though. On a warm year it will keep on growing. If you do get hit with a cold snap and its got a good root system/corm or whatever they call it, then it will just grow back. Pineapples usually come back too even from pretty bad cold snaps, but even if they die they are easy to replace.

Who knows maybe global warming will work out for everyone. It has been getting hotter here, but I think its from all the development more than anything to do with carbon. They bulldoze the woods and build parking lots and houses and in the summer you can fry an egg on the sidewalk here or the roof. It absorbs heat in a way that a lake or trees would not- it's called the urban heating effect. Then in the winter everyone turns on their heat, which if there are enough houses can have a tiny effect on the outside temperature actually. And air conditioning actually shoots heat outside- so it causes it to really cook in the summer when you have all these building with AC shooting the heat outside and their roof tops simmering like a frying pan.

But back in the 70s and 80s there were several years Florida got hit with major cold and devestated the citrus industry. Well I guess that was nothing compared to greening but back then was a big deal. Then like I said it was like 12 years ago or so we got hit good. It was cold for like two weeks dipping down in the teens every night. Has been really mild for the past 10 years we have been in a warm cycle.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2022, 04:30:14 PM by 1rainman »

Galatians522

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2022, 07:36:36 PM »
Of the ones you mentiond I would give the White Sapote a shot in your cold spot. I have also heard good things about the Sabara Jaboticaba.

Julie

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2022, 01:34:44 PM »
Aren't there many people growing mango in Orlando?  We also don't know when a hurricane will come and knock down our trees - nothing is guaranteed - I would plant mango if it can survive the winter most years except for the unlikely very cold year, the weather is getting warmer anyway due to climate change.  Maybe I'm wrong but I didn't think there was a huge temperature difference between Miami & Orlando.

Epicatt2

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2022, 12:23:30 AM »
Spustacci,

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.

OK HTH

Paul M.
==
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 12:30:49 AM by Epicatt2 »

yoski

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2022, 04:28:00 PM »
Some Mango trees stay small and are easily protected, like Pickering. Pickering is an outstanding variety, good taste and very productive. Easily maintained to less than 8ft. On a cold night cover with tarp and stick a heater underneath. Not saying you can grow an entire orchard, but a few trees should be manageable.

daisyguy

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2022, 05:40:03 AM »
Spustacci,

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.

OK HTH

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.

baccarat0809

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2022, 01:51:47 PM »
Spustacci,

I know of two "large" Mango trees in the Orlando area (and I use the term liberally in large).  One is in Oviedo and the other is in Lake Mary.  The Oviedo tree is probably 18 ft tall and the Lake Mary tree is probably 14-15 ft tall.

No idea when they were planted but they're both in-ground and from the looks of the development they're in they've been there a while.  Not sure what steps the owners take but I've passed them both while driving around.

For me I've got mine in pots.  All seedlings started 4-5 years ago.  One of my trees is HUGE - probably 12ft tall and is gorgeous.  The others are mehh.  Hoping next year from fruit from the large tree.  We'll see

As others have said, you should be able to get away with Starfruit and I have a former employee who has a few jackfruit trees in-ground.  Florida Prince Peach has produced here for me.  Pineapples have been pretty easy - i just throw a blanket over them when there's a cold spell and the ground is warm enough with the days heating to keep them above freezing.  Also pineapple = free which is always good.  Just peel the bottom leave off a "twisty" store pineapple and put it in the ground.  Takes a few years but if you wait to pick it until its truly ripe the brix is much higher and the fruit tastier.

Don't sleep on Loquats as well.

Epicatt2

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2022, 02:58:10 PM »
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.

OK HTH

Paul M.
==

JulianoGS

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2022, 04:17:12 PM »
You can most definitely plant mango trees. 
I have seem mango trees north of Orlando in Winter Park and Winter Garden.
Be very careful and mindful of what you sow, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

JulianoGS

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2022, 04:28:44 PM »
Can plant peaches, pineapples, pomegranates, loquats, jaboticabas, oranges, mango, grapes, etc.
Be very careful and mindful of what you sow, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Rispa

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2022, 06:05:28 PM »
Mulberry, fig, pears apples, pomegranate, banana, nuts, persimmon, and loquat should all work. Some stone fruit could work too.

Galatians522

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2022, 10:11:15 PM »
If you plant mangos in ground north of Orlando you will need to have a very good freeze protection system in place or have an incredible microclimate. I saw mango trees about 200 miles south of you killed by the freeze we had this year. Trees roughly 50 miles north of there in a warm microclimate (in town) were unphased.

spustacci

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2022, 05:17:39 PM »
I appreciate all the great advice!

Purchased a few outdoor thermometers to see how much of a difference the oak canopy and south wall of the house make temperature wise and it's been a 3 to 5 degree difference on the overnight lows so far.

We went to Reid Farm (great suggestion) and picked up a few trees on the list. Most of what we put in the ground are loquats, low chill fruits (peaches, nectarines, apples, plums), pomegranate, mulberry, figs, cold hardy avocados, bananas, and citrus. Going to try starfruit, tropical cherries, white sapote, jaboticabas in the more protected spots in spring.

I'll try a few more cold sensitive trees in the most optimal spots to see if they will survive. I'm trying atemoya, mango, canistel, and sapodilla in these spots with the understanding that the end result may be overpriced kindling or compost material lol.

yoski

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Re: Central Florida Backyard Food Forest Question
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2022, 09:01:54 PM »
Some Mango trees stay rather small, like Pickering. If you plant them near (less than 50ft) an electrical outlet you can cover and heat them when it gets too cold.

 

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