GARDENING, LANDSCAPE, AND ORCHARD INFORMATION

Designing, planting, fertilizing, Pruning, trimming, harvesting, and pest management of your garden, landscape, and orchard

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Apple Tree Information –

The Apple is pomaceous fruit produced from a woody deciduous tree known botanically as Malus pumilia. The Apple tree has been in the United States for ____ decades. The most popular variety is the Fuji Apple. … The Apple tree is easy to grow.

 

HOW TO GROW APPLE TREES

HOW, WHEN, HOW MUCH TO WATER A NEWLY PLANTED APPLE TREE

WHEN AND HOW TO FERTILIZE AN APPLE

 

 

Apple trees are a great choice to grow in home orchards because you can keep them small if you want, and they produce lots of fruits! Our popular apple trees produce sweet and tart fruit that is crisp and juicy. An apple tree can grow in almost any climate because they’re leaves drop in Fall, and goes dormant in the winter. They can tolerate the cold down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit, which is USDA Zone 4. This means Apple trees will continue to grow in all States except them very Northern regions of the United States. The very coldest parts of Main, New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana are too for most commercial Apple trees to grow. However, there are cold resistant Apple tree varieties that grow in those areas.  Apple trees also need a certain amount of cold in the winter to produce fruit. The is called the Chill Requirement. This is measured in hours of winter temperature under 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Low Chill requiring apple trees such as Fuji, Gala, Anna, Beverly Hills, Dorsett, and Granny Smith only need about 100 – 300 hours. This occurs in all areas of California. Even in Southern California. our nursery has successfully planted Apple trees that produce delicious fruit in Los Angeles for many years.  You can obtain the average chill hours at a location from getchilled.com or USDA Hardiness Zone from http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

 

Apples (Malus domestica) are crisp, crunchy, and nutritious fruits with juicy and delicious pomaceous flesh. The skin is smooth and full of vitamins. Seeds are small and located in the center of the fruit. Fuji Apple is the most popular sweet apple. Gala is a popular variety that smaller fruit. Granny smith is the tart green variety.

 

Apple trees are easy to grow and can be kept relatively small to moderate size with regular pruning. Spring brings an amazing flush of whitish blossoms, and simple dark green leaves. Fruits ripen during the Summer months, and can be eaten fresh off the tree, used in culinary and baking, juiced, dried, and can stored to be used later. It feels great to pick the fruits of your an apple tree you’ve cared for. Trees bear young and heavily.

 

The beloved apple tree made its way to the U.S in the 1600’s and thanks to the infamous Johnny Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), the apple became and still is a staple fruit for americans.  Apples are a colorful and dense fruit with a crispy cream colored flesh. The skin provides essential vitamins and antioxidants, while the flesh gives it sustenance.

All of these are decadent raw. Kids especially like them sliced with a dollop of peanut butter, in oatmeal, or dried as chips. If you want them even sweeter, there are other preparations such as cobbler and jams. As the second most popular fruit in the U.S. just behind bananas, it is no wonder there are apple pie and apple cider competitions all around.  There is also another practical use that comes from having apples around.. Throw them in a brown bag with some bananas and both will be ready to eat sooner, what a team player.

Apricot Trees are a great choice for home orchards.

Apricot fruits are small yellow to orange drupes,  like a peach, but about 2″ in diameter. The fruit is usually blushed with red on the side facing the sun. The surface of the skin can be smooth or almost like velvet like. The flesh of popular varieties such as Royal Blenheim are firm and juicy with sweet and delicious flavor.  A single seed is incased in a stony shell that is hard with a grainy and smooth texture called the “stone”. Fruit is ripe in the Summer and eaten fresh, dried, used in cooking, medicine, and deserts. Apricots are a healthy snack that is low calorie and high in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.

Apricot Trees

Trees can be kept small, 10-25 ft tall with a full and wide canopy.  deciduous trees that grow to a moderate size. Trees are self-fruitful, aromatic and produce white to pink Spring blossoms.

Grow Apricot trees in the full sun and well soils that drain well. Water once to twice a week in the Spring to Summer until trees establish. Reduce frequency in the Fall as the tree loses their leaves. Prune Trees and Provide little to no supplemental water in the Winter while the trees are dormant. Use organic winter dormant sprays, horticultural, and fungicides to manage pests. Thin in the summer to manage size, form, and plant energy. Summer thinning is important but Winter is when the majority of pruning should occur.

Apricot trees

Apricot trees (Prunus armeniaca) have a long lifespan and vigorous root system. This makes them lovely additions to the family and deciduous home collection.

These deciduous trees are pleasing to grow because they are self-fruitful and great attractions for the pollinating honeybees. They express white to pink blossoms, oval pointed leaves, and grey rough bark. The blossoms put on a dazzling show as the tree becomes covered in a pink hue. Growing in such a rapid way (bloom to harvest is about 3-6 months) is what is so surprising and rewarding about apricot trees. What may seem spontaneous or sporadic is in reality, just them leading a bustling life.

Originating from the Russian-Chinese border, apricot trees are often planted in home gardens solely for their bodacious and vibrant bloom period. Not long after petals fall and the show is over, growers are then rewarded with sweet and fragrant apricots

Apricots are a palm full fruit with a fine velvet skin and juicy flesh. The outside is consistently orange with a rib indent while the inside is translucent yellow. They tend to ripen rapidly in spring/early summer and are harvested in a short period, so get ready. Once called ‘golden eggs of the sun’ by Greeks, apricots are easily bruised and damaged. So take care and eat them quickly.

 

Due to the fact that apricot trees usually give off a bountiful but sometimes overwhelming harvest, humans have gotten pretty creative in ways to use them. Fresh they are delicious cut up in salads, grilled as a topping for ice cream, and blended into smoothies. Preserving them is often done by making jams or sun drying. Another tasty option and favorite, is making apricot bars or pies and freezing them. This way your summer fruit can be enjoyed year-round.

Planting

Apricot trees thrive in full sun and warm climates. Although sun exposure gives a pleasant red blush to fruit, apricots are prone to sun damage. On the other end, apricot trees can do well in cooler climates but are very susceptible to spring frosts. In this case late-blooming varieties are essential. Once you’ve decided your home orchard is fit for an apricot tree it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Trees enjoy being planted in deep well-draining soils and can tolerate alkaline and saline soils. Make sure to plant south-facing.

Trees bear fruit on 1yr old wood and spurs. Pruning is done to keep shape and size as well as, to cycle short living spurs (3-5 yrs). Other maintenance like thinning is not usually required. Though if clusters are compacted, growers can thin in summertime and use the length from pinky to thumb as a gage for distance between fruit.

Water Management

Newly planted trees are given a soak initially. Afterwards, watering 1-3 inches weekly in the first year is recommended. Established trees are watered according to size every 1-2 weeks excluding winter months. In order to decrease the amount of watering, mulching is a great option. Applying a 2 in. layer of mulch (away from the trunk) will help the soil to retain moisture. With water management of apricot trees there are two thing to pay special attention to. First, these trees can not tolerate being waterlogged at all. Therefore, application must be over longer periods of times with smaller amounts of water, rather than the opposite. Second, it is important to increase irrigation once buds beginning to swell.

Nutrition and Fertilization

Fruit trees express obvious deficiencies in the leaves and the fruit. These deficiencies usually occur because of the provided soil. Growers can avoid and reconcile deficiencies by being observant of things such as yellowing leaves, low amounts of flowers, and abnormal fruit. Then, proper applications can be made. However, growers generally fertilize prior to the first irrigation in spring with ratios that improve bloom and fruit set.

Pest and Disease

Notable diseases of apricot trees are brown rot and jacket rot. When growing anything it is imperative to understand which insects are beneficial and which are detrimental. To keep a healthy tree and robust harvest, home growers should become aware of prominent diseases, pests, and beneficials in their area. Contact your cooperative extension for information.

Although we harvest fig trees in fall the fruit can be dried for later in the year. The trees are deciduous and go dormant in the winter. The leaves are large, dark green, and lobed. Fig trees have branches that start as green growth, then harden to a woody brown color. Fig trees reach 10 to 30 feet tall. Great varieties that grow in California are the Mission, Turkey, Genoa, and our unique Persian fig tree.

These varieties do not need a pollinator. The ripe fruit is sweet and delicious with a soft and slightly juicy consistency. Figs have many health benefits and are a great source of antioxidants, potassium, and dietary fiber. Eat a fig fresh from the tree, use in a salad, bake a cookie, or dry them to be enjoyed later in the year. Figs are easy to grow. Prune trees to any shape. Figs quickly produce lots of fruit.

Plant in full sun near the coast or in mild summer climates like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Malibu. However, inland cities such as Los Angeles, Burbank, and Glendale where the summers are scorching necessitate planting in full morning sun and afternoon shade. Similarly, in areas such as the San Fernando Valley like Woodland Hills, Reseda, and Northridge plant fig trees in morning sun and afternoon shade. Afternoon shade will prevent their large leaves from burning in the high summer light during heat waves.

INFO & CARE

Water newly planted fig trees once or twice per week in spring through summer. Reduce water in the fall. Fig trees are dormant in the winter. They do not require much or any supplemental water during dormancy. Prune fig trees during their dormant period. Fertilize with low nitrogen, high phosphorus, and potassium food in the fall and winter.

Apply fertilizer with higher nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium in the spring through summer to promote growth. Nitrogen is the first number in the NPK fertilizer ratio, phosphorus is second, and potassium is third.
Keep the area surrounding fig trees clear of weeds. Pick up dropped and dried fruit to prevent pests.

FIGS – Everything you need to know about growing figs

Fig trees, generally propagated as rooted cuttings, have been handed down as heirlooms through many generations of families. The figs common to the Eastern US do not require pollination, so in a small garden one fig tree will provide a delicious crop of figs all on its own.

Figs enjoy lots of sunlight and will ripen better fruit in a warm, sunny location. Plan to provide at least 2/3 day sun – in hot areas of the country, afternoon shade may be welcome. The amount of sunlight needed to ripen a tasty fig crop is proportional to how far north you are – farther north, figs need more sun!

Figs are hardy from Zone 7-8 southward and have been grown much farther north with a warm microclimate, like next to a south-facing brick wall. In the north, many are grown as container plants that are moved to a protected location during the winter months.

Fertilizing Figs

Fertilize your fig trees at planting and every few months after – until midsummer – with a good dose of rich compost or a pelletized “timed-release” (3 – 4 month) balanced fertilizer (amounts of all nutrients close to equal) that includes “minors” (minor mineral nutrients).

Figs are heavy feeders – they produce a great amount of foliage and fruit – so watch for leaf yellowing. If the tree is not stressed (it has not recently been transplanted and it has not dried out), the problem may be lack of nutrients.

If you have acid soil, or are planting in a commercial potting mix (container planting), add a few tablespoons of granular horticultural lime to the planting hole and around the tree in the spring. On large trees, several cups of this lime can be spread around the tree each spring before you add new mulch. If you are colder than zone 8, we don’t recommend fertilizing after the end of July – it encourages new growth which will not harden off sufficiently before cold weather.

Irrigation

In hot and dry areas, figs do well on drip irrigation. We don’t recommend overhead irrigation – it’s generally too little for a tree this productive and keeping damp foliage encourages fig rust and other fungi.

Give your tree about 6 – 8″ of mulch for the summer to keep the underlying soil moist and cool. Make sure that your trees do not dry out, especially when developing fruit. Drought stress is the usual cause for fig fruit drop. This said, well established, older figs are famous for surviving in hot and dry areas. In North Carolina and Virginia coastal areas, it is not unusual to see large fig trees growing close to the dune lines. Their roots have developed enough depth to keep them moist.

Pruning Figs

The shape and size of a fig tree is largely a matter of personal preference combined with growing environment. Although fig trees mature into large, beautiful shade trees in the far south and western states, on the east coast figs are more popularly grown as small trees or large “bushes”. Some folks like all their fruit trees to look the same and want their figs to be a single trunk with a standard canopy. This is just fine and the fig will do well. Many prefer a broad, multi-stemmed tree that creates its own environment underneath a ground-hugging canopy. This can be a life-saver in dry climates.

Whatever you choose, pruning is best done when the tree is young, when it’s barely necessary and very routinely. If you begin lightly training a young fig tree by removing excess basal shoots (leaving one or two new stems each year if you like the multi-stemmed figs) and trimming back mis-growing stems, you will have a lovely landscape addition for life. Figs regrow rapidly and will replace cut wood each season. Most varieties will produce figs on new wood, so often there is no reduction in harvest as a result of moderate pruning. Although we have found that most varieties marketed as “dwarf figs” are not reliably dwarf, figs prune so easily that size control is not particularly difficult, especially if the tree is pruned back each year.

Figs are easily maintained with a light annual pruning but, unfortunately, many times they are ignored to grow way out of bounds then hacked severely to bring them into line. If you must, you can do the drastic pruning in the winter. Pruning a large, old fig tree is best done in stages. Figs can withstand a lot of pruning, but every tree has limits.

Most pruning is best done when the tree is dormant, during the winter when it is leafless. Even during the spring and summer, however, you can start by removing all branches and stems that are obviously dead.

The rest depends on how your tree is growing (single trunk or multi-stemmed), what kind of results you would like (how large, small or what shape) and how long the tree has been unpruned. Our rule of thumb is to go by thirds. Remove about a third of the wood that you would eventually like to have gone. On multi-stemmed figs that are becoming large, we recommend selecting a few oversized stems and thinning those out to the ground, rather than “heading” all the branches to stubs. Let the tree rest for the summer and see what new growth appears. We recommend keeping fig trees small enough that all the fruit can be easily reached from the ground but in some areas of the south and southwest, folks treasure the deep shade of the larger figs. The final shape and size are up to you.

We always use the basic “4 D” pruning rules: start by pruning out anything Dead, then anything Damagedor Diseased. Finally, stand back, evaluate your tree and site and begin pruning for Design.

If pruning in active growing season, one word of warning – do not get the white sap from the branches on your skin. Some folks are very sensitive to the chemical ‘ficin’ in the sap without realizing it – and you don’t have to be in any way allergic to fig fruits to have a skin irritation from the sap. The key is not to get the sap on your skin when exposed to a lot of sunlight, as on a sunny garden work day. Use of a good sunblock (30+) will prevent most fig “burns”. (This is the same as for St. John’s Wort and Rue as well as some other plants.)

Problem solving

Figs are tough plants. Planted in a suitable spot and given even moderate care, figs will provide a bounty of tasty fruit for the home grower. They have few pests in most environments and are well adapted for organic growing. A thorough spraying of the foliage with water will remove most insect pests.

Fruit ripening is affected by many factors, including adequate sunlight and moisture. If your fig tree dries out while trying to grow fruit, the figs will often drop or turn into unappealing hard little faux figs. Make sure that your tree is well mulched so that root moisture stays fairly constant. Northern gardeners and those in very humid areas should keep figs pruned so that sunlight and warmth reach most areas. Desert and midwest? Let your fig develop as much canopy as possible, pruning only to keep figs within easy reach. A full grown fig tree shades its own roots – one of the reasons it survives in hot, dry areas.

In humid environments, figs may develop “rust” (a fungal-type disease) on their leaves, causing leaves to develop brown spotting, curl and drop. The problem generally shows up in the same conditions that bring out powdery mildew or black spot on roses and is treated the same way. You can spray the plant with a copper-based fungicide or ignore the problem if the symptoms are mild. As these leaves drop, new leaves tend not to show the problem. Severe “rust” will also cause fruit drop, so watch this carefully. Follow the instructions on the fungicide package. We recommend “Bourdeaux” mixture, which is a reasonably organic sulfur type fungicide. Some organic growers prefer to use a baking soda solution.

Many fig trees, especially in the western states, seem to be infected with Fig Mosaic Virus, an incurable disease which is spread from one plant to another by insects or by pruning without cleaning pruners between plants. Mosaic causes blotches of chlorosis (roundish yellowing blotches) on leaves and can stunt the trees and reduce fruiting. Varieties respond to the virus differently – some kinds of figs don’t seem to show symptoms, others are really stunted by the virus. The only solution for this disease is to remove infected plants if you notice the symptoms present. Before you pitch your fig be sure that the yellowing you observe isn’t the result of lack of nutrients or environmental stress.

For prevention of rust and most plant diseases, clean up fallen leaves and fruit each fall. Never mulch fruit plants with their own dropped leaves, these often carry fungi or the eggs and pupa of insects that attack that species. Keeping your planting clean is much more sensible than spraying everything all the time!

Winter Protection for Figs

Young fig trees need protection in areas where the temperatures drop below 20 degrees F. Older established trees, with woody bark, may freeze back but the main tree will generally survive if the tree is healthy. Below 20 degrees, figs require wrapping, burying or other protection. Much depends on where you have planted the tree and well-protected you have planted it (i.e. between houses, near walls, etc. to minimize exposure).

Allow your fig tree to drop its leaves in the fall. If unripe figs are still on the stems, removing those figs will help prevent diseases – they will not ripen over the winter. Clean all dropped leaves and figs from around the tree to make sure that the area is free from insects and disease that might overwinter in the dropped debris.

Pile lots of hay, leaves, dirt and whatever around the base of the tree -the real trick is to make sure that the roots Do Not Freeze. Then wrap the tops up in some burlap or other material (carpet, canvas, old sails… be creative lol). If you have white plastic (ONLY white, not dark or clear both of which increase heat & humidity and cause damage), you can wrap a bit of that over it all to keep the wrapping dry but you don’t want to do that until the days are no longer warm because it can also perk your little figs in the heat. Some folks just pop a large tomato-cage type structure over smaller fig trees, fill it with packed hay and then cover. Anything to keep the cold wind off.

Before wrapping small figs and for larger fig trees in marginal areas, you can spray the exposed fig stems with a product named “Wilt Pruf” which is an antidessicant. It is the drying effect of wind and cold that kills the fig stems and this product seems to help prevent damage. Dormant oil sprays also seem to have this effect – and are effective at killing overwintering pests at the same time. (Dormant oil sprays are considered an organic pest preventive.)

The traditional method of protecting fig trees has been to “bury” the tree. To do this, you cut through the roots of the tree on one side. A trench is dug out from the tree on the opposite side and the tree is bent and pushed over into the trench. Dirt, hay and/or leaves are piled up over the tree (which may have to be tied down). In the spring the covering is removed, the tree is righted, the roots replanted and the trench filled.

Personally, we (Paradise Nursury) find that selecting the perfect microclimate and protecting the tree when young are much less work. If you are in a seriously too-cold-for-figs area but are determined to have figs – keep reading! (I have to say there is not a chance that I would even consider the “burying” method! Yikes!!)

Over-Wintering Northern Container Grown Figs

First, let your fig trees go fully dormant. This may mean leaving them out for a couple of frosts, so that the leaves all drop and the sap is already moving downward in the stems. This increases the plant’s cold hardiness and reduces the need for extra care. Be sure to remove any old leaves, unformed figs and anything else extraneous on the branches.

Check the plants, the pots and the soil for any pests: beetles, slugs, etc. and make sure to get rid of those – for your plant’s health and your housekeeping peace of mind. If you’ve had any problem with minor pests, once you’ve moved your plants out of sunlight you can spray your plants with a light coating of dormant oil spray which will smother any “invisible” insect eggs left on the branches and stems, or rub the stems down lightly with olive oil to do the same.

Move the plants to their winter location in an unheated or cool basement or shed. If the surrounding temperature will drop below 15 degrees, consider wrapping some paper or fabric around the plants and pots for additional insulation. Also if the area receives a lot of light, wrapping the figs in newspaper or dark fabric will reduce any early response to sunlight before it is time to bring the figs out in the spring. Check your chosen spot – folks have been surprised at unexpected heat sources from vents, ducting, etc that have caused figs to begin growing early. This also applies to figs that have been wrapped and cuddled up next to a building or shelter outside – watch that the chosen spot doesn’t get so warm that the fig thinks it’s spring in February!

The pots should stay almost completely dry. At this stage it is easier to rot the fig plant with over-watering than to kill it with dryness. A good way to check soil moisture is to shove a bamboo stick or part of a yardstick into the pot when you pu

t the fig tree away for the winter (the stick must be bare wood). Every month or so, pull out the stick and check for any moisture – the wood will look darker and feel slightly damper. As long as the stick shows ANY dampness, do not water the pot. Just let the fig sleep in complete dormancy until spring.

When warm weather arrives and you can move your fig to a sunny, protected location, bring the pot out for the new season. In a protected sunny spot close to the house, you can “jump” a few weeks on those who have their figs in ground. Water the soil very well, allowing excess to drain out the bottom holes. Fertilize with a balanced, timed-release fertilizer or one of the good organic fertilizers, add a few spoonfuls of lime to the pot surface and prepare to enjoy the warm fig-growing months.

If a sudden frost or freeze threatens, bundle up the fig (lightweight beach towels seem to be very popular for this with smaller fig trees, but give some additional support) and keep it safe until the weather warms up. (Paradise Nursery recommends paper or fabric wrap to plastics which can overheat when the sun comes out if you are not there to remove the cover at once.)

Voila! It takes about an hour to get a good-sized fig tree set down for the winter and about 1/2 a hour to get it back up for spring – for that little effort, you are now ready to start a new gardening season with a beautiful fig tree, larger and healthier than last year – more figs for everyone!

Grapes are sweet and juicy berry fruits of woody climbing plants. Grow your grapes and eat them fresh, dried as raisins, or even ferment your own wine. Our varieties include ‘Muscat of Alexandria’ grape vines, considered an ‘ancient vine,’ one of the oldest genetically unmodified vines that exist. It is seeded and a moderately vigorous to a vigorous grower.

We also sell several types of seedless grapes, such as Thompson and Princess. We carry Persian vines, ‘Rish Baba,’ Askari ‘Shiraz’ and many more.

The leaves are heart-shaped and edible. Eat grape vine leaves in salads or cooked. Stuff grape leaves with rice, meat, and spices in a culinary dish called Domeh or Dolma, Persian stuffed peppers. Plant a grape vine on a trellis or wiring for easy care and a handy fruit harvest. Grape vines are attractive in the landscape, as climbers and for colorful, autumn foliage.

Plant grape vines in full sun and well-draining soils.

Peach trees are deciduous in the winter, leafing out and blooming in spring. Beautiful pink blossoms adorn the tree three to five months before peaches are ready. The timing of when blooms appear depends on the variety of the tree and the weather during the previous winter. Peaches are ripe and ready for summer harvest. Peaches are a favorite fruit because of their juicy flesh that is healthy, sweet, and delicious.

Harvest peaches when they are fully ripe, with no green left on the fruit. Peaches should come off with just a slight twist. Fruits on the top and outside of the tree ripen first. Handle peaches carefully as some varieties bruise easily. Do not toss them into the basket.

Planting & Care

Plant in full sun and grow peach trees in your own backyard. Also, plant in moderately fertile and well-draining soils. Water newly planted trees once a week in the spring then twice weekly in summer. Reduce water in fall as the tree loses leaves. Little to no water is needed during winter dormancy.

Peach trees grow quickly. Allow trees to grow tall if you want them to provide shade. You may prune to keep the tree short for easy picking. Prune in the winter while trees are dormant. Remove inner branches that are damaged or crossing to allow sunlight to reach an open center.

Fertilize with fruit tree food. Provide a balanced fertilizer in the spring and low nitrogen high phosphorus and potassium in the winter. Use organic fungicides such as Liquicop to prevent common fungus such as peach leaf curl.

Avocado trees

Avocado trees (Persea americana) make delicate and enthralling additions to home orchards.

 

This evergreen is alternate bearing, meaning a large crop one year and smaller one the next. The canopy becomes interlaced, leaves are large and dark green, and flowers are ivory bundled in inflorescences (about 500 per inflorescence, 1-2 million per tree).

 

With such a long bloom period, avocado trees can have two crops on the tree at the same time! Pretty wacky and pretty impressive. Yet, it is not it’s botanical feature that has people forking up an extra dollar at sandwich shops. Rather it’s the dense fruit, avocado.

 

Avocados are pear shaped with a green-black exterior and green interior, filled with a large brown pit. To some southerners they resemble an alligator, giving them their nickname ‘alligator pears.’ Once fruit has set and matured it may be a tad confusing as to which fruit to pick. It’s two years worth! Mature fruit are dull and hanging on the tree, once picked they begin to ripen.

 

Whatever you call it, the world has gone bonkers for this creamy fruit. Originating from central Mexico, natives traditionally used avocados for guacamole. Nowadays the use is vast, some using it to replace eggs and butter in chocolate cake and pancakes, to make frosting, and as a mayonnaise substitute. This is great news for vegans, but as well as others looking for healthy alternatives. Avocados are a nutrient dense fruit providing 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients per 1oz serving. Not only this, they work great as bases in DIY hair conditioners, shaving creams, and foot scrubs. As for the pits and skins? Boil them with fabrics to achieve a pale pink dye.

 

Planting & Maintenance

There is a common misconception that one can plant an avocado tree in poor soils and all will be well. In reality, avocados can survive in less than ideal soil conditions but planting willy-nilly will only result in an unhealthy tree that will need serious amendments. Avocado trees require a well-draining loose soil, compact will inhibit root spread. They can do well in both alkaline and acidic soils. In regards to where one should plant, avocado trees thrive in areas with morning sun/afternoon shade, a windbreak, and moderate temperatures.

 

This is very important as avocado trees are sensitive to sunburn and wind damage. Strong winds will result in branch breaks and blown flowers, equating to no fruit. Another thing to keep in mind is 70% of the root system is in the top 2 inches of the soil. To protect these fragile roots cover the ground beneath canopy with about 4 inch of chunky mulch, taking care to not let it touch the trunk.

 

Avocado trees can self- fertilize depending on temperature, but most plant Type A (hass) and Type B (Fuerte) to ensure cross pollination. Depending on the cultivar, an avocado tree can grow sprawling or upright. There is no ‘best way’ to prune an avocado tree so just make sure to keep its branches off the ground and allow for there to ample shade from leaves upon branches. If you do heavily prune, paint the trunk with a latex based paint diluted fifty percent.

 

This paint will also come in handy if a frost happens causing  severe damage to your avocado tree resulting in the need to stump. This is possible, they are very cold sensitive. If this happens though need not worry. Avocado trees grow back very vigorously and after you stump the tree and  apply protective paint you’ll have new branches in no time.

Water Management

Water newly planted trees once or twice a week, making sure not to saturate the soil. Once the tree is established (2-3 yrs old) water at tops a few times a month. Avocado trees will suffer greatly if waterlogged, so take care to keep it just a bit drier than moist.

Nutrition and Fertilization

Fertilization does not need to take place for at least a year after planting. Avocado trees love nitrogen, take care in applying an organic fertilizer by always following the label diligently.

Pest and Disease

For the avocado tree it’s biggest threat is phytophthora, otherwise known as root rot. Once thought to be a fungus, this relative of kelp can establish in both very wet and very dry conditions. If not noticed by such symptoms as twig dieback and leaf drop, it will kill the tree. When growing anything it is imperative to understand which insects are beneficial and which are detrimental. To keep a healthy tree and robust harvest, home growers should become aware of prominent diseases, pests, and beneficials in their area. Contact your cooperative extension for information.

 

PHYTOPHERA – Disease of Avocado’s

Root rot. also known as collar rot or crown rot is a common and dreaded disease of apple trees. It is caused by the fungus pathogen Phytophera spp. Symptoms depend on the extent of the infection to roots and crown tissue. In general, warm weather from Spring to Summer will increase the rate of rot, and will rapidly collapse and kill trees.  Leaves wilt and dry, but remain on the tree. This is a sign of a disease troubling the trees over time, rather than a sudden cause that will typical cause trees to shed their leaves.

 

Growth reduction and senescence is a sign of chronic infections. These trees can years to succumb to this disease. Typically, phytophthora is fatal to younger trees, since their root systems are not well developed to sustain infection.

 

Solutions and Management

 

Irrigate properly to prevent and control root and crown rot. Pythopher thrives in wet areas. Especially when moist for a longer than full day. By not allowing water to collect and remain around the crown of trees, we prevent a favorable habitat for Phytophthora. Well draining soil is a key to prevent water from rotting roots. Do not plant in low spots that flood frequently and water can stand. Plant your trees higher than ground level or on berms, improving draining.

 

When Phytophthora is present, it is not yet possible to eradicate. Therefore, it’s important to not introduce infected plants, soil, water, and materials. Applications of fungicides reduce tree loss. Frequent but short irrigations, known as pulse irrigation can also reduce the risk of rot and plant loss. Choose rootstocks less susceptible, but none are resistance to all species of Phytophthora. Therefore, knowing the species of fungus present will help to choose appropriate rootstocks. M9 and M 26 are less susceptible to Phytophthora.

Guava trees are small tropical evergreen trees that produce small and fragrant fruits called guavas. Since they are tropical, leaves are large, and bark is flaky and copper-colored. Guavas are 2-5 inches long, round to oval, and often shaped like a pear. They have a distinct and prominent fragrance. Depending on the variety, the skin is rough and bitter or soft and sweet with varying thickness. The pulp is sweet or tart and white to pink. Seeds are located throughout the pulp and are usually edible.

Guava fruit is healthy and nutritious. Eat them fresh for a tasty treat. Use the juice of the fruit in punch drinks and hot or cold sauces. Use guava as an ingredient in candy, dried snacks, desserts, fruit bars, and much more. The fruit is a staple in some Haitian and Portuguese dishes.

A Guava tree grows in full sun or morning sun and afternoon shade. Plant in well-draining soils and water once or twice a week depending on the time of year. Fertilize with fruit tree foods and prune to manage size and tree form. Remove dry, crossing, lower, inner, damaged, and older branches for a healthy tree and an optimum harvest.

Palm trees are great for tropical and Mediterranean landscapes. They’re easy to care for and moderately drought tolerant once established. The most important factors to grow healthy palms is to plant, water, feed, and trim the plants properly.

How to plant Palm Trees

How to water Palm Trees

How to feed Palm Trees

How to trim Palm Trees

Pest & Disease Management