MrTexas Citrus&Tree Grafting Page
Zone 8b/9a Beaumont, TX 77707
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Sam and Ginger's Edible Landscape zone 9a
Santa Fe, TX
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We have one pineapple quince in the front yard that I planted 10 years ago. It has never been sprayed, fertilized, pruned, nor had the fruit picked. Ginger watered it one time last year. Every year it will produce a dozen or so fruit which we never pick. The fruit ripens about the same time as the pears, persimmons, and jujubes. The fruit is highly astringent and has to be ripe before it can be cooked and made into jelly.
The flowers are beautiful large, delicate, five petals, pale pink, but go unnoticed among the other flowering plants.
Other Fruit Grown (some in greenhouse)
Peaches, paw-paw(davis, overleese), nectarine, chinese winter plum, plums, apricot, pecan, barbados cherry, green tea camellis, bananas, unknown citrus seedlings, carambola, mango, sea grape, sour sop cherimoya, monstera deliciousa, guava, jack fruit, black sapote, muscadines, akebia, walnut, crabapple, champanel grape, almond, stone fruit rootstock, aprium., plum
There is a law in physics that says nature abhors a vacuum. If you grow a plant and it has no disease or insects problems, you have created a small vacuum. The more plants you grow of that variety the larger the vacuum you create, and something will come along to fill it. I attended a lecture by a man growing pine seedlings, 20 million seedlings a year, and he had been in business for 20 years. The first few years he had no insect, disease, or fungal problems, but the longer he stayed in business, the more things he had to spray for. Each year it got a little worse, and he is still spraying.
The large plum tree at the corner of the house by the walk produced 1 to 2 bushels of plums a year for several years. Only two or three of the fruit had plum curculio damage. I thought I had found something special. We had five plum trees across the front of the house that never had a decent plum because the plum curculio got them all. I dug them all up and burned them. The next year we didnít get a half a dozen good plums from the (special) tree because of the plum curculio. Now I have to spray the tree several times if I want any fruit. The birds and critters tastes seem to change with ours. If we develop a taste for a fruit that we have pretty much ignored in the past, the birds suddenly decide that itís their favorite. Perhaps it is like people and their animals, starting to look alike over a period of time.
One very bad mistake we made years ago, and are still paying for, is letting the beautiful green vine with red flowers (trumpet vine) on the back fence get started. Ginger thought it was pretty, and I didnít know any better. We had used 8 ft. long, 4 to 5-in. top 30-year treated post to build the back fence. The vines grew to the top of the post then started making a large ball on top of the post. We decided to prune the vines back and found out a lot of vines were too large to cut with hand shears. After we finally removed the entire from the post, we discovered that the vine had eaten six inches off the top of the post, and had made deep groves around the post from bottom to top. The vine puts out aerial roots that will attach themselves to any wood surface and start absorbing and destroying the wood.
If you bring in a load of dirt to raise a spot to plant a tree or shrub, you should remove the grass and break up the top of the sod underneath where the grass grew before you put down the dirt. At the very least, till up the grass. Water and roots both take the path of least resistance and they will travel between the dirt and grass. It will take years, if ever, for the roots to go down into the original soil to provide an anchor. When the tree develops a little size, the wind will blow it over without good anchorage.
I realize that I have painted a somewhat negative picture, but remember this is from my experience. I deliberately set out to see how much stress the plants could take and still survive and produce. The two of us needed a limited amount of fruit so anything more than that was a waste. This is strictly a hobby, and I didnít want to grow fruit to sell. I have a large number of different varieties of jujubes, pears, persimmons, and citrus because when I started planting trees there was no place to go to find out how each variety tasted before I planted the tree. Since I had plenty of room, it was easier to get scion wood and graft my own trees than it was to drive all of the country looking for a particular persimmon I could taste. If one of us like the fruit enough to grow it, I would have to buy a tree or acquire some scion wood and wait five years for the fruit.
If you are interested in growing one or more fruit trees, my advice is to give it a try. There are very few obstacles that a little TLC wonít overcome. Peach tree root stock needs good drainage or it will drown, blueberries need highly acid soil, blackberries need a lot of sun, citrus will freeze without protection if it gets cold enough, you canít do anything about chill hours, but there is large variation of chill hour requirements in the literature for the same tree.
If there is a question, check with the local growers or the extension office.