Thursday, February 21, 2013

Great Fruit Trees for the Deep South: The Persimmon

I've started a new series on fruit trees over at the Mother Earth News blog. Check it out:

In future posts I plan to cover mulberries, figs, pomegranates, loquats and a few other species.

Anyone have a favorite fruit tree I'm overlooking?

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At February 21, 2013 at 9:25 AM , Blogger rycamor said...

Lychee? Drive around South Florida with friends from Asia, and they will be amazed at the numerous decorative lychee trees bearing uncollected fruit.

At February 21, 2013 at 10:19 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

That's really pathetic.

You can't quite pull Lychee off past South Florida unless you build a tent over it, though. I talked to a man in Groveland who had one for a few years and kept it going by putting it under its own personal greenhouse. It produced phenomenally, by his account. One year, he told me he decided it was big enough to live without it... and when the cold came, it died.

I have a small one in my greenhouse that's loaded with flowers right now. It originally came from Lowe's. I have no idea why they're selling them here but I'm sure people are finding them a great disappointment.

At February 21, 2013 at 4:36 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I WISH they grew up here!! I damn near almost moved down to S. Fl just so I could grow them!! But I get to pick hundreds of pounds off of my aunt's tree (It's a Mauritius) when they fruit...usually every two years or so. They sell for a small fortune up here.. :)

You like to push the envelope on zones. I suffer from tremendous zone envy - so what do you think about the guy in Groveland that grew one for a few years? I may be crazy enough to give it a whirl!! :)

At February 21, 2013 at 8:40 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

It could be done. The problem with lychees is that they get big. So unlike some of the small tropical plants/trees I pull off by my south wall (guavas, key limes, papaya, pineapples), you have the potential for a too-big tree that will cause trouble and be unprotectable.

If I really wanted to grow a tropical tree, and had the resources, I'd hire a guy to come out and dig a 15' x 15' hole in my yard about 6' deep. Then I'd line the inside of that with water barrels/support beams and build up a greenhouse frame another 9' or so above it. That gives me a 15' cube with thermal protection emanating from the ground and walls, plus the water barrels. In the winter, I'd cover the whole thing with plastic, then remove the plastic in the summer. You could grow a lychee in there for sure, with some judicious pruning. Additionally, you could add in tilapia tanks instead of water barrels... extra tropical shrubs... tomatoes... etc.

At February 21, 2013 at 10:28 PM , Blogger rycamor said...

Why would you have to hire someone to dig a 6 X 15 X 15' hole? Go here and rent something for the day.


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