Monday, July 7, 2014

Growing Cherries and Almonds In Florida: July 2014 Update

Thus far, the growth winner of my cherry-growing experiment has been the Minnie Royal cherry I bought from Grow Organic:

I've probably gotten three feet of growth on the Minnie Royal. The second happiest tree is the Royal Lee I also bought from them. These two are healthy and happy despite the heat of summer.


As for the trees I bought from Willis Orchards, the Brooks, Tulare and Coral Champagne cherry trees are all moving along, though not nearly as vigorously as the Minnie Royal and the Royal Lee. This may be partly because the latter two trees are located closer to my nursery area and get watered more regularly.

On the almond tree front, things look grim. Two of the trees from Willis Orchards completely kicked off. The Nonpareil and the Ne Plus have gone to the big orchard in the sky. I'm going to ask for replacement trees, however, since their demise wasn't my fault. I planted and watered both of them regularly... they just failed to ever leaf out at all. The tops were already brown when they arrived but I was hopeful. No dice.

Fortunately, according to the nursery's replacement policy, the trees are covered:

"If your tree dies within one year of the purchase date, simply return the bottom half of the tree or plant item, within the year, with proof of purchase and a new item will be returned to you, at our cost, at the next recommended planting period. (All returned items must be individually marked and identified or it will not be replaced.) We realize that circumstances occur so that you may misplace the original invoice form that comes on the package, within the span of one year. Therefore, proof of purchase may be a copy of the original invoice form, a copy of your credit card statement, a copy (front and back) of your check payment, or simply include the name and address of the person in which the order was shipped and/or billed."

I'm glad they have a good return policy as it looks like I'll be mailing some dead trees in the near future. I really need at least one pollinator for the still-kicking Texas Mission almond.

It will be interesting to see how all these trees go through winter... and if they bloom or even set some fruit in spring.

Stay tuned.

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At July 7, 2014 at 11:50 AM , Blogger Joe Moraca said...

Thanks for the update. I just planted 36 fruit trees in the last few months (just moved in) things seem to be going well so far. I have a "black gold" cherry tree that is doing great along with 5 "all in one" almonds that are also doing well.

I also have 4 hazelnuts - theta / yamhill - I don't think there are many in Florida. I am "all in" for variety as I have 16 different type of trees.

At July 7, 2014 at 12:09 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Excellent. Blackgold is supposed to grow only to zone 7... wonder how it will do here over a few years? The trick will be in the fruiting, both with the cherries and the almonds.

I'm also trying hazelnuts. Thus far, they haven't died. I count that as a win.

At July 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM , Blogger Joe Moraca said...

I got the Black Gold cherry from raintree they show zones 5-9

At July 7, 2014 at 4:07 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Interesting. I was going by Stark Bros estimate:

When I was gardening in Tennessee, sweet cherries were considered marginal THERE, let alone here in Florida.

Hopefully we'll prove 'em all wrong.

At July 7, 2014 at 8:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no luck with the trees/plants I got from Willis Orchards. Peaches and nectarines never grew at all. Strawberry plants, same problem. I had much better luck with the strawberries I got from the local feed and seed at about 1/3 the price. I don't remember where my other peaches came from, but I had no problem with them at all. Really hoping the cherries will do well for you--would love to have some. Back in the late '60's early '70's my oldest sister's in-laws had a huge sweet cherry tree in Dade county. Wish I knew what it was. I remember climbing it with my niece and nephew and eating our fill.

At July 7, 2014 at 8:59 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Interesting report on Willis Orchards - thank you. I know it wasn't operator error. ;)

In Dade county? I'll bet I know what type of cherry that was:

Not in the same family as temperate cherries but an absolutely wonderful tree.

At July 8, 2014 at 5:17 PM , Blogger Joe Moraca said...

Funny how different the descriptions can be ... starkbros says it "may be" covered by patent... looking up gisela_5 root stock - it says it won't even hold the full size tree up - I am hoping for the best - nice sweet cherries are great - but mulberry is good too ;-)

At July 8, 2014 at 5:27 PM , Blogger Joe Moraca said...

wow looking at reviews for wills -- lots of bad stuff out there I was thinking about placing a good size order with them -- not now. I did have decent results with raintree 2 different orders total of 12 trees all doing well.

At July 8, 2014 at 7:17 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Joe - if you're anywhere near Ocala, my nursery can hook you up with better fruit trees than most of the mail order companies.

At July 8, 2014 at 9:55 PM , Anonymous Andi said...

I am watching your cherry experiments with great enthusiasm and interest. My husband keeps wondering out loud about growing cherries here.

At July 8, 2014 at 10:16 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Your husband sounds like my kind of guy. I love cherries.

If they don't work, at least we can grow autumn olive and goumi berries. Close!

At July 9, 2014 at 4:51 PM , Blogger Joe Moraca said...

I am about 1.5 hours north - White Springs

At July 9, 2014 at 5:15 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Ah, okay. Not too far, but still a bit of a haul.


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