Deaths in the orchard

This was how the ‘Thomson’ mango looked last May, as it was setting its first crop, and a heavy one at that. And were these mangoes ever delicious!

P5210046.JPG

It will not look like this again. Ever. I can now confirm that this tree was killed by the freeze five weeks ago. Also killed was the lucuma that I had planted next to it last August, when the Thomson was laden with nearly ripe fruit. (I have not checked the other two mango trees, which grow on a more-distant ridge.) Here is what the Thomson and the lucuma look like now:

Thomson & Lucuma post-freeze.JPG

As can be seen to the right of the above photo, the mandarins are fine, and they are loaded with fruit. In fact, all the citrus seems fine, other than a few very young trees. The foliar damage is not trivial on some of the trees in the grapefruit grove down the slope, but the fruit appears to be of fine quality.

The two sapodilla trees (one of which was depicted just over a year ago, the day it blew over and had to be re-staked) are dead. The more distant tree in this photo has a distinct rust color at the base of the trunk–the color of death.

Sapodillas post-freeze.JPG

These trees, which produce a luscious fruit I have heard described as “pears with brown sugar,” had just set blossoms and, for the first time, were developing some fruit (from a previous bloom) that might have ripened this summer.

Sapodilla post-freze.JPG

In the photo above, some of the freeze-dried blossoms can be seen. And in the branch in front, you can see where I scored the bark to see if it was green underneath. Nope. All brown, and so is the trunk.

A ‘Nabal’ avocado that was just finally looking healthy and mature enough that it might have borne this year is not dead (believe it or not!), but it is severely damaged.

Nabal avo.JPG

(On the plus side, a ‘Stewart’ avocado just a short distance from the ‘Nabal’ is more or less unscathed.)

The cherimoyas probably all survived, but they look worse and worse with each passing week. They will take some time to recover. This year they had their first significant crops. Fortunately, about half the fruit had been harvested before the freeze. The remainder, some still hanging on these almost-bear trees, is now inedible.

cherimoyas 14Feb07.JPG

I am taking a wait-and-see attitude about replanting mangoes, sapodillas, and other subtropicals that we have lost this winter. These trees are not cheap, even from 5-gallon pots, and when planted out that young, it takes three or more years before they reach bearing age–which these had finally done.

0 thoughts on “Deaths in the orchard

  1. Sorry to hear about your losses, I hope that the other tree pull through alright. Living well North of you, I love to watch your trees develop and I wish that I could even try subtropicals.

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