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In Southern California, it's rare to get an opportunity to observe this kind of early dormancy break, because Winters down here feature many heatwaves that bring Summer-like temperatures and interrupt or even negate chill accumulations. But this Winter has been unusually rainy and devoid of any significant heat waves. (I will admit to not having been here for most of the Winter, spending most of my time in Hawaii, but I do have a weather station running here, that's probably a much better empirical observation point.) So there hasn't been enough heat to induce abnormal dormancy break, i.e. bud break from high heat even though there wasn't enough chill. It's fascinating to observe which trees are actually breaking dormancy in 50-60F degree weather. So far, only dorsett golden and anna apples, eva's pride peach, and royal lee, and mini royal cherries have broken dormancy. Everything else is totally dormant, I mean solid dormancy.
The tell tale signs of lack of chill are excessive bloom production, bud break that doesn't happen all at once and lots of blind wood. But these varieties are not showing any signs of that. In fact, the cherries are even forming more growing buds, which is totally normal for a standard size tree. In Northern cold climates, trees often won't bloom for the first 5-7 years, and this is exactly what is happening with these low chill trees. You can see that in the photos below.
This is an eva's pride peach planted on North side of an avocado tree.
Below is royal lee and mini royal, notice that the buds are turning into growth buds, not flowers as it should be at that size, this is a full size cherry tree, and it needs to get to 20-30 feet before it starts to bloom.
I've always maintained that the royal lee and mini royal are true low chill cherries. This is just more proof for the same. I believe their chill requirement is on par with anna and dorsett golden apples.
I have heard that using a good quality slow-release fertilizer as well as run-of-the-mill Epsom salts a few times a year is a good strategy to reduce the yellowing.
And so....two questions:
1 - Most important question: Is it true that using slow-release fertilizer and Epsom salts will reduce yellowing?
2 - which months of the year should I apply them. I was thinking early April, July, and again in October.