Growing pluots in Southern California

Growing pluots in Southern California

I’ve met people who don’t like the tart skin of some plums, and I’ve met people who find apricots mushy, but I’m still waiting to meet the person who has eaten a homegrown pluot and doesn’t ask for more. Just this week I shared some from my trees with a friend who has...
Protecting avocado trees from heat

Protecting avocado trees from heat

If the air temperature is comfortable for you, then it is comfortable for your avocado tree. I spent last week — the last week of July — camping next to the beach in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County. At night I wore a sweatshirt, and during the day I...
Summer pruning deciduous fruit trees

Summer pruning deciduous fruit trees

Summer pruning is monkey work. I love its simplicity. There is joyously little thought or skill involved. But it is necessary monkey work. If you want to keep a deciduous fruit tree small and you skip a summer pruning, you start to lose hold on the size and...
The Reed avocado tree: a profile

The Reed avocado tree: a profile

The Reed avocado variety is the first I ever grew. It is a great beginner’s avocado tree because it is relatively tough and productive. In addition, the fruit itself stands among the finest tasting avocados so it deserves consideration for planting by the first-time...
Thinning fruit

Thinning fruit

The most pleasing chore I have had in the yard over the past few weeks has been making sure that branches don’t break under the weight of their fruit. This certainly hasn’t been needed on all of my fruit trees, but there are some this year that would be torn apart if...
Pinch to shape young fruit trees

Pinch to shape young fruit trees

Spring is for pinching. Nothing to do with Saint Patrick’s Day, this is using your fingers to prune. In the spring, trees are growing new branches that are succulent and easily snapped off by hand: no tools required. But why pinch? And what and where to pinch?...
Reading avocado leaves

Reading avocado leaves

It was my first avocado tree’s first winter when a couple leaves started getting yellow veins. Oh no, what disease was this? I sent a photo to a seasoned avocado grower and he wrote back, “This is leaf senescence. The leaf is just dying naturally.”...

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