Coast Redwoods, Sequoia sempervirens, can be planted close to each other, 3 – 7 feet apart and then pruned and groomed to be a hedge. Ours was planted out of 24 inch containers and within 3 years, a fully private hedge was created. For this one, trees were placed about 4 feet apart and are now 12 feet tall. It is pruned so that the top is narrower than the base so the sun keeps the interior green, not browned which would happen if no light penetrates. Plan your height so that your ladder works! Redwoods are shallow rooted and need to be watered if they are not in a fog zone. Here at the Main Street Tree farm we have a single tree that has a 6-foot diameter trunk and makes quite an impact when you walk up to it through bush and suddenly see the massive giant’s base up close.
A nice shady cool spot is excellent for young trees at the nursery. Tiny natives start out from seed, root or cutting in a lath house. Outdoor rooms with shade cloth or thin strips of wood keep most of the sun off the seedlings and starter sizes of new plants. A mist of water will spray overhead to keep up humidity. When the trees are ready they will be potted to a larger size and moved to a less protected part of the farm.
I love the taste of both the flower and the fruit of the Pineapple Guava aka Feijoa. It is often seen as a foundation plant near homes as it is a very nice shrub – keeping it’s leaves year round with awesome looking flowers at this time of year. Some have had the plant for years and not tried the fruit. Here’s a suggestion – try tasting the flower petals too! Don’t go overboard on that though and eat too many or you will not have the fantastic fruit in the fall. I think the fruit tastes like strawberry + pineapple + kiwi. It has a good sour to sweet balance so maybe you will like it if sour is okay with you for fruit. Many people have not tried it but like it when they do. It is such a sweet looking plant too. The thick leaves are whitish on the backside and glossy on the top. Even though it is called a guava it can handle frost and I do not cover it like I do for citrus, avocados, other guavas and bananas. I have a set of trees (bushes) selected to have larger than usual fruit in both round and long versions. Add this to an evergreen edible hedge with citrus, loquats and avocados.
The apriums are blended stone fruits – blended the old fashioned way. They ripen after the cherries but before the apricots, plums, and peaches. To me, the taste is close to an apricot which makes sense as it is more apricot than plum. So far it has been easier for me to grow apriums than apricots. This is a picture of Flavor Delight Aprium. It resembles an apricot but with a distinctive flavor and texture all its own and has a pleasant, lingering aftertaste. Early June is the expected ripeness time. Spread the food ripening out to cover all the months of the year!
The Grapefruit and Pummelo flowers are extra large for a citrus and also very fragrant! Some varieties are blooming now and walking past the blooms always turns heads.
It is always a wonderful day tasting fruit at Wolfskill in Winters. Our California Rare Fruit Grower (CRFG) club is treated great when the staff hosts a tasting. This week we were treated to tasting fresh and dried mulberries, eight of each. The farm has 60 varieties of mulberries that are cared for to save the genetic material along with collections of peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, almonds, prunes, grapes, walnuts, pistachios, persimmons, olives, pomegranates, figs and kiwifruits. These 150 acres are like a living library. It is a project between the University of California – Davis, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Agriculture Research Service (ARS). It is one of 32 repositories.
The lower picture is of Pakistan Mulberry. I have been growing this one for several years here at MST. The fruit was very popular at the tasting and seemed to be the people’s favorite. There was a blind dried mulberry tasting and the results will be made available soon.
Loquats are one of those fruits where the tree appears in places it was never formally planted. The birds seem to plant most of them. Trees that start as a seedling will have small fruit and can take 8 years until fruiting. Grafted wood from a large fruit variety onto a seedling that is about a half inch diameter stem will produce in about 4 years. The flowers of the loquat are lovely and can turn heads with the sweet smell though the flowers are not showy. They are flowering in the late winter and the fruit is one of the earliest non-citrus to grace your backyard in the year. The leaves are very large, very dark and thick. This is an evergreen so it serves year round as a handsome shrub or small tree. Try tasting one next time you have a chance.