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Showing posts from February, 2021
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 Eriobotrya japonica. Japanese medlar is an interesting tree in the rose family that i am growing. I have one larger plant that has survived a lot of hardships and one small seed grown plant that comes from a tree that fruited successfully here in central brittany. These trees grow very well in our climate but hardly ever make fruit. So i was very happy when someone offered me a seedling of their plant that had made fruit in our climate. This tree comes from japan originally and is said to produce tasty fruit. In the climate we live in, this plant unfortunately doesn't seem to manage to fruit well. Having a seedling of a tree that managed to make fruit here makes me hope to maybe get fruit myself one day. Japanese medlar seedling from a tree that successfully produced fruit in central brittany. Tree bought from a nursery that is growing in my place.
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 Gevuina avellana (chilean hazelnut). I am trying to multiply my chilean hazelnut by root layering for a friend of mine who would like to have a tree. These trees are really hard to find over here and mine haven't yet flowered. Two people that i know didn't manage to root cuttings that i gave them, so multiplication is quite difficult. I found a low growing branch on one of my trees, took a sharp knife and made a cut upwards half way through the branch. I then bent the branch up to open the wound and i put rooting hormone powder on it. Then i wedged a little piece of a matchstick into the wound to prevent the tree from closing and healing the wound. I took a pot, filled it with earth and cut a slit into one side with a cutter. I had to raise the pot on a support to get it up to the necessary height. I covered the pot with black plastic to prevent weeds from growing, because i used garden soil. I have seen videos of air layering where people wrap plastic and then tinfoil around
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 Apple trees. I bought two giant apple trees. Giant because of the size of the fruit. I planted both trees that are grafted on to dwarf rootstock in a large pot. The first variety is called "Peasgood Nonsuch" and is an english apple variety that makes huge apples sometimes up to 800 gramms. It is good for cooking and for eating and if you make an apple pie for your family you might only need to use one apple. The second variety is called "Aport" also known under the name of "Alexander". This is a russian apple that some say comes from the Ukraine and others say it comes from Kazakhstan having malus sieversii in its ancestors. Some fruit of this variety is said to have weighed over 1kg. So i planted these two varieties together for fun, in order to try and cross them and grow new giant apple varieties from seed. Both varieties are growing on M9 rootstock. I grafted Peasgood Nonsuch onto the Aport apple. Aport flowered last year but didn't make fruit. Th
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 Tetradium daniellii. The bee tree is a tree from china that can grow up to 20 meters tall. It has a very strong smell, when it flowers, that some people like and others find unpleasant. It was recommended by the german beekeepers as being the most melliferous plant of the temperate climates. It produces thousands of flowers and apparently a honeybee, after having visited 4 flowers, needs to return to the hive because the flowers contain so much pollen/nectar. This tree is dioecious and i planted 3 of them. I hope to have male and female trees among my 3 plants to be able to get seeds. It grows quite fast, is quite frost-hardy and the smell of the leaves reminds me of elderflower.  
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 Wichters plum. The wichters plum is a very rare plum tree that a dutch friend of mine gave me. This type of plum tree has been growing for a very long time in a small area of the netherlands. It seems to be a local type of mirabelle plum that makes small round green fruit that are said to be very tasty. Plums in general are, to me, very complicated plants with gages, damsons, plums and what have you. I never really understood how you distinguish them and there are many different varieties, but also different species that can also hybridize with eachother. I will plant this tree and hope that it will make fruit one day and then i will be able to decide for myself whether i like it or not. I kind of think that if it was that great it would have already spread elsewhere. Who knows, i hope to find out in a few years time.  
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 Elm tree project (ulmus species). I became interested in elm trees and the sad fact that the elm tree disease wiped out our native elm trees. I corresponded with Eric Collin, head of the elm tree research of the french INRA at the time, and was thrilled when he asked me whether i would like to plant elm trees on my land. I agreed, and he arranged for me to pick up and plant 50 different elm trees that the INRA was trialling for elm tree disease resistance. The trees are a mixture of clones that were taken from trees all over france that survived the elm tree disease and also consist of seed-grown trees from open pollinated seed of disease resistant cultivars such as Lut├Ęce and others. Elm trees usually succumb to the disease when their trunks have a diameter between 4 to 10 inches resulting in a situation where there aren't any mature elm trees anymore. The elms i planted grew well until the protections started to weaken the third year and now i have quite a lot of deer damage. Th
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 Medlar (mespilus germanica) I made an experiment with a grafted medlar tree that i was trying to get to grow on its own roots. So i planted the grafted tree of the "Suessmispel" (sweet medlar) variety really low down into the ground, hoping that it would grow roots above the graft union. 2 years later i dug away the earth and it hadn't made roots, so i moved it. But what had happened was that the tree grew in a Y shape, so it had 2 main stems. I planted it in a different spot and last year, walking past it, i thought i could braid them together to form an arch. So i twisted and tied the two branches together and then took off the strings this winter. The result will be a curious, funny tree that forms an arch, somewhat like a portal or a doorway that children might be able to go through one day. The sweet medlar is a variety that's supposed to be edible before bletting but i find that that's not true. It doesn't taste good before it's ripe, but when it
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 Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) Someone gave me a coast redwood as a present and while i didn't plan on planting such a tree on my land i thought well ok. I am so glad now that i did this because this tree is so beautiful and it started my journey of planting tall growing trees (regnans, sequoiadendron) It is growing quite close to my eucalyptus regnans that was planted later and there is a sort of race going on between the two. The regnans is growing 15 feet (5 meters) lower because it's further down the slope, but it's already taller in itself than the sequoia, and i think that it might outgrow the sequoia in height, but that's not sure. Given that the surrounding trees are only 15 to 20 meters tall max. i hope that these two giants will eventually calm down and content themselves with the full sunlight and not grow to be too tall. Especially the eucalyptus regnans seems fragile to me as far as wind damage is concerned whereas the sequoia looks like a bodybuilde
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 Sequoiadendron giganteum. (giant sequoia) I planted a little giant sequoia that is not so giant for now. I am happy that it's growing, since i already planted one in the same spot that died previously. Along with my eucalyptus regnans and my sequoia sempervirens it completes the trinity of really tall trees. a couple of branches are brown but the crown of the tree lookes healthy. Also when i ordered it i noticed that it was quite badly damaged with one third of the bark at the bottom missing due to a wound. I am glad that it healed itself and now the sky is the limit. If i mulch it and protect it, it should turn into a huge tree.
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 Sorbus domestica. This is a grafted true service tree of a very special variety called "Christophs Apfel". The reason this variety is very special, is because it flowers and fruits at a really young age. A friend of mine grafted this tree last winter and it flowered and made fruit. To graft a tree and then have it flower and set fruit straight away is very unusual. This variety is known to flower and fruit very quickly at a young age. To me this is exciting because i planted about 20 sorbus domestica trees on my land, the oldest one was moved from our old property, and having lived here for 5 years, i am still waiting for my trees to flower. Since this young tree flowered last year it should flower again this year, all going well. I will post pictures if it happens.
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 Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle). This tree, from Chile, is a tree that i really like for several reasons. I am not going to get into descriptions, because you can find abundant information elsewhere. One reason i like it, is that it's the only tree that i can just plant and it will grow. It protects itself. I never saw any damage from deer, slugs, rodents or any other animals, or diseases. So i just plant it and it will grow. No need to protect it. This is something that i totally appreciate because all trees that i plant always need to be protected. It's such a hassle. This tree can and will, in favorable conditions, produce an abundance of food. Monkey puzzle, being dioecious, will have female trees that make large cones that contain many edible pine nuts. They are a bit like the italian pine nuts of pinus pinea, only much larger. Apparently 16 trees are able to give enough food to feed an adult human for a whole year. They can be used as a staple diet like potatoes. The
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 Macadamia tetraphylla. A friend of mine gave me some macadamia seeds from australia that i grew. I had very little hope of growing these plants since they come from australia, but to my great surprise they seem to show an amazing frost tolerance. They just survived the latest cold spell of up to minus 8 C (17.6 F)  They are growing in pots in my polytunnel and i think had they been outside they probably would have died. One thing that is not good for tender plants is to have wet roots, another thing is the wind. Notice the one plant i planted in commercial soil, that stayed rather wet, has suffered much more frost damage than the others standing in more sandy, draining soil. I grew them last year from seed and i will see how they will grow this year, for their growth and energy came from the seed and now their roots will have to sustain them. Eventually, when they will get bigger, i will have no choice than to plant them out. Realistically i have very little hope of them being able to
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 eucalyptus pauciflora subsp. niphophila. I planted this eucalyptus because it is extremely cold tolerant and beautiful. Also the tree doesn't get taller than 7 meters. Its leaves can be used medicinally. This one, together with eucalyptus regnans, are the only eucalyptus trees i planted, but i am thinking about planting a eucalyptus radiata because it has such outstanding medicinal properties. Funny enough this tree is probably one of the smallest eucalyptus trees whereas my other one, eucalyptus regnans, is the tallest. While i worry about my regnans in terms of frost and wind damage i don't need to worry about this one because it is hardy up to minus 18 C (0 F)
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 Eucalyptus regnans. Fascinated by this majestic tree i had to try and grow one of these beauties. Frost tolerance for this tree is very hard to define according to several sources. Since this tree can naturally be found in the australian mainland and in tasmania, frost tolerance is said to vary greatly depending on where the seeds come from. My research leads me to believe that eucalyptus regnans' frost tolerance can vary between -5 to -15 Celsius (23 F to 5 F) depending on provenance. The cold hardiest ones come from the coldest part of tasmania. But i am by no means very knowledgeable on this subject and maybe -15 (5 F) is a vast overstatement. The tree that you see in this picture is 3 years old and over 5 meters tall (now let that sink in for a second, especially considering what i will tell you shortly). I never saw any tree, ever, and i planted quite a few different trees of different species, grow as fast as eucalyptus regnans. In fact this is the first time that i actually
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 Mexicola Avocado. We had another cold spell that was even colder with lots of snow. Temperatures dropped down to minus 8 Celsius (17.6 F) but this time i protected my mexicola tree, by fixing several layers of black plastic around the hoop structure and throwing a woolen blanket over the top. The cold spell is over for now and when i checked yesterday the tree survived the ordeal with no further damage. Mexicola tree well protected this time. Seeing this makes me doubt whether i will ever get an avocado to make fruit outdoors here.
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 Potato onions starting to sprout and grow. I sowed all of my potato onion seeds of 28 different types at the end of january. I am growing them under a grow lamp and i have the impression that they don't grow that well. I guess you would need a fan and also to vaporize the air to do it properly. They always seem to be at risk of drying out and i am not so sure about the results. If they all stay alive i will have about 500 seed-grown potato onions.
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 Lila Avocado. I ordered 3 Lila Avocado seeds from Ebay. They were sent to me from the USA. Quality was very good and the size and shape of the seeds seems to correspond with pictures of lila avocadoes/seeds. Lila is supposed to be very cold-hardy and only grows 10 to 15 feet tall. Whether trees grown from these seeds also only grow 10 to 15 feet tall is not sure and remains to be seen. Also general fruit quality, size and taste when grown from seed might be very different too. I hope i will manage to grow them and try them out.
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 Tree damage. I have two peach trees that were badly damaged by deer or some other animal. The first one was ring-barked and will surely die, so i cut all the grafting material that i could find in order to save the variety by grafting it again. The second one was destroyed with sure ferocity that i think only a large deer could have done this. One branch the size of my thumb was cracked at a height of 6 feet. This goes to show why i need to protect my trees. I even found a wild tree with a 10 inch diameter trunk that was really badly damaged, so i may have to grow all my trees with permanent protection which really annoys me. Peach tree destroyed by deer. Unfortunately i forgot to protect this one and for 2 years nothing happened but now it's been killed unless the grafted variety resprouts from the bottom section. Second peach tree damaged really badly. This was a tree that i took out of my polytunnel because it was taking up too much space. I planted it outside to give it a chan