If you can help us with any of the following questions or requests,

or have a question or request of your own,

Please e-mail the society at,

rarefruit@rarefruit-sa.org.au

Unanswered questions may be removed if no replies received within a few months

 

Q

A
What is the best time to graft Passionfruit?

Most grafting is done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

Q

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How are Feijoas pollinated?

It seems that feijoas need pollination by honeyeaters and even blackbirds from another tree in a neighbour's garden. They are attracted by their sweet flowers.

Q

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What is the best method of grafting Carob trees?

 

Q

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Why do grafted fruit trees bear fruit sooner than seedlings?

Grafted trees fruit earlier as the the bud used is physiologically more mature than seedling material hence it is "ready" to fruit earlier than seedling material.

Q

A
Can Hazel nuts be grown successfully in Adelaide?
Q



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What navel orange has flesh consistently the colour of a ruby grapefruit? The growers said that they were Washingtons, and the colour was due to their organic growing methods.

Valencias with colour are blood oranges but need the cold to achieve their colour. When grown in the tropics oranges can have very little colour, even be green skinned yet ripe, so maybe these navels are grown in a cold area to achieve their red colour.

The Cara Cara strain of navel orange has consistent ruby flesh. It is sold as ruby red navels.

Q

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Should a fig tree be fertilised in winter?

No you should not fertilize it in winter. It needs to "sleep". Wait until spring to fertilize it. Quite often figs do better with compost and little fertiliser.

Q

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How are seedless grapes grown?

They are propagated by removing sections of the plant called vine eyes. The bud where the leaf would grow is cut out, planted and roots form. Generally they are grown from cuttings.

Q

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How do you ripen blueberries?

They need to be picked when ripe as they do not ripen after picking.

Q

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Which fruit contains a lot of anti-oxidant?

Blueberries have more antioxidants than most other fruits and vegetables.
Q

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Which is the most popular fruit?

Citrus is the most widely grown crop in the world.
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Why do oranges look quite green in the tropics?

Tropical oranges are greener because the night temperatures are warmer, which causes more chlorophyll to migrate into the peel. They are still ripe and sweet though.
Q

A
Why do nectarines have stones similar to peach?

Nectarines are just peaches without the fuzz.
Q

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Why are citrus trees often thorny?

Immature growth on most citrus trees will have sharp thorns. These tend to break off as the wood gets older.
Q

A
Is it better to eat potatoes with their skin on?

Yes - most of the nutrients in a potato reside just below the skin layer. The skin also adds fibre to your diet.
Q

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Are tomatoes good for your health?

Tomatoes are very high in carotenoid - Lycopene. Eating foods containing  carotenoids can lower your risk of cancer.
Q

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Why do nectarines have stones similar to peach?

Nectarines are just peaches without the fuzz.
Q

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What are Craisins?

Craisins are dried cranberries. Many people like them better than raisins. They are tarter than raisins.

Q

A
Is a Vanilla persimmon the same as a Fuyu?

They are both non-astringent. The Vanilla is a larger fruit and seems to have more flavour.
Q

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Information about Spur Lambert cherry?

Spur Lambert is apparently another name for a Lambert cherry. See our article in Fruit Info - Cherry.

Q

A
Has anyone had experience growing cassava (tapioca)?

Cassava is being grown commercially on a small holding at Blackbutt, NSW. In cooler areas, tubers must be harvested as soon as leaves drop to prevent rotting in the ground.
Q


A
In the early 80s, Lasscocks Nursery in Adelaide, sold a fig labelled 'Black Turkey'. Does anyone have any info on this variety? It has an excellent Breba fruit which ripens about Christmas day.
 Q  


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Does anyone have information on Climax or Standard plums? Are they European or Japanese varieties?

Climax is Japanese. This is a large, heart-shaped fruit, very highly coloured, juicy and luscious with a fine perfume.

Q

A
Linda and Ryan avocadoes - are they 'A' or 'B' type for pollination?

Ryan is a 'B' type. It is a Guatemalan - Mexican hybrid
Linda is also a 'B' type

Q


A
Mason bees are solitary native bees which are excellent pollinators of fruit trees, especially on cooler days. Do they inhabit South Australia?

The Blue Banded bee is similar and found in most states.

Q

A
Where do strawberries come from?

When a mommy strawberry falls in love with a daddy strawberry...
and a little while later on, the Stork arrives with a punnet of baby strawberries held in its beak.

Q

A
When can citrus be budded?

When sap is flowing and there has been a recent growth flush so that the bark is still slipping. Buds are taken, preferably from an upper section of the tree, not a watershoot with spikes. Leaves are removed leaving part of the leaf stalk. The budwood can be grafted immediately or kept in the fridge for up to six weeks.

Q

A
How to get Dragonfruit (Pitaya) to flower?

Light and time are the ingredients, the plant must be well grown and in strong light. The problem in Southern states is getting a long enough warm season to induce flowering. Turn the stems down to induce flowering. Large flowers last only one day and do better with hand pollination.
Q

A
White sapote grafting techniques?

Take budwood when the new wood is hardening after growth. Wrap the graft in parafilm or clingwrap to prevent drying, the buds will push though these covering materials.
Q

A
Avocado grafting techniques?

Chip buds work with avocado. Do not take budwood after fruiting or in winter. Bend a twig and take buds from the top of the wood which does not bend easily. The top of the twig will usually bend a lot while lower wood is stiff. Take from the area between them. Graft on to a seedling leaving some leaves below to support the plant. The graft should be encouraged by bending down any nurse branches left on the seedling to give the graft dominance. Take off regrowth near the graft but leave leaves below for food supply.
Q

A
Bird deterrents?
 
Crow bird scarers and other scarers work for a while. Glue and taste repellents are available but have difficulties. Nets are most reliable.
Q

A
Restore a lemon tree to smaller size?

Skeletonise the tree and reduce it back to 2.5 metres in stages over a longer period.
Citrus has thin bark so paint with white paint or whitewash to avoid burning.

Q

A
Best time to graft citrus?

Usually budded in summer or autumn using mature buds. Otherwise graft in winter.
Q

A
Is Pink Lady suitable for espalier?

Yes it is a strongly branching tree and should be suitable.
Q

A
Can fruit trees be planted over sheet limestone?

Raise the whole area rather than individual mounds for each tree. 30 cm is deep enough for many trees particularly citrus which is very shallow rooted. Pear trees are deep rooted but are very adaptable and apple trees are ok if the correct rootstock is selected.
Q

A
How much water should each fruit tree receive?

Approximately 3 - 5 litres per square metre per day, which works out to about 250 litres per week for a tree 3 metres tall. The 3 litre dose would be a maintenance amount, 5 litres for a fruiting tree in summer. With water restrictions it is still possible to maintain trees and produce fruit by reducing the size of the tree, which in turn reduces its water requirements.
Q

A

 

What are the fertiliser requirements of fruit trees?

It needs to be remembered that soils in most well established gardens have a built up fertility and many things will grow without much additional fertiliser. Peaches and nectarines have a higher nitrogen requirement and may benefit from an application of this or they may produce smaller fruit but most trees still grow and fruit well even if not fertilised in some years.

Citrus begin their root growth in spring so fertiliser should be applied in late winter because it may take some time for it to become available to the tree. Another application can be made in late summer for the autumn growth period.
Q

A
Thick skin on grapefruit?

Balance between nitrogen and phosphorus is one cause of thick skins in citrus. Too much nitrogen in relation to phosphorus can cause thick skins. Another reason can be climate related, a cooler than normal season or the tree may be growing in a cool location such as the Adelaide hills.
Q

A
How do you mulch fruit trees?

Mulching needs to be carefully considered according to the type of mulch, i.e. 100mm thick may be ok when using pea straw but is too thick when using wood chips. The purpose of mulch is to conserve moisture, help control weeds and protect the soil.
 
Much organic matter is lost from bare soil due to weathering by the sun. Mulch also feeds the soil as it is breaking down continually and is taken up by natural diffusion and worm activity.
Q

A
How likely is it, to successfully grow a tamarind from seed and get it to grow in the Adelaide plains climate?
   

 

Requests

R1  Contributions of digital fruit images for our web site
R2 Articles about fruit growing or experiences for our web site
R3 Does anyone have an early flowering male kiwi fruit to pollinize Kiwi Gold?
R4 Does anyone have a palm which will fruit in Southern Australian states?
R5  
R6  
   

 

Success Stories

S1  Cherimoya Success   by Arthur Rudnick

I am sending the Rare Fruit Society some information about the Cherimoya tree which I have growing and the large fruit which it has produced. It is the largest I have ever seen. Maybe other members have grown larger fruit.

The tree is about 8 years old and was collected from the Society. The variety is Spain. I do not hand pollinate my flowers but by chance leave it to nature. This year the tree has produced this large fruit (photo supplied but not suitable for printing in black and white). It has a circumference of 40cm and weighs 854 grams.

When we ate the Cherimoya, it was delicious, juicy and sweet. The taste and texture was something like a "Duchess pear" but with a tropical flavour.
 
S2 Plumcot Fruiting Heavily   by John Poole

When I purchased my 2 year-old Plumcot, I was told by the nurseryman that they are shy bearers. During the following 4 years this certainly proved to be correct. The tree grew well but only produced a sprinkling of fruit.

Just to practice my newly learned grafting skills, I grafted a Plumcot scion onto an outside limb of my 6 year old Moorpark apricot tree. The graft grew extremely well and produced a dense mass of large fruit for the next 4 years.

Alas, the Plumcot limb exceeded the diameter of its parent and crashed to the ground fully laden with ripe fruit.

A similar graft onto a D'Argen plum only produces sparse fruit.
 

S3 Grafting Pears   by Mark Henley

I am no John Redden in the grafting stakes, but my instinct suggested to me that my success rate with pears had not been good over recent years. I recalled hearing or reading that it is better to graft pears onto established rootstocks, so in 2005 I decided to conduct a mini trial on my Crafers property

I planted 12 new pear rootstocks into new ground and grafted each of them, immediately, with a different variety of European pear. I also had 6 rootstocks that I had planted in 2003 that had grown very vigorously, particularly during the 2004/5 growing season, so I put 39 grafts onto these trees. Again, I used scions from different varieties, mainly European, but also a selection of Asian (Nashi) varieties too. All rootstocks were Pyrus Calleryana. I had my grafting day in late July.

All of my grafts onto newly planted rootstocks were whip and tongue, and on the established rootstocks I performed 5 ‘spring grafts’ and the rest were whip and tongue.

In December I picked up my pen and paper to record my successes.

The result;  2 of my 12 grafts onto new rootstocks were successful, while 37 of my 39 grafts onto established rootstocks, including some pretty ‘rough’ grafts were successful. One whip and tongue and one spring graft failed on the established rootstocks.

While not a totally controlled experiment, I am certainly convinced that in grafting pears, the chances of success are greatly improved by grafting onto established rootstocks, that is rootstocks that have had at least one year in the ground. While some may feel that waiting a year to graft wastes time, my observation is that the rootstocks grow very vigorously and when grafted in subsequent years, the grafts move quickly too, so over a couple of years there is virtually no loss in tree development. Anyway, pears are not quick to fruit taking a couple more years than apples, for example, but a pear tree is a tree for life – remember the old adage – plant pears for your heirs!