Monday, February 4, 2019

Winter Update

Update for Winter 2018/2019:

2018 was a tough year. Tough summer and this winter was probably the most brutal since I have been doing the backyard orchard. Around New Years we got into the mid-20s. Not much colder in terms of the actual low temperature that we usually experience, but the duration of the cold was much harsher. Basically one night was below freezing right around midnight and stayed that way until 8 am. So this 'cold soak' damaged a lot of things that would normally deal with the winter just fine.

I will do a more extensive update in the spring when stuff wakes up and I can really assess the damage. But here is a list of what I can tell right now.

Stuff that is severely damaged or likely dead
  • Mangos - The ones that were covered look okay but the ones that were not are all severely damaged. Several trees are likely dead
  • Soursop - Likely dead. I was able to keep this one alive for a few years, but I think this winter did it in
  • Sugar Apple - Likely dead, no surprise
  • Atemoya - looks like crap, but likely not dead
  • Cherimoya - Lots of damage and defoliation. This was a shock. These are reportedly a much more cold hardy Anonna. All other winters they have done fine, but not this one
  • Ross Sapote - lots of damage
  • Black Sapote - lots of damage on the Black Beauty. But Reinecke looks pretty undamaged. Interesting data points.
  • Royal Poinciana - Defoliated as expected, but lots of branch die back too
  • Moringa - Same as Poinciana above
  • Neem - This was a surprise. Neem usually handles our winters as an evergreen. But my smaller trees all have die back. The largest tree still has green leaves at the bottom of the canopy
  • Frankincense - All foliage is crispy and dead

Stuff that is okay or minimally damaged
  • Avocados - My Aravaipa is likely dead, but that is from the summer. But my Oro Negro, Brogdon, Day and Wurtz all made it through the winter just fine with no leaf burn whatsoever
  • Lychees - Heavy shade helped these through the summer, but they all look spectacular now in the winter
  • Longans - Not as nice looking as the lychees (a little damage) but not bad
  • Mamey Sapote and Canistel - These were some nice surprises. These are protected under a citrus tree, a little more sheltered than the Ross Sapote, but not by much. I was expecting these guys to be dead, but instead they only have minor damage. Maybe they are a little more cold tolerant than people think?
  • Guava - These are very exposed and show only minor damage at the very top of the plant. I am very impressed with these.
  • Citrus - All the citrus in my yard (limes, lemons, orages, pummelos, etc.) all look fantastic. Could not even tell there was a winter if you look a them.
  • Java Plum - No damage at all, pleasant surprise!

That is a roundup of most of the sub-tropicals in my yard.