Fruit Trees

Orange Prices to Increase

Due to Frosts in the Riverland and Murray Valley regions the orange price are set to increase. The navel oranges have been effected and the Valencia oranges may also be effected. There has never been a better time to have an orange tree in your backyard so you can enjoy oranges fresh rather then paying these big prices from shops. Further Reading: Grow your own Orange Trees Orange prices on a roll - (Sydney Morning Herald)

Finger Limes

We are starting to harvest some of our finger lime varieties here at the nursery and if left on the tree until they fall off at a touch they are delicious. The cutting grown yellow fruited variety is a prolific producer that crops over several months, it's fruits are small to medium in size. The Wauchope is the maroon/black lime which seems to vary immensly in colour from deep dark reds through to black. The limes balls inside also vary in colour from almost clear with a pinkish blush to pinkish red. They are great squeezed onto a salad.

Rollinia Fruit

Rollinia delicosa (Brazillian Custard Apple) fruit samples from seedling trees at John Piconi's orchard near Ballina NSW. Seedling trees grow quickly and come into fruiting at about 4 years. Note fruit shape variations. Quality of fruit from seed is consistently good. I am sure there would be an opportunity to select superier selections as the number of seedling trees to select from increases. Any feedback would be welcomed as this the fruiting time. (Pink fruit in the middle is a Purple Sugar Apple)

Shahtoot - King White Mulberry

Shahtoot is a new multi-purpose tree for Australia. It is a popular hybrid species in Pakistan and the Middle East because it is an attractive fruiting tree which is easy to grow and maintain. The large non-staining fruit is very sweet and nutritious. At around 30% sugar when fully ripe, Shahtoot is much sweeter than the English black mulberry. Being white and essentially seedless avoids the messy staining associated with other mulberries. Fruiting occurs from October through to December, and commences the first season from planting.

Growth Habits
Shahtoot is a vigorous growing deciduous tree to 10 m. It forms a dense crown with pendulous branches and makes an attractive spreading shade tree, especially when 'pinched out' to the desired shape.

The leaves are semi-lobed and vary from lime green on the new flush to dark green when mature. It is the branching nature of Shahtoot to grow 'out' rather then 'up' which sets it apart from other mulberries as an excellent garden specimen tree.

Where to Plant
Shahtoot is renowned for its hardiness. It withstands extremes of heat and cold, allowing it to thrive in Australia from the arid interior and tropical north through to the cold temperate south of the continent. In Pakistan it is cultivated to 3050 m ( 10, 000 feet).

Shahtoot is grafted onto vigorous seedling rootstock, making it a deep rooted tree which grows rapidly given adequate moisture and nutrients (3.5m in 12 months). However Shahtoot will also survive drought conditions making it an excellent shade tree for sheep and cattle-yards where it can be topped for fodder. In foul yards, chickens thrive on fallen fruit and benefit from the summer shade and winter sun that Shahtoot, being deciduous, provides. Shahtoot has excellent fire retardant capabilities.
Most soils are suitable for Shahtoot including heavy clay types. This adaptability makes Shahtoot excellent as a street tree and suited to all sunny garden situations as well as 'problem' landscaping sites like hot courtyards or concreted car-parks.

Tree Care and Pruning
Shahtoot is easy to establish and maintain. No sprays are needed since there are no known pests or diseases which attack the leaves or fruit, other than fruit eating birds.

Shahtoot responds to applied water and nutrients with rapid growth yet survives minimum care conditions equally well.

To obtain maximum branching on young trees it is preferable to 'pinch out' the terminal growth tips between thumb and forefinger when branches reach 1/2 to 1m length. Shahtoot can be pruned during winter dormancy with each lateral cut by approximately half. This also facilitates branches and maintains Shahtoot to a manageable size.

Fruit: Shahtoot fruit can be eaten at half green stage when they are crisp and semi-sweet, or left until fully ripe when they turn white in colour and obtain maximum sweetness. Fruit falls to the ground at the white stage, which is assisted by shaking the tree.

Shahtoot fruit is excellent eaten fresh, its sweetness provides an ideal contrast to other foods in salads and sambals or on a cheeseplatter. Shahtoot makes a novel garnish to many dishes. In Pakistan Shahtoot is often dried and used as a source of sugar.

Analysis (fresh weight) * Fructose 14%; Glucose 13.1%; Sucrose 1.1%; other carbohydrates 1.8%; Vitamin C 10 mg/100 gm *(Aust. Govt. Anal. Lab.)

Tree - Other Uses: Shahtoot leaves are unparalleled for rearing silkworms. Shahtoot wood is hard, suitable for tuning and carving, especially for hockey sticks, cricket bats and stumps.

* Information from the Macbird Shahtoot Leaflet: The Shahtoot King White Mulberry Story

Citrus - Position - Planting

Position and Soil Condition Requirements:
Citrus loves hot sunny spots with shelter from strong winds. Good drainage is a must with sandy loam soil and a neutral PH. Give a 3-4 meter break between trees.
You can plant citrus all year round simply by digging a whole 3 times bigger then the pot, add some organic matter or manure and 200g of some blood and bone should be layered in the bottom of the hole. When filling in the soil halfway is a good time to add a bucket of water. Then of course mulch heavily with some initial fertilizer which should last for the first few months.
The first few years are the best time to develop a great root system. So it is best to get rid of the fruit. Citrus love nitrogen. In Australia we are coming up to late winter and early spring so remember to give a fast acting fertilizer with a bucket of water.
The first few months your new citrus tree needs water until it is established so remember to give it a good soaking twice a week. After this when it is very hot your plants will appreciate more water.
Citrus pruning can be limited to skirting which is where you prune the lower branches back to 30-40cm. Prune the rootstock suckers, deadwood and the long water shoots.

Fruit Trees & Water Restrictions

As the clock strikes 12 tonight (13 June 2006) Brisbane residents will have level 3 water restrictions. Despite heavy downpours even 2 days ago this rain just doesn't seem to fall in Wivenhoe or the Somerset dams catchment areas. "Level 3 means roll up your hoses and bring out the buckets for Brisbanites" Looking After Fruit Trees with Little Water Excessive rainfall or over-watering will stimulate weak sappy growth at the expense of fruit. To optimise fruit yield you need to water the right amount at the right times. Water Optimising Tips Mulch, Mulch, Mulch: Makes sense doesn't it. A nice mound covered by mulch will keep water in and provide nutrients. Maintenance Schedules: Certain times of the year fruit trees need very little water other times more. Some fruit like Jakfruit require large amounts of water where as others such as a figs require less. A bit of time researching your fruit trees will help you apply the right amount of water to ensure that great yield even with water restrictions. Try doing a search on google eg Watering Avocado Trees. Here is an example of an Avocado maintenance Schedule.

Most Requested Fruit Trees

Whenever we sell out of a plant you want we ask you to find the plant on our website and click to add your email address. This way we can email you as soon as they are ready for sale again. It also lets us know which ones to grow more of like these fruit trees:

Top 4 Most Requested Fruit Trees (As requested by You)
Red Pitaya - Hylocereus sp Due: August 2006
I have one of these cactus in the backyard and I know why it continues to be so popular. Dragon fruit tastes great (especially with a few drops of lime) and seems to grown anywhere in my area just give it a wall or a tree to grow up. By cutting off a section and re-planting them within a short time you have another dragon fruit to go climbing with.

Curry Tree - Murraya koenigii: Due: January/February 2007
I am always surprised how many requests for this herb plant we get. There must be a lot of curry lovers out there. Unfortunately they are slow growing when young but we are doing our best to get them ready because we know how much you all want them.

Australia Round Lime - Citrus australis: Due: March 2007
As the name suggests this Australian citrus is a vigorous grower in the subtropics here. Tastes very much like a finger lime with many uses (marmalade, cordial, sauces)

Avocado - Sheppard - Persea americana: Due: SOON
It won't be long before they are ready for sale. The Sheppard variety is our most requested Avocado variety. I am assuming because of its high yield and great frost resistance.