Car­ing for chico

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - HAWAII RENOVATION -

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an al­most creamy, yet gritty tex­ture and tastes sweet like brown sugar. Ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Rare Fruit Grow­ers (CRFG), it can also taste sim­i­lar to a pear.

If you want to grow a chico tree of your own, you’re in luck. Hawaii’s weather is par­tic­u­larly con­ducive to the trees, which pre­fer sunny, warm and frost-free lo­cales, ac­cord­ing to CRFG.They can tol­er­ate both wind and salty air, and do well in both hu­mid and dry en­vi­ron­ments, ac­cord­ing to CRFG. Start with a young tree from a lo­cal nurs­ery.You can try grow­ing one of your own from the seeds, but you will have to wait five to eight years be­fore the tree is ma­ture enough to bear fruit. When at­tempt­ing to es­tab­lish a new tree, CRFG rec­om­mends fer­til­iz­ing ev­ery two to three months in the first year, and two to three times per year af­ter that. When de­cid­ing on lo­ca­tion, re­mem­ber that these trees need some space to stretch out. The Botan­i­cal Grow­ers Net­work rec­om­mends spac­ing them at least 10 feet from other trees or shrubs. They also rec­om­mend well drain­ing soil, ide­ally in a mix­ture of soil, sand and per­lite.

When it comes to wa­ter­ing, err on the drier side. Over­wa­ter­ing can kill the trees, so Botan­i­cal Grow­ers Net­work rec­om­mends wait­ing un­til the top 2 inches of soil are dry.

As far as other forms of main­te­nance, such as prun­ing and pest pro­tec­tion, you can re­lax. The trees re­quire lit­tle prun­ing, and are not par­tic­u­larly harmed by in­sects or dis­eases, ac­cord­ing to CRFG. Have a com­ment or ques­tion for Joanne? Email the­fix­is­in­hawaii@gmail. com.

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