‘Cash’ makes house call to examine trees; finds bees
I don’t usually make house calls, but out here in Jupiter Farms, if I am on the way to Publix or somewhere else, and someone has something for me to look at, I will oblige. Two of my rules are that I don’t climb ladders, and I don’t wade in ponds.
A reader asked me to look at her mango trees and lychee trees to see how to start trimming them. I did and was impressed with her five acres, with wellnourished trees and wellkept yard.
In addition, she had several hives of bees. Some of her hives were young, without queens, but she had several well- managed villages of hives.
I, too, have a hive with a queen. It is in my “North 40,” and they are like me: a little unmanaged and natural. Why do I keep them? For their pollination expertise. I get more fruits and veggies thanks to these hard-working individuals of the insect kingdom.
But back to the “bee lady.” I went around her roughly 10-year- old mango trees, and they needed to be pruned so that she will have fruit. I showed her where to prune — at the branch of the growth — so new growth will start at that point.
I also showed her how to reduce the canopy to let the sun’s rays in and to make the tree shorter and thus easier to handle.
We looked at the lychee trees, which were very beautiful. I love them; they are graceful and deep- green in color. But no fruit on hers, due to the foliage.
I told her that my emperor lychees are eyeheight and I trim them by hand, rather than with a machine. They are my beauties and bear fruit every other year — big, delicious, golf-ball-size babies.
Last year, I forgot to “net” them, so the squirrels got all of them the day before harvest. But that was my fault — not the trees’ or the squirrels’.
The bee lady’s tropical trees were well-formed and great for the bees. She could sell the honey, and it must be delicious with all the different fruit trees available for pollination.
That is one thing that all you backyard gardeners should remember: Our bee population is in danger and has been for a few years. Products like Sevin Dust look like pollen to the bees, so they collect it and take it back to the hive.
Also, natural ailments occur, not to mention mites and other little critters that live off the bees.
Russell from Jupiter Jungle (http: //jupiterjungle.com) and I are going to try to have talks, either at his place (on Haynie Lane) or at the Jupiter Farms Community Center, on plants and trees.
If we get some good attendance, we will expand and have a clinic or something like that. He is a grower/nursery/ landscape guy, and I am an old crazy scientist. What a combination. If you have a question for Cash, call (561) 744-4750 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org