NOW IS THE TIME

By Eunice Messner

SPRAY TIME If the skin on any of your citrus is a grainy, dull, beige color, you have rust mite (On lemons it is called 'Silver Mite') Spray in April or May with lime sulfur and water. I am 'home free' this year on citrus but I still had red berry mite on the "Tropical" blackberries last year, so I used a lime sulfur spray when the new growth had emerged about 3/4". Evergreen berry canes are more subject to this problem than other varieties. While I had my back pack sprayer out I sprayed my pepino dulce that always gets spider mites. They are
early this year. I used a wettable sulfur (only) on them for the first time, .but I don't think it was very effective. I'll add kelp and epsom
salts next time. Wettable sulfur is supposed to be good for mildew on mangos, too.

MANGOS Although most of my many mango trees bloomed profusely, starting in January, it appears no pollination took place.
When the temperature goes below 55 degrees they do not set fruit. Hopefully the few trees that are blooming now (late March) will
yield bountifully. My favorite for dependability and flavor is still the "Thomson" variety. I'm hoping to have some seedlings of saleable size for the Green Scene. They will be in gallon cans, which is the way to go for a well adapted tree. They will, however, need winter protection for at least a couple of years.

PAPAYAS The first of the papayas have ripened. I'm now enjoying a 4# Yellow Thai. This variety sends out side shoots that can be cloned. Elva West knows how to grow these papaya offshoots on in his greenhouse and sells them from his home (714) 637-4084). Ask him 'how to' if you're interested. The day after I wrote the above, the tall, main trunk snapped off with the weight of about 25 fruits. I cut it down further to solid wood and hope it will thrive a couple of more years Thankfully, three loaded side branches still remain.

PERSIMMONS You all know about the mislabeling problem with "Fuyu" persimmons. I planted one about 25 years ago. Not until 15 years later did it disclose it was not a true "Fuyu". It started developing male flowers - which makes it accurately called "California Fuyu". So now each year I diligently search each day for the cluster of three male blossoms and remove them. Female blossoms are always singular on the branch.

SPRING Spring has sprung. The ground squirrels are cavorting around and today a red-tailed hawk was flexing his wings in my eucalyptus tree. A 'Bewick' wren is singing his heart out. The male wren chooses three sites and gives his lady friend a choice. She usually chooses the bird house outside my kitchen window. But the wonder of wonders was seeing, in mid-afternoon, a nearly grown bobcat casually exploring my front yard. I've had the thrill of seeing full grown ones in the back yard several times. The scent of citrus blossoms again assures me, yes, spring is here, but don't forget - snakes also know when spring has sprung, so get rid of those tall weeds.

eunicemessner@yahoo.com