Anyone growing peaches, apples or blueberries in Hawaii

kennyb_landscaperMarch 25, 2010

I have really enjoyed reading everyones messages. I would like to know if there is anyone who has experience or knowledge in growing peaches, apples or blueberries in no frost climates such as Hawaii.

I have a three and a half year old Florida Prince peach tree which is blooming as we speak. I also have two apple trees. A Santa Anna and Golden Delicious. The Santa Anna is also three and a half years old and has been bearing fruit for the past two years. As a matter of fact, I had apples twice in the same year off of this tree.

My problem is in the size of the fruit. I can't seem to get them to grow larger than a plum or apricot. The peaches and apples are deilicious and have more flavor in them than the ones I would buy at the supermarket. What can I do to get them to grow larger? Is it because of the "no frost" period being non existent? It only gets as cold as 60 degrees here in Kapolei, Hawaii, which is on the island of Oahu. In fact, Kapolei is known as one of the hottest spots on the island.

Now, for the blueberries. I love them and have four plants bearing fruit right now. I have two Sharpe Blue, one Emerald, and one Jewel plant. I can't seem to get a large yield of blueberries on either of the three different plant types.

The one thing that I can tell you is that all of the fruit trees are healthy as they have ever been. All responses will be appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.

Thanking everyone in advance,

Kenny B

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Axel(12b/Sunset H2)

Kenny, the apple problem is easy, but the peach problem, that I don't have any experience with.

First, forget about golden delicious, get rid of it, it will never do well in Hawaii. Anna (not Santa Anna) is an excellent apple for Hawaii, you might want to add the variety "Dorsett Golden", which is from the Bahamas and also low chill.

To get full sized apples, your trees will need a rest. That means don't let them crop more than once a year. Also, you need to defoliate the trees during the cooler rainy season. They will probably be bare for about 6 weeks or so. When the buds are pushing again, prune the ends to encourage growth. You want to time the defoliating to be about 6 weeks before the average start of the dry season so that it's mostly dry during bloom time.

Finally thin the apples a lot. Because they are not getting any chill at all, they will have limited vigor. That means they can't support as many apples as when grown in cooler climates. So remove lots of the fruit set, leave maybe one apple every second or third spur.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 5:21PM
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To axel_sc,

Thanks for the excellent tips. They make sense. I will do what you say this year. If the apple tree starts to bloom again this year, I will pick off the flowers. I plucked all of the peach tree leaves off last year but never did it to the apple tree. Once the leaves came off of the peach tree, flowers started to appear shortly thereafter. I'm anxious to see what happens next year.

Is it too late to thin out the apples this year. My Anna apple tree has four apples per cluster. Should I pluck off three of them and leave only one apple per cluster?

One more thing, I made a mistake with my other apple tree. I do have a Dorsett Golden apple tree. I inadvertently called it the wrong name. It grows so quickly. It is already over six feet tall and I only had it for approximately six months. I haven't had any fruit yet.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 6:56PM
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You should check out

Ken Love started doing some research on figs there and found that they grow and fruit quite well even in the no chill zone below 500 feet. Now they are working on a no chill stone fruit project.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hawaii no chill projects

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 7:12PM
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Yeah, are you thinning them? That's usually the reason for small fruit--too many on the branch. This year, when they are the size of a quarter, pick them all off except for 1 fruit every 6 inches of branch, and see if that makes a difference. And if you can, for the peaches withold water the last 2 to 3 weeks before harvest, it will concentrate the flavor. Since I know it rains every day in Hawaii, you could try getting some large plastic tarps and spread them covering the ground under your tree, to the width of the branches.

For the apples, have you checked out Kuffel Creek's warm weather apple growing site?

Carla in Sac

Here is a link that might be useful: Kuffel Creek apples

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:03AM
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Carla in Sac,

You are the answer to my prayers. The link you sent to me pretty much told me what I needed to know about the two apple trees in my back yard. I now know that The Home Depot, which is the place where I bought the apple trees, sold the top two warm climate apples according to the Kuffel Creek Top 10.

This is my third year of fruit for the Anna apple tree and I am expecting the fruit to be larger and taste better than the first two years.

It's so hard to thin the fruit because they look so healthy, but, I will do so if it means larger fruit.

Again thanks a bunch and please keep in touch. My email is I own a landscaping business and would like to incorporate fruit trees such as apples and blueberries into my landscaping designs. Unlike the peach tree, which still loses its leaves or turns brown, the apple tree stays nice and green year round and grows into an attractive tree. It also becomes a topic of conversation to guests since no one believes apple trees can grow here.


Kenny B

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 10:59AM
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There are at least two peaches and at least one plum that fruit with no chill in Hawaii. They are looking of others. It does not look like any of them are widely available though. Certainly not enough to satisfy even one landscape company. But there is hope for the future.

If I lived in Hawaii and knew how to graft I would be making some contacts and have a boat load of trees in a few years.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of a peach tree growing in Hawaii

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:13PM
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Axel(12b/Sunset H2)

Kenny, you must thin! I know it's hard, but you've got to pull off those extra fruit.

And do not pull the flowers off on second or third blooms, you will damage any newly forming spurs. Just remove the fruitlets after they've set.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:41PM
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Axel(12b/Sunset H2)

You will want to thin down to one apple every second spur. So that means removing three apples on one spur, and all of them on the next one. It's hard to do, but it will be worth it.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:43PM
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I reviewed the website that you sent to me and saw the pictures there. Unfortunately, the peach trees are located in a higher elevation located on the island of Hawaii. Believe it or not, the higher elevations are covered with snow during the winter months so they do kind of experience a "frost period". Unfortunately, I live in a low lying area on Oahu and cannot come close to the climate conditions.

Axel sc,

Good as done, it hurt, but I trimmed to your specs.

Thanks to both of you,

Kenny B

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 3:22PM
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Sorry Kenny that tree is grown on Keauhou by one of the contributers to the "No Chill Stone Fruit Project." I do not live in Hawaii and did not realize that Keauhou is part of the big island.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 4:05PM
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There is an older thread on this forum...find it by googling peaches in Hawaii. The thread indicates some success.
Also look around on the web; there are many new low chill varieties of many fruits.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 6:21PM
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