NOT in love with my sapote tree

grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)August 31, 2013

Hi everyone,

I'm so NOT in love with my grafted sapote tree. I know, I know, it's summer and young trees look tired, but I'm sort of thinking of ripping it out this autumn. Do you have one that you love?? I've seen a few large ones at the Maricopa County Extension agency garden, grown by the AZ Rare Fruit Grower's club, plus a few large ones at ASU, but not too many others.

What about you? Do you have one you love? Did it languish at first, hah??

Mine was planted last autumn, and grew several feet before winter, then got ZORCHED by the early January freeze. It bounced back a bit, making a few little 6-10 inch stems, but they're sort of languishing now, with a bit of scorch. I love the look at taste of the fruit, and the look of the plants, but I'm really thinking about ripping it out. If it weren't for all of the fun flowering annuals around it I probably already would have done the deed!

It's in amazingly hot, full sun, in slightly ammended soil and gets a very deep, very thorough soaking twice a week at this time of year.

I'll wait until autumn to make The Decision, but I thought I'd check with you and get your thoughts and experiences with sapotes in your garden too.

Happy gardening!
Grant

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AJBB(9b)

Sapote tends to do better in part shade and planted near other trees, for a more humid microclimate. Irregardless, they're generally hit or miss out here, and tend to be as frost sensitive as lemons.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 4:06PM
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richsd

Grant, post of picture of it if you feel like it. I'd be curious to know what it looks like.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

Yeah I've tried one last year spring and it didn't grow that much. I had it planted beside a north facing wall. It did well all year including this past winter but it just didn't put out that much growth. Then when I moved earlier this year to a new house, I tried moving it and replanting it here and it didn't do well and just dried up and died.

I'll probably try another one some time in the future.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 6:32PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Thanks for the replies. Here's a pic of the poor thing--no one can ever say I don't post pics of Ugly Sad Plants any more, LOL. I may give it through late autumn before making any decisions, but I must admit, I was doing a search on our forum for fig discussions recently, so it's crossing my mind, hah!

Thanks and happy gardening,
Grant

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 5:37PM
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richsd

Grant, it doesn't look as bad as I was expecting. If you are willing to experiment (like me), I'd start adding sulfuric acid to its irrigation water. Bring the water down to a pH of 4 or 5. (I use pH paper to verify the final pH) That will help flush out the sodium and free up the iron, zinc and other micronutrients. Add a bit of nitrogen too, like Miracle Gro or ammonium sulfate.

I hope that works. My lemon tree perked up using this treatment.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

I'm guessing maybe Sapotes take a while to get established.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 5:25PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Thanks for looking and commenting, Rich and Raimeiken, I appreciate it. I'm quite embarrassed to show such a Sad Plant, LOL. He really doesn't look TOO bad, but he does when you compare him to what he looked like when I planted him. He was CA-grown so I expected him to have trouble settling in, but come on, hah!

I'll definitely try lowering the pH and adding some fertilizers and more acidic water, it certainly can't hurt, hah! I'll see if I can give him just a bit more time like you suggested. My citrus are all just starting to make their big flush of late summer/autumn growth, and if this sapote follows suit I'll definitely keep it. We'll see, LOL.

Thanks for the fun discussion! Happy gardening,
Grant
ps: pouring rain here today! 9/8/2013

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 2:26PM
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aztropic(9b Mesa,AZ)

I planted one several years ago in Mesa.It's been a troublefree grow except it does defoliate in the occasional mid 20's winters we get but bounces right back.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 10:01PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Nice one, Aztropic! I'll give mine a bit more time then and see if it perks up. I love the look, and the fruit, so I hope mine perks up a bit. Yours is really great, thanks for posting it!! Happy gardening!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics from my garden, September 2013

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 11:41AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Okay, I've given him a couple of doses of acidifying fertilizer. I think that, and the suddenly-lovely temperatures are helping him look a bit better. He's making quite a bit of fresh new growth, so we'll see if it hardens up in time for winter. He's shed most of his tired old mature leaves. Here's a recent pic, be nice, LOL! Happy gardening! Grant

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:39AM
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richsd

AZtropic's tree is awesome! It's obviously happy with what you're doing to it.

Grant, I think yours is on its way to better health as well.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

Hey aztropic, how old is that tree you have and how big was it when you planted it? Do you get a lot of fruit from it? Looks pretty awesome!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 6:03PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Hi all, I'm still not in love with my sapote, but it sailed through the winter this year just fine, and is making several side shoots, so it's getting another reprieve, LOL, plus it's flowering for the very first time (pic below) so I'll give it more time. I'm not sure why I'm being so patient with it, hah, but I am. Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 2:06PM
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agility_mom(z9 AZ)

I also have a Sapote that is not doing great. Like you, I do have flowers and fruit this year so there is hope.
Aztropic, I am drooling over your Sapote, it is gorgeous!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:43PM
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greyongray

I too am drooling over AZtropic's tree! Or rather, the thought of the fruit that would come off that tree. I caught the sapote bug last year after trying one for the first time.

Grant, maybe we need to start a sapote support group -- I too have fledging sapotes planted. One last fall and another (the "backup tree") that I bought after the original one lost all its leaves. It's now in the ground and the first one did grow new leaves, so I have two little trees.

I noticed on my first sapote that the root stock is now significantly thicker than the grafted piece. I'm hoping that means that the root stock is getting established in my soil, and that there will be a flush of growth above the graft soon.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

I finally planted another one here at my new house. I snagged one at Home depot for $25. It was a Suebelle kind. They also had a Vernon which I was tempted to grab as well. I really hope this one takes off and does well.

I wish nurseries offered this tree in larger sizes than these piddly ones we get at the big box stores. I want to know where Aztropics got his from. I doubt that he started his from this size and got it to grow to that size in just a few years.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:46PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Fun new updates all, good to hear. I don't know if I mentioned it, raimeiken, but mine is a Suebelle one as well. I too wish we could find some larger specimens to start with--I still am not in love with mine, LOL.

Very funny about a SSG (Sapote Support Group) Greyongrey! Sounds like we have plenty of folks who could join!

I'm so envious of AZTropic's plant, plus the ones on the ASU campus, that I haven't fully given up hope on mine, but com on!, some citrus that I planted which were the same size as the sapote are now taller than I am and are starting to really bear fruit, grumble grumble, LOL.

Keep the updates coming all, especially if you get some fruit to harvest.

Happy gardening!
Grant

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 12:40PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Okay, mine is making some good, steady growth due to all of the amazing rain lately. I'll give it more time. Compared to last summer's pics it's actually made good progress I guess!

It's STILL not as tall as it was when I purchased it three years ago, hah!

I'll give it some more time. I sure wish it would take off!
Happy gardening,
Grant

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:59AM
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Fascist_Nation(9b)

You sure seem like you have some low nitrogen issues.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:56PM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

good to hear that yours is doing well. Unfortunately mine perished after what looked like it was making a comeback. Not sure if I'll try another one again. If only other nurseries would start selling bigger trees right away then I would definitely buy one.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 7:15PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Any specific suggestion, Fascist? I give him a slop of all purpose fertilizer every other week when he's actively growing, like now. I'd love to see him actually get as tall as I am some day, hah!

Sorry yours croaked, Raimeiken. I see a few beautiful ones now and then around the valley and that keeps me going. Happy gardening all!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 12:00PM
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