Lychee Grove - The Oldest In Florida

jabomano(z10FL)January 28, 2012

Thought you all might want to drool over what is possibly the oldest lychee grove in the U.S. It's the oldest in Florida with the trees having been planted between 80 and 90 years ago....sometime in the early 1900's when Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were experimenting and planting different tropical trees here in the Ft. Myers area. This particular grove is a wonder because the trees were left to grow naturally and have reached a height of around 35' to 40' which is quite unusual as most commercial groves are kept to around 16'. It's now owned by Bob Leisure of Ft. Myers and the grove is located at the intersection on Pine Ridge Road and Kelly. It goes my Sweetheart Lychee Ranch and is 100% organic...no chemicals are ever used in any way. It really is a spectacular sight and if you're ever in the area contact Bob for a tour. You won't be disappointed.

Ray

www.raybayer.com

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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Wow!! Those trees look really cool and VERY Old!! Amazing pictures! If only they can talk...what stories they could tell! Thanks so much for posting them.

Do you know if they still fruit when the winter temps are cold enough to initiate blooms? I know this winter has been very warm so far for South FL.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Bob1016(9b)

I have seen this statement a few times and am very confused about it. It seems that most people here think that lychees need a cold winter to fruit. I grew up in broward county and we had lychees that are now forty years old (my grandfathers lot). The only tree that don't bloom every year are he brewster, which consistently fruit every other year. We always shocked them with fertilizer (don't fertilize for December, then in late January early feb. hit them with triple phosphate), and had great results. I was just curious if people thought that cold was necessary?
Those trees are amazing even in the pictures, I had the opportunity to see them in person once, not a full tour though.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 10:19PM
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phucvu(10 b oc ca)

you truly are a professional photographer. i don't think a somewhat inexpensive camera can get that clarity and contrast.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 2:38AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Hi Bob...YES, I'm apparently one of those that thought some chilling was necessary for Lychee trees to bloom. Apparently, I'm mistaken. Thanks for clarifying.

My one year old planted lychee tree didn't bloom this winter...just had some growth flush :o(

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 12:05PM
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Bob1016(9b)

I didn't mean to offend, I have just never really heard of the required freeze. Not really up to par on central Florida lychees, but it is still a little soon for some varieties in broward, was the tree grafted? How many years since planting? What's your fert schedule?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 5:49PM
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lycheeluva(6/7)

lychees definitly require a certain number of hours below 68 degrees to flower

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Bob1016(9b)

Ok that makes sense. I've never grown them where it doesn't get below 60 for at least a few hours. I know they like to be shocked into flowering, that's why girdling drastically increases yeild, but I didnt know that they needed a shock. As I said before, we always shocked them with frets (or lack of), and I guess a little shock from lowered temps, it is interesting to know that the cool is required. Thank you for the info.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:57PM
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sun_worshiper(FL 9b)

That is a great grove! Thanks for sharing the pictures. It is neat to see such old trees.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 12:03PM
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behlgarden(9)

Pictures almost look like artwork. Great job there and yes, amazing trees.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 2:13PM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

There is a grove of Brewster lychees in Davie, FL that I think may be older than the ones shown here. The property is on Davie Road, north of Griffin Road and south of State Road 84. My understanding was that these were the original plantings by Dr. Brewster himself. The tree were really huge. From a distance, the tree canopy, which ran all together, looked like a mountain range. I would estimate them to be 40-50 feet tall, maybe taller. In recent years the property was rented by a company that ran a nursery called Siga Nursery. They went out of business and the property was sold to some folks from Ohio, I believe. They had just closed on the property and were about to move down or were partially moved down when Hurricane Wilma hit. The trees were decimated and the Ohio folks high tailed it back to Ohio. The property went up for sale but I don't think it has ever sold. I think it is about a 5 acre tract where the trees and former nursery are located. I haven't been inside the fenced area since Wilma but the "mountain range" was severly reduced in size. Not sure who, if anyone, is harvesting the lychees that grow there now.

Harry

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:26PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Interesting story Harry! That's SO sad the trees were severely damaged by Hurricane Wilma.

Wonder if Lycheeluva will be interested in buying this property,lol...5 acres in Davie to grow mangoes and lychees would be a dream come true for me. Now, I just have to win the Lottery!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:34AM
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marinfla(10 South Florida)

POWERBALL tonight!!!!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 5:59PM
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simon_grow

Those old Lychee trees are absolutely beautiful. The trunks are amazing. It would be cool to head the trees to rejuvinate it and see if it can be brought back into production.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 2:04PM
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trini1trini

Harry, I was told by the previous owner some years ago that those were the first trees in Florida too. They were huge as you mentioned but I haven't seen them since Wilma. Sorry to hear they were damaged.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 10:00PM
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adiel

Wow those are some amazing pictures.

Adiel

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 1:24PM
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