Tropical Fruit Tree Protection From STRONG Winds

gardenathome(9B/10)September 6, 2010

Hi, guys! Could you please help us? We'd like to know how we can protect young trees (ie. mango, guava) from the Santa Ana winds? I know it's rather early but it's really blowing out!

Thank you!!!!

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murahilin(10 fl)

Do you have enough space to plant a windbreak?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 10:38AM
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simple wind protection like four stakes and a plastic wrap does wonders

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 12:36PM
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murahilin(10 fl)

mango kush,
With sustained speeds of 40mph and gusts up to 115mph, I am not sure if four stakes and plastic wrap will be sufficient for Santa Ana winds.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 1:37PM
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I would focus on figuring out the more drought and dry sensitive plants. Mangos, Avocados, and citrus should withstand the conditions better then most. Fruit trees like Cherimoya, Bananas, Lychee, etc. can be moved against the side of the house opposite from the direction of the wind. Also watering less but more frequently during the day will help. You can also install misters hooked up to a hose and run them during the day, in times of low humidity and high wind.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 2:05PM
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Hi, guys! Thanks so much!!!

Murahilin & Mango_kush, we've tried bamboo and wood stake frames with plastic wrapped around them. But they just blew away! Literally! It isn't even the "real" Santa Ana winds yet. Leaves are torn or dessicated? by the wind... :-( How do we plant a "windbreak"? Didn't expect these winds so soon. It was in the 90s and now 60s.

Nullzero, unfortunately, the handful of tropical plants we have are planted in the ground except for a few. And ones we are looking for will have to be in containers outside eventually. The guava trees are OK for now but sooo small, thin stick with new growth coming out. :-( Bananas and mango, etc. are in the ground...

Is there anything else we can do? Thanks in advance for everyone's help on this!!! We appreciate it alot.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 2:23PM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

If you are going to use plastic, you have to angle the plastic from the ground to a higher point near your protected plants. This allows the wind to blow over the plastic and miss the plants, while not creating a "sail" effect for the material you are using to block the wind. This is the re-direction of the wind method. I think that would work......actualy I have never tried it. Just thought it was a possible suggestion. Good least you always know from what direction the winds are coming. With hurricanes, we don't find that out until the storm is here and then it shifts from one direction to the other as the storm passes.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 4:20PM
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Hi, Harry! LOL, OK thank you. We'll give it a try. :-)

BTW, just curious do you guys protect your trees for hurricane season? I can imagine how hard that would be... Do you just leave the trees as is? :-)

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 12:20AM
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hmhausman(FL 10B)

Hurricane wind protection takes several forms. Of course, valuable potted plants get moved indoors. Others still in containers but too big to drag indoors may be positioned either up against a structure if you think the winds will spare that side of the structure of even on one side of a larger tree (risky...the larger tree may fal over on the smaller). I have also layed containerized plants over on their side on the ground to decrease the wind profile. Other than that, the only thing that can be done is to selectively prune the trees so as to allow the wind room to pass throught the canopy and not create as much wind resistance. Mostly, however, its just a do nothing, hope and wait to see situation as it unfolds. If it is Category 2 or higher or if there are any tornadoes that get spawned that decide to trek through your yard, you just have to be prepared to do a lot of hat-racking of downed trees, prop them back up and wait the three years before you have any fruit again.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 6:13AM
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I've heard and seen Sapodilla and Jackfruit being used as windbreaks down in Homestead, FL. Unfortunately, they take a while to grow... I attached a link to an article that may contain some other options for you. Best of luck. Ray

Here is a link that might be useful: Multipurpose Windbreak Design: Balancing Function and Yields

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 8:28PM
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what do your neighbors generally use for fencing?

does anyone use cinder block walls?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 9:48PM
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I understand that elephant or bana grass( Pennisetum purpureum) is used as a windbreak between rows in Mango plantations. It is described as a tufted perennial grass that has a bamboo like structure that grows to 4 metres. Here is a reference. I am familiar with it because as a child I used to grow it in bird aviaries because it was so vigorous that it can withstand the constant chewing it gets from parrots.
The reason it is being grown between rows in mangos is to stop the spread through orchards of bacterial apical necrosis, pseudomonas syringae, which is transported through the crop by fine water droplets in areas which have cold wet winters. It seems that wind breaks is the only defence presently, as it is neither a fungus nor an insect.
Also, some species of casuarina are used as windbreaks. I think that some of the larger species were used in Florida in mid 1900's, but the problems they caused from growing too big seemed to outweigh the benefits. In areas near where I am I have noticed casuarinas being used around various plantations. like vineyards and olive plantations, but planted very close together to give a hedge like structure and I assume these are pruned to prevent them getting too large and giving shade problems.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:13AM
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Hi, everyone. Thanks again for the help. Sorry for our late reply. We have been busy and still trying to set up something again with the plastic. :-)

Hi, Harry. It must be very hard during hurricane season. I know I am emotionally attached to our plants already and they are all new and young still... Just hope Mother Nature doesn't get too brutal...

Hi, Mango_nut! Thank you for the link. I have browsed it and will look at it in more detail. I would love to have a sapodilla to serve as a windbreak but as you have mentioned it would take too long for it to help us in the interim. :-( It would be nice indeed to have fruit trees serving as windbreaks too. :-)

Hi, Mango_kush! Yes! Our neighbors have those cement blocks too for walls. For fencing otherwise, it is metal? With large gaps. But their trees are all mature... So I guess they don't have to worry much about the winds damaging young trees...

Hi, Gomango! Wow, a lot of mango lovers here besides us! :-) That was what we were afraid of with planting windbreaks: 1) time it needs to be fully functional and 2) growth that will not be too vigorous so as to affect our fruit trees. I was thinking of bamboo but I read on the forum those are very vigorous growers and can grow very tall... If planting windbreaks, I will have to do so in containers. Unfortunately, the garden is too small for them to co-exist in the ground.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 3:28PM
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a long term solution would probably best be a fence of some kind, even a metal bar fence with gaps will serve as a layer and then you can plant hedges like Barbados cherry on either side of it.

then again if youre property is lower in the valley that might not help much. you have to pay particular attention to microclimate spots on your property

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 4:12PM
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