Lowering the Mango Tree

Some of us can’t get near the fruit, or they hate it.

I’m over the moon with it. I can’t really get enough mangoes.

I even have a tree in the backyard.  Therein lies the problem.  You see, Mango Trees can get insanely big.  In South Florida they can get to 40 or 50 feet tall.

Lets call that 17 meters for the imperially impaired.

 

There is one that big just a short walk from my front door.

So unless you want fruit that is upwards of two pounds or a Kilo falling from 50 feet onto your head, or breaking glass in your car, you want to lower the things.

I’ve been telling people this for years.  Don’t let it grow up, make it grow out.

Yes, I am turning my mango into a bonsai.  Not one of those little trees in a pot, but a tree that could be huge is going to be cut back to about six feet.

It’s a manageable height for these things.

I know it is something that works because I did a test cut a month back and I am trying hard not to allow myself to finish the job.

I had gone out there and found that my tree was almost 20 feet tall and growing out of control.   About the time I took cuttings from the Bougainvillea, I walked to the Mango with saw in hand and lowered the tree on one side by about a person in height.  It also got narrowed to about 10 feet.

How do I know it worked?  Simply because the plant told me.

I didn’t do a simple beheading of the tree, I cut back long arms to the core.

One month later, everywhere I cut, the tree put out lots of little branches like fingers.   I stopped where I did with the tree because I was afraid it would pout and not put out more fruit for next year.  Since flowering and fruiting happens in spring here, I have to wait.

My Theory is that I can gently reduce the height in stages and not shock the plant.

At least it’s not a skyscraper any longer.

Motto of this exercise is that if you have a truly tall tree that is getting out of control, take a measured approach and trim it back.  But do so gently, after all you do still want the tree.

I will say mine is vigorously putting out new growth and should be in perfect form for blooming in early spring.

Cop: How high are you? No officer, it’s: Hi, How are you

I just picture this next story as a plot point from the TV show Letterkenny.  Jared Keeto’s character Wayne would stand up and have this distinctive and frankly odd stance when he does.  I don’t get it but I don’t think we’re meant to.

 

 

A man walks into a bar feeling gloomy walks into a bar

“What’s wrong John?” asks the bartender, standing with his legs apart and hands on his hips.

John says, “It’s the wife. I feel like she doesn’t love me anymore. Our love life feels dull and the sex has become routine.”

The bartender starts stroking his chin, legs apart, with one hand on his hip. “Hmmm. Well,I’ve never had a problem with the ladies. In the years of my happy marriage, distance has always made the heart grow fonder.”

John looks at the bartender with a spark in his eye. Without saying a word, he rushes home to his wife. There, she is reading a book in the bedroom, when John bolts in, posing just as the bartender was: legs apart, with his hands on his hips.

In a felt swoop, he rips the clothes off his wife and proceeds to make love to her through the night.

After what seems like hours, she turns to John. Still trying to catch her breath, she asks him what changed.

John gets up, stands with his legs apart and puts his hands on his hips. “It’s this stance”, he says.

“What about this stance, John?”.

He lifts one hand and starts stroking his chin, legs apart and with one hand on his hip.

“This stance makes the heart grow fonder.”

Propagating Bougainvillea is Easy

The first time I propagated bougainvillea, i used what my family “on the farm” would call “Involuntary Propagation”.

There was a pot with a little pine bark mulch in the bottom, and a little soil.  It sat under the bougainvillea arbor that I have behind the house.  I came through one day and trimmed it back and a small bit fell in the pot.

I didn’t see or ignored the clipping instead of throwing it out.

Months later when I went to use the pot, I pulled the clipping out and it had begun to grow roots.

Bougainvillea is an amazing looking plant but it has thorns all over it.  Whenever I work with it, I end up having arms that look like I was trying to give a pill to a cat.  Shredded.

But it is one of the reasons why I bought the house.  Standing at the front window, you can see through the house to the arbor in the back, and when it is in bloom, it is a wall of flowers.

It also has a very thin bark that scratches off with a thumbnail to show a little green underneath.

Many plants down here are like that, and it is pretty easy to find a plant that I can propagate easily with better than 50% success.

With the bougainvillea, you will want to find a piece with green growth at the end and some leaf buds on it.

Cut the stem, and trim it to a 45 degree angle to make it easier to stick in the soil.

Treat the cut end generously with rooting hormone.

Push the stem into wet soil deep enough to allow the cutting to stand more or less upright.  Larger stems will need more support and will need to go deeper.

Once in soil, water generously until it is obvious that you have new growth and roots developing.  It can be as long as 3 to 6 months before the new plant can go into the ground, so be patient.

In one case I have seen new growth in about two weeks once all the old leaves had fallen to the ground.

Finally, the plant does not seem to care whether it is getting started in a pot or directly in the ground.  I have cuttings starting in both the soil and in pots on my irrigation lines.

A man with one leg recently got a job working at a brewery. He was put in charge of the hops.

I guess because it’s sunday and because it has been raining here overnight, this one fits… for me at least.

 

Jock, the painter, often would thin his paint so it would go further.

So when the Church decided to do some deferred maintenance, Jock was able to put in the low bid, and got the job.
As always, he thinned his paint way down with turpentine.

One day while he was up on the scaffolding — the job almost finished — he heard a horrendous clap of thunder, and the sky opened.

The downpour washed the thinned paint off the church and knocked Jock off his scaffold and onto the lawn among the gravestones and puddles of thinned and worthless paint.

Jock knew this was a warning from the Almighty, so he got on his knees and cried: “Oh, God! Forgive me! What should I do?”

And from the thunder, a mighty voice: “REPAINT! REPAINT! AND THIN NO MORE!”

I can eat sugar with either hand. I’m ambidextrose!

I have a triple play today. A Three-Fer of strangeness. A couple dad jokes for you to smile at, hopefully for your day today.

I just ordered a Chinese takeaway from a local place just been to pick it up and as i was driving home, I heard the bags rustling and moving!!!
I thought what the hell is that? Has something got in the bag?

I thought I could see a little pair of eyes peering out I was driving so I leaned forward, picked up the bag, put it on the passenger seat and there it was again, more rustling and little eyes looking out behind the prawn crackers, I thought its got to be a rat or a mouse or something, so I carefully pulled the bag down …

And there it was … … A Peeking Duck!!!

My teacher said that unison isn’t a proper word.
That’s ridiculous, she should know a unison is one buffalo standing by itself.
If there are 2 buffaloes then it’s bison.

And finally…

Taking a day off

Two factory workers are talking.
The woman says, “I can make the boss give me the day off.”
The man replies, “And how would you do that?”
The woman says, “Just wait and see.” She then hangs upside-down from the ceiling.
The boss comes in and says, “What are you doing?”
The woman replies, “I’m a light bulb.”
The boss then says, “You’ve been working so much that you’ve gone crazy. I think you need to take the day off.”
The man starts to follow her and the boss says, “Where are you going?”
The man says, “I’m going home, too. I can’t work in the dark.”

Wanna hear a roof joke? Alright, the first one’s on the house.

Gardening.
The easiest rule of thumb is to plant what your neighbors have in their yards. Since you want something to look distinctive, and not copy cat, go a block away and see if you can figure out what they have.
Then when you get home, and have all your precious cuttings in hand, make sure that they aren’t invasive. I found out that some of the plants that propagate so well are deemed invasive by the different groups here in South Florida.
Won’t stop me though, I have pots of the stuff in my backyard that are “shovel ready” to go in the yard.
Ooops.

 

Or you could easily take this old gentleman’s idea to heart and plant a forest instead.

 

There was an old man who lived by a forest

As he grew older and older, he started losing his hair, until one day, on his deathbed, he was completely bald. That day, he called his children to a meeting.

He said, “Look at my hair. It used to be so magnificent, but it’s completely gone now. My hair can’t be saved. But look outside at the forest. It’s such a lovely forest with so many trees, but sooner or later they’ll all be cut down and this forest will look as bald as my hair.”

“What I want you to do,” the man continued, “is, every time a tree is cut down or dies, plant a new one in my memory. Tell your descendants to do the same. It shall be our family’s duty to keep this forest strong.”

So they did. Each time the forest lost a tree, the children replanted one, and so did their children, and their children after them. And for centuries, the forest remained as lush and pretty as it once was, all because of one man and his re-seeding heirline.

Say Something Sunrise

Ironically this was one of my earlier wake up calls.

Not the morning in the picture, but today, when I am writing this blather.

More than two hours before sunrise, I was up walking around this same spot, a little more than two years later and thought to look East towards the sunrise.

Except it won’t be there for a while.

Coming home to sit in the dark house, I’m going about procrastinating everything that I needed to do and did “other things” instead.

Looking out the back window from my Poang Chair, through the bougainvillea, I saw the same colors starting to show in the eastern skies.  Orange tints began to appear, painting the large banana tree leaves under my mango tree back there.

After all, I’m in South Florida.  I think it’s a state requirement that you have at least one fruit tree on your property and since I know how to propagate plants, I have too many.  Too many banana trees is not really a problem, but the mango can get massive.

My mango looks like it has been mistreated lately, I hacked it down from 15 feet to a more manageable ten.  If you “lower” the top of the tree, you will end up with a skeletal look, but the plant is quite forgiving.  It’s putting out tiny little chartreuse leaves from the trunk just below where I butchered the plant.

That’s my yard, too many fruit trees in pots.  So many that when I look at it from “space”, I can see the trees around the pool.

But that picture.  I was standing at NE 7th Avenue and Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors, Florida.  Looking east towards the ocean two miles away and the approaching sunrise there was a sign flashing.

See Something
Say Something

I did see something.  A beautiful sunrise.  It was all for my benefit, at some level.  The city has not awakened on that day, June 24, 2017, at 6:14.  The warning sign kept repeating its mantra, and I stood there, my faithful sidekick, Rack the SuperDog (TM) looking towards the sunrise and up at my face.

“Isn’t it beautiful, boy?  It’s our privilege to be up this early and see the city like this!”

I got a wag or five out of him and he went back to looking at it.

“Well, lets go home, the house should be waking up soon.”

Rack stood up and began walking across the street in the general direction towards our house, tail wagging and leading the way.

Beautiful mornings should be shared.  My dog seemed to enjoy it too.

Now, two years later, I’m sharing it with you.

Get out of bed early once in a while, go have a look.  You never know what you’ll find.