Winn Sawyer

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since Oct 16, 2023
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Organizing a (mostly) decentralized cold-hardy avocado breeding project in the Cascadian lowlands.
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Cascadian lowlands (8b, sunset zone 5)
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Recent posts by Winn Sawyer

Ben Zumeta wrote:Grafting female scions onto your planted rootstock could also be an option. I believe Burnt Ridge sells mulberry scionwood.

This was going to be my suggestion! I've bought scions from both Fruitwood Nursery and Really Good Plants (Marta Matvienko).

Another option is to look at this list of how easily each cultivar can be rooted, and order scionwood of those cultivars easiest to root. I've successfully rooted a few cultivars of mulberry scionwood, such as Galicia from Marta.
1 week ago
The study didn't really make me any less dubious, since it was statistically the same as the control in almost every aspect they measured. The fact that it contains some trace amount of growth hormones does not mean it's actually good for your plants, and their study even showed it's worse for your plants in some cases (green cuttings).
3 weeks ago

Benji Isho wrote:@Winn Sawyer

Gibberellins and auxins are both present in aloe vera

'According to the results of the study, Aloe vera leaf gel can be recommended as an alternative root inducing substance to induce rooting of semi hard wood cuttings of Citrus aurantifolia and air layering plants of Syzygium jambos. It is not essential to use root inducing substances to induce rooting of soft wood cuttings of Coleus spp. In the present study freshly harvested Aloe vera leaves were used to collect gel substances. However, best results could be obtained by using leaves of Aloe vera harvested 5-7 days before being used as root inducing material. Since, Aloe vera leaves produce more rooting hormones after separated from the plant as an anti-inflammatory actions.'
Full study:

That's good information! Take a look at the charts in that last one, though. While the abstract and conclusion say it CAN be used, it was only barely better than the control for two out of three species, and worse than the control for one of them.

Take note of the part below each table that tells you which are statistically significant. For example, for the S. jambos (table attached here), aloe gel was statistically no better than using nothing (red arrow point at the letter "b" signifying they are statistically indistinguishable), while the actual rooting hormone was 7 times more effective than aloe for root length, almost 15 times more effective in terms of number of roots, and a whopping 53 times more effective in terms of root vigor.

For the Coleus experiment, they found that neither aloe nor rooting hormone were better than doing nothing. Which shows that for some species, especially for softwood cuttings, using nothing is best! You might be making things worse by dipping them in aloe.

For the citrus, both the aloe and the actual hormone were basically identical to the control in most metrics at 2 months, and only the hormone was really much better by 3 months, the aloe and control were basically identical in number of roots and statistically the same in root vigor. Average root length at 3 months was basically the only metric where the aloe was almost as good as the actual hormone (i.e. statistically better than the control), but even still the hormone averaged roots 1.5cm longer than the aloe.
3 weeks ago
Thank you for your information, Sheila!

One issue that I've encountered with seed from your company is whether they are true to type. I contacted your customer service email with ploidy test results showing that the mulberry seeds you sell from Hungary as Morus nigra produce diploid seedlings (therefore they are absolutely not nigra and almost certainly misidentified black-fruited M. alba). The seed lot was never removed or moved to the correct species. I am in the process of starting the seeds from your India seed lot, but the small size of the seed look more like alba as well. I will be doing a ploidy test once the seedlings are large enough.

Just FYI, nigra has a ploidy of 22, eleven times larger than alba, so a relatively cheap test can quickly confirm whether any alleged nigra is actually that species.
3 weeks ago
I'm not experienced with identifying persimmon flowers, but from looking at photos on other websites and forums, that seems right. Should be easier to tell as they expand and open, though.

As far as the species id, that pale green color and the leaf texture look more like kaki than virginiana to me. One of my neighbors has a kaki and I have seen many wild virginiana across much of its range, as well as grown a couple rootstocks from Missouri before grafting. So I have some experience with both, but no expert. My understanding is that most (not all) persimmons will set (seedless) fruit without pollination.
1 month ago

May Lotito wrote:I keep two seedlings to grow for pollination.  They are 6 ft tall at 3 year old.
I took a little twig from a wild persimmon tree and compared it side by side with my trees. Can I confirm they are persimmons now?

Looks like maybe flower buds on those young shoots! Hopefully they aren't both male.
1 month ago

Michael Vickers wrote:That is awesome. I just tried the test and we definitely have a real Mexican avocado tree. Thanks for the tip.

It's worth throwing out a caveat that even though I do also use the crushed leaf test, it's not foolproof. Because the Mexican botanical group is believed to be the original source of all avocados, it has the greatest diversity of the three avocado groups (the other two being "Guatemalan" and "West Indian" which is inaccurately named so some people have started calling "Lowlands" instead). The increased genetic diversity of the Mexican botanical group means they can be hard to pin down with a single trait like having scented leaves.

One major example of an exception is the "Del Rio" cultivar, which has fruit that is definitely of the Mexican type (thin skin), but the leaves have virtually zero scent, only the faintest hint. It's also one of the hardiest cultivars.

I would say the scented leaves are a strong indicator of a tree belonging to the Mexican group (or a complex hybrid dominated by that group), but the lack of a scent isn't enough to definitively say a particular tree belongs to one of the other two groups of avocados.
1 month ago

Riona Abhainn wrote:While I think I'm done trying with avacados for now, I will eagerly watch your progress in creating a zone 8 viable variety and then I'll buy some from you in the future.

I personally have no intention or desire to ever sell the trees produced by this project, but my hope is that the project does become democratically self-governed over time, so it's possible the membership will decide to do that at some point. I would much prefer if we continue to distribute the trees freely, as I've done so far. Trees for all!
1 month ago
I've grown coffee as a houseplant a number of times and they always seem pretty happy, but every time I've put one out into the greenhouse, they die a pretty quick and horrible death. I don't think they are at all tolerant of the colder overnight temperatures (my greenhouse is regularly in the upper 30s (°F) and at best in the 40s for most nights in winter, and it only takes a month or two of that to kill even a sizeable, healthy coffee plant.

I've heard the trick to getting them to flower and fruit is actually to briefly expose them to cooler temperatures (maybe take outside in part shade for a week in spring?), once they are large enough to flower. Someone on another forum documented this for one he'd grown indoors, but he planted all the seeds rather than roasting them since it wouldn't have been much, and coffee requires a special fermentation to really be good quality, which is hard to do in small batches.

They do not generally need a second one for pollination, though.
2 months ago

Winn Sawyer wrote:

Here's what those seeds from the photo above look like today (photo attached).
2 months ago