Saturday, March 23, 2024

Frost tolerance of Himalayan Mulberries

 The past winter of 2023-2024 was the second test for my Himalayan mulberries frost tolerance. I have five two-years old trees of four cultivars, Naples, two Skinners, Taiwanese Long, and DMOR9. I also have one year old trees of these cultivars plus two trees of Steve Murray Himalayan.

The new shoot development observed on March 22 of 2024 confirmed the frost tolerance data I had last year:

As recorded in spring of 2023, Naples was the most damaged by the frosts and DMOR9 was the least damaged. 

This spring of 2024 recoding is under this link

Our lowest temperature this past winter was 24F.

While I have a new one-year old Napes, I could not clearly see if it will re-sprout or not. I may add the info on this later.

The frost tolerance of the cultivars I grow as following, starting from the most tolerant and ending with the most frost sensitive:

  • DMOR9
  • Taiwanese Long
  • Skinner
  • Steve Murray 
  • Naples 

The scions of these cultivars might be available during our winter and spring sales at

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Blooming time for various apricot cultivars in Sacramento Valley


Update from April 1, 2024

Apricot cultivars still blooming with unopened buds too:

  • Iskra 8
  • Altair 4
  • Canada White
  • Albasun
  • Seedling of Small White 
The Short with there is on the YouTube:

Update from March 26, 2024

Dudi and Alisa apricots have open flowers.

Update from March 21, 2024

Five cultivars are still mostly in the closed bud stage:

  • Iskra 4
  • Iskra 8
  • Seedling of Small White
  • Canada White
  • Altair 4

The link to the video taken on March 21

Below is the data for 32 cultivars as recorded on March 13, 2024

Some additional cultivars in the orchard might show some flowering buds later. 

The scions of some of the above listed cultivars might be available at during the winter and spring sales.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Cuttings sale in March 2024

This posts describes the cuttings sale on in March of 2024.

The sale will open at 6 PM PST on March 1.

1. All deciduous cuttings and scions were precut while dormant and stored at 40°F.

2. The evergreen species will be cut to order. The wood of white sapote, cherimoya, rose apple, and avocado do not store for a long time. These should be used in under a week or two after receiving.

3. Some cultivars are not linked to descriptions. There are various reasons for this. Some are easily searchable on the web, like many apples, plums, peaches, a couple of Opuntias, etc. And the others are novel in circulation, and we have not yet evaluated them in detail. These are for gardeners looking for new gerplasm to test in their conditions.

4. Most of the material offered here should be grafted, however, there are some accessions that could be rooted. We successfully rooted all Elaeagnus species, Kei Apples, sour cherry PV Hybrid #1, Adara plum, rose apple, and many mulberries. Here is the post on mulberry rooting abilities you may want to check. If you plan on rooting some material, I would still recommend grafting a piece for a backup. This time we also offer the cuttings of Osage orange, which are typical rootstock for Che. These will root and, will grow fast, and can be grafted with Che the following year.

All pomegranates root fine. If you want to graft them, make sure to graft onto strong young shoots. More about grafting in this post.

All Opuntia pads, as well as grapes will root.

5. The length and diameter of the cuttings will depend on the species. We will supply at least 6 inch long cuttings with at least 3 buds. A 6 inch long apricot scion can have up to 20 buds, while some vigorous mulberries might have 6-8 inch long internodes. On average, mulberry cuttings will be longer than avocado, apricots, and feijoa. Some mulberries grow very thick shoots. If you are planning on getting the Himalayan types like Naples, Steve Murray, etc, these may be up to 1 inch in diameter and will require established rootstocks to graft onto, or prepare yourself for chip budding your smaller rootstocks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

White Sapote Golden Globe

 This is the most late fruiting cultivar for me in Davis. The tree is very vigorous and fast growing. The fruits are medium in size, excellent tasting. The flavor has caramel notes in it, they are very sweet and creamy, the skin is edible. The fruits in the pictures below were harvested on February 9, 2024. 

The scions are usually available during our spring sale at

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The first fruit trees to bloom in 2024

As of February 14, 2024 I have the following fruit trees blooming.

Orion peach

Katy apricot 

Anna apple 

Aussie mulberry 
Also called AustroTurkey, Australian Turkish, etc. 

Himalayan Red Skinner mulberry 

Four Seasons mulberry 

Shangri La mulberry

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Hybrid Hibiscus of Rusanov

 This post describes the hybrid selections of herbaceous hibiscus created by Fedor Rusanov. 

Fedor Rusanov (1895 -1979) was the founder of Tashkent Botanical Garden in Uzbekistan.  He had a long and successful career as a botanist and plant breeder. Sometime around 1940s-50s he created the hybrids of hibiscus which are called by his name now. He was working with three American species, Нibiscus coccineus, Н. moscheutos, and Н. militaris. After multistep crosses he ended up with selections which are very frost hardy, vigorous and have large flowers.  These hybrids can grow to 2.5 - 3 meters (7-10 feet) in one season producing an inch or more thick stems.  However, they will go fully dormant for winter, and all above ground parts will die back. The following spring they will regrow from the roots.  The roots are very thick rhizomes similar in the structure to the vigorous peony roots. These plants need space, sun, and supplementary water in California.  They are also extremely heat tolerant and will bloom over the summer, fall, and until the frosts. 

In my childhood I used to walk through the grounds of Samarkand College of Agriculture which had them planted in masses. I perceived them as just something given, and had no idea that someone worked for years to create these hybrids. I also had one in the backyard of my grandmother. That plant produced very large red flowers.

I started growing these from seeds a few years back and had a number of seedlings with pink, white, and red flowers.  I preserved a selection with very large pink flowers which should segregate into multiple colors.  I just started a number of seeds and hope to select other colors.  I also grow multiple clones of this pink selection, as it is very easy to create new plants from the early summer shoots. They root in a couple of weeks. Below are the pictures of my pink selection.

These are very open plants and combine very well with other plantings, see image below.

I once also had a red selection, and I may have found some seeds from it and will try to germinate them. The red flowering plant is in the below images.

The utility of these hybrids for California is in their heat tolerance and ability to continue blooming when the temperature are above 100F.  However, they might have even more use in the US states with extremely cold winters. They have been shown to perform very well in various regions of Russia and Ukraine.

My plan is to propagate these accessions from seeds and cuttings and distribute through

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Chitalpa tashkentensis, a popular intergeneric hybrid tree

 Chitalpa tashkentensis is a popular flowering and shade tree. It is wide-spread across California and can be found in most landscaping nurseries.

The reason I decided to write about it is that there is a very limited and often erroneous information about this tree (on the English speaking web). I myself got this tree as a 5-6 ft whip in 2001 because I was looking for a flowering tree with fast decomposing leaves. Now, over 20 years later it is a well developed tree that provides light shade for my front yard plants. Below are the day and night pictures from June of 2023.

Only after getting home I checked the tag on this plant and noticed the species name, tashkentensis, which corresponded to the capital city of the country I was born in. Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan. The genus name happened to be a combination of two different genera, Catalpa and Chilopsis. Here I had an intergeneric tree somehow related to Tashkent, now planted in my front yard in California.  I had to figure out why it was named that way.

The searches quickly took to me to the origin of the tree, Tashkent Botanical garden.  However it took me a bit more researching to figure out the Chitalpa's breeder name.  The problem was that there were two great breeders working in this garden, Fedor Rusanov (1895-1979), and later his son Nikolay Rusanov (1938-2017). The most noticeable creations of  Fedor Rusanov are the hybrid hibiscus plants from three American species and his hardy interspecific yucca hybrids.  I will cover the hybrid hibiscus of Fedor Rusanov in another post. 

Now back to Chitalpa. Chitalpa was created by the son, Nikolay Rusanov in 1964 by cross-pollination between Chilopsis linearis and Catalpa bignonioides. I could not find the info on the directionality of his cross(es).  In the end, he selected seven cultivars, five with pink flowers, and two with white flowers. Two selections, 'Pink Down' and 'Morning Cloud' made its way to the US via Robert Hebb of the New York Botanic Garden in 1977. Only in 1991, Thomas Elias and Walter Wisura from the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic garden created the name Chitalpa tashkentensis and applied it to both selections. 

This tree is completely sterile and propagated vegetatively through cuttings or root sprouts. 

Frost tolerance of Himalayan Mulberries

 The past winter of 2023-2024 was the second test for my Himalayan mulberries frost tolerance. I have five two-years old trees of four culti...