Lychee lessons learned

Fulton, MO

Last fall I got a 'Brewster' Lychee tree. It gradually lost most of it's leaves over the winter...OK, no problem. When it leafed out this spring, many of the emerging leaves dried up and fell off. Others became brown and crisp around the edges.

I talked to a Florida nursery and doing some reading, and I learned Lesson #1: Emerging lychee leaves are unusually sensitive to wind. I had an oscillating fan on the middle of the greenhouse area where 'Brewster' was planted in a ground bed. Every ten seconds the fan blew across the tree. The nurseryman said that would be enough to wreck the leaves.

He also said that of all the subtropicals and tropical trees they grow (and it's Pine Island Nursery, they grow a lot), the lychee is the one plant unusually sensitive to overfertilization; Lesson #2. Too much fert and the leaves just go brown, starting at the edges.

More reading, and I learn Lesson #3: Lychees are sensitive to salt buildup. Maybe this is corollary to lesson #2...anyway, I switched to only treated water or rainwater for the lychees.

Lesson #4: Neem and soap sprays are phytoxic to the young, emerging leaves. Let's just say I did an experiment and leave it at that...

I removed the fan quit fertilizing like I fertilize my bananas. :-D I took pains to avoid getting any sprays on the new growth. The second growth flush yielded several times as much foliage as the first. Unfortunately, I went on vacation about that time, and the watering was not adequate. Lesson #5: Lychees like very moist soil. I have started watering every single day with treated water during a growth flush.

Now I've added a 'Sweetheart' Lychee, and both trees have put on fair to good growth flushes. Both trees are getting a little shade from the bananas (lesson #6?) and seem to be getting along reasonably well.

Very touchy tree for me. Does anyone have any experience with Lychees? Does my experience agree with yours?


Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

I have a lychee that I planted about 3 yrs ago. Got my first fruit this year. Yum. all 20 of them. LOL I basically leave it alone. I overfertilized the first year and burnt some leaves.
I water it only when other things in the area get water. sometimes daily, sometimes every other day. Definitely does not stay moist all the time. It is still small and very slow growing. I plan to move it to the back yard this fall when the ground cools off. I want to protect it more from wind and human predators. LOL

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

Stressbaby, I found a great site on Lychee care. They have tons of information. C.J.

Fulton, MO

Thanks, cj, that is a good site. SB

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

It is a good site for information but they aren't good at answering emails. I emailed them to see when the best time of year would be to relocate my small tree from the front to the back yard and never got a reply. I'm going to risk it this fall when it goes semi dormant.

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