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Paxton Prolific not fruiting

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bzh starts with ...
We are in Newcastle, NSW (about 1 km from the coast) and have a 3-4 year old healthy Paxton Prolific custard apple tree which is growing well ( now about 3 m tall). I am doing all the fertilizer (potash, Nitrophoska, Dynamic Lifter) regime etc., mulching, pruning etc
Problem is lack of fruit, although many flowers, but they just drop.
Last year we had about 6 or 7 healthy fruit, the year before 1 or 2.
This year, there is only 1 forming.
I have been hand pollinating for the last 2 weeks or so (after watching numerous Youtube videos on the subject), but no fruit forming.
The tree gets a fair bit of scale (which then attracts the ants), which I get rid of by spraying with insecticide 2 or 3 times a year
Although we have many surrounding plants & flowers, we never see any bees in our garden.
Can you give me any tips, suggestions as to what may be going wrong and how to increase the fruit yield?
Thanks,
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bzh
Hamilton South
19th December 2017 1:40pm
#UserID: 17552
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Waterfall says...
It sounds like you are doing everything possible, can you post a photo of the tree? Has it been pruned such that the branches are mostly horizontal? this will promote fruit over vertical growth. I have even tied some of mine down to get the shape I want. We have 10 or so small fruit on it at the moment. Last year it set 4 on its own but this year I have been hand pollinating it along with our cherimoya and rollinia.
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Waterfall
WATERFALL,2233,NSW
20th December 2017 10:14am
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Original Post was last edited: 20th December 2017 10:17am
Fruitylicious1 says...
Hi BZH,
So far you have done the basic requirements for increasing you PF yield. Now let us examine other areas that you can ameliorate to increase fruit set and ultimately custard apple harvest.
For custard apple to have a good fruit set it needs a relative humidity of between 70-80%. If you fall below this optimum average humidity during flowering and fruit set you will have less harvest. The best way to correct this deficiency is by using mist sprinkling irrigation as opposed to drip watering as it keeps to lower down the temperature and to increase in the relative humidity around your PF which can encourage flowering and most importantly 'fruit set'.
Another area to consider is the average optimum temperature during flowering and fruit set which is between Oct-Feb is between 25C-28C. If the temperature goes higher than 28C during fruit set more growth will occur and drying of flowers also increases hence less harvest. Again, the answer is to this is activate your mist irrigation system to cool down the temp and increase the relative humidity.
Some commercial growers are using
(Napthyl Acetic Acid - NAA). It is used to:
1. induce flowering, to prevent shedding of buds, flowers and unripe fruits.
2. enlarge fruit size.
3. increase the yield and to improve the quality of fruits.

The decision is yours whether you want to explore some chemicals that is used to assist fruit set and prevent fruit shedding thus improving harvest.
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Fruitylicious1
TAMWORTH,2340,NSW
21st December 2017 10:51am
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Original Post was last edited: 21st December 2017 11:40am
bzh says...
Thanks for this info. Will consider further. If I start misting on hot days, how long would I need to run it for each day? (we can have a string of summer days where the temp is above 28 degrees with hot, dry westerly wind from about 10 am until 6pm). Where do I get NAA and what is approx. price?
Actually since I posted we have had a couple of days/nights of humid/showery weather and I've suddenly discovered 8- 10 fruits forming. (Before that we'd had weeks & weeks of mainly hot & dry weather). I can see about half of the new fruit is from the hand-pollinating I did (broke off the end of one of the petals after pollinating). Now, most of the flowers have stopped and they are few and far between on the tree. However, new growth is starting to appear from the end of branches I pruned about 3 weeks ago and it looks like new small flowers forming on each of these new shoots also. Is this how it works - do I get a second "e;flush"e; of flowers & potential fruit after the late spring/early summer pruning?
If I do everything "e;correctly"e; and we have good conducive weather conditions along the lines you describe, should I still have to hand pollinate, or could I expect a good crop from self-pollination alone?
Once again, thanks for your help....
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bzh
Hamilton South
22nd December 2017 9:38pm
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bzh says...
Thanks, Waterfall - please see my update under "e;Fruitylicious"e; below - seems like I'm starting to have a bit of success. Good idea about training branches to spread rather than go up.
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bzh
Hamilton South
22nd December 2017 9:41pm
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David says...
Hi bzh,
If your Paxton Prolific is only 3-4 year old I would not expect it to have a good yield until it reaches to its maturity age. If last year you had 6-7 but this year only 1 then it done nothing wrong. The same outcome for most young fruit trees, on and off. Be patient
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David01
Melbourne
23rd December 2017 4:14pm
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Original Post was last edited: 23rd December 2017 10:38pm
AC1 says...
Ive had mine fruit two years in a row now with this year having 4 fruits good size but there is a major problem they taste like mash potatoes not sweet at all you may want look thru this forum or google about bland taste of this variety save all your good efforts for another variety.Ive noticed a big seller of custard apples ? does not sell this variety anymore.That may be a clue .Good luck
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AC1
HILTON,5033,SA
24th December 2017 7:09pm
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Markmelb says...
I totally agree with you AC1 - My Paxton fruit this year wasn't nice at all - so next year it will be converted to a couple cherimoyas - i had a 365g fruit on a Pinks Mammoth that was pretty darned good for a cv ive been told / read would be impossible to fruit in Melbourne - it had 5 smaller almost as good too - pic is of the Pinks.
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Markmelb
MOUNT WAVERLEY,3149,VIC
25th December 2017 7:54pm
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David says...
Hi Ac1
Custard Apple needs full sun and heat to produce high sugar. The same principle for other tropical/subtropical fruit trees. Apply potassium K when fruit formed will help but picking the sweet spot in our cooler weather is more important to have a good taste
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David01
Melbourne
26th December 2017 1:29am
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Original Post was last edited: 26th December 2017 7:33am
David says...
Hi MarkMelb,
It is a bit disappointed after waiting 4 long years. Have you considered the way to improve the fruit quality instead to convert it to Cherimoya? As I understand the African pride requires less heat than Paxton and Pinks is sat in the middle of the heat spectrum (Cherimoya at the other end). I was wondering your Paxton grows in the pot or ground?
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David01
Melbourne
26th December 2017 8:19pm
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Original Post was last edited: 28th December 2017 10:01am
Markmelb says...
David - Paxton & Pinks are in pots both about 4 & 5yo respectively - have 3 Cherimoyas in ground and 3 Tropic Suns I saved when Daleys rubbish Cherimoya rootstock started dying on me - so I grafted onto my cold hardy local cherimoya seedlings - its still a soft slow grower of similar hardiness to Forbidden Fruits Cherimoya which we fell is more Aytemoya than Cherimoya but does have lovely big leaves - would like to taste it eventually as my Camper Cherimoya is very good and sherbet like similar to a good red Sugar Apple.
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Markmelb
MOUNT WAVERLEY,3149,VIC
27th December 2017 10:12am
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Waterfall says...
The first fruit we got on our Paxton was almost 500g and had set early in the spring, the flavor was as good as any I had bought in the stores here in Sydney.

The second two fruit had set later in the season therefore ripening in the cooler months and did not get quiet as large, the flavor was much less sweet.
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Waterfall
,,NT
27th December 2017 2:46pm
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Original Post was last edited: 27th December 2017 2:47pm
David says...
Mark. If it grows in the pot then you can easily move it around to the sunny position from Sept to April and cover the fruits with black plastic bag (about 2l) to increase the heat. Also, if you can delay the fruits to be harvested in Jan-March then it should be ripe properly. Let try for a year to see whether it is improved.
All my Cherimoyas grow in ground as they don’t need extra heat, but my Paxtons and African prides are in pots and staying inside the large poly house and I found the Paxtons demand more heat than African prides.
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David01
Melbourne
28th December 2017 1:19pm
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Original Post was last edited: 28th December 2017 1:41pm
David says...
Waterfall,
Yes, it’s common to all tropical fruit trees. My Dragon fruits first season about 100-300 fruits harvest between Jan-March are very large and sweet, the second season have 50 fruits after May or June but no one want to touch.
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David01
Melbourne
28th December 2017 1:20pm
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Original Post was last edited: 28th December 2017 1:24pm
David says...
Hi MarkMelb.
I found one interesting article below from the Keith-Judy Paxton discuss about their Paxtron Prolific . I think you can delay/control the fruit timing up to 1-2 months by removing the first flowers and some leaves. If the fruit is harvested around Feb-March then it should have higher sugar than if it is harvested in Dec-Jan.
“Keith If you wanting more flowers, you can break off some leaves on your laterals where you want some fruit and you’ll get a shoot there with flowers. A friend of ours has only just stopped pollinating. It depends how many fruit you want – in January, if you’re wanting more flowers, then break off some leaves.”

http://stfc.org.au/visiting-keith-judy-paxton-may-2007-custard-apple-growers
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David01
Melbourne
31st January 2018 9:26am
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Original Post was last edited: 31st January 2018 4:55pm

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