Coral tree question

Coral tree question

I live in Malibu and we have a beautiful huge Coral tree.  My husband is worried about it in the drought but I understand it is drought resistant – should we worry and water it once a week or just sit tight?

Also I planted mature trees about four months ago.  The fig trees are doing great – the avocados not as good, but three look like they are in a death spiral – apple, persimmons and peach.  How can I tell they are dead or should be removed – none have leaves but branches do not break off.

Thanks Andy!  Susan

Thanks for the email.
Heres my best answer.

To answer your question re the Coral Tree

Yes they are drought resistant under normal conditions. That would be that usually during a drought the trees and those with especially deep roots tap into the underground water that lies deep below the surface. This is under normal conditions but todays conditions are any thing but normal since us humans are pumping out ground water with very little coming in to replace it. The result is that any ground water left is very very deep and very very hard to get at by anything.


If you have not been deep watering this tree and have so far relied on what watering at top soil level it has been getting say from your nearby lawn or other plants that you are watering, then you are setting yourself up for a condition known as hard pan.

I have discussed this before and what you should do about it.
I am sure if you went online to the website that you should be able to pull up the article. However if you cannot then here is where my article is located at

Basically what happens is that here in Malibu and most of Southern California, we have clay soil and what happens when you water clay then bake it? You get the picture. If the soil gets hot enough then it will become hard and will not let water down from above into the roots nor will it let air nor any nutrients and the tree will die.

What I see happening here and with almost everyone everywhere is that folks are watering almost daily and for only a short period of time like 10 minutes. While it is great for those surface roots at top near the soil surface, it does nothing to get water down deep enough to at least stop the soil from baking and prevent hard pan while providing enough moisture to keep the trees deeper roots system alive during this period.

Coral trees have very deep roots and usually they tap into “underground rivers”. Malibu has many of these underground rivers and it fortunate enough to have lots of underground water however with the ocean’s raising sea levels, along with the underground water levels falling thru our use, the sea water is intruding more and more into this water supply making it eventually unusable by any tree. So it depends on how far in you live and if your water level is still high enough as for how long it will be before salt water gets to it.

I would start deep watering it with a drip system. Provide 1 hour at least at 2 gallon per hour drip, once a week. Place at least 5 to 10 drip heads per tree.

Your Fruit trees need help I would say.

Andy Lopez
Invisible Gardener
Any questions? Email me

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Much Ado About Whiteflies -How to Control Whiteflies Organically

Much Ado About Whiteflies

Seems quite a few of my readers want more information on how to control the whiteflies in Malibu. Many  of you have written to me and have told me how they agree with me on the water issue but how do you deal with the fog? All that water in the air is whiteflies best weather followed by glorious sun and not too hot.

For starters if you really have everything on a drip and have reduced or eliminated any  over head watering then your whiteflies will not be a problem in keeping under control. Then you can farther reduce their population by using any type of natural oil that when mixed with water and a dash of natural soap , can be sprayed and the oil would kill the eggs which usually over winter but lately with warmer winters, the whiteflies have been growing in population all year long.

So what you do is this, in December you give a pruning to the plants in question that have the whiteflies and then spray it both sides of the leaves with a oil/soap mixture. Use 1 oz sesamin oil or coconut oil into 1 gallon water, add a tablespoon of any natural soap (I use Dr Bronners soap), shake and spray the leaves both sides. Best to spray as late as possible or even at night.

You will want to spray once a month so spray in December, Spray again in January  and then again in February, March if its a cold winter.

Also during fog.

Make sure that you are feeding your plants with a rock dust mixture 4 times per year to start then once a year afterwards.

A good Rock Dust Mixture is as follows:

1 Part Azomite

1 Part Soft Rock Phosphate

1 Part Agriwin Rock Dust

1 Part Glacial Rock Dust

I would buy Microbes from wherever you can find a good one, I use the internet to order things I have found to be good.  I use Superseaweed, Nitron, Agri-Gro, Arbico, Agri-win, Peaceful Valley Farm Supplies, Down to Earth,  to name a few sources of microbes and minerals.

You want to blend as many sources of rock dust from around the world and then use a small amount of it around the plants mixed into the soil. The use of tree vents provides a place for the microbes to make it their center and branch out from there into the tree and plant roots providing them with the needed minerals. You can see for yourself what Brix level a plant has when it is being attacked by the whiteflies and then after treating it, try the Brix reading again and you will see the difference. Chemical fertilizers alone do not have all the neccessary trace minerals and therefore the application of rock dust along with the microbes provide for a stronger healthier pest resistant plant.

Chemical fertilizers are usually of the high nitrogen type and cause rapid growth looking very green but they are very week and will be attacked by any pest that loves low carbohydrates (wait thats all of them) and yes rapid growth from high nitrogen will always produce plants will lower Brix levels and high pest problems because they will also have low level of carbohydrates.

Here is the formula again

High Brix = High Sugar = High Mineral = High Carbohydrates

The wider the range of minerals the better. So having High Brix you may still be deficient in a certain mineral.


Here is the link to the radio show of this article

Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

Any questions? Email me

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Attention all Health and Organic Gardening Enthusiasts

invisible gardeners dont panic its organic
Attention all Health and Organic Gardening Enthusiasts

The Invisible Gardener has put together a great package deal for his Organic Gardening Ebooks, Radio show and  Membership!
Each ebook normally cost $2.99 with some ebooks even more, Radio show and membership is from $20 to $55.

Now you can get it all for $20!

You Heard it Right…


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Listen to Invisible Gardener Radio

Listen to Invisible Gardener Radio.   Let The Invisible Gardener help you too!

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10 ways to protect your trees from the drought

10 ways to protect your trees from the drought

listen to my radio show

Invisible Gardener Radio 

i planted this tree like 20 years ago

Many folks have asked me to go over this for them:

1. Keep water below ground. Use a drip system and bury it at least 1 foot below ground.

2. Use Tree vents to get water even deeper and to provide nutrients and needed microbes to tree root systems. I use clay drain pipes, 4 inches wide by 2 feet long. These are buried four around the tree evenly spaced in between trunk and root line , around a circle apprx at 12 3 6 and 9 o clock. These get a grate that covers it, but you can place a rock or something else. Run the drip line so that you can place 2 gallon per hour drip head to the grate. This will allow the water to drip down thru the tree vents and water deep. Inside the tree vents you place a mixture of rock dust, compost and organic fertilizer for trees. The mixture will dissolve slowly into the surrounding area and the trees root systems will absorb.

3. Use rock around the trees from trunk out past drip line. Apply 2 times per year, spring and fall.

4. Use compost two times per year and or as needed.

5. Mulch the area to cover 1 or 2 inches. The less soil is exposed the better. I use azalea mix because it is acid mix and great for any soil that is basically clay.

6. Water less frequently but water longer. Better to water 1/2 hour per week then 5 min per day. You want roots going deeper looking for water.

7. Only apply organic fertilizers. Avoid using high nitrogen chemical fertilizers. They will only stress out the trees more and destroyed the natural balance of the soil.

8. Learn to use foliar spraying as a way to fertilize your trees. Compost tea makes an excellent foliar spray as does coffee.

9. Learn to catch what ever rain you get. Use small metal garbage cans, place a drain at bottom with a valve so that you an slowly let it flow into your tree vents over a long period if time. This could make the difference if your trees live or die. One garbage can can old 30 gallons of water which can help a tree for  whole month if used right.

10. You should ask the city what rules and regulations it has about building cisterns to catch the rain. This recent rain, tho small amount, would still fill enough to last a home a month. One should learn how to use the home as a way to catch more rain and well as any other structures you may have. These can channels rain. Solar panels are good for this too as rain will roll off them into rain gutters. Each home should have at least 4 rain barrels if not more catching any rain. Each garden raised bed should have its own rain barrel which will be used to water that bed. A barrel can water a raised bed for a month if done right. You should also ask the city what rules and regulations it has about using grey water to water trees, lawns, flower beds as this is a great source of additional water that we are not using.


 Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

Any questions? Email me response next article


please note

both this article and the radio show are available for 99 cents on my store

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Rabbits and WhiteFlys

Here are two questions many of you are asking me. I have answered these before but I will go over again.


Rabbits eating  (fill in blank) but I don’t want to hurt them.  Remember many of you have said that you trap them and then drive to a bit and let them out in the country. Well, this does hurt them (they usually die). We need to think about the fact that we live in the country and that there are more rabbits then humans and especially now during times of drought, rabbits will seek us out for food and water. Rabbits in turn are food themselves for many of our local country citizens so poisoning them is not good either. I therefor would either make a screened in area for the garden, or row cover or even grow inside a green house. If you insist on growing outdoors at least make raised beds which then can be covered. If you still want to grow in the ground then here is a simple trick. Use coffee beans placed all around the garden. That will keep them off the garden for a few days to a week or so. The coffee beans are good for the soil too.


If you see whiteflys wearing sunglasses and shorts then you are watering too much!

Whiteflys need water in order to survive. Keep the water below ground, allow the area to dry in between watering, apply rock dust, compost and azalea mix as a mulch several times per year and fertilize with a good organic fertilizer to keep all your plants with high Brix and you will not have a whitefly problem. Whiteflys will come from all around you but will not be able to establish themselves on your property. You should be doing foliar sprayings every week if possible if you have had whiteflys in past. I would be using a mixture of cold brew coffee, milk and granny smiths molasses. This mixture will not only keep the plants Brix up but also the coffee will kill whiteflys on contact. If you all ready have whiteflys you should be spraying with garlic barrier to kill the whiteflys, mixed in with the coffee, milk and  molasses mix.

Cold Brew Coffee is another one of those magical elixirs that you can make at home that will make your plants healthier while at the same time, it will kill many pests on contact. This mixture should not be sprayed on beneficials.

How to make cold brew coffee.

In a 5 gallon bucket add enough clean filtered water to fill to 4 inches from the top. Buy 1 lb of organic coffee beans. Pour into this liquid. If you have superseaweed, add 1 oz as starter, if you don’t here is how you can make your own starter.

In a gallon clean water , add 1 cup organic brown rice. Place this liquid in a cool dark place like under a tree for a few days till you can smell it. Pour the liquid out. This is what you use. You can make more of this liquid by repeating the process.  I would add 1 cup of this liquid to the cold new coffee liquid as a starter. Allow to sit for a few days , stirring every day a few times. Then pour through a screen . You can either use straight to kill pests or add to water at 1 cup per gallon water sprayed on plants.


 Andy Lopez

Invisible Gardener

Any questions? Email me response next article

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What is going on?, created by Invisible Gardener

What is going on?, created by Invisible Gardener 

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