I Think this is the Most Fertile Soil in Jamaica

Hey Folks, I’m having major Success using this Soil type to grow Apple Trees here in Jamaica. My source is the Rio Cobre River.

:thinking:Hypothesis: I thinks it’s a mixture of sand and clay (but mostly sand).

:point_down:Check out my video below which shows the progress from seedling to sapling to young tree for transplanting.
The Most Fertile Soil in Jamaica? (Rio Cobre Golden Soil)


By definition that is soil, but it is soil in the same way a hotdog on a bun :hotdog: is a sandwich :sandwich:. :grin:

I would mix in some compost and top it with a layer of mulch to retain some moisture and need less frequent watering. But it looks like it is already working great so it probably already has enough organic matter in it for the purpose of propagating.

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looks like the silty soil deposited on the flood plains of rivers here in the spring.

Silt? Looks like almost pure sand to me. Water moves sand and separates it from other textures, whence, sand beaches.

I grow the highest quality fruit in sandy soil. As long as you can provide water through droughts and adequate nutrients it is a fine medium for growing fruit. In climates with rain during the growing season, sand provides you with a level of control lost in richer, finer soils, most importantly, the amount of available water, which has a high affect on brix. Less is often more.


our river silt here is maybe a little finer than that but looks similar but not sand. its pulverized blue/ gray slate so holds more water than sand. it also has more minerals than sand so it adds micros to the other soil you mix it with.

One man’s “pure gold” soil is another man’s sand box filler! But I hope there are enough nutrients/organic matter to feed trees and hold some water.

I also hope you’re going to graft some or all of those seedlings so we can get a better feel for how standard apples can do in Jamaica- I’d have thought not well but don’t know.

I love Jamaica very much, so I hope you do well. I know Dorset Apples were supposedly created in the Bahamas, but Jamaica is quite a bit south of that. I guess you may have to artificially create dormancy by stripping leaves in “winter” and so on. Anyway, looks like a fun project and I wish you the best. Maybe you’ll invite me down to have a look one day- I only recently found out that Southwest now goes there so its more affordable than ever!

Good luck. Nice to see you growing something besides what Jamaica is famous for growing! 4:20!

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Applenut has disappeared from our forum for a while but he used to post pictures of his charitable project in equatorial Africa somewhere. He was helping small farmers grow apples there and developing methods to make them productive in that climate, including stripping the leaves to induce a kind of dormancy. They were using Northern Spy for their rootstocks because it is vigorous and capable of rooting from scionwood. Mature trees develop root primordia on their bark as does Red Delicious, Gala and several other varieties. Apparently this indicates that shoots (cuttings) can be easily induced into rooting.

They were having some success in producing apples there in his last report.

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Congratulations on your Apple tree success. Please keep us updated! Highly recommend trying pears as well. Pears do fantastic in my area.

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Hmm. That looks super sandy. I’m interested to see how this goes. I knew someone who was trying to grow lower chill stuff like lychee or Jaboticaba at higher elevation up in Manchester Parish. But those are still better suited than Apples. I also wonder how the humidity will affect them. Even in the US Southeast, the rot and fungal diseases will wreck most apples.

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Thanks for the kind words :slight_smile: .The Aim is to popularize the growing of apples in Jamaica.
I’m currently awaiting the delivery of Pink lady, Gala , Winter Banana & Williams Pride Scion wood :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers: :pray:.


The old school geologist test for sand vs silt is to put a bit in your mouth and rub it on your front teeth against your tongue to feel the particle size. Obviously do not swallow the dirt.

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As soil drainage increases (sandy or high loam soils), you need one of two things for productive fruit trees

  1. higher vigor rootstock (full size rootstock, non-dwarfing)
  2. more frequent irrigation

This is why dwarfing rootstocks still do so well on harder denser clay soil, even with infrequent irrigation.

That takes all of the fun out of it!


If you can make a reasonable assessment from mouth feel, you should be able to do the same with hand feel or even shovel feel. don’t think your geologist was old school, I think he was crazy. :wink: I thought old school is tasting the soil to determine pH.

Most gardeners and probably even farmers cannot determine soil texture by any feel because they don’t have enough experience in a wide range of soils, no matter how skilled or knowledgeable they are. Around here, my customers most often mistake their silt soils for clay, even sandy-silts. I had one customer who thought he had top soil because it was delivered to him for free from the top of a mountain- it was potting soil- that is blue clay you could make pots out of. Tough place to establish an orchard.

SHE was definitely a bit out there, but you’re not off base.