Jul

31

 On a recent trip to the Allerton Botanical Garden in Kauai the guide noted that the mango trees have recently gone through 3 seasonal cycles in one year when only one is normal. He had no idea why. Our mango tree did the same. The explanation here was the big unseasonable rainstorm that knocked off the flowers at the beginning of the season. Now we have ripe fruit, unripe fruit and flowers on the same tree. Chair often compares trees to markets. I wonder if unseasonable shocks (EU, Fed,) might have thrown off the seasonal tendencies in the markets, shortening cycles, or forcing cycles. The changing cycles are the hardest to understand.

Bill Rafter writes: 

That is not unique to mangoes.

Take grape vines for example. Generally the only fertilizer you should use on grapevines is a shovel-full of manure in the spring. My wife thinks we should have flowers in between the grapevines and occasionally will hit the vines with some spray fertilizer she is using on those flowers after midsummer. Relatively soon thereafter the vines put out some new flowers (although most people would not recognize them as such), which will bear fruit (grapes are mostly self-fertile). But the fruit won't have time to develop fully and is a waste.

Fig trees typically produce two crops each year. The early crop (called breva) has generally unworthy qualities, whereas the late crop is to die for. But if you wanted, you could fertilize the tree weekly and have figs all summer long. People with summer vacation homes tend to do that as they know they will not be around after Labor Day, when most of the big crop would come in. You could even fertilize yourself to a second crop of determinate tomatoes, which are "programmed" to bear one crop all at once.

I don't know how good that is for the respective plant because I don't do it. And the lessons for the market seem to relate to Quantitative Easing. Perennial plants (particularly fruit trees) need a dormancy period. If they don't get it, they produce poorly until they do. I believe the same is true with markets: you cannot preempt or "outlaw" the business cycle and expect the economy to respond favorably all the time.


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