Growing Avocado Plants

Posted March 21st, 2012 by Louie's Nursery

mediumAvocado species are divided into two flower types: Type A and Type B. Each flower type has both male and female characteristics. The difference being that the A type is female flowering in the morning and male flowering in the afternoon of the following day. The B type is female in the afternoon and male the following morning. This flowering pattern holds true under consistence temperatures of 70 – 75 degrees F. in areas where avocados are native, specifically Central America. Under southern California conditions, where there is a greater temperature variance during the blooming season, both male and female flowers are present whenever the tree is in bloom. Thus pollination is not as greatly affected by the A&B type schedules. Although some may argue that avocado trees will produce more heavily with a pollinator, but this is more of a concern for orchard use, where maximum yield per tree is a great concern. For backyard use, one avocado tree will produce just fine.

Planting

Location: 
Avocado trees should be planted in a location with full sun exposure, or as much sun as possible. Young trees especially need protection from elements such as strong winds, or temperatures below freezing.

Site: 
Plant your avocado in a hole that is at least twice the size of the established root ball. Do not set plants any deeper than original soil level in the container. Backfill soil should be amended with a well-composted redwood, or good quality garden compost – no manure. Work in at least 1/3 compost, with 2/3 of your native soil. Above all, your avocado tree requires good draining soil; with heavier soils, add about 1/3 sand to the mixture.

Care

Watering: 
Immediately after planting, your tree should be irrigated. Irrigate several times during the first 72 hours to insure that the soil becomes saturated. Following irrigations should be deep and thorough, allowing time for the soil to go slightly dry in between.

Feeding: 
Feedings should be done lightly and frequently, approximately every 60 days during the growing season – February through September. Feed with a good commercial brand of citrus and avocado food, available at most retail nurseries. It is also a good idea to leave a ground mulch of old avocado leaves or a well-composted redwood bark, as this provides nutrients to the surface roots of the tree.

Pruning:
Avocados mostly hold a good form on their own. However, if pruning is desired, it should be done in the late spring or early summer.

Sunburn: 
Young avocado trees are especially susceptible to sunburn, and their trunks should be whitewashed with a commercial whitewash or a water-based paint.

Fruit Set: 
Although many avocado trees will have small fruit set on them direct from the nursery, it should be expected that fruit production will begin again in one to three years after planting. For the benefit of the young tree, all fruit should be removed from the tree during the first year in the ground. This will allow the tree to produce a more stable root system, and a larger canopy, capable of holding more fruit in the future.

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