Growing avocados in Southern California
Sep 01, · To start from seed, you’ll need to hold the seed suspended in water. The popular “toothpick” method is the easiest way- you just put a bunch of toothpicks in a cup of water with an avocado seed to hold it up. This will germinate the seed and about 6 weeks later, it sprouts. This video depicts how it’s done:Author: Steven Pham. How to Grow Avocado Tree: How to Plant Avocado Tree After choosing a spot to plant your tree, create a mound that is high enough to cover the pot. Make sure there is a space in the middle of the mound where you can place your tree. Take the tree out of the nursery pot and place it in the hole in the center of the mound you built.
As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados.
Everything you need to know about how to grow an avocado tree. Want your own avocado tree or houseplant? There are a few ways to do it. You can start with an avocado seed. Wash it. Use three toothpicks to suspend it broad end down over a water-filled glass to cover about an inch of the seed. Put the glass in a warm place out of direct sunlight and replenish water as needed. You should see the roots and stem start to sprout in about two to six weeks. When the stem is 6 to 7 inches long, cut it back to about 3 inches.
Water it frequently, with an occasional deep soak. The soil should be moist but not saturated. If the plant turns yellow, you may be over-watering; let it dry out for a few days.
If the leaves turn brown and fry at the tips, too much salt has accumulated in the soil. Let water run freely into the pot, and drain it for several minutes. When the stem is 12 inches high, cut it back to 6 inches to encourage the growth of new shoots. Remember that avocado trees do best at moderately warm temperatures 60 F to 85 F with moderate humidity. They can tolerate temperatures, once established, of around 28 F to 32 F with minimal damage.
Avoid freezing temperatures. Plant your tree in March through June. Plant it in a non-lawn area and away from sidewalks and, if you can, plant it in a spot protected from wind and frost. Remember, full sun is best. Dig a hole as deep as the current root ball and just as wide as the width plus a little extra so you can get your hands into the hole to plant it. The avocado is a shallow-rooted tree with most of its feeder roots in the top 6 inches of soil, so give it good aeration.
Its root system is very sensitive, and great care should be taken not to disturb it when transplanting. If the tree is root-bound, however, loosen up the soil around the how much fps to kill a squirrel and clip the roots that are going in circles. If you have a heavy clay soil, elevate the tree in a mound for better drainage.
Make the mound 1 to 2 feet high and 3 to 5 feet around. The sooner the roots get into the bulk soil, the better the tree will do. Trees typically need to be watered two to three times a week. As the roots reach out into the bulk soil, more water can be applied and the frequency of watering can diminish to about once a week after a year. When watering the tree, how to be a debt collector the soil well, and then allow it to dry out somewhat before watering again.
The rule of thumb for mature trees is about 20 gallons of water a day during the irrigation season. Seedlings will require quite a bit less water, of course.
Check the soil before watering each time to make sure it has dried somewhat. If the soil from around the roots can hold the impression of a hand when squeezed, how to connect your wii console to your netflix account has enough water. Mulch with coarse yard mulch. Redwood bark or cocoa bean husks and shredded tree bark will work. Choose something that is woody and about 2 inches in diameter.
Coarse yard mulch is available at some garden-supply centers and through tree-trimming operations. Use online search engines to find a local tree service. Put 20 pounds of gypsum spread around the tree base, and mulch the area with 6 inches of mulch, keeping the material about 6 to 8 inches away from the tree trunk.
The other important nutrient for avocado trees is zinc. Ordinary home fertilizer for houseplants will normally work. Be patient about seeing fruit. If you have purchased and planted a tree, you can probably expect to see your first fruit three to four years after planting. If you are growing from a seed, it can take anywhere from five to 13 years before the tree is mature enough to set fruit. When the tree does flower, expect a lot of flowers to fall without setting fruit. This is natural.
A-type flowers open female in the morning and male in the afternoon, B-type are male in the morning and female what is equal opportunities policy the afternoon. Optimum fruit set occurs at temperatures between about 65 — 75 F. Cooler or warmer temperatures are less ideal. Under some conditions, you may get a fruit from a flower that did not pollinate properly.
This is called fruit drop. An avocado tree typically produces about one million flowers, but only pieces of fruit per tree. In other words, 1 fruit in 10, will set and mature.
Sometimes the tree will set fruit but drop them when they are pea to walnut size. This is typical. Research suggests that fruit retention is also better when there are other avocado varieties present to provide cross-pollination, and that these crossed fruit have a higher tendency to stay on the tree.
There is also some indication that over-fertilizing with Nitrogen during the early fruit stages can also somewhat influence fruit drop. They mature on the tree. Once you pick an avocado, it can take from days for it to soften when left at room temperature. You can speed the process up slightly by placing the avocado in a bag with some other ripe fruit like an apple or banana or slow the process down by keeping the fruit in the refrigerator.
More on how to ripen avocados. Pick a couple of avocados and try to ripen them. If they what to do in nyc in september up or seem rubbery instead of soft, they are not mature yet. Keep picking fruit every few weeks.
Note on the calendar when they soften instead of turning rubbery. Also, note the taste of the fruit.
Some varieties can also reach a point where they have too much oil and some will turn rancid although many types fall from the tree before reaching that point. These dates depend a lot on where you live and climate conditions. It is possible for an avocado tree to produce to fruit per tree once it is about years of age. The avocado tree, however, alternates bearing.
This means that the tree may produce a large crop one year, and then produce a small crop the following year. There are lots of variables that influence this. Typically, an avocado tree will continue to grow and produce fruit until something kills the tree. Avocados can be pruned any time of the year, but there tends to be less vigorous regrowth if it is done after cold weather in the winter, sometime around February. Growth is reflected in rootstock, variety, soil depth and texture, windiness, irrigation and pruning.
Reed, Bacon and Hass trees can ultimately grow to 35 feet in 30 years. Pruning can keep the trees to a manageable size, under 15 feet, but it must be done on a regular basis. Most areas of Southern California are suitable for avocados, except for the mountains and high deserts, where it gets too cold and too dry for fruit set.
Outside of Southern California, it depends on the climate. Cold is most often the problem faced in other parts of the state. Still, there are home growers with avocado trees in and around San Francisco.
There is also an area along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where avocados are being grown in Fresno and Tulare Counties.
Growing areas in Southern California include:. Not finding what you are looking for? All links open a new window:. The California Avocado Commission does not sell, produce or have avocados, seeds or trees available for purchase.
For information on where avocado trees are sold, please contact a nursery nearest you. The Commission is not responsible for the quality, safety, completeness, or accuracy or nature of the content of the linked websites. The California Avocado Commission website provides links to other websites to furnish additional information that may be useful or interesting.
They are being provided in a manner consistent with the intended purpose of the content you are viewing on our website. Links to third-party websites should not be considered an endorsement by the California Avocado Commission and we are not responsible for the products, services, content or claims made by this third-party site:.
Friend's Email Address. Your Name. Your Email Address. Planting: Young tree Remember that avocado trees do best at moderately warm temperatures 60 F to 85 F with moderate humidity.
Jul 23, · This sheet, developed by the California Avocado Commission, was designed to provide Do-It-Yourself tips on growing an avocado tree Ventura County Avocado Handbook * This helpful handbook, hosted by the University of California Cooperative Extension, provides text book-like information on growing an avocado tree including grafting, planting. Jul 23, · If you live in an area that is prone to lower temps, plant the tree on the south-face of a building or underneath overhead canopy. If your goal is fruit production, be sure to select a site in full sun with at least 6 hours per day. Remove any weeds prior to planting. The best time to plant avocados is in March through June.
Avocados are California. They are our heritage fruit. My great great grandfather grew a huge seedling avocado tree at his house near Los Angeles. I have planted avocado trees over the placentas of each of my children. This is a post about how I grow avocado trees in my yard and how you might want to.
Or not. Avocado trees can survive and produce fruit without some of the exact conditions or care that I describe below. Almost every yard in Southern California between the mountains and the ocean can grow an avocado tree. Think Sunset zones 18 through 24 find your Sunset zone here. You only have to decide which micro-climate in your yard is best for an avocado. Micro-climates with these characteristics are ideal: wind-sheltered, as sunny as possible, warm in winter.
I currently grow thirteen varieties. Someday, if my wife allows, it might get up to twenty. There are just so many worthwhile avocado varieties to grow.
Yet, a lmost every avocado found in grocery stores is a variety called Hass. Hass tastes great better from your yard than the store, by the way , is very productive, and the fruit hangs on the tree ready to be picked longer than most other varieties, for at least six months approximately January to July.
Avocado seeds grow up to be different from their parents, just like people do. Buy a grafted Hass avocado tree from a nursery if you want a tree that produces Hass fruit.
You know what a Hass avocado looks like, but here is a Reed on the left. On the right is another nice avocado variety for Southern California that is very fruitful and also ripens in the summer; it is called Lamb.
A maximum amount of fruit on an avocado tree comes when one tree is close to a tree of a different variety, especially a variety with opposite flowering behavior called A or B.
That is why, for example, I planted a Hass next to a Fuerte in my yard. However, do not think that you need to plant two different avocado trees in order to get fruit. The assertion that, in general, you need two avocado trees to get fruit is nonsense. You can get plenty of fruit from a single Hass or Reed avocado tree in your yard. Most other varieties also produce well without a different type of avocado tree nearby. Avocados can be grown in sandy or clayey soil.
A yard space of about ten feet by ten feet is the minimum for an avocado tree to be productive. Of course, they can get over forty feet tall, but pruning can keep them much smaller while maintaining fruitfulness. This is my Reed avocado tree. At about 12 feet wide and tall, it has around 75 avocados on it for next summer. You can successfully plant avocado trees at any time of year in Southern California, not just the spring, as some people recommend.
In fact, I find it easiest to plant in the late summer or fall. The weather quickly becomes mild and rainy, when you no longer have to pay the young tree so much attention as it gets settled in. That being said, it will be necessary to keep an eye out for any extremely cold weather and protect that baby tree if necessary.
Plant an avocado tree at the same level as the surrounding soil if your soil is sandy. If it is clayey, the tree would appreciate being up on a slight mound — anywhere from a few inches to a foot up is good, with a mound width of feet.
Do not plant an avocado tree in a basin, below the level of the surrounding soil, ever. That will cause water to pool around the base of the trunk, which is not where the tree wants to grow its roots, and which can lead to rotting diseases on the trunk. Dig a hole that is just a few inches wider than the container the tree is in. Be very gentle when you remove the rootball from the container as avocado roots are brittle. Check the sides and bottom of the root ball for circling roots.
If found, gently pull them loose to straighten them out. To splay the roots out you may need to widen the planting hole. Fill in the hole around the root ball with the dirt you removed when you dug it. The trunk will never strengthen if you do. It needs to be able to sway in order to strengthen. Rather, place a stake on either side of the trunk and tie it to each.
Do not place landscape fabric around the base of the tree. Landscape fabric prohibits the tree from growing roots up to the surface of the soil, as it is naturally inclined to do. But do place mulch around the base of the tree, and let whatever leaves fall lie in place. A coarse mulch of wood chips and twigs and leaves tree trimmings is ideal for avocado trees.
Put down a layer about five inches deep at first, spreading about two feet out from all sides of the trunk. Such a mulch covering the soil is loved by all avocado trees, but for those growing in loam or clay soils it may mean the difference between life and death because it allows the roots to proliferate just under the mulch where there is much air and where there are disease-suppressing enzymes and micro-organisms.
Read about a study done by the University of California on the effects of mulch on avocados here. Within two years after planting, if your tree is in tip-top shape, you should be able to scoop the mulch layer away in a spot under the tree and find many white or cream-colored roots sticking into the mulch above the actual soil.
Watering is the most important thing to get right for an avocado tree — by far. Get the watering right, and your job is almost done. If the soil is dry at planting time, this might even take up to 30 gallons. This is not a time to be stingy or hasty. Avocados can be watered with drip emitters but they often do better as they get older, especially in hotter inland locations, on sprinklers. One of my favorites is this DIG micro-sprinkler that comes with different spray and spin patterns.
I use such a micro-sprinkler in its sprayer mode on my newly planted avocado trees. Details about how to water a newly planted avocado tree can be found here , but the main take-away is that you need to water newly planted trees very often, every day or every other day for the first couple weeks in the summer. I switch to using the micro-sprinkler in its spinner mode on my avocado trees after their canopies are at least four feet wide in diameter, which is usually the case in the second or third year after planting a tree from a five-gallon container.
How much and how often to water? You must regularly scrape the mulch away and observe and feel the soil. Sorry, but there is no substitute for getting your hands dirty. The soil at the surface should never be allowed to become totally dry. At the same time, if the soil at the top is wet still feels like it does a few hours after watering , then it should not be watered again yet. This goes for new and old trees alike.
Give all trees enough water each time such that the soil is wet as deep as the tree has roots. This varies from yard to yard, and even within yards, but for reference I have never found roots under my avocado trees deeper than 2 feet. Table showing how much in gallons per month and how often in days to water avocado trees in California. This comes from the build up of chloride that has entered the tree through irrigation water. The main solution is to water with more volume each time you water so that some of the chloride is leached below the level of the roots in the soil.
Are avocados worth all of the water required, by the way? I answer a resounding, Yes! Keep a layer at least two inches thick of wood chips under the tree at all times. I have friends who apply fertilizers to their avocado trees in place of or in addition to mulch, and some of their trees look great and are very productive. Just mulch works for this Hass tree. There are only a few good reasons to prune an avocado tree.
You might want to keep an avocado tree down to a particular size as well. Avocado bark sunburns easily. Paint any bark that is exposed, especially during summer. Kill gophers in the area or they will kill a new avocado tree and harm an older avocado tree. Gophers killed one of my young trees last year and have attacked almost all of my other avocado trees at one time or another. No matter which, you need to hunt them after sunset.
Light winter frosts might do damage to a few leaves or twigs and summer heat waves may scorch a few leaves, but if an avocado tree is in prime health it can come through most extremes in Southern California weather with zero practical harm, extreme events like the July 6, record heat notwithstanding. Also, be aware that avocado trees going through their first winter are much more susceptible to cold damage than older trees.
Consider being prepared to protect your baby avocado tree from unusual cold. Use a reference chart to get an idea of when a particular variety might be ready to harvest. Also, get to know how an avocado tree makes its fruit: it grows flowers in the winter and spring, and then some of those flowers become fruit; some avocado varieties such as Fuerte grow their fruit rapidly and the fruit is ready to pick that winter, but others such as Holiday mature their fruit slowly and are not ready to be picked until the second summer.
And when will you begin to eat avocados from a tree you plant today? Probably three to four years. Figured it might be helpful to see these things in action, so to speak.
Please let me know if it would be helpful to see anything else on a video like this. Would you like some deeper reading about growing avocados in California? Also, be sure to check out the website Avocadosource.