If you like growing your own breakfast then you can have the best, tastiest, trendiest green fruit in your backyard: Avocado Tree.
Native to the Southern tip of the United States or further South, you can grow this plant outdoors in your garden.
The Avacado tree is a tall, evergreen fruit tree famous for its creamy fruits with a lot of health benefits.
Moreover, the tree has thick, bright green foliage that is also popular for its ornamental value.
However, it is important to keep in mind that all parts of the tree are toxic to a wide range of animals, including its fruit.
Though it can take a lot of patience to grow an avocado tree from seed, i.e. 13 years before it begins producing seed, you will have everything once you begin neck time to cut open an avocado.
How? Keep on reading.
Quicks Facts about Avacado Tree
Some quick facts about the Avocado tree are:
|Common Name||Avocado Tree|
|Botanical Name||Persea americana|
|Plant Type||Tree, Fruit|
|Mature Size||60 ft. tall, 30 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full, Partial|
|Soil Type||Loamy, Sandy, Well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, Neutral|
|Bloom Time||Late Winter, Spring, and Early Summer|
|Flower Color||Yellow, Green|
|Hardiness Zones||9-11, USA|
|Native Area||North America, Central America, Asia|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets|
Planting Avocado Tree
Experts recommend that you should plant the avocado tree outdoors in spring.
This will allow the tree enough time to establish itself before cooler, winter temperatures arrive.
Moreover, it is particularly important in the northern areas of the hardiness zones of the avocado tree.
Make sure to choose a planting site that provides enough room for these tall trees to grow and plant them at least 10 feet away from structures.
Allows for at least 30 feet between each avocado tree, if you intend to plant more than one.
Furthermore, it is important to note that the root system of this plant is especially sensitive, so try not to unnecessarily disturb the roots during planting them.
You will need to dig a hole wider than the root structure and the depth of the hole should match the height of the root ball.
This is because planting the tree too deep or too shallow in the soil can cause problems.
Another important thing to note is that this tree is also vulnerable to high winds, so young, soft, and immature trees may benefit from support.
Choose a planting site that offers wind protection and will help keep your tree upright and heath.
Make sure that your tree receives enough sunlight and has well-draining soil.
However, if the soil conditions are less ideal, you can amend the soil with sand or another well-draining substrate before planting the tree.
This plant can also grow in containers, though it will eventually stunt its growth.
Learn more about Soil Amendments: Improving the Garden Soil here.
Avocado Tree: Plant Care
To care for your plant, keep in mind the following:
Light: Just like most tropical plants, the avocado tree loves to thrive in a lot of sunlight.
Plant this tree in a site where it receives at least 8 hours of sunlight every day, however, the tree can also tolerate partial shade.
It grows best and produces more fruits when you keep it in full sun.
Soil: The avocado tree tends to thrive best in rich, loamy, and well-draining soil.
It is important to note that the soil in your garden should be aerated and not hold excess water.
This is because it can lead to root rot. A soil pH of acidic to neutral, between 5 to 7 is ideal for its growth.
Moreover, the tree is sensitive to alkaline soil, so make sure to test your soil before planting them.
When you add a layer of mulch around the tree, it will help the soil to retain the right amount of moisture and will provide protection to the shallow root system of the tree.
Make sure to keep the mulch about 6 inches away from the base of the truck.
This will help avoid suffocating the root or causing collar rot.
Water: Your tree will benefit from infrequent, deep watering as this will encourage deeper, stronger root growth.
You will, however, need to wait until the soil begins to dry out, then water deeply.
During summer, when the temperature tends to be hot and conditions may be dry, the tree will need more frequent watering.
While the young tree will also need more frequent watering as it establishes.
Mature trees should receive about 2 inches of water per week.
Other plant care tips to consider are:
Temperature and Humidity: Your tree will only grow outdoors in hardy ones 9 to 11. that limits them to tropical and subtropical climates.
Unless you decide to grow them indoors, you cannot grow them outdoors other than these zones.
These trees are frost sensitive and grow best in temperatures between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilizer: During the growing months, fertilize your avocado tree which will help encourage healthy growth and fruit production.
Moreover, start in late winter to early spring and feed them until the fall, depending on the instructions on the fertilizer label.
It is important to note that nitrogen is important for your plant, therefore, make sure to choose a fertilizer that is high in the amount of nitrogen.
You can also find fertilizers, especially for avocados or citrus trees.
Pollination: Though pollinating this tree can be a little bit tricky, these trees tend to have “perfect” flowers.
This means that each flower has both female and male parts.
However, avocado tree flowers open their female and male parts at different times, thus, making self-pollination possible, however, not always fruitful.
For optimum pollination, experts recommend having two avocado trees.
Experts consider avocado trees either type A or type B.
Type A trees open their female parts in the morning of the first day and their male parts in the afternoon of the second day.
While type B opens its female parts in the afternoon of the first day and its male parts in the morning of the second day.
These different times make cross-pollination possible between the two types.
Thus, when choosing which trees to plant, you should have both types A and B for the best results.
Different Varieties of the Plant
It is important to note that all avocado trees stem from three main varieties: Mexican, West Indian, and Guatemalan.
Within these categories, there are a number of avocado varieties available. Let’s discuss them as follows:
Hass: This one is the most popular avocado variety and is found in grocery stores.
It is a hybrid of Guatemalan and Mexican avocado varieties and this is a type A tree.
It produces thick, bumpy-skinned rich, and creamy fruits and is more sensitive to heat than other varieties.
Moreover, the Hass avocado tree is popular to produce a reasonably sized yield when it grows on its own.
Fuerte: This is also a popular variety of avocados, the Fuerte avocado is a type B tree that gardeners grow with Hass avocadoes.
Moreover, this variety is also a hybrid like Hass, which produces large, oval-shaped fruits with relatively smooth, thin skin that peels easily.
The fruit tends to have less oil content than the Hass variety and is sensitive to heat, thus making them a good fit for the northern borders of the growing zones of avocado.
Pinkerton: This one is a type A variety of avocados.
The Guatemalan tree, which is popular for its smaller size and large yield, produces oblong fruit with flesh just like that of the Hass avocado which is rich and creamy.
Furthermore, these trees will need a type B avocado tree to produce a significant fruit yield.
Since you put a lot of time and patients into growing avocadoes, harvesting the homegrown produce is satisfying.
For the nursery-bought trees, you will see the fruit in three to four years, while for the ones you start from seed, it can take about 5 to 13 years before the fruit appears.
Moreover, when the fruit appears, make sure to wait until the avocado grows to a mature size.
The fruits do not ripen on trees, so you will have to pick them up as soon as they are full-size.
Bring them indoors and let them rest on a counter until ripe.
Give them a gentle squeeze to test for softness. Once the flesh is soft, it is time to enjoy the fruit.
Learn more about Harvesting Tips here.
Growing Avocado Tree in Pot
Though they will not reach the full height as in-ground, you can keep the avocado tree in a container.
This is a great option for small yards or gardens near the northern edge of the growing zones of avocado.
This is because you can move the potted trees to a protected area when cold weather arrives.
Moreover, young trees or dwarf varieties are a good option as they will stay small for some time.
When you are choosing the container, make sure that it drains well and has some unobstructed holes.
Breathable materials like terra cotta are a great choice, as water and air tend to move freely through the container.
Furthermore, filling the container will well-draining soil like compost and sand.
Pruning Avocado Tree
Pruning your tree will help encourage more manageable, bushy growth. It is best to begin when the tree is young.
If you are growing an avocado tree from seed, start pruning when the seedling is about 6 inches tall, snipping off the top pair of leaves.
Moreover, when it reaches a foot in height, trim it back about 6 inches and prune them yearly, after this.
On the other hand, mature trees will need occasional pruning to keep the tree clean and to create enough space for air and light to travel through.
You can do light pruning any time of year, though, for heavy pruning, make sure to do it in spring.
Prune the low-hanging branches to keep the tree clean and accessible, while pruning the thick area to make sure enough light and airflow are there.
Cut back any dead wood and trim the v-shaped branches.
It is important to continue to prune the tips off the branches if you decide to keep the tree on the smaller die.
Start slowly and do not take off more than one-third of the length of branches when pruning.
Learn more about Pruning Tips and Techniques here.
Propagating Tips and Techniques
With the help of grafting, layering, or cuttings, you can propagate avocado trees.
it is best to do so in spring when new growth is frequent.
You can do grafting to combine two desirable qualities of two different varieties while layering and beginning new cuttings are done to produce duplicate trees.
Here is how you can perform each method:
Cutting: You will need sharp snips, moist and well-draining soil a small pot, and IBA rooting hormone to perform this process. It consists of the following steps:
- during spring, select a new growth that is at least 5 to 6 inches long and will have a number of leaves that are not yet open
- with the help of sharp snips, cut the new growth branch at a 45-degree angle
- wound the cut end by scraping off the bark on either side of the cutting, to encourage root production
- dip the cutting into the IBA root hormone
- then bury the end into moist, well-drained soil keep it moist and place the cutting in a sunny area
- after a few weeks, you will need to gently tug the cutting to check for resistance, this indicates root growth
- repot the cutting into a larger pot or outdoors
Grafting: For this, you will need sharp snips, a knife, and something to cover the grafted area like grafting tape:
- follow steps 1 and 2 like above
- remove the tip of the cutting along with leaves that may be present
- wound the tree just like you would like to graft onto by removing a section of the bark
- make sure the cambium of the cutting and the cambium of the tree are touching
- then secure the cutting and cover the exposed area
- in a few weeks, the grafted branch and the main tree will fuse together
Other Propagating Method
Another propagation method is air layering.
Air Layering: You will need a sharp knife, a rooting medium to wrap around the branch, and rope or tape to secure the rooting medium.
Follow the steps below:
- select a branch to take as a new tree
- with the help of a clean knife, cut two circles around the branch to create a section of bark you can peel away
- after removing the bark, crape the inner branch to clean the cambium away
- wrap the exposed inner branch with rooting material like compost in a small bag
- make sure that it is wrapping the branch not the bag
- secure around the brach
- it will take a few weeks for the roots to develop
- when this occurs, cut the ranch off below the formed roots and plant the new tree.
Growing Avocado Tree from Seeds
Though growing avocado from seeds is a simple project, you will need to keep in mind that the seeds will not produce seeds just like their parent tree.
To do so, you will need an avocado tree, a jar of water, toothpicks, a knife, a pot, and well-draining potting soil.
Follow the instructions below:
Using a sharp knife, put at least three or four holes around the circumference of the seek.
Then poke the toothpicks into the holes to create the support the seed will need to suspend in water.
Submerge the thick, bottom end of the seed into water, about one-third of the seed should be in the water.
Place the seed in a sunny spot and make sure to change the water daily.
After a few weeks, you will see roots forming and leaves appearing at the top of the seed.
Once this happens, gently plant the seed in well-draining soil.
Overwintering, Common Pests, and Plant Diseases
Avocado trees will not need any extra care when you are growing them in appropriate zones.
For trees that grow in the northern edges of the growing zones, it is best to keep them in a pot so that you can move them indoors or to an area where you can protect them from cold weather.
Moreover, some common pests that may affect an avocado tree are:
- lace bugs
While diseases that affect your tree include root rot, fruit rot, sun blotch, and cankers.
Make sure to be alert to the presence of these pests or early signs of diseases.
Prompt action is the best way to treat any developing problems before they threaten the health of your tree.
Learn more about Pest Control UAE: To Prevent Common Invaders here.