Alternate names: Avocado, Alligator Pear, Aguacate
Botanical name: Persea Americana
Height 40’-60’ Width 40’-60’ (Maintain at 20’x20’)
Flower Time: January - April
Harvest Time: June - March
Light: Full Sun
Soil: Moist, well-drained
Planting care and instructions
Native to: Mexico or Central America
Cold Temperature known to live: Mature 15 - 28˚ Young 30 - 32˚
There are four levels of cold hardiness within avocados grown . The least cold hardy varieties need to be grown in the warmest areas of zone 10 or higher. Other varieties can take more cold growing into zone 9 and zone 8 in warmer locations.
The most cold hardy avocados will live thru 15 degrees as a mature trees. However, if there are continuous freezes back to back at 15 degrees every year the plants will not survive. These plants need a warmer climate that will only receive these temperatures every few years to be successful and provide fruit. Above all, young plants need to be protected from freezing temperatures until they get larger, please protect them as long as possible.
Rate of Growth: Rapid
Salt Tolerance: Medium to low
The skin of an avocado can range from light green to black, which can be shinny to dull in appearance. The flesh can vary from yellowish green, a sherbet lime green to green with a yellow center around the seed.
When one decides to purchase an avocado, you first need to decide what type of fruit you would like to have and what the main purpose the fruit is. Some fruit are larger, creamy, nutty-buttery, melting-watery varieties. Others are smaller varieties with higher oil content and smoother. If the fruit is prepared for use as guacamole, the higher oil varieties are a better choice.
Avocados are beautiful trees. They go thru different stages during the bloom process, they drop 50% of their leaves and begin flowering. After the small fruit is set, new growth begins to cover the fruit to prevent sunburn to the maturing fruit. The leaves are medium to dark green and somewhat shinny and the trunk is a medium brown. They are a large spreading tree which can take a considerable amount of space unless maintained.
Avocados are eaten fresh, guacamole, as a spread, a salad, cake or Avocado Oil.
Maintaining tree size:
In grove situations, avocado trees are maintained at 15’ to 20’. We recommended this for the homeowner, the fruit is easier harvesting with larger better quality fruit.
Some varieties grow better than others in containers due to the fruit size and vigor in the particular variety. The varieties we would recommend would be the smaller fruit producing varieties. The smaller fruit does not take as much energy from the plant as larger fruit.
The first problem with avocado is foot rot from being too wet in the location it is planted (they do not like wet feet). Fungus such as scab and powdery mildew are problems on particular varieties. Anthracnose can be a problem on many varieties, causing no more than a blemish on the skin of the fruit. Red Bay Ambrosia Beetle, a new insect, and Laurel Wilt, a new fungus was simultaneously introduced into the United States in 2002 from overseas on wooden pallets. The Red Bay Ambrosia Beetle carries the fungus and spreads between trees, its preferred host is the native red bay.
Growing avocados from seed:
Planting avocadoes from seed is not recommended. The average time to fruit is between 7 to 12 years. Because of genetics, it may resemble the parent fruit or may be entirely different. The seeding could be more or less tolerant to cold or salt. Usually a seedling tree will have a more upright growth pattern while a grafted tree will grow equally upright and spreading to make an more attractive tree.
Flower types (A and B):
Flower types do not concern most of us, unless you are planting a commercial grove. By planting an alternate type avocado, production increases about 15%. To keep things simple, type A flowers are female in the morning and male in the afternoon and type B flowers are male in the morning and female in the afternoon. Temperature also plays a part, when temperatures start to drop below 70 less pollination occurs. When temperatures are warm pollination works as nature intended.