THE AVOCADO TREE

Have you ever wanted to grow your own avocado tree? Below, we've summed up everything you need to know about growing this delicious, healthy fruit.

Avocado Trees

Avocado trees are evergreen trees from tropical or sub-tropical climates that grow best in locations with strong sunlight. Trees can grow up to 60' tall and 35' wide, and they do require regular maintenance if you want to get the best crop yield from them. But how do you grow these trees, and how do you go about looking after them?

Growing
Avocado Trees

Soil Type

For avocado trees, the soil pH should be between 6 and 6.5. You can elevate the tree in a mound for better drainage if you have heavier clay soil.

CLIMATE

Although there are different types of avocado trees, they generally need moderate temperatures to grow well—somewhere between 60° F to 85° F. Young trees do best when planted in the spring months.

Amount of sunlight needed

Avocado growing needs sunlight. Although avocado trees tolerate some shade, ideal conditions are moderate temperatures, moderate humidity, and plenty of direct sunlight.

Amount of water needed

Caring for an avocado tree means giving it a lot of water. Soaking the soil well 2-3 times a week is a good guideline.

Where avocados grow best

If you're trying to grow avocado trees that bear fruit, you need to grow them in the right place. Avocados grow best in warm climates. The best growing zones for standard avocado varieties are between 9 and 11. Although, some may tolerate Zone 8 with extra protection.

Can avocado trees be grown as houseplants?

In short, yes. If you plan on growing an avocado tree indoors, you can grow dwarf cultivars as houseplants. However, as avocado trees need good sunlight to grow and bear fruit, your plant may not yield avocados.

Growing an Avocado Tree From a Seed

Preparing the pit

The pit, or the center of fully-grown avocados, should be washed well before you start. After this, insert three to four wooden toothpicks into the pit, roughly a third of the way down from the pit's tapered end. Place in a kitchen glass with the tapered end pointing upwards.

Next, fill the glass with water until the seed's bottom half is covered, and place it somewhere where it is exposed to bright light.

In two to six weeks, expect a sprout to emerge.

Planting an avocado pit

Once the top of the pit cracks open and a sprout emerges, plant the seed in a container with coarse, well-drained potting mix with half the seed remaining above the level of the soil. Start with a six to eight inch diameter pot and increase the size as the plant grows.

When to plant the seed

We recommend planting your avocado root ball between March and June for peak seasonal sunlight and temperatures. Plant it somewhere protected from wind and away from the sidewalk. Do not plant the new tree too deep.

Caring for the young tree

Avoid over-watering your young avocado tree. When the stem is 12 inches high, cut it back to six inches. This encourages new shoots to grow. After the first year, avocado trees need water equal to around two inches of rainfall each week in summer.

When to expect the first fruit

You can expect to see the first fruit three to four years after replanting a tree. Trees grown from seeds can take up to 13 years to bear fruit.

Avocado Tree Growing Tips

Fertilizer

Young avocado trees need a half to one pound of nitrogen annually. Apply ordinary houseplant fertilizer for zinc.

Pruning

Little trimming is necessary. Only remove dead, diseased, or damaged parts. You may prune after the tree is done fruiting.

Disease

Be on the lookout for diseases such as leaf spots and root spots and pests such as spider mites, thrips, and waxwing.

Growing Avocados

Pollination

To ensure both sexes are present, choose at least one A-type and B-type variety.

When to pick avocados

Avocado fruit do not mature on the tree. Try to ripen a few by picking them and leaving them a week. If they turn rubbery or shrivel up, they aren't ready. Try again in a few weeks.

Number of avocados grown per mature tree

An avocado tree can produce 200 - 300 fruit per tree once it reaches five years of age.

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