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Another first for me... but question on Avocados

49 posts in this topic

With so many folks here growing stuff they can eat, that appeals to me a lot.

I always have loved Avocados, but my coastal clime and smaller lot kept me leery. But I recently was in the Big Box store and they had 7 or 8 types... one of which was a dwarf hybrid!..

So I bougt a 5 gal one that should not overwhelm I hope. Any pointers? I have heard they are equally as non tolerant of wet roots as palms and have fungus issues too.

HA! I may have even decided where I could plant it in the back yard right away!!

So... any info from you Avo growers?

Thanx

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BS Man,

I'd like to throw my hat in the ring on this too, specifically if anybody has grown them indoors.

I have one I grew from lunch that is 2 years old and over 5 feet tall now. I'm not exactly sure what to do with it. (Can I prune it back?)

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BS (and Erik),

Avocados have fine surface roots that spread from the drip line in to the trunk that do the nutrient absorption for the tree. If you look at an avocado grove, all the dropped leaves are left in place to 1) allow mulch and protection for these roots 2) keep weeds down 3) and moderate temps and moisture. They need these roots to remain unmolested for good fruit production. So let the tree assume a natural canopy, even to the ground (to shield from the sun), and leave the tender root zone off limits to traffic, weeds (oh oh Bill), and other plants, if you want to maximize fruit production. They are heavy feeders and respond well to regular fertilizer.

The other "trick" is that they do not like SoCal hard water. That is why you will always see tip burn in older leaves. This is unavoidable. In years of light rainfall, it helps to do a very heavy watering once or twice a year to wash all the collected salts down and through the root zone. However, they will not tolerate poorly draining soil. Other than that they are relatively easy to grow and fast - and will reward you handsomely.

Commercial avocados are all grafted. When grown from seed it is unpredictable what you will get - but usually not as good fruit as the grafted varieties. In addition, some variaties are self pollinating, and some require another tree. So if you only have space for one tree, this should be taken into account - unless there are others in the neighborhood.

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One thing Dean allueded to was keeping the foilage on all the way to the ground. You probably seen mature trees trunks painted white before. The reason is if you let sun get to the trunk it will reduce the amount of fruit you will yield. Bill my mom has one of the minatures doing very well in june gloom country of Fountain Valley...

Randy

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It has been my impression that the 'Hass" variety does best in California conditions. It has a high oil content relative to other cultivars. We can't grow 'Hass' in Florida reportedly. Many consider it having a superior flavor. :winkie:

Just my 2 cents ... :huh:

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It has been my impression that the 'Hass" variety does best in California conditions. It has a high oil content relative to other cultivars. We can't grow 'Hass' in Florida reportedly. Many consider it having a superior flavor. :winkie:

Just my 2 cents ... :huh:

Hass is a great avocado, and if I had to pick one, it would be the one. But it needs a pollinator. To understand the way Type A and Type B avocado flowers work, here is a good article.

http://patwelsh.com/wpmu/blog/trees/pollination-of-avocado-trees/

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I read about a new cultivar called Holiday that is a dwarf with huge fruit. I wonder if thats what you got.

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The store had holiday, haas, fuerte (my fav), bacon, mexicano something , my dwarf.. and a couple others I think

I had a fuerte in my too, but put it back.

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The store had holiday, haas, fuerte (my fav), bacon, mexicano something , my dwarf.. and a couple others I think

I had a fuerte in my too, but put it back.

Bill - a dwarf what (cultivar)? If 'Fuerte' is your favorite, why would you put it back? You can keep an avocado pruned back to 15-20 ft. Actually much taller than that makes it difficult to harvest. Pruning back a maximum 1/3 of the branches per year should have you harvesting fruit from the other 2/3rds. You could manage a 'Fuerte' Mr. Bill. :)

Remember what Dean stated above about root disturbance and weeds. :winkie:

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Weeds, shmeeeds.. :D

I like the article and may go get the Fuerte and plant them in same hole as article stated.. :)

YUM!

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I suspect that you have a 'Wurtz' aka 'Littlecado'. I think they might change the name to get around a trademark but I am not sure of this. I doubt that it is a 'Holiday' since those cost more because of a patent or trademark especially if it is from a big box. I have one and they have the same look as trees I have seen labled hybrid dwarf. I prune mine and it is about 8 feet tall after 10 years. The first few years were in a large pot. Last year was the first year I got fruit and this year the tree is loaded. Although I did pick the fruit a bit early last year it never had the high oil content and creamy texture like 'hass' has. I did get a 'Bacon' tree for polination that sits in a pot next to it. The branches tend to weap down and the tree needs staking to keep it from falling over.

If it was me I would plant a 'Fuerte' since that is what you like. No sence in investing in an unknown type that you may or may not like. For me it was 10 years for a mediocore avocado.

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Its funny this topic came up. I spent 2 hours on the web yesterday researching the avo. I am looking to get one more kind. I have a hass and liitle cado. The most common dwarf is a wurts, werts, or little cado. All the same tree with a different name. I have a small one and they should get to 10-12'. They have the reputation to be a good producer and reliable. Matty, the holiday has huge fruit but I could not find much info on how much fruit it produces, as of now it is on the top of my list to get. When they are newly planted keep the sun off the trunk until the leafs protect it. There are a lot of good sites to research on the web.

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Also.. how much of a gopher magnet are these? Should I cage? (seriously, did you think I would box an Avocado?) :blink:

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I am growing the cultivar 'Wilma' here in Louisiana, where it can get plenty soggy and humid for long periods. It is also planted in the nastiest clay on my entire site. So far it is bullet proof with nothing bothering it, not even 3 nights in a row right at the 20 degree mark.

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Ok...picked up a fuerte.. Now for the easy part... planting them.. ahahaha

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Here are some info for you BS.

http://www.ocfruit.com/

http://www.ocfruit.com/files/Avocados.htm

Fuerte is not very good. It is very watery. The only good thing about it is that the tree will remain small. The best tasting one may be Reed. The only reason this type of avo is not readly available in the supermarket is because it does not ship well. There's also the Sharwil, Holiday(XX3), and the Daily 11.

The best way to plant your avo is to dig a shallow hole and then mound it 4x4 or 6x6 about 1-2 ft off the ground. Avo have shallow roots and does not appreciate wet feet.

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Thanx for the links Big. But some of what you said is a direct contradiction to your link and ... (well, my personal taste)

Per your link and the info card and others... the Fuerte gets large (tree-wise) So, like Moose said, maybe I will trim back.. ?

Now, I first had a Fuerte from a long time grower that used to frequent here.. Steve in So Cal. I thought it was excellent and he gave me several varieties to try from his grove. But as you and he noted.. its thin skin prevents easy shipping. Plus, I see it appears the dwarf may be a "A" flower and the Fuerte a "B" flower which would help with pollination.

Its all a pipe/Avocado dream anyway.

Oh yeah as a side note when I went back to exchange today, There was a HUGE Fuerte in a 5 gal pot and as I was not sure how soon I would plant, I did not get it. (It was a good 2 feet taller/ larger than the others)

But as Shon noted off line.. some of their leaves come out red, so they can look nice most of the year. :):rolleyes:

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Ok...picked up a fuerte.. Now for the easy part... planting them.. ahahaha

Oh no! Another 5-6 years of looking at it growing in a "box". With weeds flowing over the sides. Ah, I meant cascading over the side,with ocassional flowers. :D

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Yeah taste is a matter of opinion. I like the more creamy variety.

I've have planted two fuertes because they do not grow very big. A two years old hass will overtake a five to seven years old fuerte. Many people said it does not get over 15 ft. The one planted at my mom's house is only 8 ft tall and it is about ten yrs old.

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Are you sure you know what youre talking about regarding fuerte? I'm pretty sure it's a large tree and I know for a fact the fruit is just as, if not more creamy than hass. I'm talking about home grown, not store bought. I guess personal taste and ripeness enter into it too. You've gotta let therm get real soft.

Bill, cage it! Only poisonous plants are safe.

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"Lula" is the avocado that has a simular taste but not quite as good as a 'Hass'. It's the only cultivar that can be grown in South Florida that is closest to flavor and oil content to the 'Hass'. Mine is a very old tree that has harvestable fruit starting in August, peaking at end on November. It still has fruit now although it has already flowering. I think it is unusual to have a tree having fruit for six months but this is the Moose Land. :unsure:

As a matter of fact, heading to Jeff's sale tomorrow with a bagged dozen for Andrea. :)

Bill - screw the growing in the box for several years before planting. Get it in the ground now! You know the gophers will bypass the avocado and go straight to your rare palm roots. :angry:

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Are you sure you know what youre talking about regarding fuerte? I'm pretty sure it's a large tree and I know for a fact the fruit is just as, if not more creamy than hass. I'm talking about home grown, not store bought. I guess personal taste and ripeness enter into it too. You've gotta let therm get real soft.

Bill, cage it! Only poisonous plants are safe.

The size of the tree is more a function of the root stock it is grafted on to - and the fuerte trees I had were not small trees - more medium sized and spreading. Same with the tolerance for the root "fungus" that was attacking avos the last time I was growing them (10-15 years ago). Hopefully they have a resistant root stock now - but it was seriously affecting groves back then.

The fuerte, like most avos, are slightly watery early in the season. But as they mature they all become more oily and tasty - and fuertes are no exception. If you get "watery" ones, they were picked too early. The best tasting avos are the ones that have matured and fallen from the tree.

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BSman - for what its worth non of my neighbors avo trees seem to be of interest to the gophers, just my Madagascar palms. I think your okay not boxing it, and you know me everything goes in a gopher cage at my place even the tomato plants.

Bill

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.

Edited by BigFrond
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Are you sure you know what youre talking about regarding fuerte? I'm pretty sure it's a large tree and I know for a fact the fruit is just as, if not more creamy than hass. I'm talking about home grown, not store bought. I guess personal taste and ripeness enter into it too. You've gotta let therm get real soft.

Bill, cage it! Only poisonous plants are safe.

The size of the tree is more a function of the root stock it is grafted on to - e the fuerte trees I had were not small trees - more medium sized and spreading. Same with the tolerance for the root "fungus" that was attacking avos the last time I was growing them (10-15 years ago). Hopefully they have a resistant root stock now - but it was seriously affecting groves back then.

The fuerte, like most avos, are slightly watery early in the season. But as they mature they all become more oily and tasty - and fuertes are no exception. If you get "watery" ones, they were picked too early. The best tasting avos are the ones that have matured and fallen from the tree.

I think you are correct regarding the root stalk determines the size. I bought both fuertes from El Plantio because the manager said that the trees will grow to a max of 15ft. Despite what many websites say, my mom's fuertes do not grow very much and there's not much spreading. The trees are still rather petite. Hmm... I think the fruit may be watery because they are picked too early like you said. However, both the bass and fuerte fruits were picked early but only the fuerte is watery. The fuertes are much older than the bass. I guess this is just the case of these two trees.

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Are you sure you know what youre talking about regarding fuerte? I'm pretty sure it's a large tree and I know for a fact the fruit is just as, if not more creamy than hass. I'm talking about home grown, not store bought. I guess personal taste and ripeness enter into it too. You've gotta let therm get real soft.

Bill, cage it! Only poisonous plants are safe.

Probably not. I will wait for some to rep to the ground next time.

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A couple of other curiosities about avos.

They will sometimes "self thin" themselves early on after they set fruit, because some seasons they can set an unsustainable amount of fruit. So it is not necessarily a cause for concern if they start dropping immature fruit early on.

Then as the avos slowly mature they will begin to drop the fruit that is ripe. When one is ripe, they are all ripe. So at this point it is safe to pick all or any of the fruit, as it will all ripen well off the tree. (Very occasionally the new and old crop would overlap in SoCal. I'm not sure if this happens elsewhere or with other variaties - but this was rare and easily distinguishable) This was probably because on my personal trees I would just wait until the fruit dropped - much easier that way - and it would extend the season as long as possible.

And one other thing - A lot of trees will have an "on year" and an "off year." Even though they may flower profusely every year, one year may yield a ton of fruit, with an in between year producing much less to even almost none at times. Again, perfectly normal and nothing you are doing wrong.

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Great stuff deano! Thanks.

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Ok...picked up a fuerte.. Now for the easy part... planting them.. ahahaha

Dean thanks for your additional information. Matty is right - good stuff!

Bill - glad you made the switch. Life is just too short to make a substitute when what you really wanted was right there.

Damn the gophers, lets see a pic of that bad boy in the ground!!!! :lol:

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Reed, one of my favorites. Wonderful taste, huge fruit and the tree itself has a more upright carriage and doesn't get terribly large. The original cultivar is here in Ocean Beach according to a city posted sign in an alley off of Ebers Avenue. I can't remember which 2 sides streets, but the tree is visible from the alley off of whatever the street is.

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Well Heres the ones I picked up..

post-27-078541000 1331507047_thumb.jpg post-27-068640400 1331507088_thumb.jpg

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And thanks to info here.. I decided to plant both right next to each other. post-27-096800100 1331507146_thumb.jpg

I made a clearing in the weeds :P and found where I had put some old tires and the bricks and concrete from the old water heater pad..

I made sure to take the greatest lack of care while planting... mainly because I am fooling myself if I think I can keep ahead of the weeds right now... so I think of it as a learning experience until I can get ahead.. (ever?)

post-27-019650000 1331507214_thumb.jpg

Should I wait to buy a bag of chips for the dip?:blink:

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Last year Florida Gardening magazine had an article on different fruit trees to plant for south Florida. One was a Florida hass avocado. Here is a link to a website about it.

http://shop.tropicalfruit.com/Florida-Hass-Avocado--3-Gallon--GRAFTED_p_139.html

It stays relatively small, is very cold tolerant, needs no pollinator, and produces fruit very much like the hass from California. I bought one last year and it is doing very well. I planted it in an area that stays dry, water it with the water from my horse's water buckets, and feed it horse manure every few weeks. It has flowered and setting fruit but I plan on removing all but about 3 of the buds. I want the tree to grow this year.

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Bill,

I see you planted both trees in the same hole, which is a technique used a lot by the rare fruit growers who have limited space. They recommend this over a grafted tree with two or more varieties on the same tree because you don't get one variety dominating over the others as much. You will still need to manage the two trees with corrective pruning and make sure that one of them doesn't dominate the other too much. You'll probably see the south facing tree try and swallow up the other one. You won't need to prune too much for the first few years though, just let them do their thing and maybe help them along by staking your main structural leaders. I've found Avocados to be structural nighmares because they want to throw branches out and down and can be resistent to making vertical trunks.

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Bill - how are your avocados doing ? :interesting:

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Good reminder Moose, I need to cut off a big branch that I did not see tucked in the cardboard cover.. that seem to alternate their growing.. :unsure:

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The need to have an "A" and a "B" type close together is critical for getting fruit set. Fuerte is a B, and I can't figure out what the dwarf is, so it might be prudent to add an "A" like Hass or Lula. I need to add a Lula to my yard if I want fruit out of my Brogdon (a very nice fruit, but apparently not suitable for California).

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My favorite avocados are JanBoyce, Kona Sharwil, Queen, and Reed!

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A couple of other curiosities about avos.

They will sometimes "self thin" themselves early on after they set fruit, because some seasons they can set an unsustainable amount of fruit. So it is not necessarily a cause for concern if they start dropping immature fruit early on.

Then as the avos slowly mature they will begin to drop the fruit that is ripe. When one is ripe, they are all ripe. So at this point it is safe to pick all or any of the fruit, as it will all ripen well off the tree. (Very occasionally the new and old crop would overlap in SoCal. I'm not sure if this happens elsewhere or with other variaties - but this was rare and easily distinguishable) This was probably because on my personal trees I would just wait until the fruit dropped - much easier that way - and it would extend the season as long as possible.

And one other thing - A lot of trees will have an "on year" and an "off year." Even though they may flower profusely every year, one year may yield a ton of fruit, with an in between year producing much less to even almost none at times. Again, perfectly normal and nothing you are doing wrong.

My Avo is doing that very thing right now. It flowered so heavily just the weight of the flowers bent the top of the 15' tree at a right angle. Must have set 500 fruit. The ground underneath right now is littered with marble to golf ball sized fruit, but it still has more than I think it can possible mature still on the tree. I may do some more manual thinning after it is done.

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Bill - here is the trunk of my 'Lula' avocado with an interesting epiphyte attached to it. Perhaps some day yours ... :winkie:

post-1729-025645500 1338629733_thumb.jpgpost-1729-038249900 1338629875_thumb.jpgpost-1729-045593700 1338630028_thumb.jpg

An unidentified Vanda species. The flowers are odoriferiously pleasant. :drool:

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