Hass avocados, the fruit unheard of before 1926, has become a fruit favorite worldwide. You know how to choose, how to use and how to store avocados, but do you know how they grow? The story of Hass Avocados may be short, but their journey from tree to table is a must-know.
- Hass avocado trees flourish in regions with the right combination of mineral-rich soil, plentiful sunshine and mild climate (moderate humidity, cool nights and warm days).
- A tree can range from 15 to 30 feet tall, depending on the region it’s grown and the horticultural practices used by orchard owners.
- Avocado trees begin bearing fruit in three to five years and can thrive for decades.
- Like other fruits, each Hass avocado emerges from a bloom on the tree. A mature tree can produce more than a million flowers during each of its two annual blooms.
- Only pollinated blooms will produce an avocado, which is why bees play a vital role in an avocado orchard.
- Pollinated blooms – which can range from just 150 to 500 on a Hass tree – take about a year to grow into a ready-to-pick avocado.
- Hass trees are harvested gently by carefully cutting the stem and using a pole pruner to pick those above arm’s reach
- The fruit is packed in crates, which are whisked to packing plants as soon as possible—once the avocado is plucked from the tree, it starts to ripen.
- Some packing houses delay ripening by cooling avocados in water while others chill them in specialized rooms.
- Once cleaned, the fruit is sorted by size, boxed in cartons, and shipped to their destinations at grocery stores and markets—all within 2-4 days of being picked.
- From a seed
- Planting a tree
- Stake and shelter
- Caring for a young tree
- Fungicides and fertilizer
- Caring for a mature tree
- Tropical plants can thrive outdoors in Ohio’s summers
- Ask Mary Beth: Will my sprouted avocado seed grow into a fruit-bearing tree?
- Cold Hardy Avocado Tree
- The Go-To Avocado Tree for Cold Climates
- Planting & Care
From a seed
Avocado seeds are relatively easy to sprout and is a great project for kids. Keep in mind that trees grown from seed often aren’t as productive as the tree the fruit was taken from.
- Remove the seed from the avocado and clean the flesh from it
- Orientate the seed so the more pointed end is facing upwards and insert four toothpicks around the middle of the seed. Push the toothpicks in far enough that they feel stable. Place seed on a jar, or glass, of water with the tooth picks resting on the rim, ensuring the bottom half of the seed is submerged.
- Sprouting can take between 2 and 8 weeks. Ensure the bottom of the seed remains in contact with the water by topping up the water in the glass as required. Once the sprout reaches about 20cm pot in soil.
Planting a tree
- Find a sunny location to plant the tree where the soil is not prone to flooding or dampness. Dig a whole large enough to fit the root system. Check the depth of the hole is correct by placing the tree, still in it’s bag, into the hole. The top of the potting mix should sit 1 – 2cm above the level of the surrounding soil.
- Wet the soil around the hole prior to planting.
- Still in its plastic wrap, place the base of the tree into a bucket of water and fully submerge for a few minutes until all the potting mix is soaked. DO NOT leave the potting mix submerged in water for prolonged periods as this will drown the tree.
- Cut off the base of the bag and remove it being careful not to cut the root system.
- Cut along the side of the bag from the base but not quite to the top.
- Place the tree and bag into the hole and orientate the tree so that most of the leaves face north to shade the trunk as much as possible.
- When settled carefully fill the remaining space around the outside of the tree with soil, sliding the bag upwards as the hole is back filled with soil. Be very careful not to damage the roots as they are very fragile. Sliding the bag up as the hole is filled will ensure the potting mix doesn’t fall away from the roots. You must ensure that you don’t leave major air spaces as roots won’t grow in these.
- Once you have filled the hole, gently pat the soil with your hands to settle it firmly around the potting mix. Avoid stamping the soil too firmly or with your feet as this can damage the roots and avocado roots like loose soil to grow into.
- Tree should be soaked as soon as possible after planting, however, to avoid rots, it is important that water does not form a puddle around the collar of the tree.
Stake and shelter
In the early planting and establishment phase a stake is usually used to hold the tree in place. Place the stake facing the prevailing winds so that the wind pushes the tree away from the stake. Ensure the stake is hammered into the ground outside the trees root system. It’s also recommended to create a shelter using 4 battens and some shade netting.
Individual shelters are usually constructed from 50 by 50 mm ground-treated battens forming a 1.25 m square with shade cloth on the four sides. This will allow adequate protection for one to two full growing seasons. The height of the battens should be 1.5 to 2.3 m long, which allows for 30 to 50 cm burial of the batten and 1.2 to 1.8 m height for the shelter.
The enclosure should reach the ground to prevent damage from rabbits, hares, possums or beetles. The shade cloth is usually stapled to the battens leaving one side that can be unhooked for access.
Caring for a young tree
Keeping the right amount of water in the soil for these young trees is not easy and is crucial.
You must apply enough water to wet the surrounding soil to a distance of at least 40 to 50 cm from the potting mix. Once this volume of soil is wet you must stop the irrigation and allow for excess water to drain.
As a general rule, with avocados in New Zealand conditions, it is better to do large infrequent irrigations (e.g., 50 litre per plant every 10 days) than small frequent irrigations (e.g., 5 litres per plant every 2 days).
Irrigation in the first weeks will probably be more frequent because most of the roots (all of them for the first days) will be in the potting mix which can dry very fast. As roots start to grow into the soil around the potting mix (which can happen as soon as 4 to 5 days after planting if soil temperatures are high), irrigation events can be less frequent.
Once the root system has developed in the soil, it is important that the trunk has some freedom to move since that movement will help the trunk to develop the strength needed to hold the canopy once the support is removed. Ensure that stakes support the tree but allow some small movement of the trunk
Fungicides and fertilizer
Fertilizer must not be added directly into the hole at planting. It is better to add the fertilizer mixed very well with the soil that will be used to refill the hole (remember, only slow or controlled release fertilizer and always in small quantities, never more than a very small handful).
Foliar feeding (leaf sprays) with a balanced liquid fertilizer (contains mixture of N. P. & K) for 1-2 months after planting can help with tree establishment.
Thereafter granular fertilizers can be applied to the soil 40 cm around the stem, being careful to avoid contact with the stem.
Continue with foliar feeding monthly with liquid fertilizer and Zinc (2 g Zinc oxide/litre of water).
Boron (1 g Solubor per litre of water) should be applied every two months.
Half the fertilizer in winter.
Increase the quantity of fertiliser as the size of the trees increases.
Caring for a mature tree
There are no set rules when it comes to pruning avocado trees. Your pruning should aim to maximise the amount of light the tree gets and also manage tree size and shape. Deadwood removal at any time is encouraged and major structural pruning in summer should be avoided to prevent sunburn.
Once fully established, mature trees water requirements can be often be sufficiently met by New Zealand’s high annual rainfall unless soil is particulary free draining. However, irrigating your tree during a dry period might be beneficial. When watering your tree, soak the soil inside the dripline well and then allow it to dry out before watering again (7-10 days) to maintain good soil aeration.
Mulch and fertilizing
Mulching around the base of the tree is encouraged and can help conserve water, improve root growth, provide nutrients , reducing stress on the tree and suppressing weeds.
Avocado specific granular or general garden fertilizers can be applied under the canopy of the tree. With growth in tree size the quantity of fertilizer will also need to increase. The nutrient requirements over winter are much less than Spring – Autumn.
Other growing tips
- Growing avocados requires patience.
- Fruit drop occurs in both early and late summer – this a natural process
- It’s not uncommon for trees to shed their leaves in late spring especially during flowering
- Avocados typically follow an alternate bearing pattern. This means they will have lots of fruit one year and very little the next.
Tropical plants can thrive outdoors in Ohio’s summers
Lush tropical gardens can evoke feelings of relaxation, of escaping to an island paradise every time you walk into the garden.
Lush tropical gardens can evoke feelings of relaxation, of escaping to an island paradise every time you walk into the garden. Unfortunately, central Ohio missed the boat on year-round tropical plants. Most tropical plants cant survive winters in Zone?6, which includes the Columbus area, although some are marginally hardy with extra care and liberal application of mulch in Zone?7 .
That doesnt mean you cant create a tropics-inspired garden inside and out. You can grow all tropical plants canna, calla, bananas, elephants-ears, citrus outdoors in (Ohio) in the summer, said Lynne Cody, a horticulturist with the Park Seed Co. They do really great in the hot summers, but most need full sun.
The only hitch in cultivating tropicals outdoors in Ohio: You have to wait until the soil is warm enough to plant them in spring, Cody said. A late frost will kill them, so its better to plant late than early. They can go into the ground in mid-May.
In the fall, after the first frost kills the foliage, the roots or bulbs must be dug up and stored in a cool, dark place for the winter to preserve the plant for next season. Yes, you can skip this step and use them as annuals. But if you want to preserve the plants instead, be sure to rinse and then dry the dug-up roots, Cody said, because you dont want to bring any critters in the house with you. Then wrap them in newspaper or put them in peat moss to store for the winter.& amp; amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>
Those who dont mind lugging around giant pots have another option. Plant tropicals in pots, let them bask in the sunshine outdoors all summer, and then move them inside to a sunny room for winter, Cody said. Even if its just an unheated sunroom to keep the freeze off, tropicals particularly citrus trees can do well in those kind of environments.
A few exotic but easy-to-find tropical plants for use in central Ohio gardens:
Canna lily. Canna lilies prefer rich, well-drained soil and will flower from midsummer to fall. They come in a range of foliage and flower colors, from the common Australia variety with deep purple foliage and a red flower to Orange Beauty, which has white foliage with a green stripe and a yellow flower. Its a tall, spiky piece of the tropics, growing 3 to 7 feet tall. After digging up the rhizomes in fall, allow them to dry in a warm, sunny location for several days before storing. Store them in peat moss in an area where temperatures dont drop below 40 degrees. In the spring, start the rhizomes in pots indoors about four weeks before planting outside.
Calla lily. The calla lily is known for its elegant cuplike flower, which comes in white, greenish white or light pink. Some varieties, such as Black Pearl, have dark maroon flowers. Edge of Night has dark purple almost black flowers. Callas are native to South Africa and can grow 9 to 30 inches tall, depending on the variety. They prefer partial shade but will tolerate full sun. The thin flower stem is longer if grown in the shade, according to Allan Armitage, author of Herbaceous Perennial Plants. Callas are excellent plants for water features, as they do well planted in bogs and near ponds.
Bananas. Bananas technically arent trees; theyre bulb plants that can grow 3 to 6 feet tall. Some are ornamental, while others produce fruit. They need full sun and well-drained rich soil. Dwarf varieties that produce fruit and are well-suited to growing in pots include the Lady Finger banana, which grows to about 4 feet tall and produces fruit in about two years, and the apple banana, which grows 3 to 4 feet tall and produces fruit within three years. For colder climates, the University of Illinois Extension recommends using the Musa bajoo banana, which produces inedible fruit and grows to 12 feet tall. The extension says that, with proper care and heavy mulching, Musa bajoo can survive outdoors in Zone 6 winters.
Elephants-ears. Elephants-ears come in a variety of foliage colors, from emerald green to green with streaks of white or purple. There are black elephants-ears, such as Black Coral, as well. They grow 3 to 4 feet tall and are easy to grow in pots and in garden beds. Its easy to bring potted elephants-ears indoors. Remove the foliage after the first frost, then bring the pot indoors. The pot can be stored safely in any unheated space, such as a basement or garage.
Citrus and fruit. Ohio homeowners can successfully grow tropical trees such as limes, lemons and avocados, Cody said. There are so many good dwarf trees designed to do well inside, such as the Meyer improved lemon (and) Key lime trees, she said. Theyre wonderful smaller plants that produce flower and fruit in the home.
Citrus trees can spend summers on the patio but must be brought inside for winter. When you bring a lemon or lime tree indoors, dont be shocked when they lose all of their leaves, Cody said. Theyre OK; just give them a little light fertilizer to put the leaves back on and help them adapt.
Palms. Palms large and small are staples in any nursery houseplant department, and some can be grown in pots outdoors in summer. Palms such as sago can benefit from a bit of outdoor sunshine in the summers and do well in pots the rest of the year. You just have to remember to bring them in, because some arent even hardy in areas much farther south, such as Florida.
Denise Trowbridge is a Columbus freelance writer who covers garden topics.
Ask Mary Beth: Will my sprouted avocado seed grow into a fruit-bearing tree?
Q: I have a sprouted avocado seed. Can I grow it into a producing plant? Whats the best chance for success?
Sarah Vradenburg, ?Akron
A: Your prospects are iffy. Because of genetic diversity, a tree grown from seed will be different from its parent, the California Avocado Commission says. If the new tree does produce fruit, it will probably taste different from the avocado you got that seed from.
Pollination may be a problem, too. While avocados can self-pollinate, youll have a better chance of getting fruit reliably if you have another avocado tree that releases and accepts pollen at times that are complementary to your trees. Plus youll need pollinators such as bees to help the process along.
Whats more, it can take a tree seven to 15 years to produce fruit, the commission says.
Avocados arent hardy in our area, so youll have to keep your tree in a protected place during the cold months.
If you want to try anyway, the commission offers instructions at www.?californiaavocado.com/grow-your-own-avocado-tree.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to [email protected] Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.
Cold Hardy Avocado Tree
The Go-To Avocado Tree for Cold Climates
Why Cold Hardy Avocado Trees?
Home-grown avocados, no matter where you live. With the Cold Hardy Avocado Tree, it’s possible. This strong tree withstands frigid temperatures as low as 20 degrees, living up to its name.
Simply plant your Avocado Tree in a container and bring it inside during the winter months – it will continue to grow. You’ll get an abundant yield of fruit, year after year, and even faster than you would with seed-grown varieties. Basically, the Cold Hardy Avocado’s fast growth means you’re going to enjoy your avocados in at least three years instead of the 10 years or more it takes to grow fruit from seedlings.
Why Fast-Growing-Tree.com is Better
-Our Cold Hardy Avocado Tree is a proven performer.
-We’ve hand-picked the best, healthiest varieties to ship to your door.
-Because they’ve been grafted (with rootstock combined from a hardy, disease-resistant tree, and a mature tree) and grown in our greenhouse with care, they’re happy and healthy from day one to your door.
-With our largest Cold Hardy Avocado Trees, you may get fruit as soon as the first year…perfect for those who want to harvest their home-grown avocados as soon as possible!
Superior flavor from a superfood. Is there anything better? The texture and taste of store-bought simply can’t compare. Whether you’re making homemade guacamole or the ever-popular avocado toast, the bold flavor is amazing. And the second-to-none taste isn’t the only benefit you’ll reap because they’re loaded with vitamins A, B6, C, E.
So, the Cold Hardy Avocado Tree is one of the most versatile trees on the market. For a larger tree, plant it outdoors and watch it soar to heights of 15 to 20 feet. Or, for a shorter tree, plant in a container and you can limit growth to between 5 and 7 feet in height. Many growers find this method optimal for moving the tree between indoors and out.
Our larger sizes commonly bear fruit their very first year. And your tree will be more forgiving and easier to grow indoors or out. But demand from new orchards and home growers has put this tree in short supply. We recommend that you order yours today while larger sizes are still available!
Planting & Care
1. Planting: The Cold Hardy Avocado is specially adapted to our cooler climates. They will grow in partial shade but prefer full sun when possible. And the skin of the fruit is paper-thin, and purple-black in color – they have high-quality flesh with a large amount of oil and are hardy to about 20-degrees once established.
Water the tree well before planting, then dig a hole larger than the pot you purchased it in and 1 to 2 inches deeper. Remove the tree from the pot and separate the roots, careful to avoid breakage. Water the tree and fill in the dirt as you water. Cover the new soil with mulch to retain moisture and keep weeds away.
2. Watering: Cold Hardy Avocado Trees may not need to be watered during the winter season or rainy months, but watch for extended mid-winter dry spells. Watch soil moisture carefully at the end of the irrigating season. Make sure the soil has dried out before winter arrives.
3. Fertilizing: Commence feeding young trees after one year of growth by using a balanced fertilizer four times yearly. Unusual temperature changes can cause plants to drop leaves. Leaf drop is natural and the plant will typically replace its foliage during its natural growing season.
4. Pruning: Cold Hardy Avocados need little to no training. You may wish to trim the tree’s skirts to deter small critters, but other than that, this tree is never pruned.
5. Pollination: Avocado Trees are self-fertile, so you don’t have to have another Avocado Tree around for it to bear fruit. If it blooms indoors, you might want to shake it a bit to spread the pollen, since you will have no bees or wind to do it for you. However, as with all fruit trees, your Avocados will each produce more fruit with two trees.
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