Avocado tree cold hardy

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, putting a heat source underneath the cover can help to save the leaves. They suggest using decorative lights or a camp lantern. Just remember not to use an LED light source, as these do not emit any heat.

While it may seem counterintuitive, continuously spraying water on trees to keep them from freezing is a little-known secret of experienced home gardeners. As the water turns to ice, it releases heat, which can help protect the tree against frost damage.

I have a friend with a Hass avocado ranch on the central coast of California who has an irrigation system that she can operate from home via the internet when there is a hard freeze. However, unless you have a large number of trees, you won’t need anything that hardcore.

How to Deal with Frost Damage

While you may be used to looking at hardiness zones to determine whether plants can grow in your area, many more factors can be involved than just average temperatures.

Is your tree growing in an enclosed area where it will be exposed to reflective heat? Is it by an open body of water? If so, these conditions can mitigate the cold weather, so it may be better able to withstand the cold.

In contrast, if your tree is in a windy area, it will be more sensitive to freezing, which can cause the fruit and leaves to drop. Try to plant your tree in a sheltered location if you live in a particularly windy area.

What if your avocado tree is not weathering the cold well? The first sign of freeze damage is when the tree drops its leaves. Here are some ways of dealing with frost damage.

Whitewash the Limbs

Compared to other types of fruit trees like citrus, avocado trees are particularly susceptible to damage from sunburn, which can occur when they lose a lot of their leaves.

To help protect the trees from sunburn, you should whitewash the limbs as soon as possible after the leaves drop with a white interior house paint diluted to 50 percent with water.

Prune Damaged Limbs

You will definitely want to prune back dead tissue to keep fungi from invading and causing damage. However, you should wait until new growth appears before you prune your tree.

As advised by Nick Saikovich and Ben Faber at the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources for Ventura Country at the University of California, the amount of pruning required will depend on the degree of damage.

Cut Back on Irrigation

When your tree has lost a lot of leaves, it will lose much less water to evaporation than it normally does, and avocados are very sensitive to overwatering.

If you provide the same amount of water as before, you are likely to damage the roots and leave them susceptible to root rot. Water as if you were tending a much smaller tree. Irrigate less frequently with smaller quantities of water.

You Can Grow Your Avocado and Eat It, Too

The Mexican avocado cultivars offer hope for growers in cooler areas.

With varieties that can tolerate temperatures below 20°F, homeowners in areas that include parts of USDA Hardiness Zone 8 can enjoy the taste of fresh avocados from their own trees.

Have you tried any of these cultivars? If so, let us know where you live and share your experience with us in the comments.

What about other types of fruit trees for your garden? Get started with these guides:

  • 7 of the Best Cold Hardy Fig Trees
  • How to Overwinter Banana Plants
  • The Legendary Temperate Zone Pawpaw and How to Grow It

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© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on January 3, 2020. Last updated: January 13, 2020 at 16:44 pm. Product photos via A Natural Farm and Education Center, Brighter Blooms, and Nature Hills. Uncredited photos: . With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu.

About Helga George, PhD

One of Helga George’s greatest childhood joys was reading about rare and greenhouse plants that would not grow in Delaware. Now that she lives near Santa Barbara, California, she is delighted that many of these grow right outside! Fascinated by the knowledge that plants make chemicals to defend themselves, Helga embarked on further academic study and obtained two degrees, studying plant diseases as a plant pathology major. She holds a BS in agriculture from Cornell University, and an MS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Helga then returned to Cornell to obtain a PhD, studying one of the model systems of plant defense. She transitioned to full-time writing in 2009.

Avocado Tree Grafted. Cold Hardy. Several cultivars available Not certified organic yet

Plants are staked with soil, sealed in a plastic wrapping to retain moisture during shipment. When you receive this plant, simply remove the plastic and check moisture in the soil. Water the plant once per day while in their container. Plants have also been fertilized for the season.

All of our plants are cared for with natural practices, without the use of synthetic chemicals. However, our nursery is considered a Plant Sanctuary. Some plants we sell are brought in from other nurseries who do not follow the same standards of quality that we do. Once a plant arrives at our nursery, they are cared for with organic and natural practices.

We hand select for each order from our stock of premium quality plants at A Natural Farm in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. Quality in plant propagation is of upmost importance when seeking nutrition & medicinal value from edible plants!

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Note: A/B Pollination requirements does not apply in the climatic conditions of the U.S South East (FL, GA, TX). West coast customers will want to consider pollination for cultivars.

*Cultivars Available:

Brogdon:::
Produces high quality, larger dark-purple pear shaped fruits with buttery yellow flesh, perfect for guacamole. Skin is thin and can be eaten with the fruit flesh. Our farm’s favorite! Mexican Variety
Mature Height: 30’-50’
Maturity Window: July-Sept
Fruit: Med-Large, Pear, Black
Cold Hardiness: 18-22 degrees

Fantastic:::
Green to dark olive colored fruit with thin skin and a creamy textured flesh. This is most hardy cultivar available, withstanding 15 degrees for a short time without protection. Mexican Variety.
Mature Height: 30’-50’
Maturity Window: Aug-Sept
Fruit: Small, Oval, Green
Cold Hardiness: 15-18 degrees

Joey:::
Produces egg-shaped black fruits with a thin skin. This Mexican Variety is a heavy bearer and very cold hardy.
Mature Height: 30’-50’
Maturity Window: Aug-Sept
Fruit: Medium, Pear, Black
Cold Hardiness: 15-18 degrees

Marcus Pumpkin
The Goliath of the Avocados – up to 48oz (4lbs) of fruit! Good creamy texture. Rare & hard to find.
Mature Height: 30’-50’
Maturity Window: Oct-Nov
Fruit: Largest Fruit, Round, Green Skin
Cold Hardiness: 20-24 degrees

Oro Negro
Ripens to a shinny black almost like patent leather. Oro Negro means black gold in Spanish, which is an incredibly appropriate name for this fruit. The flesh is rich and buttery with a creamy texture that is sure not to disappoint.
Mature Height: 30’-50’
Maturity Window: Nov-Jan
Fruit: Large, Round, Black Skin
Cold Hardiness: 20-24 degrees

Winter Mexican:::
Produces small high quality black fruits with excellent flavor similar to the classic Hass avocado. Produces early & regularly throughout fruiting season.
Mature Height: 30’-50’
Maturity Window: Nov-Dec
Fruit: Medium, Pear, Dark Green
Cold Hardiness: 18-22 degrees

For All Avocado Varieties:
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9b-11
Chill Hours: –
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Plant Type: Perennial

Edible Qualities/Products: Med-Large sized fruit, Pear Shape, Black Skin. Grafted – 1-2 years to produce fruit

Climax Height & Spread: 30’+ high

Cold Tolerance: Cold hardy to 22-24 degrees

Light Requirements: Full Sun for more fruits

Drought Tolerance/Watering Requirements: Good once established, Avocados prefer infrequent deep root watering. Do not over water, as root rot is common with Avocado trees kept wet.

Soil & Site Requirements: Well Drained Soil, if soil contains heavy clay, plant in a raised bed with compost and well drained soil. Dig out soil to loosen a large hole and replace with native soil back into hole. Avoid amending soil and fertilize every month after the first month as a topdress. Mulch 3-5ft. to retain moisture & reduce weed competition.

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GRAFTED TREES AND TREES GROWN FROM SEEDS
Avocado trees can easily be grown from seeds/fruits you get at the grocery stores. Unfortunately those trees will take 8 to 20 years to fruit in your garden. The trees offered at A Natural Farm have been grafted at a young age and allows the trees to produce as early as the first or second year from when the trees are planted. Not only is fruiting earlier, but the root stock is better suited for Florida soils. When growing from seed, many times these are Avocados grown in California or Mexico, with different climates and soil structures, ill suited for our Florida conditions.

PRUNING
During the first 2 years, a formative pruning is desirable to encourage lateral branching and growth. After several years of production it is desirable to cut back the tops of the trees to 10 to 15 feet. It will help prevent the loss of the lower tree canopy due to shading by the upper canopy and will facilitate tree care and fruit harvest.
This pruning should be done after danger of frost has passed in order to not stimulate young growth that could be hurt by the cold.

REMOVAL OF “SUCKERS”
Once in a while young shoots will grow below the graft point of your tree (rootstock part of your tree). You want to remove those “suckers” as soon as possible because if left alone they will grow aggressively and will not produce the fruits you are looking for in your tree.

POLLINATION
Avocado trees have both male and female flowers on the same tree, making them self-fertile. How- ever, planting more than one avocado tree of the same variety or different varieties will increase fruit production.

HARVEST, RIPENING, AND STORAGE
Avocado fruits do not ripen on the tree. The easiest way to determine if your avocados are ready to harvest is to harvest one large fruit and place it on your kitchen counter top. A mature fruit ripens in 3 to 8 days after it is picked. If the fruit does not ripen properly (e.g., shrivels, becomes rubbery or exhibits stem end rot), select another fruit (again larger fruit are generally more mature than small- er fruit at the beginning of the season) and repeat the test.

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*Planting Instructions*

SOILS
Avocado trees do not tolerate flooding or poorly drained soils but are adapted to many types of well-drained soils. Continuously wet or flooded conditions often result in decreased growth and yields, nutrient deficiency symptoms, dieback, and sometimes tree death. Under these conditions, trees are highly susceptible to root infection by Phytophthora fungi.

In Florida avocado trees grow well and produce satisfactory yields in sandy and limestone soils. If your planting spot is subject to potential flooding, create a soil mound and plant your tree on top of this mound.

SITE SELECTION AND SPACING
In general, avocado trees should be planted in full sun for best growth and fruit production. Select a part of the landscape away from other trees, buildings and structures and powerlines. Remember avocado trees can become very large (30+ feet) if not pruned to contain their size.

Select the warmest area of the landscape that does not flood (or remain wet) after typical summer rainfall events.
If you plant more than one avocado tree, keep a spacing of about 20’ between the trees

IRRIGATION
Newly planted trees should be watered at planting and every other day for the first week or so and then 1 to 2 times a week for the first couple of months. During prolonged dry periods (e.g., 5 or more days of little to no rainfall) newly planted and young avocado trees (first 3 years) should be well watered twice a week. Once the rainy season arrives, irrigation frequency may be reduced or stopped.

Once avocado trees are 4 or more years old irrigation will be beneficial to plant growth and crop yields during prolong dry periods. Especially during the period from bloom and through fruit development.

PLANTING IN SANDY SOILS
Prior to digging a hole, remove a 3 to 10 ft diameter ring of grass sod. Dig a hole 2 to 3 times the diameter and 2 times as deep as the container the avocado tree has come in. Making a large hole loosens the soil adjacent to the new tree making it easy for the roots to expand into the adjacent soil. It is not necessary to apply fertilizer, topsoil, or compost to the hole.

Backfill the hole with some of the native soil re- moved to make the hole. Carefully remove the tree from the container and place it in the hole so that the top of the soil media of the container is level with or slightly above the surrounding soil level. Fill soil in around the tree roots and tamp slightly to remove air pockets. Immediately water the soil around the tree and tree roots and stake the tree to protect it against strong winds until the roots are strong enough to hold the tree in the native soil.

Mulch heavily with loose organic bedding materials to protect over cooler months while plant is dormant and retain moisture in the warm months. To maximize yield and ensure a healthy life of your fruit tree: mulch around the drip line, topdress with compost, vermicpompost & organic matter regularly, use organic fertilizer high in nitrogen 2-3 times per year, garden with companion plants of cover crops, flowering plants and herbs!

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We are currently unable to ship Live Plants to CA, AZ, HI, AL or internationally. Please view our Ginger & Turmeric Rhizomes for shipping to excluded states and internationally.

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cold hardy avocado

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Many people grow citrus and avocado trees, but it’s not as easy as it might seem, says Ed Laivo, sales and marketing director for Four Winds Growers, a Bay Area wholesale nursery.

Laivo says many citrus and most avocado experiments fail for a couple of simple reasons. Here are Laivo’s tips on growing healthy trees.

  • Although we live in a climate that allows us to grow many different plants, citrus and avocado in the Bay Area can be challenging because our temperatures can be a bit too cold.
  • Both citrus and avocados prefer a more moderate climate and in some years, we have hard freezes that damage or kill a lot of the trees. Avocado trees are particularly sensitive.
  • The biggest problem people run into, Laivo says, is drainage. Neither tree likes to sit in water, and during wet winters, there’s no turning off the rain.
  • Many people believe they have good drainage, but Laivo says that’s because we’ve been in a drought, and before that, a dry spell. Most gardeners don’t realize how saturated their soil can become.
  • To avoid drainage issues, Laivo recommends mounding all of your fruit trees, regardless of your drainage issues. Mounding is doing very little excavating and placing the tree on the bare ground, then mounding native soil around the roots. Laivo says the mound should be 12 to 18 inches deep. That way, no matter how much rains falls, the tree won’t be deprived of oxygen.
  • Laivo also recommends pruning to keep the trees short, which will make them easy to harvest and, just as importantly, easier to cover to protect them from frost.
  • Winter care for fruit trees, including citrus and avocados, is crucial. In late fall, before we enter freezing weather, string Christmas lights in your trees. You’ll need old-fashioned lights, called C9s, which produce more warmth than the new lights. You can’t buy them in California, Laivo says, but you can order them online.
  • When frost threatens, cover your trees with a heavy frost protection cloth or row crop cover. Doing both the lights and the cloth on freezing nights should provide enough protection in most freezes. You may have damage, but it will be minimized.
  • Don’t neglect your trees in the summer, Laivo says. After all these years of drought, many established citrus trees are starting to show the affects. There deepest roots are unable to find water and deep watering the trees won’t help, Lavio says. What will, he says, is mulch.
  • Mulching will protect the plants shallow roots and create a zone that will help the tree find a balance and survive future droughts.
  • Laivo also recommends installing an irrigation system with a controller to water your trees.
  • If you’re thinking of growing avocados, know that they can be finicky. They don’t like poor drainage and their root systems are so fragile they can be fatally damaged during transplanting.
  • Choose hardy varities such as Stewart, Bacon or Mexicola. They are more frost tolerant.
  • The best time to plant avocados is in the spring, which will allow them to become established and put down roots before the winter.

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OROVILLE — Some people who read in this paper about the frost-resistant Duke avocado tree are wondering how they can get one.

Although Duke trees, which originated in Butte County, may have been available to buy some years ago, they don’t seem to be anymore.

Bill Bird, a Sacramento-area gardener who was interviewed for the story, said he got several Duke avocado trees by taking cuttings from old trees growing near downtown Oroville. Then he had these grafted onto root stock from other types of seedling avocado trees.

Chaffin Family Orchards, a large farm north of Oroville, has a number of old Duke avocado trees. Chris Kerston, a part owner of the farm, said the farm sells the avocados when they are ripe in October. Some are sold at the Farmers Market in Chico.

Kerston said a number of people have grown trees from the avocado pits.

However, Bird said someone who did that could not be sure of getting a true Duke avocado tree.

Jerry Mendon, an owner of Mendon’s Nursery in Paradise, agreed.

“When you plant a seed, you never know what you’re going to get,” he said.

Mendon said since the story about the Duke appeared, about 50 people have called his nursery, inquiring about buying trees. In his many years as a nurseryman, Mendon said he never heard of Duke avocado trees being sold in nurseries.

Bird cited a California Avocado Society article that said Duke avocado trees weren’t damaged in a particularly cold winter in Southern California, when the temperature got down to 21 degrees.

But Mendon had a different view of the Duke’s hardiness. He said the Duke is not extremely frost resistant. A couple of other varieties, which can be bought in nurseries, are hardier, he said. These are the Stewart and the Mexicola.

But even with these, it would be touch and go in Butte County, he said.

They might do OK in what’s called the Paradise “banana belt,” below Pearson Road, he said. In Chico, they would be “marginal.”

The trees might be all right in a winter that wasn’t too cold, but if temperatures dropped below normal, they’d be damaged, he said. It might take two or three years for them to come back.

Most of us have tried to grow an avocado (Persea americana) tree from seed. Although an avocado plant can be grown in any large, indoor room, it’s also does well in a heated greenhouse. Both heat and humidity must be kept fairly high for an avocado tree to thrive.

To grow an avocado from seed, start by half-submerging a well-rinsed pit (pointy end up) in a container of water, with the pit supported by three toothpicks stuck into its sides. After about six weeks, the pit will split in half and a root will start growing downwards into the water. Then a stalk will start sprouting upwards.

After planting the seedling in a good-quality soil and keeping it warm and moist, the assumption is that the avocado should grow fine from here on. it often wilts and dies if not kept warm and moist. For most beginners, a gangly stalk grows straight up until it’s about four or five feet tall. This is hardly the lush, subtropical plant imagined.

The trick to producing an attractive, bushy avocado tree is to snip off the growing tip (the top two or four tiny leaves) after the plant is about 12 to 18 inches tall. This causes the stalk to produce lateral branches. By snipping off the growing tip on each branch, a plant with a nice, bushy form can be obtained, as long it receives adequate sunlight.

But don’t expect this plant to give you a bountiful crop of avocados. Avocado plants grown from seed are usually sterile, or at best they set fruit that is nothing like that of the parent plant. To get the avocados you know and love, you must graft a fruiting avocado branch onto your pit-grown tree.

To do this, let the stalk grow without snipping off its tip until it’s about two feet tall. This should produce a stalk strong enough for grafting. The branch you use for grafting should come from a propagated avocado plant. The new branch should be the same diameter as the stalk onto which it will be attached. Simply cut a v-notch in the stalk and cut the end of the branch to fit the notch. Then secure the branch in place with grafting tape or a suitable substitute. Make sure the bark on both pieces is precisely aligned to enable the flow of sap, and minerals through the vascular tissue. Now just water the plant and wait for it to grow. If the graft takes, it will start to grow, and in a few years you should get avocados. Snip off any branches that sprout below the graft because they will absorb the sap that should go to the new branch and the new branch will die.

My Avocado Adventure

It’s time to water and wait. Put the jar in an area that gets some light, but not direct sunlight. Your kitchen counter is a great spot. It can take up to six weeks for the pit to germinate and start to show signs of life. I know I threw away my first couple attempts too early. Eventually, you’ll see it start to split open down the seam. It might even look like it’s going to completely fall apart. Don’t worry though, it’s still held together in the middle by the hypocotyl and radicle. After another week or so you’ll see a root starting to grow downward and the first signs of a stem start to appear.

Once you start to see a definite stem appearing, begin moving the jar closer to a south-facing window. You want to take this slow to avoid giving the new shoot a sunburn. Gradually, you’ll start to see it greening up and maybe the first signs of leaves at the top. Once it reaches six inches tall after a few months of growth, it’s time to trim it back to three inches. This might sound scary, but it will help the stem get stronger. You’ll also notice that this helps trigger the roots to start branching too.

Finally comes transplanting. When your avocado reaches six inches again, it will be time to transplant it. I recommend going with a big, deep pot. Although it might be small now and it’s taken nearly a year to get to this point, it is still a tree. Trees get big! Plant it so that the top of the pit is even with the surface of the soil. Keep it well watered for the first couple weeks. Until this point it has been growing totally in water, and it needs to slowly transition into soil. You’ll know when it’s taken root because will produce a set of new, bigger, and greener leaves if it’s happy.

Avocados can’t survive temperatures below freezing, so here in West Virginia Andy will always be an indoor plant enjoying the view out of a sunny window. Trimming your avocado tree occasionally will help keep it compact and promote branching. This results in a bushy, fuller looking specimen. The chances it will ever fruit indoors are slim, and it can take an avocado grown from seed up to 13 years to fruit so it is more of an ornamental plant. This plant is more about the journey.

Over the years I’ve grown hundreds of plants indoors, and I’ve never given one a name. Andy is different. I’ve never had to invest so much time and patience into growing something. We’ve been through a lot together over the last year. If you’re looking for something to challenge your skills as a gardener, start with some guacamole.

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