Rick's Tree Service Blog

How to Care for an Avocado Tree

While many people think of the avocado as a vegetable is really a fruit. The avocado is one of the most nutritious fruits that you can grow. There are numerous varieties of avocados trees that you can plant. If you are looking for a hardy variety that has smooth, shiny fruit, try a Mexican variety. Guatemalan varieties must be grown in a warm climate and have thick, black, green skins. West Indian species of avocados cannot tolerate cold and bear fruit with thin green, yellow skin.

Avocado trees cannot tolerate a lot of direct sunlight. They should be planted on the north side of your house or under a large shade tree. If this is not possible, you can put up a temporary structure to provide shade for your newly planted avocado tree. It can be taken down once your avocado tree is established, as it will need some sun to flower and bear fruit.

Avocado trees prefer fast draining soil. Pick a spot to plant your tree that has good natural drainage. Dig a hole that is as deep and wide as the root ball. Gently ease the tree into the hole so you don’t damage the avocado’s sensitive roots. Young avocado trees should be staked to provide stability against high winds.

Avocado trees only need to be watered during their growing season. They only need to be water when the top couple of inches of soil have dried out. Stick your finger in the soil to see if the tree needs to be water. Use a drip hose or turn the hose down to a trickle and water the tree for a long period of time. A long slow watering is much more beneficial than a quick drenching of your avocado tree. Typically an avocado tree needs to be watered twice a week. If you add a four inch thick layer of mulch around your tree, it will stay moist longer and need watering less often. Keep the mulch approximately six to eight inches away from the trunk of the tree.

Once your avocado tree has reached two years of age, you should fertilize it once every spring. You should use a slow release, citrus tree fertilizer. Be sure not to over fertilize your tree as you can harm or even kill it. Your avocado tree can be pruned to shape the tree or to remove dead or weak branches.

Avocado trees will begin to bear fruit approximately four to five years after they are planted. If you grow an avocado tree from a seed, it may take a few years longer to bear fruit. An avocado tree can produce up to 300 avocados per year once it is mature. Avocado trees are alternate bearers. They may produce a small crop one year and then a large crop the next year. Avocado trees will produce fruit for many, many years. There are some avocado trees in Mexico that are still producing fruit, even though they are over 400 years old.

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