Hi I'm Tricia an organic gardener. I grow organically for a healthy and safe food supply, for a clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Avocados are delicious and nutritious subtropical or tropical fruit but if you live in a warm weather or mild winter climate you can grow your own avocados.
Choose the right location for your avocado tree you need full sun south or southwesterly exposure, little wind and well-drained soil and make sure you plant at least eight to ten feet away from any structure. Prior to planting its recommend that you do a soil test and if you only do one test make it a pH test because avocados don't do well in any pH that's higher than seven check out our how-to video on how to do a soil test. You can lower the pH with a soil sulfur like this one from EB Stone and do it before you plant the tree because lowering the pH is going to be difficult after the tree is planted. Avocado trees grow to be 25 to 30 feet tall if left unpruned. It's relatively easy for the home gardener to keep the tree smaller, a smaller trees especially important if you may have to protect the tree from frost occasionally throughout the year. For a complete guide to frost protection check out our how to protect plants from frost video. Avocados produce what we call perfect flowers they're both male and female but on different days and at different times Avocados are divided into "A" and "B" type flowers "A" type flowers are female in the morning the first day and male in the afternoon of the second day "B" type flowers are male in the morning of the first day and female in the afternoon of the second day some self pollination occurs but you'll get the most fruit by planting one of each flower type. Today I'm gonna be planting a Mexicola and a Zutano and they need to be planted about 20 to 30 feet apart. Dig your hole the same depth as the root ball and about the same width as the pot. Avocados have a very sensitive root system to avoid disturbing the roots carefully cut away the container and then ease the plant into the hole do not drop it in the hole back fill the hole carefully and water your newly planted avocado. Small trees might need five to twenty gallons a couple times a week and larger trees may be able to go a week or longer between watering. Don't allow them to stand in water longer than a few hours allow the soil to dry a little bit between waterings, to test the dryness of the soil just do the squeeze test, take a handful of soil and squeeze it if it stays together don't water.
Avocados are shallow rooted so they really benefit from mulch the best mulch is the trees own leaves when they fall but until the tree gets big enough to do that I'm gonna put a little bit of weed mat around the base of the tree to act as a mulch. Grafted avocados like this tree will fruit after two years avocados grown from seed take eight to ten years to bear fruit. It's important to protect the truck from sun burn. Sun burn will damage the trunk and then will expose the tree to pests and diseases. A white tree guard like this is perfect for newly planted trees since it also protects for rodent damage alternatively you can paint the trunks with a 50/50 mix of white interior latex paint and water. To maintain your tree size pitching back the growing tips is a better way to maintain size than heavy pruning Fertilization is key for avocado trees fertilize monthly with a citrus fruit tree or avocado fertilizer like this one from EB Stone and trees that are fertilized are much more cold hardy then they're non fertilize counterparts. Avocados don't ripen on the trees and it can be hard to know when to harvest you have to know the variety of avocado tree that you have and know when it ripens. Pick a couple of the fruits and let them ripen at 72 to 65 degrees fahrenheit if they soften in two weeks you're fruit is ripe if the fruit doesn't ripen pick some more and try again. This clip in pic pole picker is a great tool to harvest avocados that are on a big tree like this one. It has razor blades to cut the fruit from the tree and a mesh bag to keep it from getting bruised. Avocados hold well on the tree so they can be picked over a period of time, so grow an avocado tree and grow organic for life.