How to Grow Avocados
The Appropriate Growing Environment
Avocados are the main ingredient in guacamole, and the kernel left over after eating the pulp can be grown into trees. Although it takes a long time (sometimes 7-15 years) to nurture kernel into a big tree, planting avocado trees is still a meaningful thing. When the core grows into a big tree, you can wait for it to bear fruit, or you can speed up the process and help graft vigorous branches.
Find a warm, partial sun planting site. Avocados are subtropical plants that love sunlight. It is native to the central United States, Mexico, and western India, and thus prefers warm, moist environments. Avocados can also be grown in California, and good light is necessary for their healthy growth. However, too much light can be harmful, especially if the avocado tree is not yet full of foliage. So, if you’re growing an avocado tree from kernel, you need to choose an area that gets sunlight part of the day but not constant direct sunlight.
A sunny window edge is great for avocado growth. Place the tree in the window sill, avocado can get some light and you can control suitable temperature and humidity.
Avoid cold and wind frost. Avocado trees cannot survive inclement weather like snow, cold winds, and even sudden temperature drops can kill avocado trees. If you’re in the tropics or subtropics where are a relatively mild climate, you can place avocados outside year-round. If winter freezes in your area, then keep your avocado trees indoors for the winter.
Different varieties of avocado trees have different cold hardiness. In general, the following avocado varieties will be seriously injured when temperatures drop to the temperatures listed.
West Indian avocados: -2.2-1.7 degrees Celsius
Guatemalan avocados: -2.8-1.7 degrees Celsius
California avocados: -3.9-1.7 degrees Celsius
Mexican avocados: -6.1-2.8 degrees Celsius
Use well-drained and nutrient soil. Like other plants, avocado trees love lose and nutritious soil. Such soil provides sufficient nutrients for plants and also facilitates drainage and ventilation. Once the roots of the avocado tree are firmly established, use some soil rich in humus and organic matter.
At beginning, avocado is hydroponic growing, with no soil, but need to be transplanted into soil after grown up.
Use soil with low pH. Like other plants, avocado trees prefer soils that are low in pH, or acidic soil. The most suitable pH is 5-7. If this pH value is exceeded, the avocado tree’s ability to absorb nutrients such as iron and zinc will be greatly reduced, hindering its growth.
How to Plant
Take pit out and wash it. It’s easy to take the pit from a ripe avocado. Use a fruit knife along the centerline of the avocado, slitting both sides, then grab the sides and twist below to split the avocado in half. Scoop out the pits from the pulp. Wash off any remaining pulp from the pits until smooth and clean.
Let the pits be suspended in the water. Avocado pits cannot be planted directly in the soil. They need to be hydroponically grown until the rhizomes are large enough to support the entire plant. An easy way to keep the pit suspended in water: insert three toothpicks evenly on the side of the pit so that it can be attached to the surface of a cup or bowl. Don’t worry, this won’t hurt the avocado. Fill a cup or bowl with water so that the bottom of the pit is submerged in the water.
Place on a sunny window edge and add water as needed. Place the container with the suspended pips on the edge of a window that has sunlight (not a direct sunlight) for a few hours a day. Take a good care of it and add water when water level drops to the bottom of the pit. After about a month and a half, a stem will grow on the top of the pit, and a root system will grow on the bottom. The initial phase will last 2-6 weeks. The pits may not change at first, you need to be patient and you will eventually see rhizomes grow from the pits.
When the stems grow to 15cm long, they need to be trimmed. After the kernel have developed roots, they still need to be cared for, adding water as needed. When the stem grows to 15cm, it needs to be trimmed, trimmed to only 7.5cm left. Then the kernel will grow a new root system, which grows into an avocado tree.
Transplant avocado trees. After a few weeks, when the avocado tree has established foliage and firm roots. It should be transplanted into a grow bag. Remove the toothpick and transplant the avocado tree roots down into well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. The best suitable diameter of grow bags is 9.8-11.8 inches. If the grow pot is too small, the root system of the plant will be limited and growth will be hindered. Kernel should not be buried completely in the soil, just bury the root system so that the upper part of the core is exposed.
Water regularly with full sun. Just after transplanting the plant into the pot, water the soil. After watering, make sure the soil is moist, not too wet. Place the pot in a sunny (but not constant direct sunlight) location, especially not in direct sunlight if the local climate is hot.
Pick leaves every 15cm long. After transplanting into pots, give them enough sunlight to water them frequently. When the avocado tree is 30cm long, start picking new leaves. Remove the newest and tallest leaves for every 15cm in height. The leaves are picked to allow the avocado tree to grow side branches and make it more lush.
Let the avocado tree grow to 0.6-0.9 meters tall. As mentioned above, the time required from the start of the core to the result is not certain. Some avocado trees bear fruit for a few years, some take longer or never bear fruit. To speed up the process, professional budding can be done. Budding requires two avocado trees, a mature avocado tree that is already bearing fruit, and seedling avocado tree that is at least 23.6-30 inches tall. Try to choose healthy and productive mature avocado trees for budding. Because budding requires the actual transfer of the mature tree branches to the seedlings, the health of the branches must be guaranteed.
Make a T-cut in the stem of the avocado seedling. Make a T-cut with a sharp knife 8-12 inches from the root of the avocado seedling. The depth of the horizontal cutting edge is 1/3 of stalk, and the length of the vertical cutting edge is about 0.98 inches. But the bark of the seedling with a knife. The blade should not be too deep. The cutting edge is for budding, not t hurt the sapling.
Take a sprout branch from a mature avocado tree. Take a healthy sprout from a ripe avocado tree of your choice. Make a diagonal incision 0.47-0.98 inches below the prefetched bud branch. If the bud branch is in the middle of the original branch, make an incision on the upper part of the bud branch.
Budding. Insert the removed bud branch diagonally into the T-shaped knife edge of the seedling. Allow the green tissue under the bark to touch each other, or the budding may not be successful. Once inserted, secure with rubber tape. You can also cut the original main stem of the seedling to 0.98-2 inches, so that the budding branches become the main stem. Always remember that avocados take 5-13 years from kernel to fruit.
How to Maintain
Water frequently, but not excessively. Like other plants in the garden, avocado trees need a lot of water. However, too much water is not good for any kind of plant. It is advisable to water in moderation so that the soil does not become mushy. Use well-drained soil, preferably rich in organic matter. If planting in a pot, make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of th pot. That way, the avocado tree doesn’t absorb too much water. If the avocado leaves have turned yellow if they have been watered multiple times recently, it indicates too much water. You should stop watering immediately and wait until the soil dries out before watering.
Just fertilizer occasionally. Avocados can grow healthily without fertilizing. However, the correct use of fertilizer can promote the growth of avocado trees. After the avocado root system is stable, add organic fertilizers according to the instructions in the season of vigorous growth. Don’t overdo it, control the amount of fertilization. Water after fertilizing to allow the fertilizer to be dispersed in the soil for easy uptake by the roots. Like many other plants, avocado trees should not be fertilized when they are immature, or they may get burned by the fertilizer. Fertilize at least a year after planting.
Watch for signs of excess soil salinity. Avocado trees are more sensitive to salt than other plants.
Avocado leaves may turn brown if the soil has high salinity. In this case, water generously at least once a month to moisten the soil and flush the salt into the subsoil to prevent damage to the root system.
Insecticide treatment. Like other crops, avocados can be infested by pests that affect their quality and even their survival. To keep your avocado tree health, you need to know how to identify and deal with pest infections. The following are some common conditions, details can be consulted with a plant specialist.
Festering: plant cells are swollen and may shed sap. Cut off festering branches, as the main stem festers, the plant may die.
Root rot: usually caused by over-watering. Accompanied by symptoms such as yellow leaves and wilting. Over-watering should be stopped immediately and, in severe cases, the roots should be exposed to the air. Severe cases can also lead to death.
Fusarium wilt: there are markings on the tree. The infected area should be removed immediately, and the tools used must be cleaned strictly to prevent secondary infection.
Net bug: yellow spots appear on leaves, withered leaves fall off. Insecticides such as pyrethrins should be used.
Borer: small holes appear in trees where sap may flow. Prevention is always better than cure. If there is a problem, it is necessary to remove the pest part as soon as possible to prevent the spread.