Tips & Advice
Here you will find tips, tricks and advice on how to plant various plants and trees and how to care for them. We aim to reduce black thumbs across the nation! :)
Avocados are one of the wonderful fruits of summer. High in nutrition and flavor, nothing signals the start of summer like a zesty lime guacamole dip with tortilla chips. The next time you’re making guacamole or slicing an avocado for a salad, try saving your pits to grow into avocado trees. It’s surprisingly easy to grow your own avocado tree from seed, and it makes a great educational project for home and classrooms. Check out our handy-dandy guide below, complete with photos, to learn how to grow an avocado tree indoors from seed.
Type A Avocado Species:
Hass - Largest commercially produced variety with excellent flavor and oil content. Green fruit turns black when ripe, with its recognizable pebbly skin. Fruit size 10-12 oz. Ripens April – September, an extremely long season. Large tree, frost sensitive below 32*F .
Pinkerton - Heavy, early producer near coast and inland. Green fruit, medium pebbly skin. Great Flavor. Fruit size 14-16 oz. Ripens November -April. Medium spreading tree, Hardy to 30* F
Mexicola - High quality fruit with thin, shiny black skin. Fruit Size 4-8 oz. Ripens August to October. Cold Hardy to 18 *F
Stewart - A compact Mexicola type avocado. Black when ripe, thin skin fruit. Fruit size 4-8 oz. Ripens August - October. Cold Hardy to 18 *F!
Type B Avocado Species:
Fuerte - Excellent fruit quality. Green fruit, medium-thin skin. Large spreading tree. Does not produce well near the coast. Fruit size 10-12 oz. Ripens December -May. Frost tolerant to 30*F.
Bacon - Popular variety in most areas of low winter temperature. Hardy to 28 * F. Tasty green fruit with medium thin skin. Medium upright tree. Fruit size 10-12 oz. Ripens December - January.
Jim Bacon - Bacon type with flavorful green skinned fruit with smooth and creamy flesh. Good production on an attractive, upright tree. Trees are slightly more frost resistant than Bacon to 27*F.
Zutano - Good variety in relatively low temperatures. Green fruit, medium-thin skin. Upright tree. Fruit size 10-12 oz. Ripens November - January. Used as a pollinator for Hass in orchard settings. Cold hard to 26* F.
Ettinger - Similar to Fuerte, with smooth, thin green skin and pale green flesh, 10-20 oz. It is an important variety in Israel. It has an upright habit with little spreading.
Dwarf Avocado Species:
WURTZ - (also known as Wertz, Little Cado) Makes a great backyard tree. Height 8-12 feet. Produces good tasting, green skinned fruit with medium-thin skin. Fruit Size 8-14 oz. Ripens May-September. (A or B Type)
Holiday - Guatemalan type bears excellent flavor, pear shaped, 18-24 oz green fruit which hold the tree very well. It is a smaller tree than Wurtz. It was named Holiday because the fruit ripens between Labor Day and New Year's Day.
Selection - Choose the right variety for your climate. Hass and Pinkerton, for example, will not survive freezing temperatures without frost protection.
In California, avocado trees can be considered self-fruitful. They will produce more fruit if you have an A and a B tree, but you will still get fruit if there is just one, if it survives the winter. Here in AZ where our environment is not as conducive to growing we must take every effort to ensure fruiting.
Planting - Avocados require well drained soil and will not thrive in heavy clay soils for long. If you do have heavy clay soils, we recommend planting your avocado tree in a raised bed. The raised bed should be at least two feet above the existing grade of the soil. It is also very important not to plant avocado trees too deeply. We recommend planting them at least l"-2" inches above the existing soil grade and then creating a small mound around the base with a mixture of compost and well drained soil.
Avocado trees should be planted in sunny locations that are protected from wind. Avocado trees are susceptible to root rot so you should not plant a new avocado tree in a space where an old tree had died as the soil may be contaminated. Also as with any tree please plant with the collar of the tree an inch or two above the ground. Leave some of the small roots at the top of the soil exposed, or underneath a layer of mulch. These roots are one of the ways the tree breaths and burying them can lead to tree death.
If you want to mix more than one type of avocado tree together in a back yard setting, it is possible to plant more than one tree in the same hole or plant the trees together with as little as 4 feet of space between the trunks. But remember, avocado trees can grow up to 25' if not shaped, so select variety planting site carefully.
Watering - Do not over water avocado trees! Over watering trees in the ground in certain soils is often the number one factor in causing root rot. Avocados prefer infrequent deep root watering. It is best to allow trees to dry out before you apply water again. Avocados in containers do need consistent frequent watering.
Mulching - It is a good idea to apply a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch to avocado trees each year to help retain soil moisture and improve soil quality. Apply mulch in spring and fall under the canopy of the tree, keep it away from the trunk of the tree.
Pruning - Avocados should only be minimally pruned in order to shape and control size.
Frequent pinching of young trees is a good method to shape the tree, rather than heavy pruning. Avocado trees can be susceptible to sunburn so newly pruned trees and young trees must be shaded until the young trunk is slowly acclimated to sun. As an alternative young trees can be whitewashed with interior white latex paint, diluted 50-50 with water during periods of high summer heat and intense sunshine.
Fertilizing - Avocado trees should be fed on a regular basis. Fertilize using well balanced citrus / avocado food using the manufacturer’s recommendations. Avocado trees that have been well feed year-round are better able to deal with our cold temperatures in the winter.