Avocados have seen a real surge in popularity recently, and you may be wondering if you can skip the trip to the produce store and instead simply go out to your backyard. Keep reading to find out when to plant avocado trees and where they will grow.
When to plant avocado trees: Avocado trees are best started when they are small saplings, as it can take quite a while before they produce fruit. Plant your avocado trees in the spring to allow them to establish themselves. Space your trees out as they can get up to 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide when fully mature. Water for long periods of time to encourage the roots to spread deeper for a more solid tree. After 5 to 13 years of growing, your avocado tree will begin to produce fruit. Wait until the fruit is fully grown before picking as avocados don’t ripen until after they come off the tree.
Planting Avocado Trees in Different Climates
Perhaps the best climate for an avocado tree is a tropical climate. If you live in the United States, avocado trees only grow in southern Florida or in Hawaii.
A dry climate usually has colder nights and an avocado tree needs consistent warmth. Furthermore, the dryness in the soil won’t be able to support your tree.
In a temperate climate, you have mild winters and summers and this is just not enough heat for an avocado tree. If you live in a temperate climate and want to experiment with avocado trees, you could try your luck with a greenhouse setup.
While the hot summer temperatures of a continental climate would be great for an avocado tree, the very cold winter temperatures won’t allow it to survive.
A polar climate is definitely too cold for an avocado tree.
Choosing Avocado Tree Seeds
One of the most popular varieties of avocados is the kind that you will be familiar with at your grocery store. Hass avocados have a thick skin and a creamy inside.
Another common type of avocado, they are often grown with Hass varieties to help with pollination. Their fruit is long and oval and the thin skin can more easily peel off.
While this variety is smaller in size, each tree will have a very high yield. You can expect a rich and creamy texture from the fruit.
How to Plant Avocado Trees
Seeds vs trees
Planting avocado trees is the most common way to start. Avocado trees that are two to three years old are easy to find and you will get a head start on the fruit production.
While you can start with avocado seeds, it can take a very long time for the tree to grow and produce fruit, which is not very economical.
Avocado trees do not do well in colder temperatures so you want to get them in the ground in the spring. This way they will be firmly established before winter hits.
While most people will plant their avocado trees where there is little distinction between the seasons, if you are just on the edge of the ideal planting zone, where you can expect colder winters, then planting in spring is incredibly important.
If you’ve never seen an avocado tree before, you might be surprised at just how large they can get. While they do vary by type, some avocado trees can grow to be 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
When planting, you want to space out your trees by 30 feet. This will allow enough airflow between branches and will keep your trees growing in a healthy manner.
You will also want to make sure there are at least 10 feet between your avocado tree and any structure, such as a barn or house. Again, this will allow for proper growth.
Digging the hole
When they are just a few years old, the root structure of an avocado tree can be quite fragile. You want to pick one spot for your tree and not dig it up at a later time.
When digging your hole, you want the top of the avocado tree’s roots to be lined up with the ground. If the hole is too deep, the roots will be too far below the surface and if the hole is too shallow, the roots can become damaged.
Avocado trees need full sun, so be sure to find an area that provides this. Furthermore, when they are young, they can be damaged by wind.
Find an area that is protected by the wind. If not, you will have to add support for your trees in their first years of life.
While you can grow some dwarf varieties of avocado trees in a container, note that this will stunt their growth even further. You will get some avocados but you shouldn’t expect the kind of yield from a tree grown in the ground.
Well-draining soil is important for avocado trees. They also prefer soil that is rich in nutrients and slightly loamy. If there is too much moisture in the soil, it can lead to root rot.
Avocado trees prefer soil that is slightly acidic or neutral. Try to aim for a pH level that is between 5 and 7.5.
How to Water Avocado Tree
When you water your avocado tree, aim for long periods of watering that are infrequent. When there is water deeper in the soil, it will encourage the roots to grow deeper as well.
After first planting your avocado tree, you should water it regularly. Then, as it starts to grow larger, you can water it less.
During the summer months when it is especially hot out, you may need to add more frequent waterings.
How to Grow Avocado Tree
To help keep moisture in the soil but not make it too wet, you can add a layer of mulch to your avocado tree. This can be re-applied every spring.
Be sure to not put the bark mulch right next to the actual tree trunk as this can cause rot in the trunk.
The flowers on an avocado tree have both male and female parts, which should mean that self-pollination is possible. However, these parts open at separate times.
To help with pollination, it is best to plant at least two avocado trees. This will help pollinators, such as bees, transfer the nectar around.
While it is a bit technical, there are Type A avocado trees and Type B trees. Type A trees will open their female parts of the flower in the morning while Type B will open their male parts in the morning. As you can see, having one Type-A and one Type B tree is ideal.
Getting in the habit of pruning avocados on a regular basis is key. When you prune your trees, you will force them to grow in a bushier manner and produce more fruit.
For those that are starting from seeds, you can prune your avocado tree when it is as young as 6 inches tall. After that, prune the tree back at least 6 inches every year.
You can engage in light maintenance of your avocado tree throughout the year, including trimming back dead branches. However, a major prune should be done in the early spring, before the flowers start to grow.
You can wait all you want, but avocado fruit won’t actually ripen on the tree. Instead, they will start to ripen once you pick them.
Let the avocados grow until they are full-size on your tree. Leave the fruit out at room temperature and in a few days they will begin to ripen.
How long do Avocado Trees take to grow?
It can take an avocado tree 5 to 13 years before it will start to bear fruit. However, it will keep growing after this and some varieties can grow to be 50 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
A mature avocado tree can produce a lot of avocados. Because it takes a while to produce fruit, most growers will start with trees that are a few years old, in order to get a head start.
Can you grow an avocado tree from a seed?
In the middle of each avocado is a brown pit, or seed, that can create a new avocado tree. Indeed, many children will experiment with growing their own avocado tree at home.
While this is an exciting endeavor, and the inside of most homes will support this growth, avocado trees only survive outside in very warm areas.
Furthermore, it takes up to 13 years for a tree to bear fruit, so if you do start from a seed, be prepared to be patient.
Avocado trees are a real treat but unfortunately, they only grow where it is warm most of the year. This includes the southern parts of Florida and Hawaii. While you can grow avocados from seeds, most gardeners start with trees that are a few years old.