Once established avocados are easy to maintain and will provide loads of fruit every year – yum! They can reach up to 8m high in Perth but can be kept pruned to around 4 m high. This makes them an ideal evergreen tree for medium backyards. Grafted trees generally produce fruit within 2-3 years and self-fertile varieties do not need a cross pollinator.
Soil - Avocados dislike wet, waterlogged and heavy soils and are prone to fungal root rots. Overwatering is very common, and will quickly lead to the death or deterioration of the tree and its root system. Plant in soil that is very well drained to about one metre. In heavier soil, plant on a mound or in a raised garden bed. Blackening of stems or leaves can indicate that your avocado has a fungal root disease. Treat this straight away with a systemic fungicide otherwise you may lose your tree.
Organic matter - Avocados like plenty of organic matter, such as compost and blended manures, in the soil. We like to use the Green Life Soil Co. General Concentrate when planting any tree. This rich organic concentrated compost also contains rock minerals and beneficial soil microbes.
Mulch - It is important to keep your tree well mulched. This will make sure the shallow feeder roots are moist. An ideal mulch is open and allows the water to penetrate to the soil. Either Lupin Mulch or Bailey’s Moisture Mulch works well. Finer saw-dust like mulches tend to wick the moisture out of the soil and are not suitable. Coarse wood chip mulches that don’t break down can form a water repellent barrier.
Wind - Protect young trees from hot drying winds. An established tree will tolerate more wind than a young tree, however they may still suffer in exposed positions.
Position - Sun is important for your new avocado to grow strongly and one day will help with flowering. However, they will grow quite happily in morning sun, with protection from the hot afternoon summer sun.
Frost – Avocados dislike frost – especially while young. If you are in a frost prone area of Perth (such as the hills) you will need to protect young trees. Simply throw a cover over the tree during those chilly winter evenings and remove it the next morning.
Fertilising – Avocados are heavy feeders during their main growing season in the warmer months. A twice annual feed in Spring and Autumn of a high quality, mineral rich fruit tree fertiliser is recommended. Use Troforte® Fruit & Citrus and top dress with compost (Green Life Soil Co. General Concentrate). A sprinkle of a blood & bone based fertiliser (such as Kickalong Organic) during Spring will keep you tree growing and fruiting nicely.
Pollination – Avocados have a curious reproductive life. Although their flowers contain both male and female parts, they have the ability to open these parts individually and gain pollen from a suitable partner. Although self-fertile and can be grown alone, the chances of cross-pollination are increased if a type A is planted alongside a type B.
Read more at: Agriculture WA: Growing Avocados
Please note that this is intended as general information only. Please ask one of our qualified horticulturists for more specific advice for your situation.
Why not grow some delicious Avocados for yourself?