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Avocado Growing — 73 Comments

  1. Hello Charley, I had called a few places for soil for planting my last 10 or so avacado trees, California avacado society referred me to agriservices. They recommended 70/30 blend. Will this work, as I had mentioned earlier I need to build up a hill side 2′-3′ deep with new soil.
    Thank You
    Joe

  2. Hello Charley, I would like to know if you can direct me in picking up some soil for planting more avacado’s here in San Diego. I will need aprox. 10yds. of soil. I was told not to use top soil??? Thank You for your expertise.
    Joe

  3. Charley,
    I feel motivated to grow avocado for profit in Florida and need to learn from 0; please where can I find guidance. Thank you.

    • Gerardo, The avocados grown in Florida are different than those grown in California. I would look to see if the university of Florida or Florida State has an extension service who might have information on growing practices. I would also check the yellow pages for listings of grove managers who might be able to help. You should also call your local Farm Bureau office. Finally I would call Brooks Tropical. They are a major packer shipper of Florida avocados. I trust this will help and get you started. Charley

  4. Charley,
    My husband and I are in our 50′s and are looking to purchase a home and eventually retire in Fallbrook. We are looking at a 2 1/2 acre parcel with 100 avocado trees that are in good shape, well taken care of. We know nothing about this sort of business. What is the estimated time commitment and is there a profit available for this size grove? My husband is interested in learning about caring for the grove, he is a strong DIYer, but also has other hobbies-so we are mainly concerned with the amount of time and upkeep involved.

    Thanks!
    Jennifer

    • Jennifer, I am sure you will love Fallbrook. How much time it will take depends on a lot of variables, for example the age of the trees the slope of the land to name a few. I must tell you that my usual response to this question ask by many is this. The best operator of an orchard is the owner who lives on the land and has the technical knowledge. That being said the other part is that you will quickly become a slave to the grove. Tough decision because there is a lot of personal satisfaction in producing a crop. Good luck on your venture. Charley

  5. Hi Charley,

    we are looking at purchasing a small avo and citrus farm in Ojai, we need advice about going organic and general farming info, can we consult with you? Thank you!

    Carol

    • Carol, I would first go on line to the University of California Cooperative Extension web site. You can get good information to start on both subjects. I am in San Diego County so consulting in Ojai would be expensive. I am sure you can find someone up there. Check with the County Farm Bureau they can help. Charley

  6. We thinking about buying a 9 acre orange groove in Ventura County. Wanted to get an idea of the cost to convert to an avocado orchard.

    • Wendy, My memory is most of those orange groves in Ventura are on relatively gentle land. To clear the orange grove and install a new irrigation system for a high density planting you should budget $25,000 to $30,000 per acre. The number can be refined after the land is cleared and the new planting is flagged. Sounds interesting. Good luck, Charley

  7. Just found your website. It’s amazing what I have forgotten about avocados in the years I have been gone from Fallbrook. Thank you for helping me brush up on that knowledge.. I have a couple of trees grown from seeds in pots that are greatly pampered here in Evansville, Indiana. You can take a girl out of Fallbrook but you can’t take Fallbrook out of her heart. Hope all is well, Kathy.

    • Kathy, Nice to hear from you. I assume all is well. Remember those trees grown from seeds are not going to produce edible fruit. Charley

  8. I have a 13-acre (10 in trees) producing grove inheritance in Ramona – we need a small-grove management person to give me advice (keep in trees, stump some, replace some, expand, cut back, etc.) but mostly to take over management for a short time until everything is straightened out and running smoothly again. I’d appreciate contact information so we can talk about what information you need to give advice and if you can help us manage this grove to its most efficient. Thanks!

  9. Hi! Thanks for all the great advice! Do you ever do farm management/consulting in Riverside. I am just starting to put in 30 avos as a test. The avo we have as a home tree has done great over the last 12 yrs. My hope is to plant the hillsides around our house. Our soil is decomposed granite and seems to be great for growth. I’d love to know what you think and what irrigation tips you may have. Thanks! Cathy

    • Cathy, You didn’t say where you are in Riverside. Yes I do consulting in Riverside. I will send you contact info separately. Management would depend on where you are located. Look forward to hearing from you. Charley

      • Thanks! I just spoke with your office. We are too far out for management but not for your consultation. I’m going to have you consult I just need to figure when the best time will be since we are an hour away.
        Currently we are finishing up installing 24k gallons of holding tanks for our well to irrigate from.
        We are planning to plant within the week. The spacing we had planned was 18 ft off set rows. Someone recommended we plant closer. What is your recommendation?
        I was also planning to let gravity irrigate until I needed a pump. Do you have any reasons to install a pump to irrigate?
        Initially when setting up irrigation what sprinklers / irrigation setup do you recommend? And how often/much do the new plants need to be irrigated? Should I set up liquid fertilizer or do I wait until they are more established? I also understand that a filter system may be needed to prevent clogs of the sprinklers. Do you always recommend this?

        I know this is a lot of questions but we are new to this and I want to do it right to start. If you think I should have you consult before I planting (now) please let me know. Thank you!
        Cathy

  10. My wife and I bought a house in Valley Center, CA that has a small grove with 63 avocado trees. Please e-mail information about your consulting service. We want to learn about the trees what you recommend we do with them.

    Thank you.

      • Hi Charley, my husband and I are looking to buy a home in Temecula with an avocado grove business. We love avocados and the idea of using our land to earn us some income, but we don’t know anything about the avocado farming business. Can you also email me your contact info? I’d like to talk to you more about what we need to do, and using your services. You can also reach me by phone if that’s easier at 562-458-9282. Thank you and take care!

  11. Aloha Charley, I’m wanting to care for an avocado tree in my parents yard here on Kauai. I noticed that there are holes about the size of a fist, I assume from where large branches used to be, in the tree trunk (my dad might have done some over-pruning several years ago). The holes are deep extending into the trunk, black, and moist. What should I do with them so pests don’t get in and make themselves at home. Should I grow plants in the holes or fill them with something? The holes are at the lower half of the tree. The tree gives lots of fruits so I’m sure it’s not dead. What is your advice? And thanks for having a blog about avocado trees. This tree at my parents house has been around forever so I want to care for it as much as possible. And comes to think of it, I used to play on the tree as a little girl. So I love this tree. Thank you so much for your time.

    • Merissa, If the hole is black and moist, the pest are probably already established. First clean all the material out of the hole. Use a light rod, a straight coat hanger, or stick and poke it into the hole to see how deep it is. Use a fungicide like a light diluted copper solution or buy one from a store. Spray the material into the hole. Then mix a runny batch of mortar and fill the hole. If your lucky the damage is not too extensive and the tree will flourish after you have treated this wound. Good luck. Charley

  12. most of my haas acocados fall off about the size of a pea. i probably had 100 or so and 3 stayed on from the november bloom and the same for the february bloom. i live in ventura about a mile from the ocean and the tree is about 10 years old.

    • Kevin, Tough to answer the question without looking at the tree. Let me give it a shot. First the tree will always drop some of the small fruit. It can’t carry all of it. It sounds like the drop was excessive. This is normally caused by stress. You told me how old the tree is but you didn’t tell me how long you have been taking care of it. I don’t remember seeing any weather reports for cold in Ventura so if they were stressed it was probably not enough water. Remember the tree is tropical it has to get enough water. Charley

      • Charlie, I bought a house in Northern California last year and it has a large avocado tree in the back yard. I was told some graft work was done to it and that it produces 4 different kinds of avocados. I cannot seem to identify what kind they are based on photographs on the Internet. Anyway you can help me? I can e-mail you photos of the tree and the avocados that are growing now. Thanks in advance! Mike R

        • Mike, Sure send the photos and I’ll give it a shot at Identifying them. I’ll send you an email address. Charley

  13. Hello,

    I live out here in Hemet Ca, and purchased a 6 ft by 3 ft grafted Hass Avocado from a well known nursery in Menifee Ca. I want to know if someone can provide me with the best advise on growing it out here. I heard that Avocados will not survive out here do to the Heat and Frost. I’ve had it in a barrel for a month “with wheels” for easy movement, currently its in between 2 of my citrus trees that provide it with some shade. Its doing fine but I don’t want to plant it until I get some expert advise like yourselves.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Gil, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. What you heard is correct. The climate in Hemet over time is not appropriate for growing avocados. What I mean is that you may plant it and have mild winters and duck the frost. You can counter the heat by being vigilant and applying water sufficiently and frequently. That being said sooner or later one or the other will probably take the tree out. Sorry. Charley

    • Thank you Charley, for confirming. I will try my best to preserve its life as long as nature will allow me to do so. Lesson learned do local climate research before buying.

  14. Charley,

    I live in the Upper Ojai in California and I wondered which variety of avocado does best in my area. I plan on purchasing two trees, any help that you could offer would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Constance

    • Constance, I assume you are in a frost free area. All the varieties will do well. I would suggest one Hass and then a variety to give you fruit at a different time of year; Reed, Fuerte, Bacon. Charley

  15. Hi Charley,
    We are planning to purchase avocado grove in Temecula for inve d tent purpose
    and saw 2 listing on the net.Will you be able to help us in analyzing and recommending
    the better one? Can you please send us your contact info?

    Thankyou
    Prema.

    • Prema, I would look forward to working with you on selecting a property for investment. I will send you my contact info. Thanks, Charley

  16. I have 2 avocado tree one is a hass the other a zutano. the hass avocado tree ,the leaves came out red then turned green and yellow,Yellow around the leaves.what can I do.

    • Victor, You didn’t say where these trees are located. From your brief description it appears the trees need fertilizer. Charley

  17. I live in Valley Center and we have a very old avocado tree. I wasn’t sure what type it was and after during some research I think only think that it may be a Fuerte. It has green thin skin with a medium to small seed and it’s very buttery, nutty in flavor texture some tone of yellow. The skin has to be peeled with a knife.
    So I decided that I would like variety so I just purchased 2 Hass trees. After doing some more research and learning about cross pollination I’m not sure that the exsisting tree is in fact a Fuerte. There are male flowers blooming on both trees in the morning hours. Is there any other why to tell if it’s a Type A or B?

    • Rosie, First both varieties have male and female flowers. So they will self pollinate. The Avocado Commission is looking at research to see if there are any cultural practices that could influence the flowers opening together to enhance production. You can go on line to look at some of the research that has been done on pollination for avocado. There are pictures of the flowers that may help you see what is happening on your trees. Thanks, Charley

  18. We live in Ramona and we’d like to plant one avocado tree in the next two weeks. Can you suggest the best time to plant, where to buy, and any ground prep we should do beforehand?
    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Sarah, You can plant any time after the danger of frost. Obviously you are safe now. Also you can’t plant during Santa Anna season, generally between Aug 15 and Sep 15. In terms of soil prep the old adage of dig a $20 hole for a $5 tree. In other words make the hole wide enough so there is loose soil for the tree to develop its root system. If you have a lot of clay where you are going to plant you can add some organic material. Remember plant the tree on a mound not in a basin. I would check your local retail nurseries to see if they have avocado trees. I don’t believe the wholesale nurseries will have single trees for sale. If you can’t find a tree you could call Atkins or Maddox nurseries in Fallbrook. Good luck. Charley

  19. Hello Charley,

    Thank you for putting together this forum. My grandfather recently purchased a small avocado orchard in Temecula, and I was hoping to see if you could do an analysis of the site. Can you please send me your contact information when you get a chance?

    Thank you. Adam

    • Sorry Charley!
      I searched and searched your site and could not find how to ask a new question so I hope I can get a response from you here.
      I live in Miami, Fl and I have about 35 avocado trees that are super healthy. I am an Avocado nut job and I study the subject constantly out of pure love.
      I am going to a wedding in Santa Monica in May and I want to bring back about 10 California varieties that are not grown in Florida. I called Brokaw and they told me that the trees cannot go to Florida and that’s the law. That’s the first time I heard about such a law. I am familiar with the laws on moving citrus to Florida but never have I heard this about Avocado trees. What do you say on this law, is that gospel? Is that true? Because if it is not true I’ll travel down to Fallbrook nurseries to fullfill my super strong desire to have these varieties at my home:
      Fuerte
      Gwen
      Holiday
      Sir Prize
      Kona Sharwill
      Carmen
      Lamb Haas
      If it is not against the law which nurseries will I have the best chance in the Fallbrook area to obtain my wish list?
      Thank you so much my Avocado loving brother!

      • Richard, First I believe the advice given by Brokaw is correct. There are many restrictions on moving live plant material. Additionally the California varieties you seek will probably not do well in Florida. The avocados grown in Florida are West Indian varieties. Those grown is California Mexican varieties. They are completely different plants and fruit. The only thing they have in common is avocado. I am afraid the only route for you is to set up a connection in California to send you fruit in season. Charley

  20. Does the common house ant pollinate an avacado trees, or are they harmful?

    I have an orange brush next to my avacado trees, and the orange is loaded with bees, but the avacado I see none. Should I be worried?

    • Andreas, The ant is not a pollinator. The ants do no economic damage to trees. Unfortunately they cultivate other pest and attack beneficial insects. Therefore they should be controlled. The orange tree is favored by the bee over the avocado flower. The bees are probably going into the avocado you just don’t notice them. The bees are there so not to worry. Charley

  21. Hello Charley! First and foremost let me extend to you an enormous THANK YOU for providing so much free information on this site and other blogs that I’ve found that you’re also affiliated with. I think that it is so wonderful that you provide so much information here and you can definitely tell that it is truly appreciated by so many people and from all around the globe (I just spent the last hour reading all of the comments! Hahaha!). Anyway, a little about myself. I am a High School English teacher and have a lot of spare time on my hands when school is not in session and have always had a “thing” for growing fruit trees. I always have success with my citrus trees but my avocados …… oh those avocados!!!! They sure do give me a headache sometimes! Hahaha, well, now I know that I need to be planting on a mound (not a basin) LOL. Most of my problem is probably in that my property is in Perris, Ca and I know it can get pretty chilly out here for avocados and wouldn’t try to make an orchard or anything, I just do it for enjoyment and free avos! However, I am still interested in learning all things avocados because it is my dream to move back to North county Santa Barbara (where I did my undergraduate work) and it would be very feasible to grow avos there! So down to my question, I know it’s a long shot, but do you (or do you know of anyone) that would take on an apprentice or even a volunteer? I just want to learn anything/everything about avos, and I promise I learn quickly and am a big help! Hahaha and considering that Summer is about to begin and I wont be working for a few months, I figured it was worth asking! Thanks in advance for your time and again, thank you from the bottom of my avocado-loving heart! :)

    • Josie, First your problems with your avocado in Perris is probably the cold. You must also remember that it gets very hot in Perris. That is an awful lot of stress for the avocado. I don’t know of anyone who might be interested in an apprentice. Your best source of knowledge would be the UC extension and attending the free grower seminars. Additionally Dr. Bender conducts a six week hands on school. Unfortunately I believe he just completed one. You can goggle the schedule of the growers seminars from the California Avocado Society web site. Hope this helps. Charley

  22. Hello, thanks for your information, we recently purchased a property in
    Temecula, very many issues with 1000 haas trees, that were stumped about 4 inches off the ground, they are doing well but the the wind and rain these last few days has caused a lot of damage and the low limbs are simply falling off. We are not sure how to manage
    the unique problems we are faced with. Additionally we had a well, but is not being
    used now and unsure if it is worth the expense to rehabilitate and not sure of the
    potential salinity. Can you forward an agreement for management and consultation
    please? Thank you for your open forum to present questions, and appreciate your help !

    • Miriam, It sounds like the trees were stumped to be grafted. I will send you separately info to contact us. Charley

    • Yolanda, The market for 96 and smaller will be a specialty situation. For example a number of years ago Sizzler featured half avocado in the skin on their buffet. Obviously they wanted the small fruit. I don’t believe the general retail trade is interested in them. Hope this helps. Charley

  23. HELLO, CHARLEY
    I AM YOUR TYPICAL HOME OWNER IN THE HILLS UP IN WILDOMAR WITH AN ACRE. AND RECENTLY HAVE BEEN GIVEN 5 SUTANO AVOCADO TREE IN 15 GAL CONTAINERS.I HAVE CITRUS TREES THAT ARE DOING WELL. NOW I NEED PLEASE YOUR EXPERTIZE ON HOW TO PLANT THEM? ‘WHAT TO DO’? AND ARE THEY A GOOD AVOCADO TREE?

    THANK YOU SO MUCH.
    LEON

    • Leon, Probably the most important consideration is to plant the trees on a mound NOT in a basin. I assume the soils up there are well drained. The mound should be at least 18 inches above grade. For a 15 gal container the mound should be 3 to 4 feet in diameter. When you build the mound gather the soil from a larger area so that there is not a moat around the mound. Obviously after the mound is built dig a hole large enough to accept the tree ball. Look closely to be sure the plant is not root bound. You can tell if there are a lot of roots curving side ways going around the container. If they are you have to separate or cut them. You can apply some vitamin B to the roots to help with the stress. The top of the soil in the container should be the top of the soil after planting. DON’T put more soil on top of the soil from the container and up the trunk of the tree. The Zutano is a vertical growing tree so you can plant them closer to each other than you would plant a hass. The fruit is a winter variety the fruit will be ready in late fall and winter. When there were Zutanos in the commercial market there was a tendency to harvest them too early. They have a lighter flavor than hass. Good luck on your endeavor. Charley

  24. Hi Charley,

    I am in the process of purchasing 100 acres of ag land in Escondido,CA. Ive read your blog and thank you for the costing information. How do I reach you to see if you are interested in working on the project? Please email me and I will send you my phone number. Stevec7717@gmail.com

    Sincerely and thank you.

    Steve

    • Steve, Congratulations on your purchase. I’ll send you my email and phone number so we can get together. Charley

  25. I am looking to buy about 30 acres with 1500 avocado trees now dormant. Location: VALLY CENTER CA 92082.
    what is the water one foot acre cost? also do you think we can water the trees back into production that is profitable.
    Thank you
    robert

    • Robert, Water cost in Valley Center depend very much at what elevation the orchard is. The higher the elevation the cost is higher because you have to pay pumping charges. In most areas of Valley Center the cost is above $1200 per acre foot. You said the trees are dormant. I take that to be the water has been shut off. Not knowing how long the trees have not been irrigated and with out looking at them it is difficult to comment whether the trees can be “watered” back into profitable production. To answer your questions the grove needs to be evaluated. Charley

  26. Hi Charley,

    I would like to know how long it takes production size Hass fruits (96s and larger) to grow into next size up. I would like to know how many ounces each fruit size add up given the total crop load on the tree.Please let me know if you or someone you know can help me understand the fruit growth rate in context to Southern California. Thank you!

    • Bandana, You ask an interesting question that every grower wished they had the answer. Essentially it depends on several factors most of which the grower has no control. The one you can control is the health of the tree. A weak tree will not size fruit as fast as a healthy tree. The other factor is the weather. Temperature is important, but most important is rain fall. Over the years I am always amazed hor sizing accelerates after good rains. I trust this helps you understand the process although it doesn’t specifically answer you question. Merry Christmas. Charley

  27. Hi Charley..I am writing to you from East Jeruasalem. Recently I’ve aquired about 5 dunams of land in jericho palestine along with an hour of water flow a week..im not exactly sure how much water, but it was enough water to sustain the land when it was previously a citus orchard…jericho is known for it agriculture especially growing citrus..I want to do something different..I love avacado. They are also pretty expensive out here as well going for about 8 USD per kilo..according to my research the climate in jericho would be quite compatible for growing avacado..my question to you is can you advise on how I can aquire avacado seeds or grafts? .I cant seem to find any good resources in the westbank or israel.also how many tree can 5 dunams of land sustain?
    Thanks

    • Omar, I apologize for the delay in responding to your questions. I have only a passing knowledge of the questions you pose. I do have an associate who has detailed knowledge. Unfortunately I have not been able to catch up with him. Please be patient I will get you more information. Charley

    • Omar, I have checked with my friend yes the land around Jericho is suitable for avocado production. A dunam is one quarter of a hectare. How many trees will depend on the density. With a high density planting the number of trees will be over a thousand. There is an avocado association in Israel. If you contact them I believe they would have the information on nurseries that would have avocado seedlings. Charley

  28. Charley, I just purchased 5 acres in Temecula, De Luz. It was a working farm with several avocado trees. Since then it has been neglected and is in dire need of repair. How do I retain your services? can you please email me so that we can arrange an assessment?

  29. Hi Charlie, my wife and I are looking to purchase property in Temecula, De Luz area. We want to retire on this property in about ten years. What are your thoughts on buying property without avo’s on it and planting trees so they would be getting ready for when we moved to the property? I know this would have to be done professionally or is it just a better idea to buy an existing grove? We’re probably talking five to ten acres, twenty if we’re lucky. Also is it worth while to hold out for property with a well? Thank you

    • Joe, There is no simple answer to your question. It actually requires an analysis of each property. Better yet if you identify two or more properties you could actually do a comparison. Development cost in general will cost about $25,000.00 per acre. This would be for a high density planting. Chances are that if you buy an existing orchard it will require some up front work to get it to a position to maximize production/profit. Most probably it will require the work to increase the tree density. A well is obviously preferred. On the other hand holding out for a property with a well may cause you to miss a property that was a greater value. You can always make the investment in a well. I trust this helps. If you identify properties of interest, you can retain me to do the analysis. Charley

  30. Have 2 acres on a 10 acre lot ready for avos. Two questions. Live in austin texas is it to cold?. Second how many trees to plant on two acres. I unlimted water( have own water well). Ground is clayed, but have planted avos from seed last year and are doing great. Any help on starting a small ag farm would be helpful

    • Robert, I have attempted to find the lowest temperatures for the Austin area. I have not succeeded. The trees can take temperatures down to 30 degrees as long as the duration is not long. We are planting high density now in California. That would be trees on staggered centers 12×12 or 10×10. This strategy requires anunal pruning by year five to keep the tree low and open. Should you choose to plant the 2 acres the trees should be planted on mounds to help them in the clay. There is information available frum the University of California Extension service. Also I don’t know where to suggest for you to get trees. You should also have the well water tested. Avocados are not happy if the water has a lot of chlorides. Good luck. Charley

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