Charley, My wife and I have been dreaming about buying an Avocado grove in the De Luz area for a few years now and we think now may be a good time to jump in. We are looking to build a modest home on an existing high producing grove of at least 5 acres. We are going to start looking at groves now while we prepare our current home in Orange County for sale. We would like to have someone to consult with in our efforts to find the perfect place for us. We would appreciate any help you could give us in this search.
Thank you, Patrick
Patrick, Given the world wide demand for avocados it is a good time to consider entering into avocado production. You would need to talk to local realtors here in Fallbrook to help with a search for a property. I might suggest Sunshine Properties, 760 728 8855. They do a lot of orchard and land sales and would be able to help you. Good luck.
hi! I have a young dwarf avocado tree in a container (maybe a year old). It seems to be going well unlike my other attempts in the past. I see new leaves growing every day which is great. However, the trunk itself looks like it’s… for lack of better word… shedding/molting. I don’t know if it was done by a bug, or mold, or if the trunk is just getting rid of it’s “baby” trunk…. but I don’t want it die and I also don’t know if it’s a natural part of the tree growing or not. I can send you pictures if you want. Help? Advice?
Kim, You didn’t say how big the container is. What you are observing is not a natural part of the tree growing. You also didn’t tell me where you are and whether the tree is inside or out side. All that being said it sounds like you are over watering the plant. Remember plants in general and avocados specifically need to be water then allowed to dry out. I would suggest you stop giving the tree any water until you see some sign of wilt on the leafs. then give it water. However long it take to show some wilt will give you a hint on how often you should water. Good luck. Charley
Hi Charley, Thank You for your blog. After all that we have read we think we would like to consult with you on a property we are thinking of buying. It is a 15 acre avocado grove that has 680 trees yielding about 63k per year. The water bill is costing about 40,000. On the property their is a well and reservoir that is quite large however is not being utilized for the grove only the house. We know that the grove is not producing its potential and we have the skill to make that happen. We are wondering how we can utilize the well and reservoir on the property to decrease the water bill, in an effort to produce an income for the grove. The question is why haven’t they done this already? their are a possible few reasons why but getting them answered is almost impossible. Is their a Sodium (NA) consideration with growing avo. ? The well has over 120 psi, With the cost of water why wouldn’t everyone have a well? what is your thought on this.
Christina, I can only offer some opinions on your questions. If there are only 680 trees on 15 acres that tells me that the property is not fully planted, or many trees have been removed, or the grove has been thinned several times. On standard plant spacing the 680 trees are about six acres. You say they yield 63k per year. I have taken that to be pounds, which is good production for 6 acres. If the water bill is for 6 producing acres the trees are getting plenty of water. I can only conjecture the reason for not using the well. Yes sodium is critical for avocados. At 500 ppm the drop in production is almost a straight vertical line. So therefore my conclusion is the well water is too salty. The well having over 120 psi is a function of the pump not the capacity of the well. Everyone doesn’t have a well because they are expensive and risky. Good luck on your acquisition. Charley
I am starting to take care/manage my family owned avocado orchard. We have 20 acres only about half is planted. My main problem every time I irrigate is that the sprinkler heads get clogged up. I run around unclogging all day some times the same one 10+ in a day. We use a well to irrigate and the mainline looks to be 3 inches in diameter. I was wondering if you could recommend a good well filter and a good liquid injector for fertilizer and pest management. Also this is back-flow on there now which I would like to replace with a better one. People around here have said that the one that is on there is no good. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank You
Derrick, Your situation is tough to answer. Where you are, how deep is the well, how much does it pump, and how old is the well would influence the answer. Let me make some general comment that should help you work on a solution. You can go to the irrigation stores and see what filters are available to help you decide on the brand and screen size. But your description of how much you are clearing sprinklers tells me two things. First if the filter stops the material going into the system you will have to be available to clean the filter frequently or you could damage the system. Additionally it sound like the hole is caving or the casing has failed. I would suggest that you call a well company to have the well inspected. They can do pretty much from observation and some of them have cameras they can lower into the well to inspect and recommend a solution. I don’t know what kind of back flow/check valve you are using. If there is no house or if there is no way the well water can get to the house, a mechanical check should be sufficient. If the existing device is old it may not be moving properly. Only way I know of to check is to take it out of the line and look at it. Good luck, Charley
Hi Charley, I have a small grove of 25 trees on a 1.5 acre property my wife an I bought in Escondido, CA. We have no experience with Avocadoes prior to the purchase. We’ve been on the property now for almost 3 years. We have 17 mature hass trees, 2 mature Fuerte trees, 3 young hass trees, 2 young dwarf holiday trees and a Zutano (we planted the young trees and the 15 gallon Zutano since moving in).
The previous owner had changed out the sprinkler heads (he was known to tinker). The heads now are a Matched Precipitation Rate type head. Do you have any recommendations on what is the preferred sprinkler type, especially given the drought situation? We’d like to water with the most efficiency possible.
Robert, The preferred irrigation now is with low pressure/low volume sprinklers. The challenge you have is that the mature trees have different water requirements than the new trees. If you don’t have them valved separately the only choice you have is to use heads with different flow rates. Give it a try. Charley
I was wondering if I could get you contact info. I am looking to learn the process of producing avocado oil and would love to learn first hand. Hoping you might have some contacts in that field of avocados.
Kevin, Sorry I can’t help you on this. From visiting New Zealand I know quality oil only comes from quality fruit. Maintaining the proper temperature during processing is critical. I know of no large scale processors in California. I do know there is at least one small processor, but I do not know their name or location. Sorry, Charley
Hi Charley! Great blog, thank you for the insights.
I am growing Hass variety in Chile and wanted to do some industry comparisons in terms of the costs and the yields associated with my production. Do you know any good sources of information for industry statistics, with the usage of inputs? Or perhaps you personally have some insight into what’s the industry best practice for total cost of inputs (such as water, energy, pesticides, etc) per acre, the % breakdown for each item separately and the yield per acre data? It would be a massive help, thanks!
John, I would recommend going to the University web site, ucavo.ucr.edu. There is a lot of information there on producing avocado. I can’t remember when they last updated the cost of production. At least it will give you a point of reference. Charley
I was wondering if you could give some insight on a typical management agreement (if one exists). Does the company work/bill on an hourly, monthly, yearly basis? Can it be based on a percentage of profit (now there’s some incentive)? Is it mainly advice or does the company supply the labor as well? Ballpark costs for different types of management? There seems to be a lot of inexperienced people entering the avocado business that require these services so this type of information seems widely relevant to your readers.
Dale, I don’t know if there is a typical management agreement. I can tell you the basics of my agreement I charge a monthly per acre fee. I have a minimum charge. The monthly fee provides irrigation labor and management. Management includes determining irrigation requirements, evaluating cultural tasks (weed control, pruning, etc.), and harvesting. Probably the most important is the harvesting decisions. I watch the market daily to maximize grower returns. Any work done in the grove is done on an hourly basis. Thanks for asking the question. Charley
Hi Charley. I live in Austin, TX. I was given two avocado trees that sprouted from compost piles, then moved to pots. One is around 2.5 years old, one is around one year old. The large one sprouted three saplings from one seed. It has grown to over 8 ft tall but is very spindly. It leans quite a bit even while staked with bamboo posts. Is this normal? How can I help strengthen the tree? Without help, I doubt it would even hold itself up as the top is branching heavily and very leafy.
In addition, my smaller tree’s leaves have yellowed recently and it stopped growing. I read this may be from lack of nitrogen, so for a quick fix I added urine heavily diluted with water just three days ago. Now I worry that I should have done something else. Did I hurt my tree? I should add – this tree is still potted in only compost that I assume lacked nitrogen. The bigger tree started in pure compost, last year I repotted it, adding soil and fertilizer. One last question- I apologize. Because three trees sprouted from one seed and I have a second separate tree, will they fertilize each other? I am so sorry for so many questions – I am very new to growing Avocados and these trees are incredibly special to me. Thanks so much for your time.
Breda, Your trees sound to be very vigorous. First you need to know that your trees will probably not produce fruit. If they do it will probably be fruit from the parent seed. It may or may not be edible. It won’t hurt you it just won’t taste good. You never said how big the pots are. Remember it is a tree and needs room to grow. They need to have soil. They won’t be happy in compost only. You have to bite the bullet on the tree with multiple trunks and select one to keep and cut the others out. On the one you keep cut a few inches off the top. This will cause the tree to grow the lateral branches and stop going up. They can’t fertilize each other. If they get flower bees will pollinate the flowers. Both trees will need fertilizer. Since I don’t know how big the pots are you need to apply a little at a time so you don’t burn them. Good luck. Charley
My husband and I have fallen in love with a beautiful house for sale. The only big problem is ut is attached to an avocado grove. It is in northern San Diego area. Okay the problem is really with us, we don’t know anything about growing. We are in fear of the water bills, we are told the monthly bill is between $2000 -3500. That is for 33 acres. The trees are around 35 years old. The yield last year was 58000 #’s they have yield of 100000+ pounds of varying sizes. I do not know that kind of avocado is grown. With all that said, I want to know if there is a company that would come in, pay for water and care of grove in exchange for the harvest.I’m not sure if that is enough information to give me an answer, but I would appreciate your opinion. Thanks
Kim, If the 33 acres are all planted the water bill is way below what is required. A commercial avocado orchard needs to produce 10,000 pounds per acre to pay the bills and make a profit. I doubt any body would want to take the grove on a lease. From your description it would be a money pit. If the location is good the value is in replanting it. I hope this helps. Let me know if I can help. Charley
I like to talk to you about buying a lot and converted to avocadro or buy existing one. can you send me your contact inf? thanks
Aung tun, Contact information is on the way. Thanks, Charley
I have a small Navel grove (48 trees) in Redlands, CA. I also have a 5 avocado trees in there. I am considering retiring the half of the Navels and putting in avocados mixed in the grove, with the possibility retiring the navels all together. Do you know of any problems going from oranges to avocados? Also what is the spacing of high density planting? Thanks!
Thad, You would need to be watchful for phytophora citricula. A lab can tell you if it is there with an analysis of a root/soil sample. Presence of the disease would not eliminate planting of the avocado. High density planting could be 15×15, 12×12, or 10×10. Also I suggest you do not plant the avocado in between the citrus. If you are going to avocado take the citrus out. Charley
I live on the coast of North Carolina,I bought a Wurtz tree Will arrive in May, purchased from seed catalogue. Where can I order different severity ? Dwarf I can pot bring in when weather turns cold. Great site good info. Thank you very much Frank
Frank. I am not familiar with the Wurtz variety. I suspect it may be a West Indian variety like those grown in Florida. I assume you are looking for another variety. I would suggest you go online and look for a supplier in
Florida. I don’t know of anyone in California shipping small tree orders. Thanks, Charley
We are looking at buying a 19 acre ranch with a grove of 1100 mature trees. We would be interested in someone managing it for us.
Tracy, I would be interested in working with you on managing your ne grove. I will send you my contact information. Thanks, Charley
I am considering a 9 acre residence in Fallbrook with 500+ trees in need of “rehab”. If you are available to consult or can recommend another in the area I’d be grateful.
Rob, I will send you my contact information. Thanks, Charley
We are considering purchasing a 5 acre parcel with a functioning avocado grove. We’re looking for a professional to assess the grove condition and take a look at the production history to see if it’s a worthy investment. We’re hoping you could help.
Rebecca, Yes I can help You with an evaluation. I will send you contact info separately.
My wife and I are considering purchasing a grove as well. The one in question looks good in some areas and not so good in others. The parcel in question is approx 6 acres. It is already professionally managed, but I’m wondering if we shouldn’t get a quote or 3 from other companies to be sure. I’d rather pay more and have a great orchard. Your input is greatly appreciated.
Lance, I guess the first step would be to get a third party inspection of the orchard just to have another view. If you purchase the property then you will need to consider if you want to keep the same manager or switch. I just noticed you said it was “professionally” managed. Who defined “professionally”? I will send you my contact information if you need more help. Thanks, Charley
I am considering buying a 10acre parcel of avocado trees in murietta. How do I assess the value based on the recent damage of the snow storm last winter? I would appreciate your input and assessment?
How would I proceed to talk to you. Semper fi
Nina, I will send you contact information separately.
I live in chico ca(north of Sacramento), so I know getting production will likely not happen. I have 3 avocado trees of assorted varieties that have been in the ground for 4years. Each year they look good, and each year they have an amazing amount of buds, but one of the tree seem to have an issue. Right before the bees arrive to pollinate, 90% of the leaves turn yellow and drop. Simultaneously new leaves sprout. Is this okay? If not what is causing it, and what should I do?
Andreas, You didn’t say what the varieties are. You also didn’t say how they are being watered and how much. So I have to guess on a reason. A couple of elements to remember. When the trees load up with flower they can’t support every thing so the trees gives up what is least important. In this case old leaves are the least important. The tree will start producing new leaves to protect the new fruit. The other possibility is they are not getting enough water. In this case the trees are in a minor stress which will accentuate the leaf drop. Hope this helps. Charley
I moved to Ramona recently, got 25 acres of mostly Granite boulders, but some areas that are flat where I can dig a hole without hitting rock. I want to plant a few Avocado trees for my own use. My neighbor has some that just started producing this 3rd year. His are in shallow Basins(not in mounds),as planted by the nursery guy he bought them from, so I think they should grow on my property, although we had a freeze, in January that killed or damaged some plants around my house and we had some 115 degree days too. I have not found a Nursery that has avocados in Ramona, other than Kmart, which had just a few bad looking trees in stock at the time. I am getting old and am thinking it might be too late to plant any trees and expect to be around to reap the rewards. My questions are 1)can I start off with larger trees, 2)Where is a close-by place to buy them at good prices, and 3) what kind of dirt should I put in the holes, that would be better than the decomposed granite I have. Thanks for your help, Steve
Steve, Not much you can do about the cold. There are occasions when you get those kinds of temperatures in Ramona. When the heat comes keep plenty of water on the trees. Water them deep. You can start with larger trees but you really won’t gain that much over a healthy smaller tree. Once it is planted it will take off. If you have been reading my web you know I advocate putting the trees on mounds instead of in basins. For just two trees I would suggest one of the larger retail nurseries. They would tend to have fresher trees because they are doing more volume. You can use any good bagged organic material to mix with the native soil. Good luck on your project. Charley
Im putting in a 24″ box Haas avocado tree in my front yard. Is it best to plant 2 trees for cross pollination? If so, I was thinking another type (Stewart) so they bear fruit at different times. I’m a novice, any tips would be great. Im in Southern Cal.
Rob, I am really surprised that you found a 24″ box Haas avocado tree. I don’t believe I ever saw one. A couple comments are appropriate. Be careful of an avocado tree in that big a container. It may be seriously root bound. It will be heavy and more difficult to plant. I prefer small trees. You could plant a standard orchard tree and be in about the same position in a few years for far less money. And you will probably have a healthier tree. Also remember that tree whatever size will need its own irrigation. You can’t irrigate it with the lawn. You don’t need a pollinator. If you want another variety that is a different decision. Also I don’t recognize the Stewart variety. My comments on tree size are the same for the other variety should you choose. Good luck on your project. Thanks, Charley
Thank you for the insight Charlie!
I’m a CPA close to retirement and looking to invest in a farm. Since I live in Orange County, Avocados farms are close by and seem like an attractive option. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and it seems like with the drought and water costs, it’s a big gamble. I have looked at a few farms and noticed that most don’t use well water due to salt and some have added reverse osmosis systems. But I guess the trade off is higher energy costs. Does anyone use solar to run the pumps? Or is it cheaper to use district water? How about age of trees, is 25 years to old? What are the better areas, Fallbrook, Valley Center, Pala area, is where I have looked so far. Best management companies? can you recommend a farm appraisal expert?
I have a ton of questions since I’m new to this.
Bruce, You are discovering the typical questions once you open the box to avocado production. I will try some brief answers to some of your questions. The water costs are the big issue for production. The plant’s native environment is rain forest and we are growing them in the dessert. This requires aggressive farming practices to produce enough fruit to pay for the water and make a profit. Wells that have salt are generally not deep enough so they are delivering perculated irrigation water. There has been technical advances in solar energy to power well pumps with a reasonable foot print for the panals. The age of the trees is less of an issue than how they were cared for. A similar comment for the growing areas. The condition of the orchard would be more important than the growing area. The only note would be that Valley Center will generally have more expensive water. My company manages groves. If you are looking at farm evaluation instead of appraisal I can do that. I don’t know any licensed rural appraisers. I will send you my contact info separately. Thanks, Charley
I am planning to buy a 5 acre land in De Luz. The land is currently clear and have no grove. What will it cost to start an Avocado Grove on the 5 acre lot? How long will it take before I can expect to start harvesting? With water cost, any other alternative to Avocado grove in the area?
Jack, Congratulations on considering the avocado industry for an investment. At this point in time for the venture I use a budget number of $25,000.00 per acre for development. That is for a high density planting. It includes clearing, irrigation installation, planting (hole, tree, stake, wrap, and tying). Four to Five years is normally accepted for commercial production. That means enough fruit to bring in harvesting crew and send fruit to the packing house. The trees will produce fruit before that, but not enough for the packing house. In my opinion there is not a better choice than avocado for our area. Yes we have high water cost. The other side of the coin is high demand for the product both in the US and world wide. You have to farm good enough to produce enough fruit to pay for the water and make a profit. That is one of the drivers to go to high density planting. Good luck on your endeavor. Charley
Thank you for the valuable information. I have been researching online and found GEM and Carmen Hass to be two other variety to consider. Since, I will be starting on a clear land, any particular variety that makes more sense? As to the water issue, is water quality from drilling well a solution? Thanks again.
Charley – We recently purchased 20 avocado acres in De Luz. Looking for a management company and advice. Please let me know if you are able to help or can point me in the right direction. Best, George
George, Congratulations on your purchase. It is not clear whether the land you purchased is planted to avocados or is suitable and you intend to plant. Either way I can help you. I’ll send the direct contact info separately. Thanks, Charley
Hi Charley, I am buying a small avocado farm in Spain with a hundred odd mature Hass trees – is there any books/publications/manuals you are aware of that takes you through the annual care and maintenance as well as harvest? cheers
Lewey, I recommend that you go on line to the University of California web site below. They have a short pamphlet that will get you in the ball park. Just remember it is written for growing avocados in California. Good luck. The address is ucan.org/sites/gardenweb/files 29079.pdf.
Hello Charlie, I have started a Haas avocado tree from seed, it is about 7-8 inches tall with decent size white roots. I was told by someone it is ready to be planted. I am in the process of moving, which means I am not going to be putting it in the ground anytime soon. We are moving to Sonoma county temporarily so it will be a house plant for at least two to three years. What potting soil do you recommend? What size pot?
Thank you for your input and advise.
Steph, Potting mix available in most garden shops will work. If it seems to light you can add a little soil. The size of the pot will determine how large the tree will grow in the container. I assume you know that the seed will not grow a varietal avocado. You will grow a seedling. It will have to be grafted to get Hass. you will have an attractive tree but you may or may not get fruit. The fruit will be from the original parent. It may or may not be edible. Good luck. Charley
How do I find an expert to look at my avocado tree? Do you come to the Beach area in South Los Angeles?
I have a wonderful old Fuerte avocado that has been producing wonderful avocados. The tree normally has a full canopy but for the last year the leaves are brown starting at the tips and dropping. Is it too much water? Not enough? A disease? To me they all look the same.
Gale, You didn’t say how long you have been at the house. I can not come to South Los Angeles to look at the tree. The symptoms you described we call tip burn. It is caused by the tree taking up the salts in the irrigation water. You have to irrigate the tree long enough to flush the salts below the root zone. You may have changed your irrigation methods this past year. Additionally we received more imported water from the Colorado River which has more salt in it. Hopefully more rain is coming and that will flush the salt below the root zone. Good luck. Charley
Hi Charley, I am an operation manager at GreenPath Food, a social entrepreneurship start-up based in the USA and Ethiopia aiming to help smallholder farmers grow fruits and vegetable for commercial use using sustainable farming techniques. We are currently in the pilot stage setting up operations and establishing an out-grower relationship with farmers a small town called Butajira in Ethiopia. Our initial focus is in the production and marketing of avocado fruits. Our partner farmers currently have varieties like Hass, Fuerte, Pinkerton, Nabal and Bacon. I am really keen on connecting with you for inquiries on avocado production and quality. Thank you so much in advance!
Ezra, As you can see from reading some of the post here, I respond to many production questions. It is important to provide enough information so my response can be appropriate. I look forward to your questions. Charley
I used to own over 100 acres farm in Racine, WI that was leased to a local farm company to grow corn. I sold the farm about 2 years ago when I moved to Los Angeles. I’m looking to buy an avocado grove in your area of San Diego county. I plan to do the same thing, lease the land to an Avocado Grower. Is this a viable business for Avocado farm? I’m a city girl but just want to diversify my investment by adding a farm that is already producing crops. What sort of Return on investment I’m looking to realize investing in an avocado producing farm? How much can I lease the land per acre. Right now, I’m still conducting my research online and signed up at Loopnet to check out what is out there for sale. I will definitely be seeking your advise and engage your service when I’m ready to buy. You seem to be an expert in avocado farming. Thanks in advance.
Elsa, Interesting thoughts. A couple of points so the information makes sense. First I know of no information to give you an example of a “typical” avocado lease contract There is none each one is its own deal. In the Midwest you can check the market for rents. Leases for tree crops are typically long term. Five years would be a minimum. I have never thought of ROI for leasing. In my opinion most owners lease to avoid or reduce cash flow. There are many properties where the owner is not the operator. Instead the owner hires a manager but is still paying the bills and taking the revenue. I trust this will give you the general parameters. If you have more questions let me know. Good luck on your project. Charley
please send me your contact information.i am in the process of buying a property that has 150 avacado trees.i will need your help in this matter. thank you.
Harish, I’m sending you contact info separately.
We bought a house in Pauma valley with one very large tree. We r looking for someone to help us decide what it needs. Can u help?
It’s dropping leaves…dropping fruit…and bigger than we need.
Not sure of pruning or watering options etc. Thanks
Carrie, I assume it is an avocado tree. I would guess it is being irrigated along with a planter or a lawn. What you describe is not enough water. In this recent heat it cannot carry the fruit and leaves. It is a mature tree so it needs about 450 gallons of water a week. You need to either change the irrigation system so it can get its own water or use a hose with a sprinkler to give it enough water. You can prune it down to a reasonable height. In commercial orchards I am trying to keep the trees about 12 feet high. let me know how you do. Charley
I have been living in Rainbow California for several years now. Only on well water so my attempt has been very limited at growing anything but I do have 3 avocados, 10 citrus, a couple mangoes, several varieties of edible bananas. So looks like we have to sell and will be moving to the Temecula area (not De Luz). I have read that mexicola is very cold hardy what other good tasting varieties may also grow in Temecula zone 9b.
Eddie, I believe making a decision on avocado varieties by the zone is not a good idea. You didn’t say where in Temecula you are moving. There are places in the Temecula area where you can’t grow avocados because it is too cold. If there are avocados around you, you are safe. If you can grow them all California varieties are good tasting. Good luck. Charley
What varieties are you referring too when you say California varieties?
Eddie, The dominant variety in California is the Hass. Other varieties that may be available at some nurseries are Fuerte, Reed, Bacon, Sirprise, Gwen.
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.
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.
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
Thank you Charley! I appreciate your information and time.
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.
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
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, 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
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
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
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!
Marla, I can help you with your grove. I will send you contact info separately. Thanks, Charley
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!
It’s actually a great and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you just shared tyis useful info
with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.
Your Welcome. Charley
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.
Jeff, I will send you my contact info separately. Thanks, Charley
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!
Melisssa, I’ll send you the contact info separately. Thanks, Charley
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
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
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.
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.
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
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?
Prema, I would look forward to working with you on selecting a property for investment. I will send you my contact info. Thanks, Charley
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
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
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
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
Adam, Contact is on the way. 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:
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
It’s a common misconception about California avocado varieties not growing in S Florida. My Gwen and Holiday had about 5 times as many blossoms as any avocado blossoming I have ever seen and they just kept coming and there was a tremendous amount of fruit. My Lamb Haas had more fruit on it than any of my Florida varieties. I think you might want to look at the evaluations my friend Carlos is performing on his S Florida grove. It will amaze you. http://www.myavocadotrees.com/
Rich, Your comments illustrate the dangers of general comments. The problem with California varieties in Florida is too much water. If they were in an area where the soil is well drained so that the roots were not wet all the time they would do well. Of course if they could grow all over one would expect that there would be a lot of commercial production. Thanks for sharing the information. Charley
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
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
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
Hi Charley I need some help to assess a site for avocado. Can you email me with contact info.
Duncan, Contact info is on the way. Charley
Hey Charlie, Is there a market for small sized Hass, 96 and smaller?
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
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, 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
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, Congratulations on your purchase. I’ll send you my email and phone number so we can get together. Charley
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.
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
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
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?
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
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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?
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
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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