How to Plant Your Avocado Tree

grafted avocado tree Reed

You’ve just got your hands on an avocado tree. It’s still a baby and just like a baby, it doesn’t like being left out in the cold, wind or sun. It’s been in a nice cozy spot inside a hothouse or greenhouse, where it has been protected from the winter and summer extreme temps.

Protecting your avocado tree

Your new avocado tree needs to adjust to its new environment at your place and to do this, it’s best if you provide a little protection by building a little tent around it. The great thing about Avocado trees, is that they can quickly put on good amounts of new growth through the warmer months of the year, and in the Southwest of Western Australia, we have loads of sunshine for them to grow. Just give them the best possible start to their life. Read more here on the varieties we’re grafting

Here’s how we planted our avo trees

Site choice

This is quite important. It is absolutely essential for your Avocado tree to be planted in free draining soil. Avocados will not tolerate wet feet – ie saturated soil. Check to see if water drains out of the planting mix. If not, you’ll need to mound up your spot or ideally choose a spot that’s on a slope. We have very free draining soil (sand) and still made a small mound .

Planting Mix

The soil around here is sandy with no nutrient or organic matter, so we added clay, rock dust and compost to improve the soil for our avocado tree.    Read more about gardening in sandy soil here  if you’ve got sandy type soil like us. The compost that we use is beautiful, and well aged. Well aged compost is full of beneficial bacteria that feed your trees.  (no fresh manures! No chook manures or densified chook pellets) Fresh manures can tend to hold too much water and become anaerobic if they’re not broken down. This is just awful for your avocado tree.

If you’re in areas with poor drainage, an avocado tree will not tolerate water logged soil, even for a couple of days.

Avocados can develop root rot caused by the soil borne pathogen ‘phytopthera cinnamomi’ which thrive in wet conditions.   Avocado trees have small, fine fibrous, shallow feeder roots,that require a lot of oxygen. They must be kept moist at all times, but not saturated. If your soil needs better drainage, plant it on a hillside, if accessible, or mound it up. Lucky for many of us on the coast, the sandy soil is very free draining. So we’re half way there. To keep those feeder roots moist, add to your existing sandy soil, organic matter, rock dust and clay to hold water in around the root zone. These soil amendments are important as the biological activity associated with them helps to control any pathogenic microbes. Add Mulch to help to keep moisture in this soil planting mix.

Soil planting mix for avocados

Fertiliser – We used a slow release fertiliser 12-14month slow release fertilizer with added mycorrihizae to kickstart microflora in the soil. A small handful (which is 2 capfuls of the fertlizer that we use here – you can’t find this product at the big box stores – we can mix you up a tub if you like)

Slow release fertiliser handful

Planting

Don’t disturb the roots – Avocados have small, feeder roots that don’t like to be disturbed at all. If these get damaged, you’ll lessen your trees ability to take up nutrient and water

Avocado Tree Planting

Make a small well around the plant base to capture water

Planted Avocado Make a well

 

 

 

 

 

Mulch – While avocados need free draining soil, the soil must be kept moist. Avocados have shallow feeder roots that can dry out quickly. We used a larger pieced, irregular shaped bush mulch (the kind of mulch produced from tree loppers) rather than finer, sawdusty types as these can wick water out of the soil rather than keep moisture in.

Mulch your avocados to keep soil moist

 

 

 

 

 

Protect your tree

Avocados don’t like the wind, frost and cold weather or direct sun on the trunk and this is especially important while they are young. You can make a tent out of shadecloth to protect trees from these elements.

If planting out in cold weather, make a mini hothouse – These were planted out at the end of September, so the weather was still quite cool. With the use of plastic bags, the avocados trees were kept  nice and toasty warm and also to maintain the humidity. To stop the avos from overheating, cut a hole in the bag. Important Remove bag immediately when temps are 20 degrees or over to stop the tree from overheating and burning – this can kill the tree. You’ll need to monitor plastic bags carefully at this time of year (sept/oct) 

covering Avocado

 

 

 

 

 

Cut a hole in the bag  for air circulation, to keep cool and so tree canopy can grow through

Avocado plastic bag - a mini hothouse

 

 

 

 

 

Shade cloth Tent

Use 3 or 4 star pickets or stakes. Wrap shade cloth around them to create a tent. We used cable ties to fasten shade cloth.  This will keep the sun and the wind off and will also protect from frost. Your tree canopy will grow up and out over the shade cloth shading the trunks from the sun.  This can take a few years of growth before you can remove the shade cloth tent.

Avocado trees planted

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water – Water in well. Check – that retic is working and water is actually wetting the planting mix –as obvious as this sounds, this is very important to check that your soil is not hydrophobic. Using the planting mix as written above will help to remedy this.

Monitor your young tree everyday after first planting – you may need to increase water during the Spring and Summer months.

So tell us, how are your avocado trees going? For those who have acquired their avocado trees from us, got any pics you’d like to share with us? We love to see progress!

Check out which varieties we’re growing here, plus more avo info 

avocado Tree Planting

Update September 2018

Approx 2 years later this is what we have! They’ve grown a lot and we’ve even pruned them several times to get cuttings throughout the year. They love the warm months of the year and this is when they are actively putting on a stack of new growth.

grafted avocado tree Reed

 

Update August 2019

The trees are nearly 3 years since planted and are loaded with fruit. We have been picking Hass and Fuerte to ripen up and eat. We lost some fruit as they fell of the tree due to storms, but there’s still plenty there. We have also consistently pruned the trees all last year for cutting material. Last week, we pruned some top branches off to encourage more sunlight and to keep the tree at a manageable height . This also encourage lots more lower branches for more avocados – Here’s a litte video of an impromptu pruning  

 

 

Hass avocado tree
2.5 year tree – pruned back for cuttings.

 

 

 

bacon avocado

The trees are loaded with fruit and we have been picking Hass and Fuerte, waiting a week to ripen up ready to eat.

Edible Garden Workshops With Peter Coppin

peach tree fruit

In the nursery, we get lots of questions regarding fruit trees. How to plant them, train them, prune them, water them and what to do when things go awry.   While we are always happy to discuss and answer your questions and dilemmas, we thought we’d get one of WA’s most respected horticultural consultants, Peter Coppin to come and host a series of 3 x 1 hour workshops as a way to educate you, and keep you excited about your edible gardens.  Peter has years of experience in dealing with our local environment and will tailor these courses to suit our SouthWest Conditions.

Both the Sat & Sun workshops have been sold out. Sorry if you missed out. We’ll plan another workshop real soon. What do you reckon?  If you would like to be kept in the loop on upcoming workshops and events, we use email first to notify everyone. Just leave your details above on the top right – ‘sign up to newsletter’.

We have 3 workshops available on Saturday June 20 2015 and is for customers who have purchased plants through us. (not a customer yet? no probs, just buy your plants from us first! )   Cost is $15 per workshop, each running for 1 hour.  Come to one, or come to them all.  Spots are limited – with 10 spots per workshop available. Each workshop attendee will get a complimentary bag of our compost planting mix ($10value) and 20% discount on all plants in the nursery on the day (excluding grass-trees)

Each workshop must be pre-paid.  Click each workshop below to grab your spot or go here.

Workshop 1 – Planting & Care  10am-11am

  • Designing and Planning an edible landscape
  • Selecting the best position for your fruit trees/plants
  • Soil Preparation – building healthy, living soils.
  • Growing fruit trees & ornamentals in pots and containers
  • How to Plant for longevity
  • Care & Nutrition
  • Q&A session

Workshop 2 – Pruning & Maintenance  11.30am – 12.30pm

  • Pruning Training and espaliering fruit trees & vines
  • How to correctly prune for high fruit yields
  • Care & nutrition of your trees
  • Q&A session

Workshop 3 – Pests, Diseases & Disorders  1pm-2pm

  • How to Identify pest or disease
  • Corrective Measures
  • Care & Nutrition
  • Q&A session

Tea and coffee and nibblies will be available throughout the sessions, however, byo lunch if staying for all three.

You will walk away armed with the knowledge needed to grow your own fruit in a safe and sustainable way.