Guide to growing avocados

Growing avocados at home.
Growing avocados at home.

HAILED as a must-have ‘super food’ along with kale, walnuts and eggs, avocados are a highly sought-after commodity.

They are probably not, however, the first fruit you would think to grow at home.

Charlie from Dawson’s Garden World encourages people to have a go.

“Your avocado tree will pay for itself once it starts producing fruit,” he said.

Charlie’s guide to growing avocados

Soils and position

Avocados prefer a sunny position sheltered from hot drying winds. They like soils with high organic matter content so incorporate ample organic matter when planting.

Establishing the young tree

Young trees will require staking and some shading for the first summer or two. Provide ample water at all times.

Fertilising

The fruit enjoys soils with a high organic matter status, so it is a good idea to mulch around trees with straw and sheep manure annually.

It is thought maintaining good organic matter levels reduces the incidence of root rot.

Avocados have a shallow feeding root system so avoid surface cultivation around them.

They are best fertilised by scattering a few handfuls of All Purpose fertiliser underneath the tree’s drip zone, once in autumn and two to three times from November to March.

Fruiting

Seed raised trees will begin to bear fruit at five to seven years old and grafted trees from three to five years after planting. In Perth, the avocado flowers in spring, the fruit forms in November and fruit can be harvested from June until November.

Varieties

Charlie suggests people try the Wurtz dwarf avocado, popular with home gardeners as it grows to two to two and a half metres tall (most are three to four metres high) and is self-pollinating so doesn’t require another tree.

Dawsons also sells the Hass and Fuerte varieties, which are sufficiently self fertile to produce crops without the cross pollination of another variety.

They will also cross-pollinate each other, so crops can be increased by planting two trees. Hass has smaller, thick-skinned fruit, while Fuerte has thinner-skinned fruit.

Avo-enthusiasts can celebrate the fruit at Araluen’s Avocado Festival on November 24 and 25.

The event includes fresh produce for purchase, as well as avocado skin and beauty products and beer and cocktails.