The traditional avocado is a large, leafy tree but there are smaller forms ideal for backyard orchards, courtyards or container growing. For a guaranteed crop buy a named, grafted variety, which should fruit in three to five years from planting. If space permits, plant several varieties to extend harvest times and aid pollination. ‘Wurtz’ is a naturally dwarf form, suited to small gardens that has rough, pear-shaped fruit. It reaches around 3-4m high and wide. Avocado ripens off the tree with harvests in late summer and autumn.

Growing conditions

Aspect Avocado trees need a bright, sunny location with shelter from strong winds. Ideally, they should have sun from the morning onwards but can tolerate a little afternoon shade especially in summer and should be protected from cold and frost. Windy conditions when fruit is forming can cause fruit drop and a drastic reduction in crop size.

Soil Avocado grow in a wide range of soils but grow best with good drainage in deep, fertile soils. Keep soil well mulched. In containers use a high quality potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix. It’s ready to use mix means that you don’t have to add anything additional to it. Remember to water in with Seasol to help reduce transplant shock and aid plant establishment.

Climate They do best in warm, frost-free locations and are well suited to gardens in warm coastal climates. In cool areas, grow in a warm micro-climate.

Seasol Commercial Avocado Trial

General care

Watering Adequate and regular water is critical for fruit formation and development. Lack of water can lead to loss of flowers or fruit. Deep water at least weekly especially when plants are in new growth, flowering or fruiting. Water more frequently if plants are in hot, dry or exposed conditions or if they are growing in containers. If soil or potting mix starts to repel water (pools on top or runs off the soil) then it may need a soil water such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner to allow the water to penetrate through the soil down to the plant’s roots.

Feeding and mulching Feed every season through the growng season (spring to autumn) with a complete fertiliser for fruiting plants such as Seasol plus Nutrients Fruit & Citrus. In addition apply a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Flowers, Fruit & Citrus every 2 to 4 weeks especially during flowering and fruiting. Protect the soil with a 5-7cm layer of coarse organic mulch enriched with well-rotted manure, which helps keep the soil evenly moist and weed free. Keep nearby grass well mown.

Pruning Avocados need little pruning other than ensuring and open shape to assist fruit ripening.

Watch out Birds, bats and other animals such as rats and possums can attack fruit. Insect pests include scales, which are controlled with EarthCare Enviro Pest Oil insect spray and fruit fly, which can be prevented from attacking the crop by bagging fruit and by using organic fruit fly lures. Avocado skins may resist fruit fly but can be attacked by fruit-spotting bugs.

Poorly drained conditions can lead to root rot diseases including phytophthora so always plant these trees in well-drained soils.