Growing Fruits: Avocado
The avocado fruit has a lot of health benefits. Many people are starting to take notice of this. As a result more and more avocado trees are being planted in backyards. This tree does not require a lot of care for it to survive. However there are certain guidelines that should be followed to ensure its survival.
Avocado is a medium to large evergreen tree with large, leathery, deep green leaves. It has limited commercial value in the lower Rio Grande Valley and is often found in landscapes across South Texas. The popularity of its fruit, particularly in Mexican food dishes, and its tropical appearance have spurred considerable interest in growing avocados at home.
First of all, people should understand that this tree is a tropical to subtropical tree. It thrives on regions with this type of weather. Areas with an alternating rainy and dry season are the most suitable places to grow it. It takes patience to grow an avocado tree. On an average, it takes 10 years for it to reach a state of maturity that would allow it to bear fruits. However, grafted trees are able to bear fruit in just two years.
Soil. There are many things that you can do to give the tree a better chance to grow and survive. It should be planted deep into the soil. You can also add soil around its trunk and loosely wrap it with a piece of cloth or tarp. Avocado trees are adapted to most soil types found in South Texas, provided the soil has good internal drainage. The tree will not perform well in poorly drained soils, nor will it tolerate flooding. The planting site should be chosen with cold protection in mind, especially in areas where annual winter frosts or freezes are common. Generally, the south or southeast side of the house is the warmest location in a residential site. Because it can become a large tree, it should be planted no closer than 8 to 10 feet from the house.
This tree is most suitable on tropical regions, however, it can also survive on cooler and shaded areas. Just make sure that it is not exposed to very strong winds and cold climate. If you live on an area which has an extremely cold climate, it is best to grow it indoors and on containers.
Cold protection. Avocado should be treated as an orangery plant: outside during Summer, inside during Winter, protected from frost. Deep planting and subsequent soil mounding around the trunk are the best assurances that the avocado will survive a severe freeze, even if the top is completely killed. When a severe freeze is being forecast, mound additional soil around the trunk for extra protection, then water thoroughly two or three days before the cold weather is expected. Young trees can be draped (not wrapped) with a blanket, quilt, tarp or even plastic during the freeze event.
The corners of the covering should be pulled outward and anchored to the ground – it is not necessary that the covering reach to the ground. Any additional practical heat source under the tented tree will probably save even the leaves. Examples include incandescent lights, decorative lights, electric heaters and camp lanterns or stoves.
Avocado is primarily popular because of its fruits. Besides its fruit bearing and health benefits, it can also be used as a decorative plant inside the house. For the first four to five years of its life, while it is still relatively small, the tree can be grown on containers inside the house. Although, you need to make sure that it is planted on good soil, watered properly and receives adequate sunlight.
More and more people are growing avocado trees due to the nutritional benefits of their fruits as well as for decorative purposes. Many more people do this to have a good supply of avocado for their recipes.