Here you will find basic gardening advise for the most common plants and trees we sell. Due to wide variabiles you may be presented with in your own garden, I encourge you to use this information only as a starting point, and along with the links to other resources and books you can tailor the advise to your specific conditions.
Avocados are one of the more challenging plants to grow in the desert,
yet it can and is being done. All of our nursery grown avocados are
grafted which means they should produce fruit in 1 - 3 years after
planting. As a point of interest, avocado trees grown from seed can
take 8 years or more to produce fruit and the fruit production/quality
is unpredictable at best.
Avocado trees prefer full sun but need protection from the western sun
during the first years until they develope a stong deep root structure
and dense foliage to protect the sensitive bark. We recommend either
painting any exposed bark with diluted water based paint or planting
the tree on the east side of your house so it only receives morning
sun. I built a 8 foot shade structure for my avocados with openings
that the plant can eventually grow through. Most avocado varieties can
grow to be very tall trees, so protection and shading is only a
temporary requirement as in time they will reach for the sky and
eventually be to tall to cover even if you wanted to.
Avocados need well drained soil, as the plant will not tolerate wet
soggy soil, this is also important in the winter time when the ground
is cold as well. Though do not take this advise to mean that the tree
is drought tolerant as in our desert heat and arid conditions would
mean almost certain death of the plant if it does not receive regular
deep watering especially as temperatures reach well above 100f degrees
in the summer. Avocados are very sensitive to salt burn, and with the
high concentration of salt in our water and combination of heavy clay
soil it is important to remember to water slow and deep. You can
achieve this by using drip emitters of no more that 1/4-1/2 gallon per
hour and let it run for several hours each time you water. If you don't
use a drip system you can achieve the same results by turning on your
hose to just a trickle and leaving it on the plant for a few hours,
thus allowing the water to penetrate deep so the roots can get to it.
We don't recommend fertilizing young and newly planted trees for at
least the first year. Once the tree is established you can use any
balanced citrus fertilizer on a yearly basis, just follow the
directions on the label. Keep in mind, the rule of thumb with
commercial fertilizers is less is more, so be conservative. Or if you
are into organics like me you can use compost, coffee grounds, fish
emulsion, etc. There are great suggestions in Dave Owens book, Extreme
Gardening: How To Grow Organic in the Hostile Deserts. The book can be
purchased direct from our site, just follow thislink.
Here are some additional links to articles about growing avocados.
Planting Time: Citrus
can be planted year round if you make adjustments for water needs and
Planting: Dig a hole at
least twice the size of the root ball of the new tree. Mix 30% mulch
with the removed soil and refill the hole so the rootball will be at
the same depth as the surrounding soil. Place the tree in the hole with
out disturbing the root ball. It sometimes helps to cut the bottom of
the plastic pot before placing the tree in the hole and then cut down
the side of the pot to remove the container. Refill the hole with the
remaining mix of soil and compost and firm the soil as you go. With the
left over soil form a 3-4 inch watering basin around the tree.
Watering: Deep water thoroughly
after planting and use a root stimulator the first few times you water.
The best way to water properly is to fill the water basin and keep it
filled for approximately one hour or until you are sure the water has
gone down past the rootball. During the first year water deeply every 7
days in the summer and every 2-4 weeks in the winter.
Mulching: Keep 2-4 inches of
mulch around the plant out to the drip line but not touching the trunk.
Mulch is a natural fertilizer that also acidifies the soil and retains
Additional info: Protect the
trunk by painting it white with a water based latex paint diluted about
50% or tree wrap. Keep grass and other plantings away from young trees.
Prune off sucker growth below the bud union. Don't over fertilize, if
you use a commercial fertilizer choose a slow release type and remember
less is more. There are many organic recepies, a search on the internet
will reveal many choices you have or get a copy of "Extreme Gardening",
Growing organic in the hostile desert by Dave Owens. A link to purchase
the book is on our web site, just click