How to Plant an Avocado Tree

Are you an avocado fanatic?Plan an Avocado Tree, Acapulcos Mexican Restaurant, MA and CTDo you obsess over guacamole? Well maybe it’s time to plant your own avocado tree! Avocado trees are fairly low maintenance and are simple to grow yourself. If you have a green thumb, and you’re ready for a new, delicious project, you may find that it’s time to plant an avocado tree.

The following article from wikiHow.com explains how to plant an avocado tree and provides you with all the information you’ll need for a healthy and fruitful avocado tree.

How to Plant an Avocado Tree

The next time you eat an avocado or use one in a recipe, save the stone or pit. Planting your own avocado tree is fun and easy. It is perfect for all ages – for the garden, for indoors and it also makes a great project for class or at home.

Steps

  1. Cut into the avocado carefully, so as not to injure the pit, which is located in the fruit’s center. Carefully remove the pit and set it aside. Use the avocado meat to create the tasty dip/topping known as guacamole.
  2. Wash the avocado pit gently to remove all of the flesh. Be careful not to remove the seed cover which is light brown in color.
  3. Holding the pit “narrow” (pointed) side up, stick four toothpicks into the middle section at even intervals, to a depth of about 5 mm.
  4. Add some water to a small, slender container (preferably glass) until it reaches the very top rim. Your container’s opening should be wide enough to easily accommodate the full width of the avocado pit. However make sure that it is not too wide.
  5. Set your avocado pit (with inserted toothpicks) on the top rim of the container. The toothpicks should sit on the rim of the container, leaving the pit only half-submerged in the water. Make sure the pointed end is up and the rounded end is in the water, otherwise your avocado will not grow.
  6. Set the avocado-topped container in a temperate, undisturbed place – near a window or any other well-lit area in order to begin rooting and the growth process.
  7. Change the water every 1-2 days. Do this to ensure that contaminants (i.e. mold, bacteria, fermentation, etc.) do not hinder the avocado’s sprouting process. Ensure that the base of the avocado always remains moist and submerged in water.
  8. Wait patiently since avocado takes several weeks to start growing its roots. Over the next 2-3 weeks, the avocado’s brown outer layer will begin to dry out and wrinkle, eventually sloughing off. Soon after, the pit should begin to split open at the top and bottom. After 3-4 weeks, a tap root should begin to emerge at the base of the pit.
  9. Continue to water the plant accordingly. Take care not to disturb or injure the tap root. Continue to allow the avocado pit time to establish its roots. Soon, the avocado will sprout at the top, releasing an unfolding leaf-bud that will open and begin to grow a shoot bearing leaves.
  10. Plant the baby tree. When the roots are substantial and the stem top has had a chance to re-grow leaves (after at least one pruning), your baby avocado tree is ready to be planted in soil. Remove the sprouted pit from the water container, and gently remove each of the toothpicks.
  11. Use a 20-25 cm terracotta pot filled with enriched soil to 2 cm below the top. A 50/50 blend of topsoil and coir (coconut fibre) works best. Smooth and slightly pack the soil, adding more soil as needed. Once the soil is prepared, dig a narrow hole deep enough to accommodate your avocado’s roots and pit.
  12. Carefully bury the avocado pit in the soil such that the top-half of pit shows above the surface of the soil. This ensures that the base of the seedling trunk doesn’t rot under the soil. Pack the soil lightly around the pit.
  13. Water your plant daily or enough to keep the soil moist. Avoid over-watering to the point that the soil becomes muddy. If the leaves turn brown at the tips, the tree needs more water. If the leaves turn yellow, the tree is getting too much water and needs to be permitted to dry out for a day or two.
  14. Continue to tend to your avocado plant regularly, and in a few years you will have an attractive and low-maintenance tree. Your family and friends will be impressed to know that from an avocado pit, salvaged from your guacamole recipe, you have cultivated and grown your very own avocado tree. Alternatively, plant the pit in a pot, during the warmer months and wait for 3-4 months for the plant to sprout.

Tips

Avocado pits can take some time to sprout. To mimic natural sprouting conditions, keep the top half of the pit in light while covering the bottom half of the pit (and the container of water) in foil or some other opaque material.

During the winter or in cold climates, it is best to transfer the baby avocado tree into potting soil in a medium flower pot rather than directly into the ground. Keep the plant in a sunny window and keep the soil moist but don’t over-water.

While an older school of thought declares that an avocado-producing tree cannot be grown successfully from seed except once in roughly 1,000 attempts, or that even if successful the effort will take about 7 years before the first crop is realized and that even then, the fruit may not be edible, there are some cases that serve as evidence to the contrary. A avocado strain that grow particularly fast from seed and produces a wonderful fruit from seed is the black-skinned avocado of Sabinas-Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Its skin is smooth, very thin and can be eaten as well as the fruit. The skin is high in nutritional value.

Sabinas-Hidalgo is some 80 miles south of the twin cities of Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, which lie on opposite banks of the Rio Grande River. For many years Texans crossed into Mexico and purchased Sabinas avocados cheaply (they are still extremely inexpensive by comparison). At U.S. customs, the fruit would be declared, cut open and the seed removed. It was inevitable some seeds would finally be successfully smuggled into the city and planted, which they were, and today there are many fruit-bearing Sabinal avocados growing in Laredo, Texas, whose soil they apparently love — as evidenced by the prolific production of fruit they render. They are best planted on the east side of buildings because the Laredo sun, especially in late summer, can seriously injure them otherwise. The Sabinal is readily transplanted. It is a prolific bearer and somewhat buttery. It is a little stringier than the standard Haas variety found in most Texas grocery stores. The leaf tends to be large and showy. It is an impressively fast and strong grower and seems generally free of disease and pest problems.

The Sabinal avocado renders another interesting level of taste when heated slightly. As it produces its own oil (which is 100% cholesterol-free), it can be sliced and the slices heated in a (cured) cast iron skillet without the addition of other oil/butter. Leave long enough to just heat. Sliced tomato can be heated in the same skillet. After a few minutes, put the tomato on the avocado, top the affair with the bottom half of a hamburger bun and turn the whole thing over with a spatula. Leave another minute or so in order to heat the bun. Remove, top with whatever you wish (lettuce, salsa, onions, etc), cover with the top half the bun (also heated in the same skillet) and you are in for quite a surprise. There’s a deeper richer taste in heated avocado than in unheated avocado. It is full of iron, protein and other nutrients, one of the most perfect foods in nature. Though somewhat high in fat, it has no cholesterol.

It is also questionable whether two trees are required for cross-pollination. This is not necessarily the case. In at least some strains the tree bears both male and female flowers and is self-pollinating. You may also graft from an existing fruit-bearing tree to your home-grown root stock (tree grafting, however, is another process all unto itself).

Avocados with seeds are not allowed to be imported into the US from some areas, due to several agriculture pests including several avocado seed weevils (Conotrachelus aguacate, Conotrachelus perseae, Heilipus lauri, Zygopinae spp.) and Stenoma catenifer, the Avocado Seed Moth. As the names imply, the larvae of these insects grow inside the avocado seed. For information contact your local USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine office. This is the main website for USDA APHIS.

Warnings

In the rooting processes, the greatest dangers to avoid:

Letting the pit’s bottom tip dry out will most likely prevent the avocado from sprouting properly, if at all.

Not changing or adding water sufficiently to the sprouting avocado pit can allow contaminants to form in the water and/or on the roots. Molds, root rot, fungi, and fermenting water can quickly poison the entire plant. Keep the water fresh and at the proper level.

Over-pruning (too much or too often) can stunt or stop leaf growth. After the first pruning, cut off only the very end leaf-buds on the stem and/or branches. For tree limbs and main stem trunk, pruning promotes both fuller branches and thicker, stronger leaves.

Once planted in a pot or planter, over-watering will quickly begin to turn your plant leaves yellow. Water only as much needed to keep the soil moist. Under-watering will shock your tree, and the leaves will begin to curl back and turn black. If either situation is not corrected promptly, your avocado tree may have a slow or unsuccessful recovery.

Cold (below 10ºC) can also shock your avocado plant. Keep your plant away from cold breezes, breezy doorways and cold window panes. If your tree is potted, keep it indoors until the temperature rises. For young, ground-planted avocado trees and most potted avocado trees, cover the plants leaves completely with a blanket or heavy plastic during cold weather, at least until warmer weather prevails. Well established avocado trees can often survive mild frosts and temperatures near freezing. The best bet: Always cover your tree when in doubt.

Thin or spindly branches and stems make for a weak plant support foundation. Failure to prune often enough, can create long, winding, weak branches and stems. Pruning allows the tree stem to thicken and grow more rigid.

Low lighting and/or improper watering can also create weak stems and branches, which ultimately will cause the plant to collapse under its own weight.

Until the tree is well-established in a pot, do not plant it directly in the ground. A strong plant root system along with well-loosened ground soil make for a good outdoor planting situation.

Growing an avocado seed in this manner does not result in fruit identical to the parent as commercial avocados are vegetatively propagated (clones of themselves). It will provide first rate shade, however.

It can be difficult to get an avocado tree grown from a pit derived from an avocado purchased at a store to produce fruit. Though store Avocados are not genetically altered, it takes specific conditions to produce fruit. Do not expect any fruit from it.

If you want a fruit bearing tree purchase a small Avocado tree from a nursery and follow their instructions concerning cross pollination and geographic preferences.

An avocado tree grown from seed becomes very tall, unlike a grafted tree. Avocado branches are fragile and do not support any weight on them, so don’t hang anything like a hammock from the tree branches as they will break off.

Things You’ll Need

  •  A whole, ripe avocado
  •  A tumbler or other shallow glass or plastic cup
  •  Four toothpicks

Now that you know exactly how to plant an avocado tree, nothing should stop you from trying it! Not only will you have a beautiful new avocado tree to add to your landscape, but you will get to reap the delicious benefits. How many people could you surprise by telling them you know how to plant an avocado tree? No matter the outcome, planting your own avocado tree can be a very rewarding experience to share with friends and family.

To reap the benefits of an avocado tree without the wait, come visit us at Acapulo’s.  We’ll take care of your cravings!

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