* Wash the seed. Using three or 4 toothpicks, suspend it broad end down over a water filled glass to cover about an inch of the seed.
* Put it in a warm place out of direct sunlight and replenish water as needed. You should see roots and stem sprout in about two to six weeks.
* When the stem is six to seven inches long, cut it back to about three inches. Yes I did say Cut it back to about 3 inches tall.
* When the roots are thick and the stem has leafed out again, plant it in a rich humus soil in a 10 inch diameter pot, leaving the seed half exposed.
** Give it frequent, light waterings with an occasional deep soak. Generally, the soil should be moist but not saturated. Yellowing leaves are a sign of over watering, let the plant dry out for a few days.
* The more sunlight, the better.
** If leaves turn brown and fry at the tips, too much salt has accumulated in the soil. Let water run freely into the pot and drain for several minutes.
* When the stem is 12 inches high, cut it back to 6 inches, Yes cut it back to about 6 inches tall, to encourage the growth of new shoots.
Tips for the backyard Avocado grower. If temperatures fall below 45 degrees(7.25C) it is unlikely that you will be unable to over winter Avocado trees outdoors.
While it is true that you can grow a tree from an avocado seed, keep in mind that a tree grown from seed will be very different from its parent variety and may take 3-15 years to begin producing fruit. Fruit from a tree grown from seed tends to have different flavor characteristics than their parent variety. Known varieties such as Hass avocados are grafted to preserve their varietal characteristics rather than being grown from seed.
Planting is usually best in an area where there is good drainage. Make sure it has full exposure to the sun and is not competing with other trees. Spring time is the best time to plant. Avocado seedlings don’t work well as most of them will not bear fruit. Buy a grafted variety, like a Hass, from a reputable nursery.
Watering is very important to an avocado tree since it is a subtropical fruit. A full grown tree needs at least 150 gallons per week in fall, summer and spring. In hot weather, water twice a week for short times. Avocado roots are near the surface. If tip burn occurs it is probably salt build up. Increase watering up to 250 gallons per week. Younger trees need more frequent watering for short periods due to the roots being close to the surface.
Scott’s Turf Supreme is a good all around nutrient that has trace minerals that are essential to keeping an avocado with green leaves to say the least. Younger trees require more frequent but lighter fertilizing. A mature tree which is anything over four years old takes half a pound of nitrogen per year. Apply a quarter cup of fertilizer around where the sprinkler wets the soil every other week.
Back off during heavy flowering as the tree does not need to grow.
Pruning starts just before the days start getting longer, like in February or sooner, but after any threat of frost. Eliminate branches that go in a downward direction or ones that touch or are near the ground. If they touch the ground ants can infest the tree. Long green stemmed sucker shoots that go up straight up should be topped. As the tree grows, keep the center of the tree open. Ultimately the avocado tree will be vase shaped.
Picking time can be a long span lasting several months. The fruit will be dark in color. This is the optimum time to pick for quality. Sometimes the fruit drops to the ground. Grab it before your dog gets it. He knows the best tasting avocado is one that has just fallen from a tree.
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