What more simple pleasure is there than enjoying fruit which you have grown yourself? There are fruit trees suitable for every garden, big or small.
Avocados are best planted from early August through until the end of October.
3 - 6 Years
Avocados will be ready to harvest between 3 to 6 years after planting, depending on the variety, soil structure and care they receive. Though patience is needed to grow avocados, a seven year old tree will produce approximately 200 avocados in a season. Harvest times vary between varieties also. Research when your variety is ready to harvest.
Avocado trees need to be planted in full sun, meaning they need at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
Plant in well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Avocados have sensitive roots and don’t cope well in compact soils. If you have clay soil, there is a chance that even by improving the soil with gypsum, compost, and pumice sand, there is a slim chance your avocado may still not thrive.
While some avocado trees will self-pollinate, it would be a good idea to get a partnered avocado to make sure you get fruit off your tree. Avocados are split up into two pollinating categories. Type ‘A’ and type ‘B’. These types are divided up by the different opening times of the male and female flowers. Type ‘A’ avocado’s female flowers open in the morning for 2 – 3 hours before closing, then their male flowers open later in the afternoon for 2 – 3 hours before closing. Type A varieties include Hass and Reed. Type ‘B’ pollinators are the opposite, where the females are open in the afternoon and males in the morning making these two types a perfect match. Type B varieties include Cleopatra, Bacon, Hashimoto and Fuerte.
To plant, dig a hole twice as deep and twice as wide as the plastic bag it comes in. Backfill this hole half way with a mixture of Natures Organic Fertiliser and your original soil, as well as a sprinkling of sheep pellets and Kings 24 Plus to help boost new root growth in the coming months. Split the bottom of the bag and gently pull the bag up to the trunk before snipping off - try not to disturb the roots as best you can; as they can be delicate and fragile. Backfill the rest of the hole around the root-ball with the remaining mixture and steady your tree with two stakes on each side for support, tied together with tree tie. Once planted, deeply water your tree to avoid it drying out after the transplanting stage. Note that even though the Cleopatra variety is a dwarf, it will still get to 3 metres tall and cannot be grown in pots.
Water your tree deeply once established as well, leaving the hose on for around 5 minutes for each tree, once every week in the dry summer months.
Feed monthly through Spring and Summer with Aquaticus Organic Garden Booster. Once flowers and fruit emerge, you can swap to the Kings Citrus and Fruit Tree Fertiliser.
Young avocado trees need to be sheltered from strong wind and frosts for the first couple of years after planting. Use frost cloth and wind-breaker material to help protect them during this period.
Mulch regularly with Living Earth More than Mulch, making sure the mulch is not touching the trunk.
Ensure that you protect your tree from frost while still young.
If your avocado is flowering in temperatures under 20 degrees, the flowering times will become irregular, impacting pollination, and therefore fruit production. If your neighbour is also interested in getting an avocado, recommend the opposite pollination variety to yours so you can both benefit from cross pollination (they don't need to be right next to each other)!
Easily the most common variety. Medium sized fruits are nutty in flavour. Matures Nov-Mar. Leave to darken and soften before eating.
A smaller growing tree well suited to the home gardener. Large round smooth fruits are buttery and very tasty. Matures Feb-Apr. Eat when green and soft.
Long oval pear shape with mild taste and leathery green skins. Matures Aug-Oct. Eat when green and soft.
What you need to Grow Well
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if avocados are ripe?
Hass avocados are ready once their skin becomes a purple brown in colour.
Why isn’t my avocado tree producing fruit?
Avocados trees grown from seeds can take up to 12 years to start producing fruit. There are many environmental reasons that trees may stop producing fruit such as dry soil, root rot and pruning faults.
When should I pick my avocados?
Avocados are do not ripen on the tree, they only ripen once they have been picked. If picked prior to maturity, avocados will not ripen, and they will remain hard. The easiest way to discover whether your avocados are ready is to pick one, and if it ripens within two weeks then all should be ready for picking. Check every couple of weeks if it doesn't ripen. Harvesting season for New Zealand's most common variety of avocado, Hass avocados is September to April.
Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable?
Avocado is actually a fruit, specifically a berry. It contains around 20 nutrients, is naturally low in sugar and contains protein, making it one of the healthiest fruits.