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Author Topic: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.  (Read 4486 times)

JoeReal

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Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« on: May 10, 2019, 02:23:02 PM »
Story about the **Aravaipa**:
Here's what I found out about the Aravaipa Avocado.

There's a special story about it in the Fruit Gardener which I recommend you'd subscribe if you're into fruit growing. It isn't publicly available as it is copyrighted but accessible via paid subscription.

There were many avocado trees planted in Arizona and elsewhere near the Mexico Border when parts of the US were still under Mexico, sometime in the 1700's and earlier. So it must be a long time of selection pressure for the various trial avocado plantings, by people freely coming in and out of Mexico and from Central and South America long before the US was formed.

In 1906, a rancher's family purchased the deed to his land in 1906 in the Aravaipa Canyon, now a Conservation Preserve in Arizona, and there was already a good size avocado tree growing in it. The avocado tree must have first sprouted or planted in the mid to late 1800's. The ranch is located at the bottom of a Valley, on a small mesa, just about 10 to 15 feet above the stream bed, and about 180 feet from the Aravaipa River. This means that during winter, very cold air from the mountains, being denser, would drain into this valley creating very cold freezing conditions, but the cold air would continue to drain down further into the river, away from the avocado tree, away from the ranch. According to the rancher, there are a couple of times or more that the entire mesa was flooded with 6-8 ft of water up to the trunk of the tree. Over the more than 100 years since their family acquired the land, the ranch had experienced many wintry snow storms, with regular winters of mid-20's and plummeting as low as 10 deg F. During the summer, the temperature regularly get several days of 120 deg F and sometimes weeks of temperatures above the century mark.

The tree must be at least 125 years old and survived it all to be the great and unique specimen that it is to this very day. What sets apart this tree from other cold hardy specimen is that it is both very cold hardy and heat tolerant. The tree is also salt tolerant, able to thrive in saline sodic soils of Arizona, and tolerant of root rot from the flooding and prolonged wet soils during winter. The tree just laughs off freezing events and continues to be very productive.

The tree is now regarded by Arizona residents as a Native Arizona avocado, and is related to Hass, a Guatemalan race, and avocado aficionados know very well that Guatamelan varieties typically have rough tough skins and are the most cold sensitive. So indeed this variety is truly unique in that it is very cold hardy and heat tolerant at the same time. Hass will simply burn in very hot summer temperatures or die out or severely damaged after a few frosty nights during winter.

The cultivar is just starting to become popular. In my quest for having a fruit bearing avocado tree in North California, I seek out and added this to my collection. Thanks to my friend Harvey Correia who first told me about the story of the Aravaipa and let me take a cutting of it from his tree.

One of the drawbacks to its adoption is that some say it only tasted mediocre. Most people don't want anything that isn't at least as good tasting as Hass. Julie Frink, a revered avocado guru, wasn't impressed with its flavor and at best considered it mediocre. But for our area, being mediocre is preferable to having no avocados at all. The current ranch owners of the original Aravaipa tree told that the taste is really delectable when harvested and properly ripened, and they had more sampling of the fruits than anyone else. As for me, one sample isn't enough especially if you're tasting many other avocados. A sampling through time of various harvest dates and ripening period is the best gauge for evaluating the quality of the fruits. Also the age of the tree has tremendous effect on the fruit quality, just like old vines making better wines than newer vines. I learned that as a winemaker long time ago, that you'll have to bring wine across its journey through time, and one bottle isn't enough. Flavor quality changes through time. Sometimes a slight modification in the "curing" or storage of avocados can dramatically change their flavor profile, and we don't have a clue on how to handle Aravaipa Avocado, such as optimum harvest and storage time.

I hope to get a lot of fruits this year. So I hope to evaluate it properly for my personal recommendations. Regardless of taste, it is a must have variety, at least for me as I believe that it would surely be a good source of excellent rootstock just like the Duke, that are able to tolerate salt, heat, root rot, and very cold hardy.

Unlike the Duke avocado, the Aravaipa can be be ordered online and is often available. It costs more than the typical avocado tree from big box stores as the propagators don't have the economies of scale. But also be aware that there are two types of Aravaipa being sold, one is also sold as Arizona Avocado, and is the original Aravaipa, and the other one is sold as Don Juan which many said is not the original Aravaipa, but dual labeled as such. The Don Juan is said to produce better tasting fruits than Arizona, and so must be another cultivar and I have no idea about its cold, salt, heat and rot tolerance.

Here's a video link showing that the legendary tree exists. The family who owns the ranch and the original tree has invited one of the promoters, propagators and sellers of the Aravaipa avocado. The exact location of the ranch and the tree can't be disclosed to respect the owner's privacy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC7VtIDRaNg

JoeReal

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 02:23:55 PM »


Here's the story about the **Duke Avocado**
Part 1:
http://sacramentogardening.blogspot.com/2012/06/duke-rides-again.html

Part 2:
http://sacramentogardening.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-legendary-duke-avocado-part-deux.html


As I have already mentioned, the best rootstock for our area is from the Duke Avocado Tree. The seedlings can tolerate well water high in boron and salts.  I am suspecting the same for the Aravaipa so am excited to test them.


**Fantastic/Pryor Avocado** is green, paper thin skin, most cold hardy of all the Mexican avocados. The fruit
has a creamy texture with fantastic flavors. Eat skin and all. It is a vigorous growing beautiful tree. I am suspecting that the Fantastic avocado has similar genetics to Duke.

**Brazos Belle or WIlma**  is also a cold hardy Mexican avocado. The fruit is large and has a very good flavor. The skin is black in color.

JoeReal

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2019, 02:26:08 PM »
This winter, I have 100% germination rate of Aravaipa seeds and Duke seeds outside the house, in the yard, exposed to the elements, they're in plastic cups. Only the Aravaipa germinated during the winter while Duke germinated during early spring.

I'll begin to experiment on them as rootstocks!

JoeReal

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2019, 02:32:34 PM »
A couple of years ago, I grafted all the cold hardiest avocados that I can find and so it has 7 cultivars with 5 type B and 2 type A flowers. Earlier this season, they bloomed almost together and there were plenty of bees and syrphid flies visiting the tree.

So now it has heavy fruit sets that I am tempted to thin out the fruits of our avocado tree! From the floor of the deck to the top of canopy, avocados of different sizes and shapes from 7 different cold hardy cultivars on one tree are becoming heavier and heavier, made the tree droop and spread. I worry that some limbs might break.

This is a young tree about 3-4 years old and this is what happens when you have both type A & B flowers bloom at the same time. The heatwaves are just starting so am hesitant to thin it out as many of them would fall off. Will try to brace the tree after another heat wave.

It was hard for me to get avocados going in my yard. We have freezes every year. Many avocado trees have died before I achieved this. Two major things why they died:

Rootstocks: all the rootstocks available from nurseries and big box stores donít like our water. Too much boron, too much salt, high pH. We also have alkaline soil, so they all die within a couple of years if they survived the cold.
Cold Hardiness: only a couple cultivars available from the same commercial stores are cold hardy but theyíll die if we got freezes colder than normal during the winter, such as wayward Arctic blasts.
So I researched and experimented with my own rootstocks, growing them from seeds of established trees of Northern California and then collected all the known cold hardiest Avocados of North America. And the result is this tree.










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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2019, 02:34:49 PM »
Nice to see some success in my area. I'm actually pretty close to some GIANT duke's in oroville.
Did you plant in a mound or directly at ground level? I know standing water is a huge issue out here.
-Kris

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2019, 02:44:01 PM »
Do I understand correctly that you're using your own selected rootstock? How many seedlings did you plant to arrive at one that "works"? Did you select with all of them in-ground?

JoeReal

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2019, 03:29:35 PM »
Nice to see some success in my area. I'm actually pretty close to some GIANT duke's in oroville.
Did you plant in a mound or directly at ground level? I know standing water is a huge issue out here.

Always plant elevated from the ground in most areas of California. I recommend at least 3' x 3' x 1' high planter box (made of retaining wall bricks preferably).

JoeReal

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2019, 03:31:08 PM »
Do I understand correctly that you're using your own selected rootstock? How many seedlings did you plant to arrive at one that "works"? Did you select with all of them in-ground?

All of my avocados are now on Duke Seedling rootstocks. All the ones that I got from the stores, and other seedlings that I have started resulted in dead avocado trees! 

The Aravaipa seedlings seemed to even be more promising and am trying it this year too!

spaugh

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2019, 05:02:57 PM »
 Nice work Joe, that takes a lot of thought and effort to end ip where you are with your trees.  Enjoy your avocados.
Brad Spaugh

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2019, 05:42:27 PM »
Very nice work indeed! I'm trying to do the same thing inside a greenhouse in Europe. They are hard to come by, but the Mexican cold hardy varieties are so much more tolerant of our cold and wet winters here, that anyhting else dies, while the Mexicola seeds don't even have one single leaf that burns in some years. I know anyone can think of such a thing, but in practice it takes a lot of planning and searching for specific seeds and cultivars to get a tree going like yours. That is pretty amazing. The seeds of your avocadoes will probably give some interesting new trees as well. Good luck!

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2019, 04:02:03 PM »
I have found out that the first seeds of the Aravaipa avocado germinated during the winter here in our area, I planted them in small cups, outside, fully exposed to the elements. The Duke seeds sprouted much later, only after it consistently got above 40F. 

It seems that the Aravaipa seedlings are able to take our boron toxic and saline alkaline city water very well, showed no signs of salt damage at all. Duke seedlings also, but then the Aravaipa grows more vigorously.  I'll experiment on them as avocado rootstocks.

All the avocados that I got from the big box stores has already died and I am suspecting that the rootstocks used aren't really suited to our area. The trees that are sold don't have the name of the rootstock used.


ricshaw

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2019, 05:18:20 PM »
All the avocados that I got from the big box stores has already died and I am suspecting that the rootstocks used aren't really suited to our area. The trees that are sold don't have the name of the rootstock used.

If the grower was La Verne Nursery, I think he told us on the last CRFG LA Chapter nursery tour they use Fuerte seedlings.

tve

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 02:29:29 AM »
Quote
If the grower was La Verne Nursery, I think he told us on the last CRFG LA Chapter nursery tour they use Fuerte seedlings.
I inquired about ordering some Avos at LaVerne and got the following reply: "The avocado rootstock is Zutano and the height we ship at is about 42Ē from the ground; we use a 42Ē stake and it will be at top of stake, the 5 gal container is 12Ē in height." from Richard Wilson - CEO, on April 24th.

Mark in Texas

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2019, 09:56:46 AM »
Truly amazing and well planned Joe.  I've heard nothing but good things about the Mexicola.  No, it's not in the same class as many of SoCal avocado hybrids but it's a helluva better than the "Tex-Mex" avocados they push here in Texas: Fantastic/Pryor Avocado, Brazos Belle or Wilma. Joey is another one that's crap. 

Might try Reed.  You may have seen where mine took 18F for a short time and came back from stubs last year.  It's now 13' and flowering.

What nails our tropical fruit trees in Texas is the wild temp swings - 80F high one day, Arctic cold front moves in at night with a low of 26F the next morn.  Trees that have some age, are lignified (woody) and have been acclimated to cold can laugh at the cold hardiness ratings on the label or published in guidelines. 

Having said that, check out my little friend. Smallest praying mantis I've ever seen.  It's sitting on a new Kahalu'u graft.






JoeReal

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2019, 10:04:30 AM »
Truly amazing and well planned Joe.  I've heard nothing but good things about the Mexicola.  No, it's not in the same class as many of SoCal avocado hybrids but it's a helluva better than the "Tex-Mex" avocados they push here in Texas: Fantastic/Pryor Avocado, Brazos Belle or Wilma. Joey is another one that's crap. 

Might try Reed.  You may have seen where mine took 18F for a short time and came back from stubs last year.  It's now 13' and flowering.

What nails our tropical fruit trees in Texas is the wild temp swings - 80F high one day, Arctic cold front moves in at night with a low of 26F the next morn.  Trees that have some age, are lignified (woody) and have been acclimated to cold can laugh at the cold hardiness ratings on the label or published in guidelines. 

Having said that, check out my little friend. Smallest praying mantis I've ever seen.  It's sitting on a new Kahalu'u graft.






So true about the wild swings.  There's one thing that I like about Fantastic/Pryor Avocado, Brazos Belle or Wilma and Joey: they make very good rootstocks here! They're better as a rootstocks than the ones that came from the stores. Wilma for example produce a ton of avocados, with mostly seeds instead of pulp (big seed to flesh ratio), but their seeds can still sprout in late winter when planted outside and is able to tolerate our toxic city water.

One of these days, I might be able to plant more exotic avocados like your Kahalu'u when I find space for a greenhouse!

spaugh

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2019, 10:33:55 AM »
  I've heard nothing but good things about the Mexicola.

Im here to say bad things about mexicola. My mexicola has a date with my chainsaw coming up.  :)
Brad Spaugh

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2019, 10:37:06 AM »
I love the flavor of Mexicola and found them to be much better, smooth and more refined than Hass. A lot of factors can influence the flavor though. Where grown, type of soil, water, fertilizer, weather pattern, age of the tree... it is like wine. Taste of the fruit can vary from place to place and how it as cared for. If you don't like the fruit, graft over it with something you may like.

spaugh

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2019, 11:15:32 AM »
Joe, they (mexicola) seem to be all seed and no flesh for me.  And they hang on the tree about a week at the most before falling off and becoming bird and mouse food.  And its hardly flowering here while every other tree is overloaded with flowers. 

I've never heard anyone say they would take mexicola over hass.  Makes me wonder if you are only comparing to store bought hass.  Im pretty sure a proper hass will mop the floor with most avocados. 

Speaking of hass, whats the deal with growing them in your area joe?  Can it be done?  Or if not what is the problem?  The heat, the cold, both?  I read the central valley farmers really want to grow avocados but hass wont grow there.  I grew up in Stockton/san joaquin county by the way and never grew avocados until moving to san diego county.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 11:22:31 AM by spaugh »
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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2019, 11:37:14 AM »
Joe, they (mexicola) seem to be all seed and no flesh for me.  And they hang on the tree about a week at the most before falling off and becoming bird and mouse food.  And its hardly flowering here while every other tree is overloaded with flowers. 

I've never heard anyone say they would take mexicola over hass.  Makes me wonder if you are only comparing to store bought hass.  Im pretty sure a proper hass will mop the floor with most avocados. 

Speaking of hass, whats the deal with growing them in your area joe?  Can it be done?  Or if not what is the problem?  The heat, the cold, both?  I read the central valley farmers really want to grow avocados but hass wont grow there.  I grew up in Stockton/san joaquin county by the way and never grew avocados until moving to san diego county.

It's funny that my Mexicola here has way more flesh than seeds. Maybe you got the wrong type of Mexicola, or maybe my Mexicola was mislabeled. But whatever, the one I have has smooth skin, you can eat the dark skin, and it is cold hardy, and the leaves has the distinctive Anise aroma. I grafted mine, by taking it from a very mature Mexicola tree of our friend nearby city.

Funny that you asked about the Hass. Just one arctic blast in our area, it could kill the Hass back to the ground.

And in one of those Arctic Blasts, about a decade ago, a friend of ours have the Hass avocado died back to the ground, so they cut it, but not below the graft line. Then it resprouted, above the graft line that year, and grew without any winter damages thereafter. For the past 4-5 years, it has been producing more and more fruits each year. I called it Lynn's Cold Hardy Hass and has grafted it to my collection of Cold Hardy Avocados. So far the grafts took and it showed the characteristically very large Hass leaves similar to during it's juvenile stage as I took the wood from a juvenile branch so I can have more vigorous growth during the first year to catch up with the rest of the cultivars grafted together.

Anyway, I have the pictures of the fruits from my friend's tree and have been giving away scionwood to fellow CRFG members that are interested in order to validate it's cold hardiness.  The taste of the fruit is similar to Hass, it has rough skin like the Hass, only that the skin doesn't develop a really dark skin color like the Hass when ripe. It's dark green with hue of purple, but more towards the green color. The flavor is similar to Hass. Holler if you want to try it there too. I am spreading it around for evaluation.

Here's what I posted in Facebook:
"Lynn Sharman’s cold hardy avocado in West Sacramento. It’s originally a Hass avocado that died down one cold winter, and was cut to a stump above its graft line and resprouted back from the stump cold hardy. It grew and bore fruits for the last 5 years and never bothered again by frosts or freezes thereafter. The tree seems to be self-fertile (has type A & B flowers on different parts of the tree) as it bore a lot of fruits even though there are no other avocados nearby. It’s fruits are delicious with smooth buttery texture similar to Hass and no fibers. Unlike Hass, it’s tough thick skin don’t turn dark when ripe. It has good shelf life and doesn’t bruise easily even when dropped. Thanks to Lynn for the fruits as I will try their seeds as rootstocks. I took as much scionwood for grafting as her house would be up for sale, along with the avocado "









« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 11:42:23 AM by JoeReal »

ricshaw

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2019, 12:04:57 PM »
It's funny that my Mexicola here has way more flesh than seeds. Maybe you got the wrong type of Mexicola, or maybe my Mexicola was mislabeled. But whatever, the one I have has smooth skin, you can eat the dark skin, and it is cold hardy, and the leaves has the distinctive Anise aroma. I grafted mine, by taking it from a very mature Mexicola tree of our friend nearby city.

Funny that you asked about the Hass. Just one arctic blast in our area, it could kill the Hass back to the ground.

And in one of those Arctic Blasts, about a decade ago, a friend of ours have the Hass avocado died back to the ground, so they cut it, but not below the graft line. Then it resprouted, above the graft line that year, and grew without any winter damages thereafter. For the past 4-5 years, it has been producing more and more fruits each year. I called it Lynn's Cold Hardy Hass and has grafted it to my collection of Cold Hardy Avocados. So far the grafts took and it showed the characteristically very large Hass leaves similar to during it's juvenile stage as I took the wood from a juvenile branch so I can have more vigorous growth during the first year to catch up with the rest of the cultivars grafted together.

Anyway, I have the pictures of the fruits from my friend's tree and have been giving away scionwood to fellow CRFG members that are interested in order to validate it's cold hardiness.  The taste of the fruit is similar to Hass, it has rough skin like the Hass, only that the skin doesn't develop a really dark skin color like the Hass when ripe. It's dark green with hue of purple, but more towards the green color. The flavor is similar to Hass. Holler if you want to try it there too. I am spreading it around for evaluation.

Here's what I posted in Facebook:
"Lynn Sharmanís cold hardy avocado in West Sacramento. Itís originally a Hass avocado that died down one cold winter, and was cut to a stump above its graft line and resprouted back from the stump cold hardy. It grew and bore fruits for the last 5 years and never bothered again by frosts or freezes thereafter. The tree seems to be self-fertile (has type A & B flowers on different parts of the tree) as it bore a lot of fruits even though there are no other avocados nearby. Itís fruits are delicious with smooth buttery texture similar to Hass and no fibers. Unlike Hass, itís tough thick skin donít turn dark when ripe. It has good shelf life and doesnít bruise easily even when dropped. Thanks to Lynn for the fruits as I will try their seeds as rootstocks. I took as much scionwood for grafting as her house would be up for sale, along with the avocado "

It sounds very possible that neither of the above are true Mexicola or Hass varieties.

JoeReal

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2019, 12:31:50 PM »
It sounds very possible that neither of the above are true Mexicola or Hass varieties.

You can call it anything you want, you can spend a fortune for DNA or genetic testing, I won't care much.

As for me, it really doesn't matter. If it tastes good, it is able to endure our cold winters and producing fruits every year, then it's a winner. And that's the bottom line.


spaugh

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2019, 12:35:08 PM »
I agree with the bottom line part Joe.  Thats what counts.  The hass looks like hass.  They look very green still.  I suspect it will get very black of left on the tree longer. 
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 12:36:39 PM by spaugh »
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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2019, 12:43:40 PM »
I agree with the bottom line part Joe.  Thats what counts.  The hass looks like hass.  They look very green still.  I suspect it will get very black of left on the tree longer.

If left longer, the flavor will also improve further compared to store bought Hass. Anyway, that is one cold hardy tree because the leaves don't even get frost bite. The house that has the tree is being sold, so I am getting as much scionwood as I can and give them away to people willing to try. I haven't encountered a Hass Type that is as cold hardy as this one.

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2019, 03:39:11 PM »
Joe,
were did you source your seeds? I'm working on mounding up and planting my avocados and would love to experiment with an in ground seedling but out here all I can find is Hass fruit.

Thanks,
-Kris

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Re: Interesting Story about these two cold hardy avocados.
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2019, 04:17:45 PM »
Joe,
were did you source your seeds? I'm working on mounding up and planting my avocados and would love to experiment with an in ground seedling but out here all I can find is Hass fruit.

Thanks,

First I did research on where the cold hardiest oldest trees are found and when they bear fruits. So during the fruiting season, I looked at the forecast if it is windy. If that afternoon to evening is windy, I schedule a very early morning trip to those trees and then pick up their fruits from the ground. Most of these trees are in public parks and if on private properties, some of their branches extends to the roads and so I pick up the fruits, and I ripen them, got to taste them too, and then use their seeds as rootstocks.

Now I have many cold hardy avocados grafted on to those seedling rootstocks and as they bear fruits, I use the seeds to experiment if they make excellent rootstocks. I usually started them by germinating them during the winter on potting media, and left outside. I have produced many cold hardy seedlings this way. I will have plenty to experiment from my first generation fruits.

 

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