Author Topic: How Brad grew his avocado grove  (Read 761 times)

Greg A

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How Brad grew his avocado grove
« on: January 20, 2024, 12:32:35 AM »
Many of us on the forum know Brad (Spaugh) and have seen and participated in some of his fruit growing projects so I thought I'd share a short video I made about how he has been developing a new section of avocado trees on his property in San Diego County. I also wrote up some details on his methods so I linked that below too.

Here is the short video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Yi2v_DEA-aw?feature=shared
Here it is on Odysee: https://odysee.com/@GregAlder:6/how-brad-grew-his-avocado-grove:5?r=HJYybPpruRgdFoPoTwFLhZmq3E9orRRP

And here is my post with some details: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/how-brad-grew-his-avocado-grove/

I'm sure if you have any questions or comments, Brad will see them here and be able to answer.
gregalder.com/yardposts/

K-Rimes

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2024, 12:36:52 PM »
Brad's orchard is awesome, and I have always liked his no BS style of growing. Awesome to see the new block and the theory behind it!

Jose Spain

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2024, 09:00:59 AM »
Great info, Brad's orchard and experience are a reference for many of us growing under similar climates. Thanks both and keep it up!

fliptop

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2024, 07:34:36 PM »
Great video, thanks, Greg A! It's always cool to see drastic action taken that I'd be too scared to do (e.g., sawing off the tops of those trees).

I have done no research on grafting avocados, but recently planted some Walmart Florida seeds to graft onto.

Can grafting be done on trees way younger than what spaugh is doing in his orchard? I planned on doing cleft grafts, and planned on doing that this summer, when the seedlings would only be ~6 months.

roblack

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2024, 07:57:39 PM »
Was in partial shock when he just chopped the whole damn tree down.

Really like the use of avocado leaves wrapped to protect the young grafts. Reminded me of a Cuban cigar.

Loved seeing the progressed grafts. Gave me closure and alleviated my initial shock and plant anxiety.

Great video and amazing orchard!

spaugh

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2024, 09:09:59 PM »
I've got it down to a science guys.  I know it looks scary but the grafts are going to take and come back super fast.  Those grafts from 6 weeks ago are starting to pop through the grafting tape now.



Brad Spaugh

drymifolia

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2024, 02:40:42 AM »
Can grafting be done on trees way younger than what spaugh is doing in his orchard? I planned on doing cleft grafts, and planned on doing that this summer, when the seedlings would only be ~6 months.

You can absolutely do that, but the growth will be slower initially than if you graft on an older, more established set of roots, like Brad does. But I regularly graft on avocado seedlings between 6 and 12 months from seed, and it works fine.

Just make sure the cambium lines up, which can be a little more tricky if you are purchasing budwood rather than cutting it yourself, as most 6-month seedlings won't be quite the "pencil thickness" (or sometimes greater) diameter that is usual for purchased scionwood. But I mostly cut budwood from my own trees, and if you're doing that you should have no difficulty finding scionwood of a suitable diameter.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2024, 02:44:51 AM by drymifolia »

spaugh

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2024, 01:34:24 PM »
One thing I found was that if I grafted onto the rooststock when they were pencil size, the whole process ended up taking a lot longer.  Generally speaking the roostocks grow a lot faster than they would if they were grafted.  The seedling trees are usually pretty vigorous and also they never spend any energy flowering.  They just develop their roots and canopy and don't ever flower (at early age). 

Most peoples' instinct seems to be graft the tree at the small stage.  But really letting the trees get larger seems to produce a better result.  I was grafting the smaller size trees in the ground at first and doing so really set back the development of the trees.  Unless the grafted variety was extremly vigorous then it could power through this stage of early development.  But the only variety i found that was as vigorous or more vigorous than the roostocks was Nabal.  For all other varieties, doing the grfting at pencil size considerably slowed the whole process.

Now I realize people may be grafting trees in pots so they can be sold or moved to other locations etc, or maybe your location requires a greenhouse.  That is pefectly fine and makes sense.  But if your plan is to put the tree in the ground at your location, and you live in an area where all of this is being done not in a greenhouse then it can really accelerate the timeline if you put the seedlings into the ground and let them go for a year or 2 and get some roots going and some substantial canopy before grafting.  A happy (in good soil/location etc) tree in the earth is going to easily outperform a tree stuck in a 5 gallon pot. 

Another interesting thing I found is that all varieties of grafted avocado would flower within 1-2 years of grafting.  Except for Nabal.  I have around 8 or 9 grafted nabal trees and none of them flower until they are around 10 ft tall and 3-4 years old.  This is the only variety I have seen that needs to get to a critical mass before it willmstart to flower.  Its also the most vigorous of any types grown here.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2024, 01:38:11 PM by spaugh »
Brad Spaugh

drymifolia

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2024, 01:47:34 PM »
Absolutely 100% agree with that, I've noticed the same thing even here in my (far) less than ideal climate.

I mostly graft on small potted seedlings because I will be distributing them to project members throughout the region about a year later, and I want to include some grafted varieties in the trial. But most of what I'm distributing are ungrafted seedlings with the promise to graft them later if they survive, precisely for the reason stated by Brad above. Vigor is virtually always greater for ungrafted seedlings, at least initially.

spaugh

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2024, 01:57:36 PM »
Another observation is the take rate on the bark grafts is higher than the clefts.  It seems like it would not be the case but i can get close to 100% with the bark grafts.  I think just because theres no posibility to not get good cambium connections.  I did not have such good results with other types of trees doing this graft but for avocados it seems to be giving near perfect results. 

And another observation is that it is best to put the graft on the side of the tree that matches the prevailing winds.  For example, here the wind (usually) blow west -> east.  So the graft should be placed on the west side of the tree so it blows the graft towards the trunk not way from it causing it to seperate. 
Brad Spaugh

Bush2Beach

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2024, 03:33:27 PM »
keen observation's and insight Brad! good real talk.

fliptop

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2024, 05:37:20 PM »
Thank you, spaugh and drymifolia!

Avofan

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Re: How Brad grew his avocado grove
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2024, 11:42:16 AM »
Great info.
Iíve been doing cleft grafts the past few years and they seem to top out around 90% take.
Bark graft works really well for everything because youíre sticking the scion right where you want it.
When grafting to pencil sized seedlings, they break through the parafilm and usually stall. The growth spurt is a response to the trauma of having the seedlings head cut off, but then they use up a lot of their starch (Iíd guess) so they stay about a foot tall for a year before they start growing again. Bradís method there is no lost year.

 

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