Author Topic: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!  (Read 43612 times)

starch

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #75 on: March 05, 2015, 09:57:01 PM »
darkcoolboo, yeah Aug-Sep is the prime time. I can usually find them up to about mid-September. As for the mix, I would say roughly equal parts of the rest of that stuff. Basically the idea is to improve the drainage because as you know our soil here drains terribly. But I think what is giving them a good start right now is the vermicompost and manure that I have on top of the mound like I mention in reply #65.
- Mark

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #76 on: March 13, 2015, 09:45:35 PM »
Well, spring is here, and it's time to put in good use the information i gathered in this topic. I have two Hass seed sprouting in my kitchen. But, i noticed, i don't know how graft avocadoes this young. Is there any specific guide or some tip people can share?
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simon_grow

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #77 on: March 14, 2015, 02:27:18 PM »
Hey Pancrazio, I would wait for some growth of the avocado seedlings to harden before attempting to graft. For the scions, you want to make sure there are some buds on them. If there aren't any growth buds, you may try stripping off leaves from your doner tree to prep the scions. Make sure your grafts are very tightly bound, especially for the first couple weeks. You can use green plastic nursery tape to ensure tight bind and cambium contact and then remove the green tie tape leaving only the parafilm after 1-2 weeks. You don't want to bind so tightly that you girdle the plant but you have to ensure contact of the cambium.

Take note of when Avocado trees around your neck of the woods, if any, push new growth and graft around that time. Avoid taking scion material from blooming trees. Please let us know how it goes!
Simon


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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #78 on: March 14, 2015, 07:19:13 PM »
Hey Pancrazio, I would wait for some growth of the avocado seedlings to harden before attempting to graft. For the scions, you want to make sure there are some buds on them. If there aren't any growth buds, you may try stripping off leaves from your doner tree to prep the scions. Make sure your grafts are very tightly bound, especially for the first couple weeks. You can use green plastic nursery tape to ensure tight bind and cambium contact and then remove the green tie tape leaving only the parafilm after 1-2 weeks. You don't want to bind so tightly that you girdle the plant but you have to ensure contact of the cambium.

Take note of when Avocado trees around your neck of the woods, if any, push new growth and graft around that time. Avoid taking scion material from blooming trees. Please let us know how it goes!
Simon

I haven't tried the green nursery tape. After I started tying the graft union with black stretchy electrical tape over the parafilm, my grafting success ratio went from about 10% to 80+%. I usually leave the electrical tape on for a month and then pull it off when I know its sealed.  I have found some water retention under the electrical tape and a couple trees died from leaving the tape on too long.

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #79 on: March 15, 2015, 08:23:47 PM »
Hey Pancrazio, I would wait for some growth of the avocado seedlings to harden before attempting to graft. For the scions, you want to make sure there are some buds on them. If there aren't any growth buds, you may try stripping off leaves from your doner tree to prep the scions. Make sure your grafts are very tightly bound, especially for the first couple weeks. You can use green plastic nursery tape to ensure tight bind and cambium contact and then remove the green tie tape leaving only the parafilm after 1-2 weeks. You don't want to bind so tightly that you girdle the plant but you have to ensure contact of the cambium.

Take note of when Avocado trees around your neck of the woods, if any, push new growth and graft around that time. Avoid taking scion material from blooming trees. Please let us know how it goes!
Simon

Thank you for your suggestions!
When you talk about hardened growth on seedling, you talk about some "woody but still tender" growth or should I wait till the stem of the seedling is completely woody?
I didn't expect that avocados needed a so strong bounded graft point, I expected them to be more similar to the mangoes... the more you know!
I will keep you surely updated, i next few days i will search for some more seed because i want to have at my disposal 6-8 seedling at the very least. I've got to obtain a plant of mexicola and bacon before the end of this season.
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simon_grow

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #80 on: March 15, 2015, 10:32:25 PM »
Hello Pancrazio,

By hardened growth I just mean that at least some of the new growth or newly forming leaves has reached full size and thickness. When the leaves are still growing I feel that much of the energy from photosynthesis in the new leaves is going into the new leaf and is thus not being stored for future use, ie, pushing growth of a grafted scion.

Let me reiterate that i am in no way a plant expert. I'm just going by personal experience or info I read off the net or pieced together. I did work with the Indonesian government sequencing fungal diseases in Oil Palm, namely Ganoderma but that in no way translates into gardening knowledge. I just hope people will have success planting avocado seeds directly in the ground and grafting those seedlings. Let us know how it goes!

Simon

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #81 on: March 18, 2015, 07:25:53 PM »
I do think that your suggestions make sense. And more so, since I have lost already 3 avocados, every suggestion from someone with problem similar to those of mine, is welcome. Plants sometimes behave in a little "magic" way (they are just to complex in their relationship with the environment to be predicted in a deterministic way). In that case using a trial-and-error and your intuition gives the best results!
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starch

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #82 on: March 23, 2015, 06:11:25 PM »
Simon,

I found this paper from the California Avocado Association (from 1919!) that talks about so many of the ideas that you have in your post. I think you will really enjoy it!  - http://www.avocadosource.com/CAS_Yearbooks/CAS_05_1919/CAS_1919-20_PG_17-20.pdf . The first three paragraphs are very good. And even if the seedling is started in a pot at a nursery instead of in the ground and then transferred to a pot later, the same issue of an underformed tap root still exists because it will be constrained by the size of the pot. I really did not understand that an avocado tree really wants a long deep tap root until you pointed it out and I started reading about it.

My seedling are still doing great outside. But the real test will be in about 3-4 months :)
- Mark

simon_grow

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #83 on: March 23, 2015, 09:21:09 PM »
Hey Starch, thanks for sharing that article! I can't believe he said all those things that I've been thinking about but that was almost 100 years ago! I'm really glad I was not the only one that thought planting the seed directly in the location where you wanted the plant to grow was a good and viable option.

On a side note, several members have contacted me regarding doing this same practice of direct planting of Mango seeds and asked about my opinion. I visited Leo Manuel several months ago and told him about my issues with slow growth of my mango trees and he mentioned that many of his larger trees were seedlings that he planted many years ago. I believe direct planting of Mango seeds would be the best route for people growing Mango in marginal climates.

One member also asked me if I've ever tried multiple root stocking avocado but I have never done this on Avocado before.

Thanks again for the great read!

Simon

starch

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #84 on: March 24, 2015, 08:23:30 AM »
Absolutely simon, glad you liked it!

On a side note, several members have contacted me regarding doing this same practice of direct planting of Mango seeds and asked about my opinion. I visited Leo Manuel several months ago and told him about my issues with slow growth of my mango trees and he mentioned that many of his larger trees were seedlings that he planted many years ago. I believe direct planting of Mango seeds would be the best route for people growing Mango in marginal climates.

That is another really good idea!

It seems like this approach will be great for a lot of subtropical trees that we love: avocado, mango, sapotes, cherimoya, atemoya, longan, lychee, etc. Anything that can make a strong and viable seedling, but won't necessarily produce good fruit from the seedling. Then we wait a year and do a graft from scions and have a much stronger site appropriate tree.

I am thinking very strongly about this approach now. The advantages are very compelling that you brought up in the original post (seedling/rootstock born into the environment that it will grow in, compatibility to soil biology, likely increased tolerance to non-optimal soil and water pH because it grew up that way, non-disturbed root system, able to handle seasonal stress better, etc.). One might point out that the disadvantage would be that this requires a lot more planning (which is true, can't argue with that) and will put you a few years behind in fruit production from a nursery-bought tree. And while that is likely true for initial fruit production, it seems likely to me that there is a cross-over point (say in years 3 or 4) where the native rootstock/site-grafted tree will outproduce a nursery rootstock/grafted tree because it is more established and able to send more energy up through the graft.

This point may not make much of a difference in more ideal growing environment for that cultivar, but for someone like me (who lives in the desert) it might make a huge difference in the long run. As you point out above: the best route for people growing in marginal climates.

Thanks!
- Mark

Mark in Texas

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #85 on: March 24, 2015, 08:39:39 AM »
Good solid advice in that PDF article!


Take note of when Avocado trees around your neck of the woods, if any, push new growth and graft around that time. Avoid taking scion material from blooming trees.
Simon

Being that my Gwen was blooming heavy I asked Carlos, our master grafter, that question, "what if the tree is blooming, doesn't that interfere with the process?"  He said "no", it doesn't matter.  I took Gwen wood, a bud from a node site, without any blossoms on it though in that area.  It is and was blooming very heavy.

Regarding the article......I'm glad my trees can't read.   :D  I planted Florida pits in the fall of 2011 bought at the grocery store (Guat. X WI) and grafted Gwen, Reed, and Sharwil scions in February 2012 using either cleft or veneer grafts, both the seedlings and scion were pretty skinny, and now have very vigorous trees that are fruiting.  The Reed has had at least 4 "haircuts".  Here is the newly grafted Reed in May 2012.  That would put the pit seedling about 7 - 8 months old. That's a pretty radical veneer graft/cut but it worked.  I can't even find the point where I grafted now. 



I have a few veneer grafts of Edranol and Holiday on one very vigorous Waldin and to cut down on failures due to rot I foliar applied broad spectrum systemic fungicides to both the rootstock and the Gwen tree at least 2 weeks prior to doing the dirty deed.  Just an experiment to see if this treatment increases my chance of success.  Also, I was very meticulous regarding sanitation. All tools were sanitized with alcohol before using. My cuts were far from perfect with a few bumps requiring me to go back and do some shaving with a Schick razor blade.

It's been a 2 weeks since doing the veneer grafts, a month on a T-budded Gwen.  Scions are still green.  After a very cold and long winter the weather has finally warmed up.





I'm a nervous wreck waiting for something to push.   :o Wish me luck!
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 08:55:37 AM by Mark in Texas »

Mark in Texas

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #86 on: March 24, 2015, 08:48:46 AM »
Back to the points brought in the article....no question about it, trees with deep taproots like pecan and oaks MAY do better if you plant the acorn or nut in it's permanent location.  What the article leaves out is the skill of the gardener - his understanding of plant processes, culture, and soil structure.  I have a heavy clay loam soil but I know how to handle it.  I put in 60 trees (fruit, nut, shade) around my custom built house and in less than 10 years they have grown from potted seedlings the size of a pencil to massive 25 footers (8 meters tall) with trunk girths of 10" +.

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #87 on: March 24, 2015, 09:10:01 AM »
Mark,

Awesome man! Good luck, I hope those grafts take! And congrats on that Reed graft! That is the tree that I most want in my yard. I have to say, I am psyched up to do some grafting on my avocado seedlings in the winter!

Back to the points brought in the article....no question about it, trees with deep taproots like pecan and oaks MAY do better if you plant the acorn or nut in it's permanent location.  What the article leaves out is the skill of the gardener - his understanding of plant processes, culture, and soil structure.  I have a heavy clay loam soil but I know how to handle it.  I put in 60 trees (fruit, nut, shade) around my custom built house and in less than 10 years they have grown from potted seedlings the size of a pencil to massive 25 footers (8 meters tall) with trunk girths of 10" +.

Those are excellent points. Knowing your site and soil makes a huge difference. My is very heavy desert soil, with some clay, but very high pH and salt content. There are some trees that I can stick in the ground and do almost nothing (pomegranate) or minimal amendments (citrus) but then I have a couple of holes in the yard that have amendments in them to drainage improvement (plum and persimmon) and then I have a mound with a lot of amendments with good underneath drainage (peaches and avocados). And knowing the right places to put them for shade and sun. I agree, you have to let your land talk to you.

Congrats on all those mature trees grown from seedlings, that must be very satisfying!
- Mark

Mark in Texas

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #88 on: March 24, 2015, 09:52:27 AM »
Thanks Starch, and the best to you.  Our soils are the same as yours.  Just a point because we (or at least me) have beat this horse to death but here's my  advice, NEVER amend heavy clay soils with any compost.  Always return the native soil back to the hole.  Maybe a little sulfur to chemically change the lime to gypsum, but never any organics or  sand.  The good doctor has 3 parts to Soil Amendments - http://puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20chalker-scott/horticultural%20myths_files/Myths/Amendments.pdf 

For the record, my trees are in a greenhouse.  I'll plant a cold hardy Joey outdoors as soon as I can get around to it. Said to take temps below 10F.

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #89 on: March 24, 2015, 10:13:51 AM »
Thanks Mark!

And thanks for that link, I have read some of her papers before, but I have not read that one yet. I do understand what she is saying in the paper. My approach with my persimmon and plum holes was contrary to her advice. I did do a much higher percentage of amendments than she recommends, but as I was doing it I thought about the 'bathtub' effect and fact that I would get settling over the years. So I formed a small mound so that the crown was 3" above the native soil level. This would give me some margin for settling. And I actually want a bathtub in the soil. These trees are somewhat close to obstructions in the yard and I am keeping them to about 6 feet. I am planning to do so by pruning, but I figured constraining the roots (essentially putting them in a 'pot' in the ground) would also help me to achieve that goal.

Regarding the Joey avocado: Please let me know if you put one in and how it does! I frost protect my mango trees and will have to do the same with a Reed avocado (after I graft one :) ), but I did look into some of the much more cold tolerant avocados (like Joey, Stewart, Fantastic) and I can see the appeal of not needing to deal with frost protection.
- Mark

Mark in Texas

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #90 on: March 24, 2015, 10:59:05 AM »
I'd go with a sport of Reed, Holiday, because it's smaller and apparently of the same high quality.  My Reed is very vigorous but oh that fruit!    And all of the Tex-Mex varieties would work and Mexicola if you have cold weather.  Talked to a a fella about Mexicola, said it went thru single digit temps. I'm picky about such pure Mex. varieties.  Life's too short to be fighting a fruit where the seed is huge, the meat sticks to the seed or it's a bear to peel. One reason why I cut off my Brogdon and just grafted to the Waldin it was on.  However, I've never heard one bad thing about the quality of the Mexicola except some don't like the large seed.  Have read negative comments about the Mexicola Grande. Rumor has it the fruit is of inferior quality.   

If you have any kind of drainage in your native soil then you might get away with amending it.  I can't. When I dig I end up creating an in ground pot with glazed clay sides.  I drug a 2' subsoiler behind my tractor on most to fracture the soil and if not then I use a small pickax to fracture the sides and bottom for roots to penetrate.  It works really well.

Sharwil is loaded with blossoms.  Unlike last year when I left only one fruit on, I think this guy is ready to support quite a bit of fruit.  Beautiful tree with huge, glossy leaves.  Fruit is excellent. 





Like I said, you can't see the graft on the Reed. Regarding the grafting knife it was recommended by Carlos. Excel #2 medium with Schick injector blade.



Current Sharwil graft:



« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 11:25:07 AM by Mark in Texas »

starch

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #91 on: March 24, 2015, 11:29:33 AM »
I have not tried a Holiday yet, but I hear nothing but good things. But I just love Reeds so much. The only avocado that I have liked the taste of better is a Nabal (which is a parent or grandparent of the original Reed seedling it has been said). So much oil and flavor, even more intense. But I did not like the texture as much as the Reed, which is like velvet.

I would be very interested in trying a Mexicola. I have had a Topa Topa before which sounds like it is very similar (small avocado, high oil content, huge seed, dark purple skin). The seed to flesh was so big that a 3" diameter avocado only had a flesh thickness of about 1/4". But the flavor was excellent, very different. And the skin was so thin, I just ate it skin and all. I can't say it was my favorite, but different and a lot of fun to eat.

That Sharwil is gorgeous! And the base of the Reed is extremely healthy looking. You have got some beautiful trees man!
- Mark

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #92 on: March 24, 2015, 12:53:15 PM »
I read the article posted "Things we have learned".

While I cannot argue against planting root stock in the field to get a better tap root, I have found that the concept of a nursery has its own merits. The nursery has many likenesses of an educational school, the nursery serves as a place of growth training, shade providing, wind break, watering, weeding, selection, feeding. The nursery can be used for 6 months to a year or more, where it would be tremendous amount more work to move around in a field.  The nursery also provides a jump start on plant growth when swapping in and out trees (for field replacement) or for relocation reasons (such as someone moving).

Mark in Texas

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #93 on: March 24, 2015, 02:00:14 PM »
This place needs a <LIKE> button!

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #94 on: March 24, 2015, 08:07:09 PM »
Mexicola seems a great variety for those in marginal climates. I'm assuming that we don't hear about it more often on this forum because most people here aren't in a marginal climate.
However I'm in this topic because I failed two transplantation attempt of Mexicola plants in my soil. I have a relatively heavy loam soil.

I'm still interested in modes and times you people have used to graft your seedling.
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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #95 on: March 25, 2015, 06:42:16 AM »
Mexicola seems a great variety for those in marginal climates. I'm assuming that we don't hear about it more often on this forum because most people here aren't in a marginal climate.
However I'm in this topic because I failed two transplantation attempt of Mexicola plants in my soil. I have a relatively heavy loam soil.

I'm still interested in modes and times you people have used to graft your seedling.
The golden rule Pancracio is: when bud wood and root stock are active. You line those two up and you have success.
On the mexicola may be because is not a great tasting avocado most wind up changing canopy on them. There are better cold hardy varieties now. I have some under review now. Like Poncho, Joey, Daisy.......
Carlos
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Mark in Texas

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #96 on: March 25, 2015, 08:27:03 AM »
Stewart aka Stuart is another cold hardy Mexican avocado that folks rave about.

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #97 on: March 25, 2015, 06:43:51 PM »
The golden rule Pancracio is: when bud wood and root stock are active.

Sort of mangoes.
But I wonder, if I don't happen to have them both pushing, what is better to have active? Scion or rootstock?

I see in USA many clones have been developed of cold hardy avocados... this can explain very well why mexicola isn't more famous.
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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #98 on: March 25, 2015, 08:12:52 PM »
Since avocado starts up again in the fall for Reeds in CA, there are ways to prep for trees now. Here are some ideas:
Dig a small depression in the ground, and test for draining.
Then dig up the hole deeply, not widely for the taproot.
Mix 5-15% inoculated with mycorrhizae and Organic Gem fish emulsion.
Back fill the hole, leaving a small hole at the top for pure inoculated worm castings to fill with (let some worms in too).
Cover with pine needles and shade.
With the pot, choose a tall, skinny pot (like the ones for $14 citrus from Laverne nursery) so that the tap root is undisturbed.
Fill with same soil mix as the hole. Seed 3 seeds in the hole and let grow for 1 year, or until the canopy is 3/4 as tall as the pot, or last date of frost is gone
Be sure to shade.

In this way, we don't have to amend the soil as much. Any other suggestions?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 08:23:32 PM by darkcoolboo »

CTMIAMI

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Re: Success planting an Avocado after 8 years of failures and 5 dead trees!
« Reply #99 on: March 25, 2015, 08:14:33 PM »
Pancracio If I don't have both I rather have the bud wood. I can always force the root stock. Actually you can also force the bud wood if you have it and can control it. I talk about that in one of my videos.
Carlos
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