Green thumb: How to grow avo­ca­dos

Hauraki-Coromandel Post - - Gardening -

Avo­ca­dos are rich in vi­ta­mins, an­tiox­i­dants, fi­bre and healthy mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats, so they’re a pow­er­house of nu­tri­tional good­ness. If you’re keen on cre­at­ing home grown av­o­cado gua­camole, salsa and sal­ads, then con­sider in­clud­ing av­o­cado trees in your gar­den.

Avo­ca­dos are mainly grown in warm ar­eas of the North Is­land, how­ever they can also be grown in a warm frost-pro­tected spot in slightly cooler ar­eas.

Here are a few im­por­tant tips when it comes to grow­ing avo­ca­dos at home:

■ Avo­ca­dos need moist but welldraine­d soil. Poorly drained soil can quickly lead to root rot and plant death.

■ Choose a sunny, shel­tered site that is pro­tected from frost and wind.

■ Av­o­cado flow­ers con­tain both male and fe­male or­gans which open twice over 2 days. When the flower first opens it’s fe­male, when it re­opens on the sec­ond day, it’s male. The tim­ing of this flow­er­ing clas­si­fies avo­ca­dos into ei­ther A or B types.

■ Although there can be some self­pol­li­na­tion in warm ar­eas, plant­ing 2 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties (from an A and B type) will help im­prove pol­li­na­tion and fruit set.

■ ‘A’ va­ri­eties that are great for grow­ing in medium-sized back­yards in­clude Haas and Reed. ‘B’ va­ri­eties in­clude Ba­con and Fuerte. Grafted plants will fruit ear­lier than seedling trees.

■ Avo­ca­dos will not ripen on the tree. Pop a too-firm av­o­cado in a pa­per bag with a ba­nana for a few days to help it soften.

Avo­ca­dos per­form best when planted into soil that’s been en­riched first with a con­cen­trated source of or­ganic mat­ter like Yates Dy­namic Lifter Or­ganic Plant Food. Yates Dy­namic Lifter will help im­prove the qual­ity of the soil, en­cour­age earth­worms and ben­e­fi­cial soil micro­organ­isms and pro­vide the tree with gen­tle nu­tri­ents as it es­tab­lishes.

Reap­ply­ing Yates Dy­namic Lifter ev­ery six weeks from spring to au­tumn will help en­sure the trees have enough nu­tri­ents to pro­mote healthy fo­liage and a great har­vest.

Mulching around the root zone with an or­ganic mulch, such as bark chips, will help re­duce mois­ture loss and add fur­ther or­ganic mat­ter to the soil as it breaks down.

Pro­tect­ing fei­joas from in­sects and dis­ease

De­li­ciously sweet and fra­grant fei­joas can be sus­cep­ti­ble to a few in­sect pests and dis­eases dur­ing spring: Scale: Sap suck­ing in­sects that ap­pear as small grey, brown, pink or black coloured bumps along stems and leaves which de­plete plants of sug­ars and nu­tri­ents and can cause patches of leaf yel­low­ing. Mealy bug: Small white fuzzy sap suck­ing in­sects that feed on plant juices. Cater­pil­lars: Chew­ing in­sects that can eat through leaves and also curl leaves up with web­bing (leaf roller cater­pil­lars).

Sooty mould: A fun­gal dis­ease that ap­pears like a dark grey or black ash-like film that cov­ers stems and leaves. It grows on the sweet hon­ey­dew ex­creted by suck­ing in­sects like scale and mealy­bug. Con­trol these in­sect pests and the sooty mould will dis­ap­pear. Both sap suck­ing in­sects and cater­pil­lars can be con­trolled by spray­ing fei­joas each week with Yates Na­tures Way Or­ganic Citrus, Vegie Or­na­men­tal Spray Ready to Use.

Photo / Getty Images

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