Crit­i­cal time for sup­port­ing 2018-19 fruit set

The Orchardist - - Avocado Management Tips - By Erica Faber

As our trees start to gear up for flow­er­ing, I thought it would be worth­while to sum­ma­rize the field day in­for­ma­tion for those grow­ers who were not able to at­tend and for those that did at­tend I have in­cluded some ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion, so keep read­ing.

The fol­low­ing isn’t a recipe card, it is what has worked for me and cer­tainly if you are not get­ting re­sults then

you have to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. when it needs it we first need to un­der­stand the tree phe­nol­ogy

so that we can be two steps ahead.

It’s im­por­tant for grow­ers to un­der­stand that ev­ery ac­tion they make trig­gers a hor­mone re­ac­tion in the tree - we want grow­ers to know that what they are do­ing will have the de­sired out­come.

At this time, there is a sea­sonal change of lower tem­per­a­tures and shorter day lengths and flower ini­ti­a­tion is be­ing trig­gered

within the tree.

Hor­mones trig­ger the tran­si­tion from veg­e­ta­tive to flo­ral buds but it is the nu­tri­ent lev­els and bal­ances that drive this re­ac­tion and the car­bo­hy­drate lev­els that de­ter­mine the stamina of this re­ac­tion.

This pre-flow­er­ing and flow­er­ing stage is one of those crit­i­cal stages that we as grow­ers need to en­sure the tree has all the re­sources it needs, in or­der to op­ti­mize pro­duc­tion.

I ad­vise fo­liar spray­ing of nu­tri­ents to sup­port the tree through this crit­i­cal pe­riod of spe­cific nu­tri­ent de­mand for bud dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, fruit set and fruit growth.

Solid fer­til­izer is a tra­di­tional choice but fo­liar ap­pli­ca­tion can over­come soil fer­til­iza­tion lim­i­ta­tions such as leach­ing, runoff, nu­tri­ent fix­a­tion in the soil, lim­ited root ac­tiv­ity due to low win­ter tem­per­a­tures or poor root health, an­tag­o­nism between cer­tain nu­tri­ents, pH lim­i­ta­tions, soil mois­ture lev­els etc.

En­sure cor­rect ni­tro­gen lev­els. Ex­ces­sive ni­tro­gen in the tree at this time will swing the bal­ance in fa­vor of veg­e­ta­tive growth, thereby com­pro­mis­ing po­ten­tial flow­er­ing and fruit set. • Ap­ply prod­ucts to boost root health and vigor, and soil

health and fer­til­ity. • Fo­liar sprays of sea­weed prod­ucts will boost cy­tokinin lev­els as sea­weed ex­tracts are par­tic­u­larly rich in cy­tokinins which ef­fect fruit set and size. • Ap­ply a fo­liar spray of boron at the pre-flow­er­ing stage

to im­prove your flower to fruit ra­tio. • Ap­ply cal­cium as this works in close syn­ergy with boron for flower de­vel­op­ment & fruit set. It also in­creases cell wall strength which not only im­proves fruit qual­ity but also aids in re­sis­tance to an­thrac­nose and post-har­vest rots.

Potas­sium is ex­tremely im­por­tant dur­ing this fruit-fill stage. In­suf­fi­cient lev­els of potas­sium re­duce the yield po­ten­tial and qual­ity of the crop and ul­ti­mately our pock­ets! • Zinc is one of the most im­por­tant el­e­ments in car­bo­hy­drate me­tab­o­lism in plants which in turn de­ter­mines the stamina of crit­i­cal re­ac­tions at this im­por­tant re­pro­duc­tive phase and also in im­prov­ing the flower to fruit ra­tio. • Bees – The more you have the bet­ter your odds. Re­mem­ber to book your hives now for the start of de­liv­ery at about 10% open flower. Aim for 6-12 hives per hectare de­pend­ing on your tree den­sity, size and age. Erica Faber joined Just Av­o­ca­dos in Jan­uary 2017 after em­i­grat­ing from South Africa. She has over 21 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try with 16 years as a tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sor. She has gained recog­ni­tion in the cit­rus and av­o­cado in­dus­tries for in­no­va­tive con­tri­bu­tions im­prov­ing prop­a­ga­tion, pro­duc­tion and prof­its.

Most re­cently she man­aged all facets of pro­duc­tion on a 175Ha av­o­cado op­er­a­tion in South Africa. Erica was re­spon­si­ble for the yearly 20-40ha ex­pan­sion of the or­chard, mar­ket and cus­tomer com­pli­ance and har­vest­ing to in­te­grate with over­seas mar­kets to en­sure op­ti­mum prof­itabil­ity.

While man­ag­ing this or­chard, Erica car­ried out a num­ber of av­o­cado re­search tri­als on ir­reg­u­lar bear­ing, pest con­trol, prun­ing tech­niques, and in­flu­enc­ing the on­set of bear­ing in young trees. The ap­pli­ca­tion of pos­i­tive learn­ings from this re­search sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved the prof­itabil­ity of this busi­ness.

In her role with Just Av­o­ca­dos, Erica leads pro­grammes to sup­port our grow­ers na­tion­ally to in­crease their pro­duc­tiv­ity, in­clud­ing pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal ad­vice, tar­geted field events and reg­u­lar and proac­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tions with re­gards to or­chard man­age­ment.

From left: High fruit set after tar­geted nu­tri­ent ap­pli­ca­tion dur­ing au­tumn and win­ter. Ex­am­ple of ideal av­o­cado tree show­ing good pro­duc­tion from top of tree to bot­tom and in mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions down the branches. Av­o­cado trees are cur­rently gear­ing up fo

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