From tree to table
Spring is the perfect time to plant an avocado tree, which will reward you with fruit year after year, making it an outstanding investment for your wallet and your health.
We visited the experts of ZZ2 in the Mooketsi Valley in Limpopo to find out more.
Today, most of the fruit (yes, the avo is a fruit, not a vegetable) are grown in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, but there are also avocado farms in KwaZuluNatal and the Eastern Cape. South Africa is one of the 10 biggest avo producers in the world, and one of the biggest exporters to Europe.
There are many reasons you should plant one of these subtropical trees in your own garden – as long as it’s a frost-free area. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you’ll also be producing a sought-after superfood that contains a wealth of fibre, monounsaturated fats (which help to reduce cholesterol), vitamins, minerals (such as potassium, which can help to prevent high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke), antioxidants and other phytochemicals.
Platteland visited the ZZ2 head office in Mooketsi to ask the commercial experts how you can achieve success in your back yard.
The right position and soil
Avocados grow on evergreen subtropical trees that need ample regular sunlight – preferably full sun – to bear fruit.
The most important requirement is good drainage: first check that the soil is nice and loose before working in plenty of organic material. Secondly, rather plant the tree too shallow than too deep. A clever way to make sure the tree never battles with wet feet is to plant it on a mound that’s about 30cm-60cm high and about 1m-1,5m in diameter. Also apply a thick, coarse layer of mulch consisting of wood chips or bark pieces. The soil should always be moist (a decent mulch will help), particularly in summer and when flowers are being formed. Some people are convinced that the trees want an extra sip of water during the hottest time of the day. At ZZ2, moisture levels are tested automatically and the drip irrigation system is turned on if necessary.
Be vigilant about not overwatering: avocado trees are susceptible to root rot, and too much moisture creates an ideal environment for fungal diseases such as anthracnose and black spot to flourish. >