Persea americana



Trees up to around 10 metres tall; but there are also smaller growing cultivars.

Fruits have an oily flesh and unlike most fruits are not very sweet, instead having a very unique flavour.
Flesh is soft and oily rather than crisp and crunchy.


Edible fruits, can be eaten raw.

Trees generally take 7 years or more to produce their first fruits, but many grafted cultivars will bear fruits after 3-4 years. Once they have begun to bear fruit productivity usually increases as the trees mature.

Fruit is handpicked upon maturity over several pickings.  When ready, the stalk often starts to change colour. Larger fruits are removed first giving smaller fruits time to increase size before picking. The fruits will then ripen after picking and this takes about 10 days. The fruit will keep for about 1 month in cool storage between 4 and 7ºC, depending on the variety.


Need ample water during the spring and summer. If rainfall is low, you need to give them a deep watering every couple of weeks otherwise fruit quality will suffer. A most important requirement is good drainage, and this may be a problem in areas of high rainfall and dense soils.

Soil fertility is not critical but if soil is overly wet the roots will suffocate and trees will die. It is advisable to plant avocados on mounds or ridges to improve drainage and reduce the risk of root rot. Trees can also be grown in containers which can help you to control root moisture.

You also need to avoid exposed windy sites. If wind is a common problem you might need to install windbreak plants and grow cover crops between trees. In small gardens, position trees near sheltered walls where they will be in full sun.

Trees should be fertilised regularly. Add well-rotted compost to the soil in spring and autumn each year and apply a layer of animal manure mulch over the surface each spring. Add it to the soil as far from the trunk as the tree canopy reaches. A slow-release fertiliser may be used every couple of months once growth has resumed in spring until the end of summer. Otherwise, use a liquid feed every two weeks. Don't fertilise too heavily since overfeeding makes trees more susceptible to root diseases. Likewise, not enough fertiliser will weaken trees. The right amount of nitrogen is critical   too much and flowering is reduced, too little and leaf growth is reduced. As well as nitrogen, nutrient deficiencies sometimes occur with zinc, boron and iron but if you follow a good fertiliser regime these will be avoided.

Avocado trees should be pruned to develop and maintain a bushy canopy and keep trees from growing into each other.  Proper pruning leads to increased productivity, better quality fruit and easier access to the tree when spraying and harvesting. Trees which grow too high may be pruned to encourage more lateral shoots.


Grafting onto seedlings.

Cuttings and layering will work also.


'Pinkerton' - (type A) Lower growing tree, suited to a wide range of climates with some cold tolerance; good flavoured medium size fruits over winter.

'Walden'- (type A) ideal for subtropical and tropical regions

'Hazzard'- (type A) great for cooler regions but will also grow well in the subtropics

'Bacon' - (type B) more cold hardy than others, known to tolerate temperatures to minus 5 degrees Celsius, perfect for cooler regions. Fruits over winter.

'Hass' - (type A) great for cooler regions but needs very deep well-drained soil, perhaps the most popular variety because of both taste and excellent keeping qualities. Harvest late winter through spring.

'Reed' - (type A) a smaller-growing cultivar at 4 metres

'Sharwill' - (type B) frost sensitive, grown widely in NSW, but needs a warmer site, more rounded rich flavoured fruit. Harvest over winter.  

'Wurtz' - (type A) perfect for the small garden reaching just 2-4 metres. Popular cultivar fruiting late winter to mid spring.

'Shepard'- (type B) suited to warmer climates, fruits late summer to early autumn.

‘Fuerte’ – (type B) –Spreading growth habit, pear shaped fruit, excellent buttery flavour, fruiting mid autumn to mid winter

Plant Health

Phytopthera cinnamomi (Cinnamon fungus)   this causes deterioration in the whole plant, and ultimately death. The roots rot, and the leaves turn pale and wilt.  It is more likely in poorly drained soils where it can become a very serious problem. Control it by removing and burning damaged plants. Ensure good drainage, use organic manures, mulch trees, and apply lime or dolomite frequently.

Anthracnose   this causes small light brown circular spots on fruit which enlarge rapidly and turn black.  Control it by spraying with recommended fungicides. Remove the fruit from heat promptly after harvest and store in cool, well-ventilated places. Handle fruit carefully avoiding damage to the skin.

Verticillium wilt   this causes leaves to wilt and turn brown, but they remain attached to the tree. It is a common problem. Control it by removing the affected branches.

Insects - these are not normally a serious problem.  A community of biological predators which control pests usual develops around trees, and so spraying can often do more damage to these beneficial colonies than to the pests.

More info

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