Avocados are packed with vitamins and healthy fats. The fruits are tear-shaped or round, with skins that range from smooth and green to bumpy and black. The avocado's flesh is green and creamy, with a delicate nutty flavor. Avocado trees are grown outdoors and require specific care to grow and set fruit.
Avocado trees require well-drained soil. The ideal soil for an avocado tree is sandy loam soil. Avocado trees do not tolerate wet soil; the trees should never be planted in sunken areas of the yard, or in areas that collect water after rains. The trees are tolerant of both acidic and alkaline soil.
An avocado tree needs full sunlight at least eight hours per day to set fruit. The tree produces foliage and new growth when it is grown in partial shade, but does not produce fruit. Adequate sunlight is essential to the tree producing avocados.
During the growing seasons of spring through early fall, avocado trees need water regularly. Avocadosource.com advises avocado growers to create a basin in the soil around the tree large enough to hold 10 to 15 gallons of water. They suggest that the basin be refilled once a week (or twice weekly for exceptionally well-drained soil).
During the winter, watering should be done very rarely. California Rare Fruit Growers advises that you test for water needs during the winter by digging a 9-inch hole in the soil and taking a fistful of soil from that depth. If the soil holds together when you open your hand, no additional water is needed; if the soil does not hold its shape, the tree needs water.
Avocado trees require fertilizer once they reach 1 year of age. The trees should be fertilized four times per year, with the changing of the seasons. A balanced fertilizer is best, although older avocado trees prefer nitrogenous fertilizer used during the late winter and again in early summer.
Avocado trees do not tolerate freezing temperatures. Tender young trees are protected from frost with sheets or natural-fiber blankets draped over the canopy of the tree. The trunks are protected with foam or blankets secured with duct tape. Additional warmth is supplied with the use of light bulbs placed around the tree.