Tips to Grow Healthy Avocado Trees

Avocados are the star ingredient of popular dishes like guacamole, and they are common in Mexican and Southwestern foods. The fruit is actually quite healthy too. Avocados contain almost 20 nutrients, including B vitamins, folic acid, fiber and potassium, according to the California Avocado Commission. Avocados grow on trees. The trees are tropical to subtropical and can be grown in many locations where there is no danger of frost, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Starting From Seed

You can grow an avocado tree from the pit, or seed, inside an avocado, according to the California Avocado Commission. Start by washing the seed and inserting three toothpicks into the seed that are spread equally apart. Place the seed on a glass filled with water, and wait for it to grow. For best results, place the seed in a warm and sunny location. When the plant has developed thick roots and leaves, it should be planted in a rich soil. When planting an avocado tree from a seed, it will not grow the same as a plant purchased at a nursery. It takes between seven and 15 years for the plant to begin producing fruit, and the quality of the fruit will not be the same as from a nursery-grown tree, according to the California Avocado Commission.

Transplant Trees

When you buy an avocado tree from a nursery to plant at your home, you should look for a sunny location. The south or southeast side of a building is often the best site, but remember that trees should be planted at least 8 to 10 feet from a structure, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Avocados will grow best in a well-draining soil and will not tolerate flooding. Ideal planting time is between March and June, according to the California Avocado Commission. Your new avocado tree will need support, so install a stake to tie the tree to. Also, newly planted avocado trees need protection from excessive sunlight. To keep your tree safe, you can install a burlap-covered cage over the tree, according to the AgriLife Extension.

Watering

Avocado trees can tolerate dry conditions, but they will still need regular watering so they can grow and produce fruit. The California Avocado Commission recommends watering the trees enough so the ground is saturated and the root system gets sufficient moisture. Do not water the tree again until the soil surface has dried out. Depending on heat and humidity levels, the tree may need to be watered daily, weekly or somewhere in between.

Fertilizing

Similar to other plants and trees, avocados need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to grow and thrive, according to the California Avocado Commission. When fertilizing, use a balanced fertilizer that also contains zinc. Young trees need only a small amount of fertilizer: between 1 and 2 tsp. each year. You can apply all the fertilizer at once or spread it out over several applications.

Keywords: avocado tree care, avocado tree tips, growing avocado trees

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.