Have you ever wondered how to grow avocado? or tried to cultivate or farm avocado but failed due to complete lack of knowledge?, here is a complete step by step information and guide on how to successfully grow avocado trees and get a high yield and make money from it.
Avocado is a tall tree of about 20 to 50 feet high, with a mixture of milk, gray and white colour combined.
It is an oval, and round shaped green fruit which is very hard when unripe and very soft and contains buttery green/yellow edible substance inside and a big round seed when ripe.
Avocados is a fatty fruit of the avocado tree,it is also known as Persea Americana, it is native to central and South America.
The fruit have a smooth creamy texture,that is very suitable for young children and a pleasant flavor.
Avocado is a cash crop, which is to say, it has a very high and huge export rate with a high and strong demand on both the international market and the domestic market of many countries such as USA, CANADA, Kenya, NIGERIA, UK, INDIA etc.
According to facts gotten from surveys, the avocado is loved by many people, that’s why the demand is always far more than it’s production.
Enough of introduction, let’s get into the main topic which is the total information about avocado and how to grow it.
PREPARATION OF AVOCADO FARMING
To start a successful avocado cultivation, there are some Preparations to make which will determine the outcome of the farming, wether success or failure, and if there is no adequate preparation, it will always be failure because avocado is not like other plants that could just be grown and be successful with it, without any proper knowledge about it.
Here are the preparations to make for avocado farming:
GETTING A GOOD LAND
A good land is one of the most important thing to have before planting the avocado trees. This land will have all the necessary requirements that an avocado tree needs to grow healthy and give out full yield.
Avocado tree, unlike other types of agricultural plants has a very fragile tree and branches, this is why it is not advisable to climb on an avocado tree, because it is very fragile and might break with a small amount of weight.
This fragile nature of it makes it very prone to wind.
Wind normally have a damaging effects on the tree, both by breaking off the branches, destroying the fruits by blowing them away and even uprooting the whole tree itself.
So this makes it a fragile tree and when siting the land to farm them, the effect of the wind should be checked on such location, and if there seems to be more wind pressure on the place, such place should not be used to grow avocado trees!.
Apart from the destructive effect of wind, the pressure or the heat level of the sun should also be considered.
Normally, Avocado is a kind of plant that enjoys and does well in a normal climate or temperature, it does not like a hot or cold weather, as both disturbs it’s growth condition.
Hot climate condition causes the leaves to wilt and causes the fruits to soften and drop prematurely.
Cold climate condition ( frost) can freeze the plant, it is more damaging to the roots, thereby causing some number of diseases such as Root rot.
These two factors contributes to many losses by avocado farmers and to avoid this, when siting a land for it’s cultivation, the environment should be checked of the level of sun heat and also frost.
Note – the avocado needs sunlight, just like other plants, but on a minimum level.
Siting the avocado farm on a place surrounded by big trees or at the bottom of a mountain might help to reduce the destructive effects of both the Sun and the wind.
Another factor to consider before siting an avocado farm land is the soil pH and the amount or pressure of rainfall.
Avocado tree is Surprisingly very prone to too much manure.
It only requires a land with a soil pH of about 5 to 6.5 and anything more than that could have a negative effect on the trees.
It does not require a waterlgged land ( too much water). Although it requires water, just like other plants, but not much water, and if much water is applied, might result in breading of diseases, especially the root rot disease that attack the roots by rotting them.
So it is very necessary to check the pressure of rainfall in such environment
before deciding to site the farm there, in order to avoid the land being waterlogged and the plants being affected negatively.
Avocado grows very well on many types of soil for the fact they are deep, with good water holding capacity and free draining.
But red and brown soils are much preferable but yellow/gray/light brown soils are usually prone to waterlogging.
It also requires about 20 to 40 percent of clay in the soil.
On an average, the avocado plants need about 1000mm to 1500mm and some Varieties need up to 1200mm of annual rainfall, and that’s all.
Just like rainfall, the land should be checked of erosion, and control it. Apart from waterlogging and killing the plants, erosion has the tendency to uproot the fragile roots which will definitely amount to losses on the side of the farmer.
To control the erosion, build a good sewage system and channel the water elsewhere, this will help to dry up the land quickly and also reduce the destructive effects of the rain.
These i explained above are the qualities to look out for in a land before using it for Avocado farm.
When you have gotten a good land that qualifies for the above explanations, then proceed to prepare it.
VARIETIES OF AVOCADO
Avocado plant have many Varieties which have their differences in both character and sometimes looks, some of them are:
Fuerte: this Variety has tiny skinned green-pebbled fruit which has a very good flavour.
It has many lines with different shapes. This Variety of avocado pear fruit is mostly used for export.
Fuerte Variety is a natural hybrid between cultivars and has a wider climatic tolerance.
This is the major variety that is normally grown in many African countries, although ‘Haas‘ is developing very strongly and it is more among small farmers.
These two varieties are grown majorly for the export market.
Haas: this Variety of avocado pear has medium sized rounded and rough skinned black fruits.
It is also a good export type.
Nabal: it has a green fruit with a nice flavour.
Puebla: this poses deep purple to maroon round fruits and it is normally used as a rootstock.
West Indian variety: It has it’s origin in the humid tropical lowlands of Central America and like higher temperatures and humidity and does not tolerate frost.
The Mexican races are more frost tolerant and grow at lower temperatures and humidity.
Guatemalan cultivars has it’s root from the tropical highlands and are sensitive to high temperatures of about 38°C and low humidity of <65% which cause flower and fruit drop.
PREPARATION OF LAND FOR AVOCADO FARMING
When a good land is gotten, the next step is to prepare it for farming.
First, cut down the trees inside the farm and and leave those around the farm or trim them a bit.
This is to allow the avocado plants to grow on their own without having any competitors in the farm, and this also enables the trees that are outside of the farm ( around the farm) to shield the avocado plants from too much sunshine which will harm the plant or erosion and wind.
Uproot the bush ( grasses) in the land and dispose them off from the farm land.
Rake the land, just in case any harmful object is in it which might harm you, the plants and even spoil your farming equipments, harmful objects such as Nylon, bottles and broken bottles, big stones and iron.
After raking, apply some herbicides such as CLAMPDOWN 480SL 200ml/20l, sethoxydim or clethodim. These will help to delay and reduce the effect of the weed on the land.
Now make some holes, this will greatly depend on the level the avocado plants have grown.
On an average, the holes should be about 7 inches deep and if the plants have grown well enough, 12 inches is great.
The holes should be made with a space of about 10 feet or more from each other, so that the plants could have enough space.
PLANTING OF AVOCADO
I greatly recommend germinating the avocado seeds before transplanting them, due to the fact that if planted like that without first of all germinating them, there is a slim chance of some of the them germinating and growing.
To germinate the avocado seeds, get the variety you like and get large container with a good sandy loam soil, make small holes and place them in the soil, take the container to a place with a normal temperature and with some small amount of sunshine.
Spray them small amount of water once in a while to keep the soil active. If all goes well, they will germinate in a matter of weeks.
When they have germinated and have grown to some level such as about 10 inches or more, then they should be transplanted to the farm.
If germinating the seeds is a problem, the next and easy alternative is to get the already germinated ones from any store. ( My Recommendation below at the end of this post).
Once the germinated seeds are already at your disposal, get them into the farm and plant then into the holes you made.
It is advisable not to pull the young plants, as their roots might be damaged on the the process, to transplant them, use a small farm shovel to get them out by digging the shovel gently and carefully into the sand and pulling them out with their sand.
After pulling them out, put them into their various holes and arrange them to be straight and apply small amount of water ( about half a glass cup per plant) before covering their roots with sand.
Note – no atom of Fertilizer or manure should be applied immediately, as this might hurt them. But it should be applied later, maybe about a month or 2 after planting , depending on the soil involved.
CARE OF AVOCADO PEAR TREE
After planting the trees, that’s not the end, in fact, the work is just starting as you need to take care of them, for them to grow healthy and start producing fruits as early and quickly as possible, which is the sole aim of farming them in the first place.
To properly care for avocado trees, here are the things to do.
Irrigation: Irrigation is very important in avocado farm, although avocado does not like being watered frequently, which may destabilize it.
But it also requires water. Like i stated earlier on this topic, an avocado tree requires about 1000mm to 1500mm of rainfall per year, this simply implies that there should be a thoroughly measured amount of water to be applied to the trees from time to time.
An estimated average of about 2 liters of water should be applied to a grown-up avocado tree on an average of a week interval in their early 1 year and 2 years, and from 3 years and above, watering is not very important as they will take care of themselves.
This greatly depends on the weather condition, in hotter regions, at least 3 or 4 liters of water should be applied to them on an average interval of 5 days or a week.
If at all the rain is very active, do not water, as it is very unnecessary, in fact, find a way to reduce the amount water being stored in the soil because it will cause problems for you sooner.
That is why it is recommended to go for a soil that is deep and can drain itself.
Applying fertilizer: In order to improve the soil and boost the trees growth and quality of yields, it is very necessary to apply fertilizer.
Within the time the plants were transplanted earlier, it is not advisable to apply any type of Fertilizer, till they are at least 6 month or a year, then manures and fertilizers could be applied.
To apply manure, wastes from kitchen such as charcoal, yam peel, potato peel, plantain peel etc could be applied around the tree, which when decayed will be absorbed into the soil, which will provide the soil with more nutrients and boost the trees.
Also animal dungs could be used, this is my favorite because they are quicker to break down and be absorbed by the soil.
fowl, goat, sheep, pig, cow dung etc are good Manure to use.
Artificial Fertilizers could also be used, although they might be costly, but they are very good to use. Some of them are:
Basal fertilizers: they are absorbed by the plants through the roots and include NPK, UREA, DAP, CAN, etc
Foliar fertilizers: these are absorbed by the plants through the foliage and they supply both micro and macro nutrient elements. They include Gatit Series, Vitabor Gold, Optimizers, Dimiphite, Zinc Gold, Lavender etc
The Fertilization should be solely determined by the type of soil fertility involved and the basal fertilizers and manures should be mixed with Humipower.
This provides organic matter, improves nutrient uptake, stimulates beneficial microbial activities and promotes electrochemical balance etc.
Pruning: As the plants grow, it is very likely to see some branches that are dying or showing signs of weakness, or branches that their leaves are wilting, it is good to prune them by cutting off those branches, so that the tree could look good and also concentrate it’s might on the healthier part.
Weeding: Weed is a great disturbance if left unchecked.
In a short time of planting the trees, if the weeds are not prevented earlier, are likely to spring up and start competing with the young plants which could either damage them or breed diseases to them.
That is why it is highly recommended to apply herbicide on the soil after clearing it, in order to suffocate the weeds and give the plants a good chance to grow.
They could also be removed manually with weeding hoe.
Note – weed only affects the plants when they are still tender, but in about 2 years, by which time they have grown, weeds do not pose any atom of treat on them, although you might like to clear the bottom of the trees off weed from time to time.
Mulching: Mulching is a necessary act to apply to avocado trees.
This is the act of covering the bottom ( roots) of the trees with a bunch of green compost.
Mulching helps to retain the water in the soil from being dried by sun, prevent the weeds from growing around the trees, and also serves as a manure when decayed.
This act is very needed especially during the dry season when the heat is too much, as it helps the plants by retaining some water in the soil.
After many years of productivity, the trees will grow old and their level of production reduced and some might begin to lose branches, and some of their roots might start surfacing, by this time, it is very necessary to revive them back to their normal self or closer to that, so that they might last a little longer and produce for a little longer also.
This might start occurring at the age of 15 to 25 years, to revive them back, get a bunch of red soil, mix it very well with animal dung, leave it to decay on the red soil for at least 5 days, then take it to the avocado farm, use farm shovel to dig a little around the trees and pour in the red sand there on a large quantity.
Within some few weeks, the trees will start refreshing by growing new and healthy leaves.
NOTE – this method have worked for me on both guava, orange and avocado, so it might work well on other agricultural trees too.
AVOCADO PESTS AND DISEASE CONTROL
I have stated before on this topic, avocado is a very fragile tree, not only on it’s physical traits, but in every ramifications.
Unlike many other trees of it’s type and size, avocado is the only tree that is very prone to all manner of pests and Diseases.
Some of the pests and diseases are:
Stem end rot -Dothiorella dominicana:
This dusease produces a dark- brown to black rot at the stem end as a dark brown ring and the rot proceeds towards the other end.
Bacterial soft rot:
When this disease infects a fruit, it turns the Infected fruit to have a darkened metallic sheen externally, Internally, the flesh is grey to black and soft with a putrid smell.
Anthracnose- Colletotrichum gloeosporioides:
Anthracnose is a post-harvest problem, it happens when fruit is at maturity stage.
The Infection happens when the fruit is still very tender and the disease/fungus stays there till the fruit ripens.
This disease appears as sunken spots on the fruit and the spots are manifested as a rot, which can penetrate deep into the flesh.
In wet weather, the spots may be covered with mass of slimy, salmon pink fungal spore mass.
This disease may develop very fast if the fuits are stored in a humid and warm environment.
Avocado root rot:
The leaves of the infected trees by this disease are usually small, pale or yellow green, often wilted and fall prematurely.
This disease is very deadly and it do affect the avocado trees of any size, type and age.
As time goes by on the affected trees, their branches die-back and fruit remains small and crop yield is drastically reduced. Feeder roots get blackened, decayed and die. The infected tree dies prematurely.
Some of the avocado pests are: Thrips, scales, spider – mites, fruit flies, bugs etc
In order to take care of these diseases and pests, the need to totally take care of the trees applies, and there are some chemicals that could be used to kill the pests and Diseases, some of them are
DUCASSE 250EC 20ml/20l, COLONIZER 440wp 50g/20l, LEXUS 247SC 8ml/20l,
BAZOOKA 18EC 10ml/20l, DEFENDER 25EC 40ml/20l etc.
HARVEST OF AVOCADO PEAR
This plant takes an average of 4 to 6 years from the day it was planted to when it will mature, bear flowers and grow fruits, the fruits first start as a tiny Green Dot immediately after the flowers have been developed.
As time goes on, they start getting bigger, it takes about 5 to 6 months for the fruits to mature and start ripping.
Avocado pear is green in colour and always is, unless for some Varieties that will change to a bit yellow when it ripe, but generally, there is no how you will know that they are matured enough for harvest, unless some riped ones start dropping.
To harvest the fruits of this tree, it is somewhat difficult as it normally grow very tall that farm ladders could not normally reach and it is not advisable to be climbed as it is very fragile.
Also, they won’t be allowed to fall on the ground, which will make them to spoil easily.
A good harvester could do the job very well, or if you have the short variety, a ladder could reach it and a person will climb with a bag and pick them.
STORAGE OF AVOCADO PEAR
After harvesting, you might not be able to sell them off immediately or some might be kept for consumption, so there arise the need for proper Storage.
To store them, it requires placing them on a cold place like the refrigerator or a cooling van when distributing them to a far distance.
Although an avocado takes about 4 or 5 days to ripe when plucked and some do take even up to a week, once they ain’t ripe, there is no problem for the fact they are kept in a cool place, but if riped, they could only stay in a refrigerator for a few days.
Another good way to store them for a short period of time is to leave them on their trees and harvest when the immediate need to do so arises, this is because they tend to last far more long on their tree than when plucked.
IMPORTANCE OF AVOCADO
Avocado is one of the most useful trees which the fruits, stems and leaves are used for many things such as:
The leave is a very good source of food for some domestic animals like goat, sheep etc .
The bark/stem is used in many locality as a source of natural cure.
The fruit is a very good source of minerals and vitamins.
It is used to produce butter, cooking oil, eating etc.
I hope this article have given you some useful information, it it did, please make sure to share on social media.
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