Old vs New Avocado tree

foofghtApril 9, 2013

I purchased a 15 gallon Holiday avocado 1 year ago, that started out at about 5 feet tall. It grew a foot and then this past winter the top 1.5 feet froze and died, as did many growing limbs.

Spring is upon us and new growth is returning, but I'm wondering if I should replace this tree with a new 5 gallon avocado that, while younger, is just as tall and has more growth on it. If fruit growth is based more on age, then i think I'd keep the original. What do you guys think?

Because the leading shaft froze off, will the tree continue to grow up or is it now stuck at it's current height?

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

It will grow just fine, and create a new apical branch. Just continue to water and fertilize it. And, be sure to cover it next winter if temps drop below 32 degrees.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Do i need to lob off the dead upper first before it'll grow this new "apical" branch?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 4:37PM
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You should definitely remove the dead portion ASAP, lest rot spread into the rest of the tree. Just cut it off where it looks dead and then look at the cross section of the remaining tree trunk. If it looks a little iffy (some black, brown or other off-color), then cut back a little more until you are about 1/4" above a node, preferably one already showing signs of growth.

Retraining a leader for a Holiday might be something of a challenge due to the weeping character of the tree. You'll have to do some kind of support to encourage upright growth, but it's doable.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:46PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Yes, prune back to good wood, and preferably just above an outward facing bud/branch as Steve has mentioned. And, stake up your tree as Steve is right, it does like the sprawl. We had to stake up ours as it wanted to just crawl along the ground.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Thanks all. With sooner fruit generation being our greatest desire, do you think it would just be easier for us to replace this with a younger tree with equivalent size and greater number of limbs?

Though whooped, I'm guessing our tree is 1-2 years older than what I'd replace it with.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:52PM
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For context, here's a pic of the tree....poor thing!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 7:59PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, I'd also remove all that grass under your tree. It is competing for nutrients with your avocado. Grass will take up all the nitrogen, leaving very little for your avocado. Instead, mulch well under your avocado tree, keeping the mulch away from the trunk. Always leave any dropped leaves under the tree - avocados need mulch from their own leaves. Fertilize frequently with a fertilizer formulated for avocados (every 2 months from spring through fall).

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 8:41PM
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That is one sad looking avocado. Luckily, unlike citrus which is my forte, avocados are fierce competitors for food and water. I would give it a healthy dose of fertilizer, prune off most of the lower limbs, and any dead tops as Patty said; water it well and have a little patience. With avocados, age is the most important factor in producing fruit; so if it is alive, keep it. In my gardens I only have Queens; but my weather is a bit more forgiving and the Queen was developed in Antigua, Guatemala.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:42PM
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