Do avocado leaves really help to produce fruit?

GardenKittyLoverAugust 7, 2011

My husband bought a 6' tall avocado tree 3 years ago but never produces any fruit. This is the only avocado tree in the neighborhood. I keep the soil moist but its leaves get burned once in a while because it was planted in a sunny spot. My husband insists that I should leave the burned leaves/or pest infected leaves underneath the tree so that the tree gets the nutrition from itself to produce fruit. He believes that regular fertilizer is to help the tree grow only but it won't produce fruit without the nutrition released from the leaves above the ground.

I've searched all over the gardening websites but found nothing about the leaves nutrition. Does anybody know avocado leaves can do the magic like this?

Thanks,

Chiulan

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

Your avocado leaves are not being burnt from the sun. More likely they are experiencing salt burn. You need to give your avocado tree a very deep and thorough drenching with water every few weeks, to leach out the salts from the soil. And yes, the dropping leaves is part of the avocado's way of protecting its very sensitive and tender superficial root system, so leave the fallen leaves as natural mulch for your tree. If you rake away the leaves, you can actually kill your tree :-) As far as I'm aware, they do not help fruit production, but they do protect the tree roots, which are very sensitive. So you do need to leave them. They do need regular fertilizing, full sun to produce fruit, a drop in temps to induce blooming, and protection from the wind, as well as the trunks need protecting from the sun when they're young. And, cross pollination may be necessary in your case, if there is not another tree opposite of your type (A and B trees needed to cross pollinate) in order to produce fruit for you. Plus, 3 years is still young for an avocado, so it may take another year or two to see fruit. If you can purchase an A or B tree (opposite of what you have), it will help fruit set.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC Davis: The California Backyard Orchard - Avocados

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 9:14PM
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GardenKittyLover

Thanks Patty for the helpful information. I just thought of one more question regarding two types of tree. Is an opposite type of tree still required for cross pollination even though my tree was already grafted at the nursery? By the way, it's a Hass.

If the answer is yes, does it mean that my tree will never produce fruit if there is no opposite type of tree around? Before my husband bought this tree, he didn't do any research. He only asked the nursery that whether a female avocado tree requires a male tree to cross pollinate. The answer he got was "no". So we just cross our fingers to hope for this tree we got is a female.

It sounds funny, doesn't it? If grafting has nothing to do with fruit production, then what does it actually do?

I appreciate any input.

Thanks,
Chiulan

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 8:49PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Yes, Chiulan. ALL avocados are grafted :-) That has nothing to do with pollination, but has to do with producing a tree that will give you the type of avocado you want from the graft (or scion as it's known), grafted onto the rootstock that is most disease resistant and tolerant of specific soil conditions (i.e., too wet) for your area. So, yes, you still need an A and a B avocado that produce fruit at relatively the same time in order to get good cross pollination and decent fruit production. Now, that said, if you live in an area that has lots of avocado trees within a few miles, you can probably get away with not having an A and a B tree. If not, better to get one of each, and then plant them next to each other. A Hass will produce without a cross pollinator, but you may only get a small handful of fruit, and some years, none. Trees are not "male" and "female", but are categorized as "A" and "B" trees. I've included an article as well as a web site for you to read and look through, so you understand a bit more about avocados and their specific growing needs. Most folks with a Hass will get a Fuerte. Most commercial avocado growers who grow Hass (vast majority of commercial growers here in S. California grow Hass), will grow a row of Fuertes as well, for good cross pollination.

California Rare Fruit Growers: Avocados
UC Davis Home Orchard: Avocados

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 9:54PM
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