I’VE BEEN TOLD I’M CRAZY BY SOME PEOPLE… Those individuals, on the other hand, must have no idea how much I love avocados. Eating avocados has numerous health benefits, so I’ll take as many as I can get my hands on. So, I did some research, because I’m a farmer’s daughter. Because, you know, guacamole! So, this young lady took it upon herself to plant an avocado tree…in the middle of the desert.
DO AVOCADOS GROW IN THE DESERT?
This is a question I get asked every time a new buddy comes over. YES, avocados can be grown in arid conditions. There are only a few things you need to do before you can ensure its survival. It doesn’t matter if a tree isn’t native to your area if you can grow it. With a little additional attention, it’s feasible.
THE RIGHT SOIL MIX FOR AN AVOCADO TREE IN THE DESERT:
We’re in Zone 9, which means our soil is quite clay-like. Loamy soil holds water well, but does not allow plants to get the nutrients they need. In order to make sure it had enough support when it was planted, we added a few extra things into the hole. For more information on how to grow tropical plants in the desert, see this post. For our avocado, we followed exactly the same steps.
HOW TO MAINTAIN AND CARE FOR AN AVOCADO TREE IN THE DESERT
The upkeep of an avocado tree can now be discussed. The correct kind, the right location, and the right soil will make your life a lot easier if you get it right. For our avocado tree, there are a few things we add to our gardening schedule.
- Slow and steady trickle of water once a week, using a calcium filter (where to buy)
- Every two weeks, use a mixture of 2 gallons of water and 1/2 cup of fish emulsion (where can I acquire this?).
- Add an 8-3-9 Ground Plant Food once a month. (where to get)
- Foliar Feeding occurs once a month (where to buy)
- Add an 18-6-8 Timed Release Food twice a year. (where to get)
- We also add goat manure compost four times a year:)
Avocados have a devoted following in both our stomachs and our hearts, whether they’re spread thin on toast or served in a large dish with chips and guacamole. Avocados, despite their appearance, are packed with nutrients and pesticide-resistant skin. Have you ever considered cultivating this long, slender fruit in the sweltering heat of Arizona? Here are some useful guidelines for getting started with avocados in your garden in our environment.
Growing Avocados in Arizona’s Harsh Climate
Arizona has a dry environment and very little rainfall, making it difficult to grow anything that needs to be sown in the ground. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can still grow avocados.
By altitude, “Arizona’s climate varies greatly,” according to city-data.com: The Chiricahua Mountains in the southeast part of the state have milder summer temperatures than those seen in the rest of Arizona’s southern region, including Phoenix and Tucson. There are four seasons in Northern Arizona, however the weather is quite mild.
As a result, you’ll want to provide your avocado plant with adequate shelter until it develops a robust deep root structure with dense leaves. It’s important to give your baby tree some time to become used to its new surroundings. In order to protect your young avocado tree from powerful solar rays that can harm your seedling, here is an essential piece of advice: provide at least 50% shade.
The optimum location for an avocado tree is on the east side of your property, where it will get morning sun and shade in the late afternoon. Phoenix Tropicals recommends planting your avocado tree beside a deciduous tree to provide shade and protection for the tree’s delicate bark during the scorching summers in Arizona.
As soon as the leaves have fallen, it can enjoy the sun’s rays without worry. In the absence of surrounding deciduous trees, you may always construct a shade structure and provide holes for the plant to grow around; but, as the plant matures, it will no longer require the same level of protection.
What Avocado Type is Best for Growing in Arizona?
The Haas type may struggle the most in the summer heat, even if your tree is covered in shade. To get started in Arizona, you can browse our collection of avocado varietals, and perhaps even take on the Haas as a personal challenge. SummerWinds carries a variety of avocado trees, including seven different varieties.
When to Start Planting Your Tree
The optimal time to plant an avocado tree is in the late fall or early winter. Even if you’re willing to risk solar damage and extra work to keep your tree in peak condition, planting in the early spring isn’t difficult. Climate extremes are possible in the low desert, unlike the tropical climate where avocado plants are endemic. Taking care of an avocado tree in the desert necessitates the creation of an appropriate microenvironment.
How to Start Growing Your Avocado Tree
According to Garden Guides and SummerWinds, these are the first steps you should do if you want to cultivate your own avocados:
- Remove any grass and weeds that may be lingering around the planting spot. Because of this, the avocado tree will face competition for nutrients from other plants in the yard.
- Dig a hole that is no deeper than twice the container’s width. soil permeability and drainage should be tested for your plant’s benefit.
- Wait for 5 litres of water to drain out of the hole before proceeding.
- After an hour, water the hole again with 5 gallons and let it soak for another hour.
- Observe if there’s any water left in the hole at 24- and 48-hour marks.
After 24 hours, if there is still water in the hole, you need to add dirt to promote drainage. Adding rocks to the bottom of the hole, enriching your soil or planting your avocado tree on a mound, raised bed or in a large container are all options for improving drainage if the hole is still full of water after 48 hours. A bonus of growing avocados in containers is that they make beautiful houseplants with lush foliage! Your avocado plant’s root ball should be firmly packed into the hole with a mixture of soil, compost and sand until there is no water left.
Filling the hole with a 50/50 mix of the original soil and SummerWinds’ Planting Mix is an alternative option. Filling the hole Fertilome’s HuMic or Arizona’s Best Alka Liche can be used to enhance drainage. Our Trusted Garden Advisors can provide you with further ideas. E.B. Stone Organics All Purpose Plant Food or Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food are two of the fertilizer options SummerWinds suggests.
On a regular basis, you can apply these plant foods directly to the tree’s roots. Your avocado tree will become more resistant of cold weather if you fertilize it throughout the year. You may find more information on elevated garden beds on our website.
Mulch is Great for Your Growing Avocado Tree
The first line of defense against collar rot for your tree can be a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch applied in the spring and fall, roughly 6 inches away from the trunk. Water loss from the tree is minimized, and the decaying foliage provides a hostile environment for bacteria that lead to root rot.
There are several telltale signs of root rot: dieback in the canopy, bare branches, and more. It’s possible that your plant is infected if you can’t discover any roots within six inches of the soil’s surface. Try worm castings, fish emulsion, and organic composts as additional sources of nutrients.
Watering Your Growing Avocado Tree
The East Valley Tribune recommends watering your avocado tree every three to five days during the summer, but only every three weeks from November through January. Water should reach the roots of your tree at least three feet deep. The high salinity of the soil in Arizona will be a major obstacle for you. Remember to water slowly and deeply and to wait until the soil has dried up before watering again because the salt in the water and the heavy clay soil can harm your plant.
A deep soak with the hose at the base of the tree for many hours to wash away salt to the soil’s margins may alleviate any concerns you have about salt burn on your tree’s leaves. To keep the salt from damaging the roots of your tree, you can use the basin irrigation watering method. Your avocado tree will require regular and frequent watering if it is housed in a container.
Avocado Tree Pruning
Pruning avocado trees in the early spring or late summer can expose the newly cut branches to cold temperatures and frost, therefore it’s best to avoid it. If you must trim, do so in the middle of spring or fall, when the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Instead of harsh pruning, which might harm your young plant, gentle, frequent pinches are an effective way to shape larger trees. Additionally, light trimming improves air circulation and the quality of fruits and vegetables.
What to Expect After Growing Avocados
Although producing sub-tropical fruits in non-native places like Arizona can be difficult, the bragging rights that come with this fruit are well worth the effort. Despite the fact that avocado trees aren’t common in our arid region, you can still grow one! Because they don’t mature on the tree, an avocado that has reached maturity may remain on the branch for several months. When the fruit is huge and still hard, it’s mature. Be confident in your abilities, but don’t consume it until it’s fully ripened in your home. It’s important to remember that your harvests will fluctuate from year to year, so be patient with this unique plant.
Why Growing Avocados Are Worth It
If you’ve put in the time and effort, you’re finally ready to eat your chips and guacamole, avoiding the grocery store’s expensive charges for fruit. You may hold your avocado with confidence, knowing that you nurtured and cared for it from seed to fruit. As long as you put in the effort, you’ll be able to enjoy it year after year. Be brave and take on an ambitious project in your garden.
You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be better prepared to try additional exotic species in your yard in the future. No, I’m not interested in mangoes and bananas. SummerWinds’ Trusted Garden Experts are available to answer any questions you may have about growing your own avocado tree. SummerWinds Nursery’s Background: High-end garden and nursery supplies can be found at SummerWinds Garden Centers.
Boise, Idaho, is the company’s headquarters. As one of the largest independent retail nursery enterprises in the western US, SummerWinds runs retail nurseries in Phoenix, Arizona and Silicon Valley, California. SummerWinds has a wide range of high-quality gardening items and a helpful and pleasant staff to appeal to both dedicated and casual gardeners.