Avocado Growing: Nutritious, Delicious, and in the News

Nearly everyone loves avocados. They can be eaten as dip, added to a sandwich, substituted for mayonnaise, or simply cut in half and eaten with a spoon. They are high in fat, but it is the good kind of fat, and they are chock full of vitamins and minerals. It is no wonder that avocados, sometimes known as alligator pears, or butter fruit, are considered to be one of the modern “superfruits.”

Although avocado trees can be grown from seed, that can be a long-term challenge. Avocados are gendered trees, but not exactly in the regular sense of the word. They have an “A” type, and a “B” type of tree – but don’t get too comfortable with that idea. You see, a blossom can be male or female, and will change its function at different times of the day. Thus, it becomes difficult for one avocado tree to be self-pollinating. To be sure that your avocado will get pollinated, you need to have two avocado trees and insects that will fly in and out of the blossoms, making sure that the pollen gets properly shared around. Then, once you have a fertile seed, it can take seven or eight years to grow.

It is possible to cut several years off that growth time by taking cuttings from a parent tree and either grafting them onto started root stock (grown from seed), or by dipping the cuttings in growth medium and then placing them in water or moist earth to help them develop roots. The latter methods take less time than growing from seed, but still take three to five years to grow into a tree sufficiently mature to grow fruit. In each case, you pretty much get one tree per seed, or one tree per cutting.

But what if you could get more trees per cutting? And why does it  matter? Currently, avocados are a popular fruit that can be grown almost anywhere that is relatively frost free. Avocado trees can be cultivated in backyards in most parts of Australia, but especially along the coastal city areas where water is readily available. Avocado farmers in Australia not only supply the domestic market, but also export to nearby countries. Just to give you an idea of how important these green, bumpy fruits have become, Australia grew 87,546 tons of avocados in the fiscal year covering 2019-2020. And they are not even the leading nation for growing avocados.

The countries where the most avocados are grown are (in order of usual production) Mexico, Dominican Republic, Peru, Indonesia, and Colombia. Currently, Australian growers who wish to expand their avocado orchards might have to start their own trees or wait two or three years for started trees from suppliers.

Dr. Neena Mitter might have found a way to shorten that wait time by producing more trees from a single cutting. Using her methods, just one millimeter of cutting can produce up to 500 baby trees. The method would produce more trees using less land, fewer pesticides, less fertilizer and make Australia’s avocado production the fastest and most consistent in the world.

Meanwhile, we might not be growing 500 trees from one cutting, but we do have avocado trees ready to plant in your backyard. If you are interested in purchasing one or perhaps two for your backyard, just click here. We are one of the leading suppliers of avocado trees in our area.

 

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