Avocado Tips

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  • Avocado will not ripen on the tree. When ready for harvesting the fruit stem starts to yellow. Cut this stem leaving a stub on the fruit about 1/2 – 1cm long.
  • Avocados are under-watered. This is particularly important during the flowering period. He is a great believer in mulching and states that you should leave all prunings under the tree to release their nutrients back into the soil. Avocados love cow manure and you should heap aged manure in a donut shape around the tree just as you would spread fertilizer. Do not leave it up against the trunk but pile it up in a ring to out past the drip line so the feeder roots of the tree will come up through the mulch. This goes back to lots of water!!! With roots at the surface the tree needs adequate moisture without sitting in water. The leaves on a healthy avocado should be 12 to 15 inches long and 8 inches wide. If your tree is under par, Dr. Partida recommends a combination of humic acid and P205 fertilizer used as a soil-drench twice a month for sick trees. The humic acid should be mixed at a rate of 1 oz: 1 gal. humic acid is one of the most biochemically active elements in humus and he swears by it to stimulate wood growth. It is a liquid product derived from decayed organic matter with a capacity to collect plant food elements and release them as the plant requires. The last recommendation he made that was unusual was to plant three to four varieties of avocado in the same hole to increase pollination, yield and lengthen harvest times. This procedure was backed up by another speaker in his lecture on Backyard Orchard Culture.   by Dr. Greg Partida – Cal Poly
  • The smoke point of Avocado Oil is 255°C which is higher than any other vegetable or nut oil, so it is perfect for high temperature cooking.
  • Don Gordon says that gravel like pits found just under the skin of Avocado or Custard Apples are the result of the Fruit or Banana Spotting Bug exclusively. Smaller hits are from nymphs; bigger dimples are from adults. 
  • Avocadoes have male and female parts of their flowers. In India, orchard keepers at an avocado research station take pollen with a reverse cycle vacuum cleaner in the morning and refrigerate the pollen then release it by exhaust in the afternoon.
  • Visited a property recently where the avocado leaves on the top of every plant were burnt and curled. This is caused by the Monolepta Beetle which attacks the flowers and leaves. Eggs are laid on the soil surface and hatch after 12 days. Adults emerge after rain. The beetle is orange with a red shoulder.  Have a look at this site:  http://www.arboristnetwork.com.au/Fact_Sheets/Monolepta%20australis.pdf
    Citrus, macadamia, and mangos are also “favoured” hosts.
  • University of Qld are now tissue culturing Avocado: It was on Catalyst so watch it on iView. The avocado segment starts at 23.35mins showing. Graham Anderson at his avocado nursery then goes on to show the tissue culturing at UQ. http://file.scirp.org/Html/23-2603406_80029.htm
  • Avocado fruit maturity will not improve after picking so it is essential that the fruit reaches required marketing preferences before harvest. Avocados should not be harvested until they reach a degree of maturity at which they will ripen to acceptable eating quality and deliver a positive experience to consumers. Harvest maturity will vary from year to year and with location on your property for each variety. Rootstocks may also have an influence. Avocado fruits have a number of characteristics that help indicate harvest maturity. Judging maturity on these characteristics is not reliable, but with experience in comparing them with dry matter test results, they can help indicate when to start dry matter testing. These characteristics include:
    • fruit stalk is larger, swollen and distinctly yellow, rather than green
    • seed coat is dry, dark and somewhat shrivelled, rather than pale whitish
    • fruit is generally larger — but not always so
    • skin is dull and lustreless, with a powdery appearance rather than shiny. The usefulness of this depends on variety. For example, it is not much use on the early, thin-skinned types such as Bacon.
    Percentage dry matter is the easiest of the reasonably accurate maturity tests. Research has shown a good correlation between dry matter and consumer acceptance. The level at which you harvest will depend on variety and intended market. For example, consumer research conducted for Avocados Australia Limited has demonstrated that the variety Hass has improved consumer acceptance if left to reach at least 23% dry matter. Note that varieties also have an upper level of dry matter (maturity), after which palatability drops off. This is heavily location–dependent.
    Ref:  https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/avocados/avocado-maturity-testing-using-dry-….
  • Fruit Spotting Bug in Avocadoes  John Hatch says that if you keep your tree open ie cut out the centre, then you’ll suffer less of a problem. The tree needs white water-based paint on its trunk and as well as shade for protection in its early stages. Also use an anti-rot fungicide a few times a year.
  • It seems that some birds like Magpies like over-ripe avocado down by the Bay. This was accidentally discovered when an over-ripe avocado was thrown out to discourage the scroungers. Not only did the adults seem to relish the meal but introduced it to their demanding offspring.  Unfortunately, the toxicology literature states that the flesh of avocado is poisonous to pet birds such as canaries, budgies and cockatiels. It states that the budgerigar ripe fruit lethal dose as 50-100g Hass and Fuerte flesh/kg body weight ie. 3-6g/bird (for a 60g adult)  and the canary ripe fruit lethal dose as 100g/kg (Hass), 2.5g/bird (25g adult). A single avocado fruit contains about 100g flesh and assuming a lethal dose of 100g/kg, that would be expected to kill 1000g worth of magpie if they were as susceptible as canaries but as it looks as though they are significantly less susceptible or the dose each got was less than a toxic one, or over-ripe avocado flesh is less toxic than ripe flesh or various combinations of these reasons). We do know that some bird species can be killed by a single meal of avocado flesh.   Ref: Ross McKenzie
    Avocado bark, leaves, seeds and membranes within fruit are poisonous to parrots. www.tgpa.com/Plants.html
    All parts except ripe fruit contain an unknown toxin. Membrane surrounding the avocado pit also contains toxins. Use caution.
  • University of Qld are now tissue culturing Avocado. It was on Catalyst recently so watch it on iView. The avocado segment starts at 23.35mins showing Graham Anderson at his avocado nursery then goes on to show the tissue culturing at UQ.  http://file.scirp.org/Html/23-2603406_80029.htm