The Q&A Archives: Avocado Tree

Question: I live in Los Angeles and would like to have an avocado tree, preferably Haas. I was thinking of buying a mature tree & transplanting it. What should I look for in the tree when I buy it that may foretell problems or sickness & how should I prepare the soil prior to transplanting. What time of year is best for this?

Answer: Spring or autumn are the best months for transplanting trees; natural rainfall helps settle them into their new homes and cooler weather makes the transition less stressful on shrubs and trees. Avocado's are generally trouble-free, so there are no symptoms to look for. Instead, concentrate your efforts on finding a tree with a symmetrical shape with well placed branches and a straight trunk. Site your new tree in full sunshine, digging a hole large enough to accommodate the root mass without cramping. After digging the hole place a small cone of soil at the bottom so you can drape the roots over in a natural fashion and everything will be well supported when you backfill the hole. Then add soil, gently tamping as you go, to eliminate air pockets around the roots. Finish up by making sure the tree is planted at the same depth it was growing before, and by thoroughly watering to help settle the soil. The younger the tree, the easier the transition from container (or burlap) to your garden. A sapling growing in a 5 or 10 gallon container will be easy to handle and will establish quickly. Mulch the area over the roots after planting, and be sure to supply about one-inch of water per week to your new tree during the growing season.

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