Tropical Fruit at a Glance–Avocado
by Jeff Wasielewski, Laura Vasquez and Jonathan H. Crane
Common name: Avocado
Botanical name: Persea americana
Worthwhile varieties: Russell, Monroe, Simmonds, Donnie, Choquette, Miguel, and more
About the fruit: The avocado has been grown in Florida for over 100 years making it one of our earliest commercial fruit crops. The fruit is usually eaten fresh and in guacamole.
Season: Main season is June through January.
Why you should consider it: The avocado is an excellent source of healthy fat, and with 25 major cultivars and close to 500 total cultivars found in Florida, there is an avocado for everyone.
Be aware: The minor pest the avocado lace bug is active in the late winter, but more importantly, the fatal disease laurel wilt is a danger for older trees. Find out more about laurel wilt here.
Pruning: Grafted avocados take very well to pruning and can be kept at 12 to 15 feet through annual selective pruning. Seedling trees tend to grow more upright. Remove strong verticals and encourage lateral growth.
Planting: Make sure not to plant too deep. Dig the hole bigger than the container but refill the hole with the native soil so the plant’s first flare root is at or just above ground level. Protect the tree from mechanical damage (string trimmers and mowers).
Fertilizer: Use an 8-3-9 or something similar two to three times during the rainy season (May to October). Drench with chelated iron (EDDHA) and use a micro-element foliar spray two to three times from May to October.
For more information see: Avocado growing in the Florida home landscape and the Tropical Fruit Tuesday webinar on avocados.