Saturday, July 30, 2016

Avocados: Bountiful Blooms, Few Fruit

 Avocado, as well as citrus trees, produce an abundance of bloom. But only a fraction of those flowers remain to produce fruit. Furthermore, after the fruit is set, some premature fruit drop will occur; it is the natural thinning process.  

Yet any stress occurring during the time of bloom and young fruit development, will cause additional fruit drop.  These stresses include too much water, not enough water, nutrient deficiencies, vog (volcano emissions), and a few days of sudden high temperatures. Heavy rains during the bloom period can also contribute to low or no fruit set. Since pollination is principally by bees, a lack of them will also add to poor fruit set. 

In addition, avocado trees are categorized according to their flower type, either “A” type or “B” type flowers.  When only trees of the same flower type are planted together, they will produce fruit. However, when the opposite flower type is planted nearby, production is increased.  Having both flower types in a commercial orchard is important. In a neighborhood setting, a high probability exists that a tree with an opposite flower type will be in the area. Also note that avocados will produce a heavy set of fruit one year and usually rest the next by producing a lighter set.

If trees are a grafted variety, they should begin to produce in three to four years, while avocado seedlings (non-grafted) will take much longer to produce, perhaps seven to ten years.