Growing Avocados

Below is a list of the most recent cultural management articles from the California Avocado Commission. Visit the Cultural Management Library for an archive of past articles.

As growers and pest control advisors plan their arthropod pest management program for 2014, they should consider the consequences of pesticide resistance that would make pest management problematic in the future.

Because of the warm and dry winter, persea mite and thrips populations may be increasing in some areas, so California avocado growers should be vigilant and monitor pest populations earlier than normal.

A new fungal foam may provide a means of controlling two of avocados' most formidable pests — the redbay ambrosia and polyphagous shot hole borer beetles. Field tests are currently being run and California avocado growers are invited to participate.

View three presentations concerning threats posed to California avocado groves by new pests and diseases, including laurel wilt disease, fusarium dieback disease, the polyphagous shot hole borer and the Florida redbay ambrosia beetle.

Dr. Akif Eskalen and Dr. Richard Stouthamer, UC Riverside, continue to make advances in polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) and fusarium dieback research. Read on for a high-level summary of current PSHB research.

Because avocado trees are tropical rainforest trees, they are active year-round — and that means cultural management of avocado groves is necessary throughout the year. In fall, growers should prepare avocado groves for winter weather events, flush out accumulated salts, and apply pruning techniques and fertilization for optimal spring performance.

According to recent survey results there has been significant southern and northwestern movement of polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) in California.

Irrigating California avocado trees can be challenging for several reasons. Avocado trees are heavy users of water but they have a shallow feeder root system located primarily in the top six inches of soil that are prone to drying out. The feeder roots also have very few root hairs, thus making them inefficient at absorbing water. Hillside groves with decomposed granite drain well, but they drain rather quickly. Groves with high clay content can suffer from poor drainage that leads to root rot.

For the above reasons, monitoring soil moisture in avocado groves is important.

Understanding soil salinity and irrigation are key concepts to successful avocado grove management because poor avocado yields are often caused by under-irrigation and/or high soil salinity. 

In California, poor avocado yields are often related to poor irrigation practices and soil salinity issues. 

In general, California avocado growers rely on irrigation systems to support the water needs of their groves because avocado trees — native to the humid sub-tropical and tropical regions of central and northern South America where rainfall is abundant — require 40-50 inches of rain and moist soil despite California’s arid, low-rainfall environment.

Irrigation is critical because water plays an important role in avocado production.

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