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.

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.

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

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.

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.

ECe. Soil salinity is measured as the salt concentration of a soil solution in terms of electrical conductivity (EC). For soil salinity, the EC is written as ECe. 

Irrigation. Providing water to soil in order to create a favorable environment for plants.

Leaching. Dissolving and transporting excess soluble salts from the root zone of the soil by applying and then draining excess water in the grove.