How to plant and stake an avocado tree

How to plant and stake an avocado tree

Even though I’ve planted many avocado trees, I was nervous putting in this little Jan Boyce, or JB for short (pictured on left). It is a particularly fine-tasting variety that I’d been trying to get my hands on for years. But I needn’t be too nervous. I’ve...
Hand pollinating avocados

Hand pollinating avocados

It was 95 years ago that J. Eliot Coit, who would later be called the father of the avocado industry, wrote the article “How to make the avocado tree bear.” In other words, we’ve always wished avocado trees gave us more fruit. One way to encourage production is...
What’s the best kind of avocado to grow?

What’s the best kind of avocado to grow?

This question is unanswerable in an absolute sense. For who has tasted, let alone grown, every kind of avocado? Certainly not me.  But I’m game to attack it with a more fun and more practical twist. I’m imagining that I just moved into a new house with a...
The Quetzal and the Wild Avocado

The Quetzal and the Wild Avocado

Our guide through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve in the highlands of Costa Rica had just picked up a fallen orchid to show us when we heard a whistle. He put the orchid down and started walking briskly toward the whistle. We followed. He turned back to...
Pruning avocado trees

Pruning avocado trees

I call this tree the Japanese Fuerte. I’d seen many pruned avocado trees, I’d pruned many avocado trees, and I’d read much about others’ pruning of avocado trees, but I’d never encountered an old tree that had been so consistently and artfully molded to a shape and...
Growing avocados in Southern California

Growing avocados in Southern California

Avocados are California. They are our heritage fruit. My great great grandfather grew a huge seedling avocado tree at his house near Los Angeles. When my mother was a child, she climbed in her neighbor’s Fuerte avocado tree. I have planted avocado trees over the...