My grandpa once asked me when to start picking fruit from his Hass avocado tree. I said February. But it’s true that I’ve been picking one every now and then from my Hass tree since November. They’ve tasted acceptable, but I know that from February they’ll taste good, so I said February. Further, from March or April they’ll taste wonderful. There is no simple or correct answer to my grandpa’s question.
If you know the variety
That said, if you know which kind of avocado tree you have, then there are reference charts you can use to give you a general sense of a variety’s harvest season.
Here’s one that I made:
Another such chart is this one by Julie Frink, based on observations in Irvine, Orange County, California. It shows the eating seasons of 27 avocado varieties.
Just keep in mind that any chart should only be used as a rough guide. When fruit from your tree will taste best to you might be on the front end or back end of the months listed.
Also keep in mind that it’s slightly warmer the farther south you go in California, so if you live in San Diego your avocados will mature a little earlier in the year than if you live in Santa Barbara. I have picked good-tasting fruit from a Hass tree in Carpinteria in November — not the first November, but the second November. In other words, the tree had bloomed in perhaps February and the little fruitlet began to grow, and then it hung on the tree for almost two years after that. When I picked it, the fruit was totally black. But it was still totally delicious.
You might also be interested in knowing that the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Avocado Inspection Program controls when commercial farmers can pick and sell their fruit. They issue maturity release dates each year. You can view them here. The varieties they list are (in order of harvest): Bacon, Fuerte, Zutano, Hass, Pinkerton, GEM, Gwen, Lamb, and Reed. (Reed’s dates are announced later than the others. Here are the Reed dates for 2022.)
These dates can be used by us backyard growers as guides for when to harvest. For example, the CDFA allows the picking of the biggest Fuerte fruit starting on October 27, and then big Hass fruit one month later on November 28, while big Lamb fruit can’t be picked until May 8. (Small fruit is always released for picking at later dates compared to big fruit.) This gives us an idea of the order of maturity and harvests of different varieties, as well as the amount of time between the seasons of each variety; for example, the Lamb season starts more than six months after the Fuerte season.
If you don’t know the variety
But what if you don’t know which kind of avocado tree you’re picking from. Some years ago, a friend moved into a house that was shaded by an enormous avocado tree with large round fruit that had shell-like skin but whose varietal name no one told him. Through trial and error, we figured out the season for picking that tree’s fruit (and we later concluded that the tree was an old variety called Nabal).
Here’s how to approach such a situation:
Pick the biggest fruit on the tree, and especially a big fruit whose skin is dull, not glossy, and see how it ripens. Be patient. Ripening (the softening of the flesh inside) sometimes only takes a couple days but can take a couple weeks. If the skin shrivels near the stem end, then it is immature. If the fruit never softens beyond a rubbery texture, then it’s immature. Wait about a month to pick and test the next big avocado from the tree.
On the other hand, if the fruit softens but when you cut it open the flesh is dark yellow and tastes overly rich, cheesy, then you’re too late. Next year, start picking about six months earlier. In other words, if you pick one that’s too mature in July of this year, then try picking the next crop starting in January next year.
Determine the variety
By the way, if you want to try to figure out which kind of avocado tree you are picking from, use the maturity season that you discover and refer to one of the charts above in order to get names of possibilities. For example, if it tastes good in the summer then that eliminates Bacon, Pinkerton, and Fuerte, but it leaves as possibilities Hass, Reed, and Lamb. Then search for those names on the U.C. Riverside Avocado Variety List to see if one fits the description of your fruit and tree. This is better than doing a general web search because unfortunately, a lot of what you’ll find on, say, Google Images is mislabeled.
No matter what, mark your impressions of the fruit you pick on a calendar so you don’t have to keep dates in your busy mind. Or, what I do is associate a harvest season with a holiday or birthday. For example, Bacons can usually be picked starting on Halloween but they begin to taste very good around Christmas.
You might also like to read these posts:
How to tell if an avocado is ripe
All of my Yard Posts are linked HERE
I’ve been enjoying some of my avocados lately. Its very satisfying to pick them, let them ripen, the savor the deliciousness!!
Hello Greg. Im considering growing a Gem and a Pinkerton. What are your thoughts on a Nabal vs Reed for a third tree? Would the B type of the Nabal be enough benefit in possible production boost to my two other trees to offset the better production of the reed? Could also go with a Sharwil and Reed instead but unsure on the Sharwill season and how long it holds its fruit. Looking for something a little diffrent than the Hass, Reed, Fuerte trio and Ive had not luck finding a Jan Boyce. Im in Norwalk California and my grow area will be about 30’x10′ south facing. I’ll keep the trees to a height of 10′-12′ with my limited space. Can keep it to 2 trees if you think that might be too crowded. Thank you.
Question about the Holiday. Planted in 2014, this is the first year it is bearing fruit. Noticed tiny fruit in May and now they seem to be full grown in size (they are huge). I picked one about a month ago but it never seemed to ripen. I cut into it and the flesh looked perfect but just wasn’t soft. As I mentioned in my other post, I picked a few today that were getting sunburn and we’ll see how they ripen. Back to my question, if it takes 1.5 years to have full size fruit, am I still way off from maturity? It was my understanding that the they ripen Labor Day to NYD hence “Holiday”. I read somewhere else that they only fruit every other year due to their growing cycle. Does that mean I won’t get fruit next year? Would love to get some clarification as it didn’t fruit a lot this year so I want to take full advantage. Thanks!
Gretchen, stop! Back away from your Holiday!
Yes, it’s strange but true that the Holiday sets fruit around May but won’t be ready to eat until the following year. So yours will likely start tasting good at the end of summer 2018.
You’re not alone in picking Holidays early. Because they get so big, and they get big long before they’re actually mature, many people make this mistake.
This coming spring, 2018, your Holiday tree will bloom again and set its second crop of fruit. So when you start eating the first crop at the end of summer, there will also be a second crop on the tree, growing, maturing, ready to be eaten at the end of summer 2019.
It’s not entirely accurate when people say that some varieties of avocado trees produce fruit every other year — also called “alternate bearing.” This can happen, and some varieties are more prone to it than others, but it would be more generally true to say that avocado trees often have heavy crops followed by light crops. It would be even truer to simply say that every year’s different. But as regards the Holiday in particular, of the Holiday trees that I know, I’ve never noticed them to be especially prone to alternate bearing.
Thanks so much! I really appreciate your knowledge. I only picked the sunburned fruit (one of which was getting really damaged) so there are still a few others on the tree to finish maturing. It really is a fooler as the flesh on the inside looks wonderful but is very hard. Since maturity is Labor to New Years Day, sounds like I’m looking at enjoying these next September. Hopefully the pests won’t destroy them first! The exteriors have a lot of notches in them and I found one on the ground the other day that was half eaten. 🙁
Hi again Greg! Unfortunately the squirrels got most of my initial Holiday crop so I grabbed the last one off the tree last week. It seems to be soft but is more of a dark green v. the nearly black of a lot of avocados. Is that normal?
Sorry to hear about the squirrels getting your fruit. Yes, it’s normal for Holiday avocados to remain green when they’re mature and soft and ready to eat. They’ll never turn black.
Thank you. The one that I did get was beautiful! Sad it is only one. If you have any tips on how to deal with the squirrels without resorting to poison, I would appreciate it!
About squirrels, I wish I had a perfect solution but I haven’t found one. While I don’t use poisons, I do kill them. I hate to do it, but I know of no other way than to trap and shoot them. I wish there were a better way.
For catching and killing the squirrels I initially used the Hav-a-heart trap and then submerging it in a large horizontal tub of water. If you put it into a trash-can or barrel of water make sure you wire the trap door shut first because when you tilt the trap the Locking-Bar swings out of the way allowing the door to open and the squirrel pops out and runs away (I know this!).
But the Hav-a-heart trap only catches one squirrel at a time. So now I use the Squirrelinator trap, by Catch Mor, which catches multiple squirrels at a time. And if you purchase the correct model# then it is supplied with the “watertight transport tray” aka dunk-tank. So make sure to get one with the transport tray.
Thanks, Richard. I happen to use the Squirrelinator trap too. It’s great. I also used to use a Hav-a-heart. I agree that Squirrelinator is better. I didn’t know about the “transport tray” option though. Thanks for sharing!
Greg? Do you know how long bacons have to sit on the tree? I bought a tree thinking it’s a reed but now know it’s not- it’s either a bacon or fuerte. So my question is, if my tree flowered this spring (May 2019), set fruit and now, 7 months later (November 2019) Are the fruit ready to pick? Per your charts either fuerte or bacon should be good to pick by now but I picked one fruit, left it on the counter for 9 days and the fruit “gave” when I pressed with my thumb but When I cut open it was still rubbery, please help!
Bacons shouldn’t be rubbery here near Thanksgiving, not in Southern California. Fuertes shouldn’t be either. Both are definitely mature at this time.
Are you sure it’s not actually a Reed afterall? Even though Reeds won’t be mature for another six months or more, they are already as big as Bacons and Fuertes at this time. Did the skin shrivel near the stem end as it sat on the counter ripening? That would also indicate that it (whatever variety it is) is immature.
Hey Greg- it’s definitely not a reed. The leaves have a strong anise scent, the fruit is obovate like a bacon or fuerte and the tree is upright. How many days on the counter would you say a bacon needs to ripen?
I picked on on November 4th, waited until November 13th and it was still rubbery. I live in Long Beach
Bacons ripen in roughly a week, depending on how warm the kitchen is.
Maybe your location in Long Beach is mild enough and the fruit set late enough (2019 was a cool spring) that it needs another month on the tree. I’ve found Bacons from inland to taste best around Christmas so yours might only start ripening properly about then, especially this year.
Awesome info Greg. Question about the flavor- I’ve heard you mention bacons as “sweet” but the majority of people say they’re watery and flavorless. What do you think of a bacon’s fruit?
I’ve seriously considered top working the tree and grafting on Jan Boyce and/or sharwil
I’m writing a profile of Bacon to hopefully post in the next few weeks so I won’t go into much detail here, but Paul summarized Bacon avocados well anyway. Thanks, Paul.
Bacons do not get as rich as some other varieties, it’s true. They make weak guacamole. But I like them sliced on sandwiches; the texture is very smooth.
You might be able to find some Bacon fruit at a farmer’s market over the next month or two. Then you could see if yours is also Bacon and whether you like it enough to keep it.
I live about 10 miles inland from you and I picked my first Bacon on 11/9. It took 7 days to soften. In comparison to store bought Hass; more green color, less flavor, larger pit and sweet taste on the watery side, very thin skin. The tree is 4 years old. My guess that early December will be probably the best time for picking.
Hi Vincent; I have a bacon avocado tree as well. It’s about 7 years old now and produces quite a bit of avocados. Every year I get anxious to pick them but have found that mid Dec. is the best time where I live in Sacramento County. When I pick them before mid to later part of Dec., they will remain firm at the upper part. We still eat them, they will just be crunchy. The skin is very thin and the flavor of ours is very mild, not sweet at all. But they are very good on sandwiches, salads, soups, smoothies, etc. I also usually pick the last ones around March. I just picked one the other day because it was as thick as the palm of my hand and reached my finger tips, but it’s still hard as a rock, maybe a few more days it will ripen. Hate wasting such delicious fruit. I hope this helped answer some of your questions.
I had a Bacon for several years here in Sylmar. Great tree but all the fruit would drop when high summer heat hit. It was sad but I replaced the tree with a Ettinger. No fruit yet.
Thanks for the great info and advices! We moved from Orange County to north San Diego County last October and the house has a big Hass tree. The Tree was (and still is) packed with avocados and we’ve been picking a little at a time (always trying to get the bigger ones) since November. We usually picked them green and wait for it to mature before eating. Rigt now the leaves are getting brown (tips) and starting to fall but the tree still has a ton of avocados in it. Just wondering if new Avocados will come even with the “old” ones still there?
Also, a few of them are browning, does that mean its mature or “burned”?
Thank you again!
Lucky you, moving into a house with a big Hass tree in the yard. Everyone should be so lucky!
Yes, the tree can set new fruit here in spring even while there’s mature fruit hanging on the tree. But Hass are tasting about their best right now (May) in San Diego County so don’t ration that fruit.
If the fruit has brown spots, it’s possibly sunburn. Are the brown spots on the south or west sides of the fruit? If not, it could be from bugs called thrips, or a number of other things.
Hi, I stumbled upon your website and wonder if you could spare a moment to share some wisdom. We live on a property with a mature Reed avocado tree in back. A few months ago, an old pepper tree in front died and was cut down. I am looking to replace it with another avocado tree. My reading has led me to consider a type B variety (to help cross pollinate the type A reed and yield fruit at a different time). I was initially thinking of Fuerte, but then read it does not bear fruit well near the coast and we live 1.5miles from the beach. No now I am leaning towards Bacon, but then read that the variety Hellen originated in Santa Monica which seems like a good choice except I’ve never heard of it before. Too much information! In any case, would you happen to have a recommendation for us living 1.5miles from the beach in Santa Monica, with a desire to add a pretty looking tree to the front yard and complement our existing Reed avocado?? – Thanks so much, John.
Wisdom? Now I better give an awesome reply.
To complement your Reed, I would go Hass as my first choice. Reasons being, Reeds produce well on their own without a B-type avocado nearby (as I’m guessing you already know), and Hass has a harvest season that is very different from Reed. Hass starts in winter and goes through spring and will likely even go through summer at your house so close to the ocean. Then Reed will take over sometime in summer and go through fall. Hass is an A type like Reed, but it also produces very well without a B type nearby.
Fuerte is a possibility. Despite what is often stated elsewhere, I have seen Fuertes as close as you to the ocean that produce very well. But Fuerte is not as sure a producer as Hass, no doubt. Plus it has a shorter harvest season.
Bacon is also a possibility, yet it has an even shorter harvest season than Fuerte. Bacons usually only taste good for about four months at the most. And they never taste quite as good as Fuerte or Hass. Their texture is great, but they don’t get so rich.
Hellen is an intriguing option since it first grew in your neighborhood. The only problem is that its harvest season is very similar to Reed. You wouldn’t want that.
I have a huge fruit set on a young Pinkerton as well as a Haas that is 4 years old. Will the trees drop fruit or do I need to thin? My 20 year old Fuerte has a large set as well!
2019 is going to be a mighty good eating year at your house!
They will certainly drop many. The fruit that is still holding in July will mostly hold to maturity.
It’s unlikely you’ll need to thin your Hass, except maybe if the fruit is weighting the tree to one side. But if the Pinkerton is small, it may try to hold more fruit than it should. No harm in waiting until the fruit is at least the size of a golf ball to make that decision.
Hi Greg, After reading your info on avocados, thought I would say something about Fuerte near the coast. I had a grafted Fuerte in my back garden no more than 100yards from the coast in Perth,West Australia. It grew very well even though it was planted in sand, probably ex sand dune sand. Perth is located on a sand plain derived from eroded limestone. In due time the tree bore fruit and I harvested over 100 large avocardo’s, all very good. I had no problems with the tree and it stayed there for years but I moved away. I now live on the other side of Australia in a semi tropical area north of Brisbane that is cursed with root rot and my only avo tree is a dwarf Hass Lamb in a large pot with it’s first 3 avo’s. Many thanks for your informative blog…..Rob.
Thanks for sharing that. I look forward to visiting Australia someday. It has long interested me how the exchange of varieties between there and California continues. I’m growing a Sharwil and you’re growing a Lamb, for example. Hope those three fruit are delicious.
Hello! Our Holiday began growing fruit last year in April/May. fast forward to this year and we have been counting down to harvest time and BOOM one fell off the tree a few weeks ago (June) and then boom boom boom – 7 of our 14 total (first year fruiting) have fallen. Any ideas why this might be happening? we were assuming they wouldnt be ready for harvest until maybe Oct (= about 18 months from first signs of fruit)
the fruits that have fallen all weigh around 1.5-2lbs each. WOWZA!!!!
Any advice or insight you can give regarding Holiday avos would be so greatly appreciated.
p.s. on first taste, I prefer my Fuerte. Whats your opinion?
It depends a bit on where you live, but much of your Holiday fruit might be ready for harvest right now in late June.
We shouldn’t be married to the idea that Holiday fruit aren’t ready until they’ve spent 18 months on the tree, and remember that there are always flowers over the span of a couple months (therefore the maturity of each fruit might differ by a couple months). And definitely don’t rigidly follow my chart above, which shows the Holiday season as starting in August. That might not be accurate for your fruit in your yard this year.
To wit, the fruit on my Reed tree is totally mature and tasting amazing right now in late June 2018. The chart, however, says Reed fruit has a harvest lasting through November. No chance of that this year! Not here. It’ll probably be rancid by September.
Also, this Reed tree has been dropping fruit occasionally for the last month or so, just like your Holiday. Some trees seem to do this as a routine near the time of their harvest season. (Lamb is another variety like this.) It can be annoying, but I try to think of it as the tree telling me which fruit it wants me to eat. Unfortunately, sometimes it drops fruit that isn’t quite mature.
I agree with you that Holiday doesn’t taste as good as Fuerte. Then again, what does? Fuerte is unsurpassed in flavor my opinion.
But it’s possible that the rest of your Holiday fruit will hang into summer and their flavor will strengthen and you’ll like them more than you do now.
Thanks so much for the reply. the info is greatly appreciated. We live in a pocket of San Diego, CA. Mediterranean climate. Tinkering with the idea of a third variety to round out the year in terms of harvest time. Thinking about it is fun, but finding room for everything is the issue. ? looking forward to checking out the rest of your site.
We planted a dwarf holiday 2.5 years ago and this is first year we’re getting fruit. How do you know when to pick avocados? Also, I have some very low hanging branches touching ground but they’re above graft site. Should they be trimmed? Thank you for your time
See the harvest chart in the post above for a general time frame on when to pick Holiday fruit, and remember that the fruit will be big for a long time before it will actually be mature and ripen and taste good. Holiday is deceptive like that.
If the low branches don’t impede your watering (for example, from a mini-sprinkler), then no need to trim them. You can if you want to though. Holiday is unique in that it grows like a shrub instead of a tree, weeping along the ground.
Hi! Just moved into a new home with a very big avocado tree in the backyard. I live in south Texas so our year is usually quite warm/hot. I’ve looked through the chart and have tried to identify the type of avocados I have but I’m still unsure. I’d love some help!
Since different varieties of avocados are grown in south Texas than in California, I probably can’t identify your tree’s fruit. If I were you, I’d take a piece of fruit into a local nursery if possible. Maybe they’ll know the variety.
If that doesn’t work, I’d go to tropicalfruitforum.com. There are growers in south Texas who participate and they can probably help if you post a photo.
It’s also possible that it was a tree grown from seed, in which case it’s a unique variety and no one will be able to identify it. Then you can name it after yourself if you want!
Trying to I.D. unknown Avocados. First slightly toast the avocado leaf. If you get a great odor you will know you have a Mexican variety. You can eliminate all the other varieties and hybrids from your list.
p.s. Take a look at Mexican avocado leaves for sale on the internet. When I last looked they were asking $6.00 for a 4 oz pack of dried leaves. That’s $24.00 a pound.
FORGET THE Avocados… I’M GOING INTO THE LEAF BUSINESS.
Greg, we have a Sir Prize that has been in the ground for a couple of years now. I thinned the fruit last year and we have 4 large avocados on it. I was just wondering when is the right time to pick them? Based on my research they are ready in winter/early spring and they turn black when ripe. Do they turn black while still on the tree or only after I pick them and allow them to sit? We live in Mission Viejo…Thanks for all the help you give us
In the chart I made that is found toward the top of this post, I note that Sir-Prize is mature starting in November, but if I were to remake that chart I would push back Sir-Prize’s harvest season to start in December, or even January. They are usually acceptable starting around November, but I don’t think they taste good until around January. Not only that but this year — 2019 — has a delayed harvest for everything so you might not find that your Sir-Prize fruit tastes really tops until February or so.
Going by the color of the skin rather than the month is the best indicator of maturity though. The skin of Sir-Prize avocados do turn black while they are still hanging on the tree, yes. And I’ve found that once the skin has turned black, you can be sure that they’re going to taste good so pick at that point. Even start picking once they turn partially black at least.
I noticed the maturity release dates are earlier for larger sizes and later for smaller sizes. Do you know why that might be? Seems counter-intuitive to me as I feel a larger one should take longer to ripen.
The longer the avocados hang on the tree the bigger they grow, up to a point. So farmers sometimes do what they call “size picking” early in the harvest season where they pick only the biggest fruit, figuring that they’ll be the oldest and most mature. Since avocado trees bloom over a period of months (not weeks like many other types of trees), the fruit on an individual tree can vary significantly in maturity.
The truth is that in my own experience this size picking doesn’t work out perfectly. Sometimes early in a variety’s harvest season I get surprised to find a smaller avocado taste better (richer, more mature) than a bigger one. But size picking is still a decent strategy that works much of the time so that’s why they use those size rules for the release dates.
I live in San Gabriel inland area in greater Los Angeles.
I believe zone 10b
Is there an updated version of your chart closer to 2020?
Interested specifically with best harvest times for Pinkerton and Sharwill.
Also, how close would you say I could plant a young avacado tree next to an existing 15 year old Hass that I keep at about
12×12 ft? Two have failed at about 6 ft from it over the years..
This year I ate good Pinkertons starting around late January, and I ate good Sharwils starting around mid-February. Pinkertons might still taste good into June. I think that’s the latest that I’ve had good ones in the past. Not sure how long Sharwils will hang for you in the San Gabriel Valley, which is similar in climate to me in Ramona. I’ve had good Sharwils from trees closer to the beach in the very beginning of October, but I don’t know of anyone in an inland location that has had Sharwils hang that long. I guess all that goes to say that the harvest chart above remains generally accurate here in 2020.
Last year, I planted a little avocado about five feet from the trunk of my Hass that is about 15 feet by 15 feet; in other words, the little tree was partly tucked under the canopy of the Hass. The little tree grew OK but was too shaded to grow well so early this spring I removed it. (I had intended to use it just as a pollenizer.)
The two factors that probably contribute to the challenge of growing a new tree next to your big Hass are the shade in addition to root competition. If you plant toward the south of the Hass, you’ll probably have better luck with the shade factor. And if you lavish that new tree with lots of water, it will probably help with the root competition. You might also prune any Hass roots that find the water of the new tree.
Last year I visited a grove in Ventura that had Hass trees 15 years old planted at ten feet apart (trunk to trunk), but the grower said he preferred to plant Hass at 12 feet apart. His block of Hass at 12 feet apart looked very good. So maybe try a new tree at more like 12 feet from your old tree — if you have the space.
Not so much a question of when to pick avocados, but more how. Your picture above of your kids with bacon avos shows in the background a classic claw picker. I’ve seen ones that have blades that can cut the branch with the fruit, as well as others that have a string and moving blade to cut.
Open question to everyone, what tool do you use for picking avos and other fruit?
This is a great question that I’ve considered writing a post about. You’ve prompted me to actually write it.
Until that gets done, I’ll just say that I’ve used both the claw/basket pickers and the blade pickers, and I find that each has advantages and disadvantages for picking avocados as a backyard grower.
For other tall fruit trees, I always and only use a basket/claw picker.
Looking forward to reading your post on this topic.
Thank you for the information.
Hi Greg, thanks for posting the updated maturity chart. I found the older one very useful for choosing varieties based on when their fruit mature. I saw this new chart in your recent OC CRFG presentation and was glad I could find it here also. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge of avocados.
Hi, Greg, My young Hass finally had a good crop this year. Since I am slowly savoring them, there are still quite a few left “on board”. But now I’m wondering: did I leave them on too long, since I don’t see any flowers? Yikes!!!
This is a topic that has been studied in order to help farmers increase the consistency of their production, but I find it a moot point for home growers like us.
For the sake of argument, let’s say that you would have had some flowers this spring if you had picked all the fruit off your tree in January. How much would you have enjoyed having to eat all of your crop at one time and when the avocados tasted inferior?
Farmers don’t care if their avocados taste inferior as long as they are “legally mature.” And they would prefer to pick all the fruit on a tree at one time since this is more efficient and so the labor is cheaper.
However, what’s the point of growing an avocado tree in your own yard if you aren’t going to have an extended harvest and eat the fruit when it tastes great — far better than anything you’ll buy from a grocery store?
I say that we shouldn’t even bother with this issue as home growers. We should simply pick avocados from our trees when we want to eat avocados and when they are mature and taste exactly as we prefer. Slowly savor your Hass, Jeanne!
All that being said, if you want to read some more technical stuff about this issue of alternate bearing in Hass, see Carol Lovatt’s research, for example: http://www.avocadosource.com/cas_yearbooks/cas_93_2010/cas_2010_v93_pg_125-140.pdf
And know that there are ways to have your cake and eat it too. You can plant a second Hass tree and induce it to have “on” years of fruiting that coincide with your first Hass tree’s “off” years. Or you can girdle part of your Hass tree such that part of it is fruiting and part of it is growing leaves each year.
I live in the San Fernando Valley. When is harvest season here for Hass? Hubby has been picking them throughout September and now October, and we let them try to ripen and they are awful. They started growing on the trees in the Spring.
Your Hass probably won’t ripen properly until January but they won’t taste very good until March. See this post and the harvest chart in it: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/when-to-pick-avocados/
Hey, awesome stuff! One thing that would be helpful, rather than season, is months-to-maturity. I get confused (and I know a lot of other people are as well) if it’s one or two years to pick. So Mexicola is 6-8 months (if flower in march, ready in aug-oct). Holiday is, what, 20+ months?
And the various charts out there are crazy-variable: Reed on your chart is July-Sept, Frink’s is Sept-Dec, another nursery says May-Oct. So basically Reed can be a Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter fruit, which is super confusing, and makes figuring out when to pick it basically impossible, since they get full size well before they’re ready, it requires sacrificing a bunch of fruit to figure out.
Since months-to-ripen can vary based on location, it’d be much easier to figure out.10 miles from coast, zone 10b: Subtract 2ish months. Zone 9b: Add 2. Or something (assuming it actually works this way, no idea).
Really, what would be great is that once an avocado fruit appears, I can write “don’t dare pick this until ___” on a tag around it 😀
You bring up an interesting point with the months to maturity. Unfortunately, knowing this wouldn’t necessarily be as helpful as one might think.
Take the Mexicola variety, for example. Mexicola often starts flowering in October or November — way before most other varieties. However, little fruit usually sets from that first phase of bloom except in certain mild locations, usually near the beach. So in order to make use of a months-to-maturity number, you would have to be keeping a close eye on your tree to know not only when bloom starts but also when fruitset was actually occurring.
This level of observation is possible, of course. I’ve done it on my own trees. But I haven’t met many others who are interested in doing so.
Moreover, the weather during the development of the avocados determines how fast they mature. And since the weather is different every year, the months to maturity is slightly different every year, even in the same location. Incidentally, I was talking with an avocado farmer a few months ago about how early the Reed season wrapped up this year compared to some years in the past.
My Zutano is about to bloom. One website I found said it takes 6 months for a Zutano to grow. That would make them ready to pick in June, which goes against every chart I have found for when to pick Zutanos in San Diego. What do you think? Why would it flower right now? I got a Zutano to polinate a Hass and the Hass is not showing sings of flowering.
Zutanos take more than six months from flower to mature, tasty fruit, for sure. You can pick early Zutanos here in San Diego in early December but they’re barely mature and pretty watery. If they set from flowers as late as May, then that’s at least seven months to become barely mature.
Zutano is one of those varieties that can have an early bloom although it’s not normal. I was up in Santa Cruz last week and saw a Zutano in early bloom. But then my Zutano down in San Diego has no signs of bloom. Anyway, what sometimes happens with such early bloom is that fruit never even sets. The tree will just keep blooming bit by bit through winter and into spring, at which point it will set most of its fruit since the temperatures are ideal then.
In the spring, your Hass should be blooming and the Zutano should still be blooming some. That said, for best cross-pollination most big farms plant multiple pollenizer varieties because the bloom seasons of every variety shift around each year. They’ll put in Bacon and Ettinger too (for example) just so it’s likely that one will have a bloom that coincides with Hass every year.
I have a Hass and see they are going to be ready to start picking in the next month or two. I was wondering if the fruit size will keep growing until July(back end of havest time) or will they stay about the same size from around March?
The size of Hass fruit on your tree in March in Southern California might as well be considered their ultimate size. If they increase in size from March, it is so little that it’s hard to notice.
Love the website. Thanks for all the info. I have a mexicola tree that is about 8-10 years old. 2 years ago I got about 50 fruit, and this year I am excited to have well over 100 on the tree but am having major trouble figuring out when to pick.
Most of the fruit have been very stringy/rooty in past years. I think I picked In July to September in past years – maybe that was too early? I am located in San Diego semi coastal and think it has flowered between December and February.
Does rooty/stringy usually mean to early picking or too late? Am I supposed to wait until the avocados darken or pick while green? thanks so much for the help!
I don’t think that the timing of your harvest will affect the stringiness of the avocados. Mexicola is just a variety that is stringy sometimes. The degree of stringiness usually varies from year to year, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.
I don’t know of anyone who has studied this in a formal way, but my experience is that trees that get a lot of fertilization tend to have fruit that is more stringy. I’ve just noticed this with a lot of different varieties that I’ve picked from a lot of different groves. But I’m not really sure about the details, and I’m not saying that if you don’t fertilize your Mexicola it won’t have fiber. That’s definitely not my view. You might think about how much you’re fertilizing the tree though.
Harvesting Mexicola in July through September sounds about right. I don’t have a Mexicola tree in my yard, but I harvest from other trees starting about August. I wait for the skin on the fruit to be at least blushed with black while still hanging on the tree.
In this video where I profile Mexicola, I harvested the fruit in late August and early September from a friend’s tree in Encinitas, just for reference: https://youtu.be/F_KehYkxt2E
Thanks for all the info on your website. I have one extremely large avocado tree in my new house. I think it is a 10+years old tree, The tree has a couple hundred fruit on it now. It looks like a fuerte with oblong shape, green smooth skin with shinny yellow dots, very thin skin. but I think fuerte the season is way later than summer in SoCal (we are in Irvine). Also skin of fruit is turning black on the tree. It starts turning black from the top and bottom and then the entire fruit turns black.
I’ve looked at all the varieties in your website. Could not figure out what we have. I’d really appreciate any thoughts or pointers.
Greg, I have a 6 year old SirPrize. The leaves are very light green and no fruit last year. My other two Sir Prizes doing well unlike this one the leaves are somewhat thinly -10-10-10?