Avocado trees grow rapidly, but they do mature slowly. With these tips and a little patience, you can look forward to a delicious avocado harvest.


The main things an avocado tree needs are rich soil, excellent drainage, and a thick layer of mulch over the roots. Allow fallen leaves to remain under the tree; don’t rake them up. This serves as a natural defense against root rot. (Avocados are best planted at the back of the garden where their large leaves won’t look too messy.) Add additional mulch to young trees.

A mature avocado tree needs at least two pounds of nitrogen a year and varying amounts of other nutrients, such as phosphorus and zinc. For the home gardener, the easiest way to feed your avocado tree is to use a mixed fertilizer specifically recommended for citrus and avocados that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Be sure to follow the package directions.

In coastal zones, gardeners should divide the amount of fertilizer for the year into five equal applications and give one feeding each month from February through June.

If you choose to go with single-use fertilizers, you can feed avocado trees by spreading 25 pounds of aged chicken manure under each mature tree in February. Beginning in March, give each tree one trowelable blood meal and bone meal every six weeks, through August. If the mulch is very thick, rake it off, sprinkle the food underneath, then replace the mulch on top.

Remember, never cultivate or dig under avocado trees, because that damages the roots and all your fruit might fall off. It’s best not to grow anything under an avocado tree, especially if it needs frequent irrigation. Wet soil promotes root rot in avocado trees.

Visit Grangetto's Farm & Garden to find more in-depth advice for growing avocados in San Diego!

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