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Avocado in Arizona?

Avocado in Arizona?

I just ordered a Mexicola Grande. Where I live it gets up to about 110 and down to the low 20s. What are my chances? Any advice? I haven't heard of much success in AZ with avocados. Has anyone else?

The following thread was started by David on August 04, 2005 at 11:01 am PST

David I have emailed you about the CRFG chapter in AZ, which best help you


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on August 04, 2005 at 2:52 pm PST.

Avocado in AZ


I live in NE Phoenix and I have 4 avocado trees in the ground for about 2 years now. Cold is not a problem where I live (upper 20's is what I see at the worst and maybe only a few nights if at all). The cold doesn't last that long here. MG is good down to 18 degrees. No problem here.

They are very salt sensitive. Plant them on a raised bed for better drainage (mandatory!). You will have to cover them the first summer with a shade structure (mine are in full sun now, eastern exposure which is prime real estate in the desert.) Paint the trunks and all exposed bark areas white (they sunburn easily). They will rot in cold, wet soil so that is another reason for the raised bed for good drainage. Every 3rd or 4th watering, deep water slowly to leach soil salts out.

Avocado roots are shallow. Mulch heavily (I use wood chips) to insulate the roots from our extreme heat.

I don't agree with some of this, but it's pretty good overall:

Good luck.

The above followup was added by Sean on August 04, 2005 at 3:10 pm PST.

Sean - what kind of trees do you have?

How often do you water? I've read only to water every 3 or 4 weeks but it seems like in May and June here after 2 weeks a tree would be dead. Any fruit yet? How big are your trees? That azrfg article said they only knew of 5 large trees in the salt river valley. Or maybe that was just ones started from seed. Do you know of any large avocado trees in AZ? Are you pretty optimistic about yours doing well?
Thx for the advice

The above followup was added by David on August 05, 2005 at 2:06 pm PST.

Types of trees


I have two Florida types: Brogdin and Choquette.

My two California types are Reed and Mexicola.

I wanted to try the Florida types because they are grafted onto salt tolerant rootstock (Lula or Waldin) whereas the California types are grafted onto rootstocks (Duke, Topa) that are resistent to phytophthora.

The Florida varieties are crosses.

Brogdin is Mexican and West Indian

Choquette is WI and Guatamalan.

I got my Florida types shipped to me mailorder. You'd be surprised how hard they seem to be to find to get sent here.

I personally like Cal. types better (the Mexican and Guatamalan types) because of the high oil content. At the end of the day, I just wanted a tree that would live here so I could graft a good variety onto it.

All of them are doing well. Go figure. The Fla. types show no sign of salt burn whatsoever. The Mexicola did at first but grew out of it. The Reed shows some, but I planted it a full 8 months after the others so it has to 'catch-up'.

Hope this helps,


The above followup was added by Sean on August 05, 2005 at 3:24 pm PST.

Avocados in Arizona are work!

Are you a good gardener and willing to spend time?

Avocados here can be a lot of work. If that isn't your thing then I really would recommend against the attempt. Nothing is good for avocados here. High temperatures, low humidity (except during monsoon), brutal sun, salty water, clay soil that is alkaline (clay, depending on where you are), etc.

I'm not trying to be a party pooper but it's the truth. I'm in the yard everyday because it is what I like to do. I water when the top few inches is just barely moist, but I mulch thick so I don't have to water as often and Avocados like that 'litter' on the ground. Many times people water too much and kill them because they look wilted not from sun/heat necessarily but too much water!

Mine are doing well. They are probably about six feet tall now and as wide, though I planted them in a raised bed all together for x-pollination extended harvest etc. Too young for fruit now though. Only been in the ground for just over two years and they were tiny when I got them.

They are doing fine and I'm confident they will continue to be, but I'm vigilant about their care and here you have to be. I saw trees in Chandler that must be 12-15 feet tall (Bacons) but no fruit yet. The owner has an irrigated lot (much like the other trees in the Central Corridor - I have not seen them though.)

Avocados are thankless here and you have to work to get them going or they die pretty fast and let you know if you are not treating them nice.

Who knows? With conditions here as dry as they are I may not get fruit at all, but I have to believe that ultimately I probably will with 4 different varieties going.


The above followup was added by Sean on August 05, 2005 at 3:37 pm PST.

Avacados in Tempe Arizona

Hey Sean,

I agree avacados in Arizona are a lot of work. My quest started about 5 years ago, nearly killed it several times with direct sun. I have it growing in a pot under an orange tree right now, planning to put it in the ground this spring.


Watering: Tried all sorts of different approaches, have had an on going problem with edges of leave going brown, (up to +- 3/4 of several leaves over most of the tree). Doing well now on my irrigation drip system comming on twice a week, tree has turned nice dark green, was quite light yellow/green with limp thin leaves for most of past year when I was trying to sort out watering. Still haveing some brown edges, thinking a bit too much water, please advise.

Sun: How will the tree ever survive when it gets bigger, planning to plant it between two large junipers and eventually let it break out into full sun. Do you think it can survive, or do I need to find a courtyard somewhere to plant it. Don't know what variety it is. Pleae give me some ideas.

Have started a couple more new trees, still small in the house for now. One seems stalled out at about a 12" x 12" size. Leaves feel leathery but have good color.

Thanks, Mark

The above followup was added by Mark on October 22, 2005 at 7:28 pm PST.

avocado in arizona

Avocados are not adapted to desert conditions they lose water through their leaves in a process called evapotranspiration/ normal desert plants have mechanisms/ adaptations that prevent them from losing moisture from their leaves if you look at an avocado leaf its very thin and water just oozes out of them; plants like succulents and cactus have thick skins. Putting an avocado in the desert is like trying to make a fish live on land they will dry up and die in the desert.

The above followup was added by john on December 06, 2005 at 5:22 pm PST.

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