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Good producing avocado for clay soil in San Diego

Good producing avocado for clay soil in San Diego

I live in San Diego (zone 23) in a 50 year old house and was told that there was once a big beautiful avocado in our backyard, so they can grow here (I don't know if it died or was cut down...I wasn't here at that time). I want an avocado tree for my front yard (the back now has powerlines). It would be nice if you could either walk under it, or if it was rather upright or narrow so the kids can still run around underneath it when it gets bigger. I have tried Holiday and Littlecado (I think it is sometimes called Wurtz) in the back and they are very spindly, weak growing and only produce 3 or 4 fruits a year after having had them for about 6 years. (I am an avocado-eating freak and want to really pig out on avocados). The dwarf varieties I have also look ugly because of salt burn (even though I deep water them to supposedly flush out the salts). Does anyone have a tried and true variety that gives good, consistent crops on a nice looking tree that fruits rather early in it's lifespan and is resistant to salt burn? I was also wondering if anyone has experience with avocados near sewer or gas lines. I know their roots are shallow, but are they invasive? How far from the sewer line should it be and should I plant it on a mound or right in the clover lawn? Thanks!

The following thread was started by Kristen on January 20, 2010 at 12:51 am PST

Any or none

Salt burn is a fact of life here in SD. Any variety will grow, generally, but they need good drainiage (plant on a slope if possible). Also, many old trees were killed by phytopthera and replanting where it is present is supposedly a loosing proposition.

See CRFG San Diego for more info.

The above followup was added by pitangadiego on January 20, 2010 at 5:15 pm PST.

Reed Avocado

I have six Avocado trees. All different varieties. The most beautiful tree of all is the Reed. I have only had a couple avocado's since the tree is still young. It is an upright growing tree. Look up or Google Julie Frink Avocado of the month. until you find the Reed. Also look up planting tips by Julie Frink. She recommends planting on a mound. She is the expert.

The above followup was added by Joe on January 20, 2010 at 5:43 pm PST.

Salt Burn

Get a tree grafted onto Toro Canyon rootstock and your salt burn days will be over.

The above followup was added by Tom on January 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm PST.

Tro Canyon or Dusa

Avocados can thrive here even if the previous tree was killed by phytoptherra. Go to this link and scroll down to the lower right, click on the text "Avocado". Read the entire article before you decide what to plant and how to plant it.
Also, Joe is right about Reed being upright and beautiful but there are more considerations. An avocado tree, or Persimmon or Whatever tree, is cheap but the time, space, care, and water are huge investments. The relatively minor investment of a few hours of research will be repaid in buckets as your beautiful tree thrives and produces fruit you can eat and proudly share.

The above followup was added by George on January 20, 2010 at 9:25 pm PST.

Can you give me the link?

Yes, I agree with you, which is why I'm doing some research. Can you give me the link you mentioned? I didn't know which one you meant....did you mean Calif Rare Fruit Growers? There are just so many varieties out there and I want to be sure I put the right one in. Water here in SD is valuable and I don't want to waste it (which is what I feel like I've done with my dwarfs in the much water and fertilizer and soil prep and pruning for 4 fruit after 6 years...I kept waiting but they never took off...maybe the salt burn is killing them slowly?) Does anyone know where I can get that Toro Canyon Rootstock? I have called several nurseries and they don't know anything about the rootstocks as they buy them from other places.
Thanks for all your comments!

The above followup was added by Kristen on January 21, 2010 at 1:04 pm PST.

Toro Canyon/Dusa rootstock

You can find source of avocado with such rootstocks from Brokaw nursery ( Unfortunately I don't think they sell to individuals, they have a minimum order (I;m not sure how much). I believe Monterey CRFG chapter had a group order from them in the past.

The above followup was added by atc (sunnyvale) on January 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm PST.

ooops, here is the link

The lower right had corner in red are "Citrus", "Avocado" and "Tomato" links.

The above followup was added by George on January 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm PST.

Sources of Avocado

If you are ready to nerd out go to this site.
Brokaw is the #1 grower, their website is good and the staff is tremendous BUT I think the minimus is 30 trees. Avocados from Brokaw will be ready for delivery in March but it is good to get your order in ASAP.
If enough people contact me I will be willing to broker and act as a point of delivery. We are not limited to Avo's, They also sell Citrus and Cherimoya. Look at their availability chart here The prices are there also.
My experience has been of very high quality goods.
When the tree has no tag for its rootstock it will be mexican seedling, sometimes called "Topa Topa" or it might actually be a Topa Topa seedling.
Here is a place to start to try to find trees if you are only looking for one.
The list is old, just get on the phone. When they are not busy most Nursery people are both friendly and knowledgable.

The above followup was added by George on January 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm PST.

George, Where are you located?

HI, I am interested in a few trees from Brokaw. I was wondering where you are located. Or, does anyone know if any stores or nurseries get avocado stock from them?

The above followup was added by William Los Angeles, Z23 on January 21, 2010 at 10:09 pm PST.

Also interested

I would be interested in a few trees from Brokaw too, however I am in SF bay area - I believe George is located in San Diego (see previous post regarding chill hours).

The above followup was added by atc (sunnyvale) on January 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm PST.

William, I'm in Los Angeles...

I'm also looking for a few Brokaw trees. The problem is that one of them, Carmen-Hass avocado, isn't available until summer. But, I might also try the Sir Prize, and a citrus such as Satsuma.

I can attest to the quality of their trees, my local CRFG did a group purchase two years ago and the trees were nice size and healthy. I have a Golden Nugget mandarin (on C-3 rootstock) from that purchase.

When I go to the local scion exchanges I'll mention a possible Brokaw purchase to those in charge, and see if there might be some others interested.

The above followup was added by John 9b Topanga, Ca on January 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm PST.

Location and update

I am in southeast San Diego near Lemon Grove.
As of this afternoon we are up to 11 trees if we take delivery at a place near the 15 and 76. This is right in the heart of Avocado country for San Diego. I can take delivery of trees needing to come further south. I will be willing to care for them for up to a week or so.
The man I spoke with today believed that it would be toward the end of March or the beginning of April before Brokaw would be ready to release their trees for this year. The exact date depends upon delivery schedules.
I think the dates will remain gray until Brokaw actually begins deliveries to this area.
So, get your orders in within the next few weeks. I will post reminders.

The above followup was added by George on January 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm PST.

I'd like a Brokaw Tree too...

Hi George, I am right near you in San Diego. It seems that my best bet is to get an avocado on Toro Canyon Rootstock (to help with the salt burn), which Brokaw has. I am considering a Reed because I like the idea of a columnar tree since my yard is small, but I would really like an avocado that ripens in winter/spring over a long season, like maybe the Hass or Lamb Hass, rather than summer like the Reed. Do you know if it is possible to get a single tree with grafts of avocados that ripen at different times? I have never seen such a thing. I have heard of people putting two varieties in one hole, but I would really like one nice tree that is going to be healthy. I am going to prepare a raised planter bed in my front lawn to be sure it gets good drainage (I have flat clay soil). Let me know how to order one avocado. I would also like a "fuyu" jiro persimmon if they have those. Thanks so much!

The above followup was added by Kristen on January 26, 2010 at 10:13 am PST.

Reed is late?

Reed is supposed to be Winter ripenening, same as Hass maybe slightly earlier than Lamb Hass, it's definatly not a earlier one

The above followup was added by Jason on January 26, 2010 at 12:12 am PST.

Isn't Reed a summer ripener?

All the info I have found says Reed ripens in "summer." Some places, like the San Diego Master Gardener site specifies July-Oct. Hass is said on the same website to be pickable between Jan at the earliest and Aug at the latest, so I thought maybe the Hass would give me avos for the greater part of the year. But in real life, I don't know. Does anybody have experience with Hass or Reed in San Diego (SDSU area)? When they ripen? Joe (above) said the Reed tree is beautiful. Anybody care to comment on Hass as a front-yard fruit plus "ornamental" tree in SD?

The above followup was added by Kristen on January 26, 2010 at 12:24 am PST.

Summer and Winter

Reed is listed as May to December, Hass begins in Feb, so between the two you have most of the year covered with significant overlap.
Instead of Hass I have a Sir Prize which is supposed to come in a couple of weeks earlier than Hass. I won't know for sure for a couple of years.
Multivariety Avocados do exist but are not common.
Reed is a columnar tree but only comparative to other Avocados. You will not be looking at a tree shaped like an Italian Cypress, they can become large trees, well, lartge for San Diego anyway.

The above followup was added by George on January 26, 2010 at 5:20 pm PST.

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