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A forum for growing fruits and rare tropical and temperate fruits, and tending our orchards

AVOCADO ROOTSTOCK....for grafting

Postby Ed of Somis » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:00 pm

Ed of Somis
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Posts: 416
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:46 am
Location: Ventura Co.
Climate Zone: Sunset zone 21
I have been collecting "Bacon" seeds....so I can grow them for rootstocks. I enjoy grafting, but having the patience to see them through to outdoor planting size is tough on my nerves. There are lots of challenges when you do not have a greenhouse (maybe I should make one). Are there any studies or information out there on the quality of the "Bacon" variety as a rootstock???

Re: AVOCADO ROOTSTOCK....for grafting

Postby MarkN » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:38 am

MarkN
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:08 am
Location: Central Texas, zone 8b
Climate Zone: USDA zone 8b
Bacon is Mexican so it should work for you. Seems like most California stock is on Topa Topa or Zutano. Might wanna ask Epicenter or Will Brokaw.

Having said that, I don't know why you guys in frost free areas are so hung up on Mexican rootstock. It handles salts poorly, is subject to root rot. We have a grafter and cold hardy tree seller in Devine, has patented Mexican scion called Wilma and Opal and he grafts on Lula, which is a W. Indies X Guat. cross. Calls it a "system", meaning that because he's selling to growers in areas that are subject to freezes down into the teens, you are instructed to bury his graft about 4 " below ground. From a line extending from Houston west to Austin, folks are buying 8 different types of Mexican trees on Lula. Says he has seen huge W. Indies avocado trees growing in Cozumel with a salt water table only 2' below the surface.

I started some W. Indies X Guat. seeds back in the winter. They are now ready for grafting. Got some of those yucky big green Florida avocadoes at the grocery store and did my toothpick thing and as soon as a taproot showed I potted them up. They handle my extremely salty well water beautifully. No leaf issues and grow like weeds. My water has a TDS of 700+ ppm and plenty of bicarbonates. Mexican rootstock is out of the question. I know from experience, I lost Sir Prize, Holiday, Nishikawa, and a Reed last summer in part to the extreme heat but mainly due to the Mexican rootstock and the mucky "soil" California nurserymen use for potted avocados.

Re: AVOCADO ROOTSTOCK....for grafting

Postby Jack, Nipomo » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:53 am

Jack, Nipomo
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Posts: 227
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:05 am
Location: Nipomo, CA (San Luis Obispo County)
Climate Zone: 17
The selection of avocado rootstock is quite sophisticated and depends on many factors. See http://brokawnursery.com/rootstock.html and their discussion. Living in an area with "dune sand", decent water, and sometimes freezing temperatures (24 degrees this winter) we have used Mexican seedlings for rootstock with success on our 38 avocado varieties (hopefully adding more this year). If a commercial grower, we would probably use clonal rootstocks for consistency in evaluating irrigation, fertilizers, etc Another factor we experience with non-Mexican plants (starting them as rootstock) is the extreme damage done by the persea mites. It is difficult to grow a healthy rootstock when mite damage affects growth. Mexican rootstock are rarely affected, then to a very small degree. I'm happy that you found a rootstock combination that works for you with that very high level of dissolved solids. That is certainly good information for those who deal with that. What kind of winter temperatures do you normally experience?

Re: AVOCADO ROOTSTOCK....for grafting

Postby MarkN » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:39 pm

MarkN
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Posts: 198
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:08 am
Location: Central Texas, zone 8b
Climate Zone: USDA zone 8b
Like I said previously, these nursery offerings are being offered in areas that get down to the teens.

Why would an (underground) rootstock be prone to persea mite? What am I missing? Do persea mites have underground colonies? Do you guys not have access to persea mite pesticides?

Re: AVOCADO ROOTSTOCK....for grafting

Postby Jack, Nipomo » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:08 am

Jack, Nipomo
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Posts: 227
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:05 am
Location: Nipomo, CA (San Luis Obispo County)
Climate Zone: 17
Mark...as not a commercial grower, small seedlings are grown in the ground in their future place for several years before grafting. Once grafted they become whatever the scionwood is. Guatemala and West Indies seedlings get hit hard here by the persea mite and defoliate badly inhibiting growth and therefore a healthy rootstock. Most Mexican seedlings have thicker leaves and the mites leave them alone. Grafting success is less in a 5 gal pot and mites love the protection of my greenhouse. After a couple of years the healthy seedling is grafted over to a desired variety, however once again a potential battle against the persea mite is needed depending upon the variety grafted upon the seedling (particularly some Guat. varieties). Some years are good, some bad depending on winter insect kill, drought, mite predators, and high temps as mites hate temps over 90 degrees etc. In a bad year one can see Hass trees entirely defoliated from these mites in the late summer/fall. Mite pesticides? This is California and there are few pesticides available. Predatory mites are available, expensive, and of limited success. I believe Ed in Somis has tried them. I can use an oil spray, strong jets of water, but with so many trees and the eventual size of some we tolerate a lesser crop and an abundance of fallen leaves. I suspect your cold temps are a killer for mites and insect pests. So, we use Mexican seedlings because they get a good chance of becoming a healthy rootstock before grafting due to these persea mites. Great part about this hobby/passion is how folks modify growing conditions based upon their microclimate/location, etc. Your success in growing avocados in your climate is amazing. I can send you some persea mites (I have extra) to play around with.

Jack

Re: AVOCADO ROOTSTOCK....for grafting

Postby MarkN » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:34 am

MarkN
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:08 am
Location: Central Texas, zone 8b
Climate Zone: USDA zone 8b
I appreciate the heads up and excellent explanation. We have mites, plenty of them but they are the spider variety and citrus rust mite. The hotter and drier it gets, the more they produce, starting about June. They love tomatoes. I keep them under control with a daily blast of water. One thing about mites....if you keep on destroying their home (webs), they will cease to exist.

Mite pesticides? This is California and there are few pesticides available. Predatory mites are available,


Just a philosophical comment. I feel sorry for California growers. Your green and government control freaks are choking off your horticultural industry. I've had commercial nurserymen tell me they can't take it anymore and are quitting the biz. Sad. Folks cry "bad stuff!" and have no inkling of any real world environmental damage, only feelings and ideologies to back them up. For example, malathion an effective miticide upon exposure to air, light, heat (the elements) quickly breaks down into a phosphate from which is was derived. There's been a lot of half truths and lies parroted on that one.

Predator mites are OK....until their food source is depleted. They're expensive too, but isn't that what the "organic" and "natural" industry is all about? The money? It's become a tawdry racket.

Still begs the question, if Florida can grow on Waldin (W. Indies) or Lula (W. Indies X Guat.), why can't you?

End of rant...... :mrgreen:

Re: AVOCADO ROOTSTOCK....for grafting

Postby Ed of Somis » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:20 am

Ed of Somis
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:46 am
Location: Ventura Co.
Climate Zone: Sunset zone 21
This conversation was starting to make me a bit nervous. However, in the end....there is much to be learned/shared by people who just enjoy nature and the growing of fruit. Certainly, there are huge philosophical and enviornmental/weather differences with parts of California and Texas. I have been to Jack's ranch....and he has done a fantastic job. His love for growing fruit is obvious. He has battled eucalyptus trees, frosts, rats, persea mites, and sandy soil. Through it all....he has a wonderful paradise of fruit. As he said...every micro climate has it's own challenges to overcome. California has some of the best fruit growing areas in the world. Citrus, avocados, and all the food that feeds the world coming from the Central Valley... is world class. As Mark states...some wish the politicians were a bit more friendly to some of us...haha. Keep up the good work!

Re: AVOCADO ROOTSTOCK....for grafting

Postby MarkN » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:38 am

MarkN
Cloudforest Expert
 
Posts: 198
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:08 am
Location: Central Texas, zone 8b
Climate Zone: USDA zone 8b
What can I say, mama nature is indeed brutal. I have a small vineyard and a commercial choose-n-cut Christmas tree biz and a lot of trees and nut trees. No sooner after I handed planted 1,750 tree liners in the field and we got baseball size hail that wiped them out. Then there are high winds and rain that lay them over. Before planting I replaced an irrigation well pump and installed all the electronics, valves, etc. Lightning strike blows it all to hell. Pine tip moth devastation that disfigures the trees, fungus pressures but wait, there's more! I wait 14 frickin' months for a drop of rain last year, worst heat and drought in history so when does it rain? When I need it the least, the busiest weekends in December.....lost thousands as the field was too wet to get in. Still got my puppy dog and kitty cat though. :mrgreen:

You learn to take your losses or get out.


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