The Busy Gardener

Fruit Trees Planting

5 Tips for Growing Productive Avocado Trees

Grow Avocados

Avocados are delicious. They’re also great for your health, and they make a really nice addition to any meal. If you have a garden or yard, then it’s likely that you want to grow some avocados of your own. These trees are notoriously challenging to grow when young. Lucky for you, with some care and attention, you will be harvesting avocados in no time! Here are 6 tips for how to successfully grow an avocado tree and watch it produce fruit for years to come:

1. Choose a Location

Plenty of Sunlight

Avocado trees need a lot of light to be able to grow and produce fruit. It’s best if they have at least six hours of sun per day, but eight is even better. Choose the spot for your avocado tree carefully! Remember that the avocado tree is a sensitive plant and will need protection in its first weeks and months.

If you don’t live in an area with enough sunlight year round (for example, if it’s too shady or dim) then consider planting avocado trees near a deciduous tree that allows sunlight during the less sunny months while providing a little shade when there are leaves on its branches.

Sheltered from Wind

It’s best if avocado trees are planted outside in a sheltered spot where they will be protected from strong winds but still exposed enough to get sunlight. If you have a grower nearby who sells avocado trees already grown for planting (and not just seeds), ask him or her about what kind of environment their plants enjoy most – this way you’ll know exactly how much care these particular plants need so they grow into healthy specimens that produce tons of fruit.

2. Plant the Avocado Tree in Good Soil

Well Draining

Don’t plant it in heavy clay or very sandy soil. Avocado roots struggle with soil that stays too wet, or which doesn’t retain any moisture.

Add gypsum to improve drainage if necessary for heavy soil, or compost mixed with garden loam (or topsoil) if too sandy.

Preparing the Hole for Planting

Dig a hole that’s twice as wide as the root ball, but not deeper than the original height. Your avocado plant will suffer from being planted in a hole that’s too deep.

Score the soil on the sides of the hole using fingers or a hand rake so the roots don’t get pot-bound.

Planting your Tree

Lower your plant into the soil, and avoid pulling or holding the on the stem. Avocado trees have fairly brittle wood, and you don’t want to damage the stem or branches.

Don’t add any fertilizer to a newly planted avocado tree. Wait until you see some growth before you fertilize with a balanced fertilizer.

Apply at least three to four inches of wood-chip mulch (at least 3 inches) around the base of the tree to conserve moisture, control weeds and help regulate soil temperature

Water your tree deeply (a slow, long watering) so the roots make solid contact with the soil around them.

3. Protect Avocados from Sunburn

Whitewash Your Tree

A young avocado tree should be whitewashed to protect it from sunburn. Avocados are an especially sensitive tree, and they take so long to fruit. You spend the time to get the soil ready to plant, choose your avocado trees, plant your tree, protect the root ball, and then you wait for it to fruit. Now imagine your beautiful avocado trees burn in the harsh sun.

Whitewashing the trunk can help prevent sunburn in two ways: first, by shading the bark and second, by discouraging any boring insects that may attack.

To effectively protect your avocado tree’s sensitive bark, you can apply a high-quality interior latex white paint.

For an organic option, we exclusively use and recommend using an organic option like IV Organics 3-in-1 Plant Guard.

This is a green way to protect your avocado trees from pests, fungi and diseases while also reducing the risk of sunburn to your plant.

If you absolutely don’t want to paint your avocado tree with whitewash or use organic pest control products, we recommend you plant your trees in an area that receives some shade during the hottest part of the day. An option is to plant your avocado trees under another plant or close by a building so the tree bark can stay cool.

Shade Cloth

You can also utilize something like shade cloth to reduce the amount of time your avocado tree are exposed to hot sun. This will protect your avocado plants from the sun, while still letting your tree receive some sunlight as a reduced intensity.

Read more in depth on TBG about sun protection.


Another option would be to plant avocado trees in a container, meaning the pot will go on your porch or patio. We advocate for planting in the ground, as a pot isn’t an ideal way to grow avocados. Avocados can grow to 40-90 feet when planted in the soil, producing hundreds of fruit. It’s possible to grow avocado trees in a container, though there are some drawbacks.

Container planting limits the roots, is more sensitive to changes in soil, and requires you cut it back so the canopy doesn’t overwhelm the roots in the pot. A container will require well draining potting soil, as avocados don’t like their roots wet.

We recognize that planting in the soil isn’t an option for everyone’s avocados. Planting avocados in a container gives renters an option to grow this tree and experience its delicious fruit, even if less than ideal.

4. Water your Avocado Tree Regularly

Avocado trees require more water than most other trees because they originate from a tropical climate. That said, you should avoid overwatering your tree to prevent roots to rot and other problems.

The best way is to water deeply as infrequently as possible – this will help the soil retain moisture more effectively without keeping its “feet” wet than watering it just once per day or so. A good rule of thumb is that if there’s any dry dirt beneath the surface of your soil after an irrigation session, then you didn’t give it enough water. If all the soil has been moistened but not soggy by irrigation session, then your avocado tree was watered sufficiently. Of course, using an inexpensive water meter probe is the most objective measure of your soil’s moisture content.

Let The Soil Dry a Little

Avocado trees like to dry out in between watering, so the best time to water them is when it’s actually needed. A good rule of thumb for how often this would be is every five days during hot summer months and once every couple weeks during winter months. Of course your climate will determine how long you should wait to water.

5. Keep your avocado tree pruned to keep it from growing too tall or wide 

The size of the avocado tree is going to depend on how tall it grows, so the best thing you can do for your plant is to keep it at a manageable size. By pruning your avocado tree regularly, you have the ability to control its growth and make sure that it doesn’t get too wide or grow too high.

If an avocado tree does grow taller than 25 feet, this will mean you will have difficulty reaching the fruit, even with a pole mounted picking basket.

Unlike other fruit trees, avocado trees do best by allowing the low branches to grow, which protects the root system from summer temperatures and sunlight.

To prune off a tall branch or to thin out low branching, use loppers for cutting through large limbs that may be too thick to cut with hand shears. With smaller branches and shoots that have grown into other parts of your tree, use hand shears so as not to damage the plant tissue when making cuts.

Like with any fruit tree, you will prune your avocado trees to remove any dead, diseased, damaged or crowded branches from their stems with clippers or shears.

Avoid removing healthy shoots that form new growth at the tips of branches as this may hinder future flowering and fruiting.

BONUS: Growing Avocado Trees From Seed

Although this article focuses on growing an avocado tree already growing as a potted plant, you can also grow avocado from seed. Growing avocado trees from seed or pit is a fun, easy and rewarding way to start your avocado tree garden. The first thing you need for seed starting is; an avocado seed! Just save the pit from an avocado fruit, and you’ll have what you need. And don’t worry if it’s not fresh – the avocado seed is pretty hardy so they last quite awhile before going bad.

Keep the seed in its brown skin and store it in a cool, dry place.

Once the seed is fully dried out and hard, you can suspend it over a glass of water with toothpicks pointy side up. The water should be at room temperature with the bottom 1/4 of the pit submerged.

Changing out the water every day or two and keep your avocado seed suspended over the glass of water until it starts sprouting roots from its base. After a few weeks, you should also begin to see a stem begin to spout from the top of the pit.

Once you see this happen, remove the toothpicks, and gently plant your avocado pit into potting soil a couple inches with only about an inch showing. The stem will continue to grow from the mostly buried pit.

Keep your avocado tree moist by watering it regularly and watch the inches turn into feet!


If you have a garden, or are considering planting one this year, consider adding an avocado tree to your landscape. Avocado trees can be grown in most warm climates and need basic care for the first few years of their life.

The tips we’ve provided should help with getting started on growing these beautiful trees – but if you still have questions about how best to grow avocados, don’t hesitate to contact us! We love answering gardening questions and want nothing more than for our readers to succeed in bringing nature into their lives through sustainable practices like fruit-bearing plants that provide healthy food sources. Enjoy your new avocado tree!

Fruit Trees Planting Spotlights

Planting Multiple Fruit Trees Close Together for the Perfect Backyard Orchard

Planting Multiple Fruit Trees???

Planting Multiple Fruit Trees??? You’ve got a backyard, but want to plant more than just the usual one or two fruit trees. Did you know you can plant multiple trees in a small space, even three or four trees in the space you’d usually only plant one? We use “Backyard Orchard Culture” method (popularized by Dave Wilson Nursery).

BYOC is where fruit trees are planted close together to create a high density planting. The main advantages of this method include successive ripening for longer harvest season, and trees kept at manageable size through pruning; usually no higher than a person can reach. This is an excellent method for those who have limited space and want to enjoy fresh produce year-round while also having easy access to it.

By keeping your trees at a manageable size, you won’t have trouble harvesting your fruit. And you avoid climbing a ladder on uneven ground. Ultimately, it’s important that the branches are kept in check so they don’t grow too high and out of reach from humans. (One exception to this is citrus and avocado trees who hold their fruit for months, and can be picked using a pole-mounted fruit picker basket without damaging fruit. We let these trees grow to 10-12 feet.)

Planting Your Fruit Trees

Planting fruit trees close together also helps to maximize the amount of fruit that you’ll get from each space over a season. A backyard grower doesn’t usually have the same expectations as a commercial grower. Instead of 500 of one type of plum or apple all at one time, you’ll have 100-150 of three to four different varieties over an extended season! High Density Planting follows the same guidance as planting individual trees, with just a few added considerations.

  • Select fruit trees that are compatible with each other (when cross-pollination is required) and grow well in your area.
  • Find a spot in your yard that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day 
  • Place the trees as little as 2-3 feet apart from one another (trunk to trunk), and aim the desired branched of each tree away from the center of the grouping.
  • Dig a hole for each tree about twice as wide as th existing root ball is level with the ground 
  • Plant the tree a few inches above the existing soil grade and mound with dirt, to account for settling
  • Water them more regularly for the first couple months after planting (2-3 times per week, especially if hot weather is approaching) and fertilize after the tree has pushed out a few inches on initial growth.

Keeping Tree Size Manageable

We keep all size in check with two main methods: pruning, and fertilizing with a low-Nitrogen fertilizer to minimize vigorous vegetative growth.


Pruning is a great way to keep trees manageable. Although pruning can feel like a daunting task, we recommend pruning the tree twice a year; In summer to control for size and vigor, and in late winter or early spring to prune for detail. Generally speaking, you prune to remove any branches that dead, dying, diseased, deformed, or damaged. This also includes branches which are crossing over others. This can cause rubbing which makes them more susceptible disease like fire blight or other pests and diseases.


We also keep fruit trees at a manageable height is to limit the amount of Nitrogen they receive through feeding/fertilization. This is because Nitrogen encourages growth and can lead to a tree that’s too tall or wide for the space. You can use a balanced fertilzer for the first couple years after planting, then switch to a low Nitrogen fertilizer once you have an established canopy. Nitrogen is the 1st number represented on a fertilizer’s N-P-K numbers. When growing a new tree’s canopy we use 15-15-15, switching to a 3-12-12 once the canopy is established.


The benefits of planting fruit trees close together are many. First, you’ll have a higher density orchard which means more types of fruit and less space required to grow them in your yard (or wherever they’re planted). Second, you’ll enjoy some variety in your harvests. Finally, successive ripening allows an extended harvest season that lasts longer than just two weeks – instead lasting many months of the year depending on what type(s)of fruits you plant. You can do this!