Avacados in Vancouver ???

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by Gregn, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    I have read that the Seattle Botanical garden has a Avacodo tree(s), MEXICOLA GRANDE, growing there as part of their exhibit.
    Has any one attempted to grow one in the greater Vancouver Area??
    According to info I have read these trees along with their cousin MEXICOLA are frost
    tolerant to 18F . The GRANDE fruit harvest is from JULY to OCTOBER. Vancouver is a
    wet USDA zone 8. I was planning to bild a plastic shelter/ greenhouse for the winter season with xmas lights for heat on sub freezing days/ nights. (this past winter we had
    2 weeks of sub freezing temperatures.... any thoughts.?
    I'll bring the dip ...MMMMmmmm.!!!

    Greg
     
  2. Megami

    Megami Active Member 10 Years

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    I have one that's not very old, it goes out side for the summer but comes in for the winter. It takes quite a few years before they provide fruit, and may never in this climate.
     
  3. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Is Your Avacado one of the frost tolerant varieties like the Mexicola / Mexicola Grande?
    Do you know what variety of Avacado you have ?
    Was it grown from seed or purchased from a nursury?
    Thanks
    Greg
     
  4. Megami

    Megami Active Member 10 Years

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    It came from mexico, but I don't know anything more about it. I grew it from seed from a grocery store avocado, the sticker that came off said grown in mexico.
     
  5. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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  6. Megami

    Megami Active Member 10 Years

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    That looks cool! What zone are they supposed to be hardy to?
     
  7. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Probably a Zone 9 or 8b. Sattle Botanical appearantly has one and survives there. I have talked to my local garden centre about getting a couple... he will be heading south to
    california in a couple weeks on his buying trip. I am hopfull of the results
    I am concerned about a prolonged deep freeze. Thats why I am thinking about a variation of a hoop house for protection. with christmas lights or rope lights for some extra Warmth ...... any other ideas out there ?
    Greg
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Have a look at Sunset Western Garden Book.
     
  9. Megami

    Megami Active Member 10 Years

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    Yeah I bet if it was kept warm enough during the winter it would be ok. Let me know if your nursery was able to bring them in! I would be interested in one.
     
  10. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Contact mapleleaf garden centre in north Vancouver (near lynn Valley road and mountain highway) the owners name is rob he is the guy going to california. The more the interest the better.
    Thanks Greg
    Remember there are two similar varieties the Mexicola and the Mexicola grande the
    grande ripens a little earlier (appearantly) I am contemplating one of each....
     
  11. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I've grown Mexicola and Fuerte in a zone 8. Once
    in the ground for a few years both plants can become
    even more tolerant to frost damage but not to freeze
    damage. Freezes for us where I am last for several
    hours, from 4-8 hours or more at temperatures less
    than 20 degrees. What happens is that the leaves will
    shrivel up but that is not the main concern. When the
    outer twigs freeze, the tender bark will split and peel
    away from the wood exposing the interior wood to
    the freezing weather as well. A frost of 18 degrees
    for a couple of hours and then get back in the mid
    20's is tolerable for the plant but a sustained freeze
    is not.

    A clear polyethylene tarp cover will help but when
    the sun comes out during the day the tarp will have
    to be removed, otherwise you may witness a quick
    burning of the foliage. If you can set up a mini
    greenhouse you can grow an Avocado inside as
    long as you can trap some of the heat, imperative
    in the Winter when most Avocados are in bloom.
    Give the plants lots of light, artificial light will work
    if you have enough of them, when the temperatures
    get below freezing outdoors for long periods of
    time.

    After having been through it, here is what you have
    to look out for when growing Avocados outdoors
    in a cooler than they are used to climate. If your
    plants get too cold for too long they will not set
    out much new growth and it will be late in the
    growing season if they do send out some new
    shoots. With little to rather limited new growth
    you will not get flower formation and with no
    flowers means you will get no fruit. We can get
    Avocado trees to survive in cooler areas but no
    one really wants to talk about the lack of fruit
    production year in and year out because of the
    cold. Even greenhouse growing these plants on
    will require some warmness and sustained bright
    light otherwise these plants may not ever flower.
    I've seen people grow grafted Avocados plants
    started from seed as house plants but it is a rare
    day indeed for them to see their plants flower
    when they are continually grown indoors.

    A well lighted and warm greenhouse whereby you
    can trap lots of humidity inside, almost to the point
    where the tarp or covering sweats would be more
    ideal for growing Avocados indoors in a risky area.
    Another thing to point out is that yes, a planted
    Mexicola tree that has been in the ground for a while
    can handle temperatures down to 18 degrees but the
    fruit of this tree will not tolerate cool weather very
    well at all. The fruit after a light frost will become
    rather mushy to the touch and the flesh will quickly
    turn a brownish black color, the same color as if the
    fruit had been bruised and will be useless to you.
    I prefer the Fuerte just for this reason as I wanted
    to have a firm Avocado upon ripening. The quicker
    a "soft" Avocado ripens the quicker the "meat" will
    start to deteriorate.

    I wrote the above several days ago while I waited
    to see where this thread was leading to. I suggest
    the nursery make a preorder and have the plants to
    come in already certified as to bring them across
    the border will not be a walk in the park if they have
    not already been "phytoed".

    Jim
     
  12. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Well the local garden centre wasn't able to help me out. As a matter of fact I think I exhausted all possibilities of obtaining one here in the Vancouver area. I did something
    I have never done is buy one through the internet from Cliftons in California. They got
    the phytosanitary certificate for me and shipped the plants. Based on MR.Shep advise
    I purchased a Mexicola grande -9c and a Stewart mexicola -11c (I think that may be a bit optimistic) I plan to pick up the plants tomorrow from a delivery depot in Pt Roberts
    WA. I will advise the forum as things progress. (I cant wait to get them in hand!!!)
    Thanks Jim for your advise.
    Greg
     
  13. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Its been 7 months since started this thread. I now have my avocados. They are probably the only 'cado' trees in Greater Vancouver. I will keep this forum/ thread up to date on my experiences as things go along. One will be planted in a pot for the first year or so the other will go in the ground in about a month.
    gregn
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    There is no "Seattle Botanical Garden", by the way, if anyone could come up with where this is supposed to be I could actually track the avocado tree down. The Center for Urban Horticulture did name its combined plantings (arboretum and CUH grounds) Botanical Gardens recently so I suppose this is what is being referred to.

    Otherwise, avocados, including Mexican do not have a prayer of growing outdoors yearround in North Vancouver so I would be sure to keep yours in tubs and overwinter under cover or you will have gone through all that trouble for nothing. Those favored hypermaritime neighborhoods on Vancouver Island and vicinity where hard frosts are infrequent might have some scope for keeping the hardiest cultivars going outside for some years. Supposedly an avocado was fruited outside in the mild Ballard neighborhood of Seattle some decades ago (personal recollection of family friend, who mentioned picking and eating fruit from the tree) but I have never seen a single specimen here myself. And I have spent many hours walking Seattle neighborhoods and looking at trees and gardens there.

    The farthest north outdoor avocado I have seen personally was a small, new one in a trailer park in Brookings, Oregon--Sunset 17 (USDA 9, I think)--same Zone as San Francisco.
     
  15. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Ron B,they ARE grown near Victoria (Sidney) zone 8. I have spoke to the grower he has not had any problems with overwintering. I think site selection will be the Key.

    I the info about the "Seattle Botanical..." was in another forum I read last summer.
    I could not confirm that information. It could be Bellview botanical OR the Gardens
    @ U of W Botanical or some other "botanical" in the Seattle area ???

    My trees will be protected over the winter. From my limited experience, gardening is not an exact science. I could not find anybody who has TRIED to grow a avocados here in the Vancouver area other than by a seed from a store bought avocado. That was the purpose of this thread. No nays or yays. It doesnt sound like you have tried either. Have you? That being said, I do enjoy your input!.
    Regards,gregn
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I think Mr Shep has covered it. Many plants have a minimum temperature they will tolerate for brief periods in warm climates where most of the time it is not that cold and it returns to warmth right after the cold snap. The soil there does not cool down like it does here in the north. This is a critical difference.

    Because you personally don't know of anyone trying them there now doesn't mean that someone isn't, or hasn't tried them many times in the past. To look at the existing collections in the Washington Park Arboretum one might not guess that certain plants had been tried there perhaps multiple times in the past and been lost. You have to go to the office and look at their files to find this out.

    WSU Mount Vernon had a plastic tunnel setup for awhile demonstrating comparatively easy overwintering of subtropical fruits in this region. Mostly it was citrus but I think they also had avocados and other obvious candidates. All were in containers.
     
  17. Grow

    Grow Member

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    Hi, I am wondering about growing the Mexicola variety of avacado here in Gibsons, and would like to know how Greg (?) in North Vancouver has made out with his there.
    I have looked into getting them here, and also find that the only source seems to be Clifton's nursury. But I don't want to spend a large amount of money and lose it the first winter. In our garden we are growing, Musa basjoo, Phoenix canariensis, guava, loquat, T. Fortunei, Med. fan palm, etc.
     
  18. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Grow so far so good! They are in the middle of flowering now. As mentioned earlier
    I have 1 Mexicola grande and 1 Stuart. They were grown by LaVerne nurseries
    in California. I havent gone through a winter with them. I was planning to plant the mexicola grande this spring up against a fence in full sun however i got delayed.
    at this point i may keep both in pots till next spring. Its alot of money. send me a private message on importing. UBC has the same 2 varieties as i do - i believe theirs are in the ground. They a VERY temprmental to transplanting and a extremly well draining
    site is important plus winter protection from rain and cold is reccomended.
    Greg
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2006
  19. Grow

    Grow Member

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    Greg,

    I'm new to this, so I don't know how to do a private reply, or even if it is possible. If it is, please contact me. Thanks.
     
  20. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Grow - I've bumped you to the level where you can now use private messaging. To send one to Gregn, click on his name and a dropdown menu will appear. Select "Send a Private Message" and the rest should be straightforward.
     
  21. leapfrog

    leapfrog Active Member 10 Years

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    Bang on, Ron B.

    This is where those of us who are trying to grow exotic plants in a marginal climate will encounter a fatal flaw. This is where the USDA hardiness zone system tells less than half the story and gives the wrong impression.

    My back garden dooryard area is technically in Zone 9. I'm 50 yards from the Pacific Ocean with a south west exposure, protected from the wind. So this is equivalent to north and central Florida if you look at the min. temperature USDA climate zone maps.

    My minimum temperature over last winter was minus 1.1 C (30 F), but the lowest temperature over the ten years I've lived here has been in the mid 20's F. However (and this is a huge "however"), in Florida when it gows to 25 F it is for a few hours overnight, and it's usually back up well above freezing during the next day. Here when we get a cold spell, while a rare occurance, it will stay at 25 - 30 degreees F for several days, sometimes a full week. This is because we're so far north (48 degrees 28 minutes N. in my case). Winter nights are long and day time heating in the coldest months is virtually non existant.

    When the plant sellers say "good to 18 F" etc., they mean for a few short hours, not for a whole week.

    Greg, for those cold spells in mid winter I'd use a cover and a heat source (Xmas lights), if I were you, if you want your 18 degree F avacado to survive.
     
  22. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    To all those interested, My avocados WILL protected. It is obvious that this is pushing the limits. (I would hope that anyone who has actually tried these hardiest cultivars could add some input) It will be more of a challenge to get fruit. A problem i see is the huge amounts of rain we get and avoiding root rot. According to The only other grower of Avocados (Persea americanna) in the PNW,95% to 98% of the time our temperatures will be OK for my chosen varieties. That leaves me protecting the Cados' over winter. OH well. I have other varieties of 'tender' plants that get protected to varius degrees too. This is not an exact science. Untill the glass is empty, it will remain 1/2 full !!!. This is a fun experiment and looking forward see how it turns out.
    By the way,
    Has any one ever tried grafting of avocados onto other, hardier rootstocks of the Laurel family ??? (perhaps those varieties that thrive in the PNW)....
    Greg
     
  23. Dunc

    Dunc Active Member

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    Greg, just a side note on winter protection. Rope lights are LEDs and have no heat at all, so they may illuminate your winter protection but offer no warmth.
     
  24. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Growing Avocados in a cooler climate will tax
    our patience as a few of the growing variables
    has a risk. Do we put these in the ground now,
    where can we put them to give them the most
    sun, do we amend the soil at planting to help
    for cold protection, will the trees have adequate
    drainage, how cold will it be for how long and
    what do we do about it, what will lots of rain
    do to the leaves and what leaf diseases will we
    have to fight off? How do we get these plants
    to flower and how do we protect the fruit when
    the fruit may want to come off the tree later
    than we want it to?

    I still think a portable plant is the best option,
    let it grow outdoors when the cold and much of
    the rain has passed and then bring these into an
    atrium, a greenhouse, a hot house or a protected
    area later. It is the one cold snap that we do not
    protect for is the one that will eat us alive while
    these trees are in the ground for the first three
    years to five years. Then, after this probationary
    period of adaptation is over with we will have
    some resilience built into these trees and then
    they will show less and less branch, twig and
    leaf damage from the low to mid portions of
    the tree. We expect the unprotected top and
    sometimes even the protected top growth to
    suffer some with cold but what matters most
    is when these tree bounce back and start to
    produce new growth. That will take longer
    when grown in a cooler climate. Once we get
    some new growth we will get some flowering
    to follow in about the second flush of newest
    growth here.

    For the first three to five years in the ground
    protecting the root system from the cold will
    be more important than protecting the top.
    Christmas lights work well here for Citrus but
    the Avocados have a little more sensitive leaf,
    not as thick a cuticle and the lights placed right
    on a leaf might burn it or even cause heat damage.
    Besides, these Avocados at a young age do not
    have the canopy or the density of growth that
    most Citrus will have at the same age, so running
    a strand of lights on a young Avocado tree might
    be a little tricky. I've found an old blanket and a
    clear tarp has worked for me but we have to be
    mindful to take the clear plastic tarp off the tree
    even when a cool sun is out. My first priority is
    protecting the root system for the onset of cold,
    more so than protecting the top of the tree in the
    trees early years for us.

    Two added notes: I've mentioned this before but
    I go by the Western Garden Book zone designations
    as they take in consideration more microclimates.
    The one thing that we do not take into consideration
    enough is the number of frost free days in a growing
    season, also known as the length of growing season.
    For Avocados in Canada the length of the growing
    season alone will tell us enough to know how much
    of a risk it will be to put these trees into the ground.
    I'd wait for a few years and let these trees get some
    size by growing them in ample sized containers as
    we want root growth and formation before we get
    lots of top growth. Once we have a root system we
    will get adequate top growth later on these plants.

    I remember Avocados being budded much more
    so than they were grafted. The grafting of Avocados
    is still relatively new so I am not sure there has been
    any real attempts to graft an Avocado scion onto another
    plants rootstock. I'll check to see sometime but I do
    not expect to see any real promising results yet if there
    has been any real studies done on them. I do know in
    the last 15 years or so that more emphasis has been
    placed on selected frost tolerant rootstocks but as was
    pointed out already, Avocados are not freeze tolerant
    yet!

    Jim
     
  25. Grow

    Grow Member

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    Hi Everybody,

    I think that all the cautionary input is very valid, and it is good to have this helpful information, thanks. I know that in our garden in Gibsons, we are definitely pushing the limits on some of our plants, but without experimentation, we would have the same boring old garden that so many others have, and that is definitely not for me. I would rather experiment and lose some plants, (and we have lost valuable plants in the past), to be able to find out just what we can grow here. Local soil conditions, microclimates, even within the individual garden itself, and the gardener's own practices are extremely important, and make a remarkeble difference in spelling failure or success. Another friend, (who used to live in Calif. and Or.) and I, are going to try growing the Stewart Mexicola, Mexicola Grande, and possibly the Little Cado, (as a protected container tree). The advice about getting these babys past their first few years is most important. Once a tree is mature and well established, I think it will have a good chance of success, the trick will be getting past those first 3-5 years.

    Another factor is that there seems to variability from plant to plant of the same type. Just as with people, some pull through, and some don't. Given Darwinian theory, that makes sense. We have two Cordyline Australis separated by 8'. In the nasty winter of about 4 years ago when we had -12c, one was quite badly damaged, and the other showed absolutely no damage what so ever, although it did not flower the following summer. It is now a multi-trunked specimen about 15' tall with about a 10" dia. trunk at the base, with wonderful flowers every summer.

    I've examined the weather charts for Kelseyville Calif., where my friend told me there was a huge old Mexicola tree. The big difference wasn't so much temperature, but rain. Here, we get at least three times as much, so, protecting the avocados from all that rain is going to be most important. But I'm going to try it anyway!
     

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