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For Tropicals That Don't Like the Soil
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darkcoolboo



Joined: 17 Nov 2014
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:31 pm    Post subject: For Tropicals That Don't Like the Soil Reply with quote

Taking inspiration from a topic on my other favorite forum, tropicalfruitforum, I may have found a solution to our problems in the desert.
The idea stems from http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=12844 , which gives a possible answer to growing avocados easily in the desert - from seed.

The philosophy comes from three main ideas, seeds are naturally selected for certain qualities, grow long taproots which attribute to drought tolerance and become accustomed to our climate.
The avocado, a fruit that is nigh impossible to grow, fruited in a salt clay soil. This would shock the knowledge fruit grower who knows avocados just wither away here. The key is to grow fruits from seed. In fact, all the old producing avocados here have started from seed, like Aravaipa avocado. These avocados simply do better because the seeds that die wouldn't have done well anyway, while the hardier ones survive to adulthood. The guy mentioned the the post above only grew one avocado from one seed, so you can imagine the results if we were to plant out multiple! Another point, a taproot is preferable in this climate (which attributes to mango success) because plants can dig deeper and store more water. If grown in a pot plants' roots are hindered and the taproot is disrupted. In fact, on my usual planting guide on tastylandscape, the author specifically points out the necessity to reduce transplant shock. The way I see it, once a plant is setback from transplant shock, it never truly recovers before it is plunged into a new soil. Soil is the lifeblood of plants and even Datropicalman inoculates his planting holes for a few months before planting (with Island Gem fish fertilizer). With this in mind, growing plants from seed increases the time plants have a symbiotic relationship with beneficial microbes and fungi. When plants are stressed, a strong microbe 'immune system' will allow it to bounce back. In addition, the habitat accustoms to the plant as the plants accustoms to is environment. All the bad stuff in the soil like free calcium would be depleted. The plants is also less likely to get hurt from salt during summer heat because as time progresses, the salt is leached out. Back to the Aravaipa avocado, it is not beneficial to waste time with a grafted plant, because a grafted avocado simply doesn't have the soil immune system despite its genetic tolerance to salt.

Although this works best for plants that fruit quick from seed, it mostly helps in salt tolerance. Humidity is also an issue that would less likely be fixed, but with this kind of mentality, cherimoya becomes possible. Cold tolerance would not be affected because it's more about the chemical composition of the plant. In fact, if it weren't for cold, mango would grow as well as citrus (like lemons) does here. We could certainty try. I intend to practice this technique to plants that have salt intolerance; such plants would include jackfruit (3 yrs to fruit), lychee/longan (4 years to fruit) and mango (7 years to fruit). By the time it's the 2nd year, you can assume that it is adapted. Please, join the seed movement.



Aravaipa Avocado.png
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Aravaipa Avocado. Credit: Shamus O'Leary's Tropical Fruit Trees
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3UwxTzptwQ
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Aravaipa Avocado. Credit: Shamus O'Leary's Tropical Fruit Trees<br />https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3UwxTzptwQ




Last edited by darkcoolboo on Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:16 pm; edited 2 times in total
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raimeiken



Joined: 27 Feb 2012
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great topic. I was actually thinking of doing this myself here in my front yard. I like that one guy's method of digging with a post hole auger and backfilling with the same dirt but of course looser, so that the tap root can easily dig through the hard clay. Then just graft a different type on it later on.

What's a good variety of avocado to try and root here? something cold hardy of course. are there any that are known to have some salt tolerance?
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darkcoolboo



Joined: 17 Nov 2014
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could try one of the more salt tolerant rootstocks of avocado, Duke 7. But the idea is to create a plant that is overall salt tolerant, not just the rootstock. I'm sure you could find some cold tolerant varieties of avocado on the web Smile. I'm probably do a Reed avocado as well. In the fall, I'll request some jackfruit seed from Florida. I'll buy some lychees when they are in season.
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darkcoolboo



Joined: 17 Nov 2014
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you guys have to say about the new avocado, 'Aravaipa" Avocado and other resilient avocados n and around Phoenix? They are grafted, obviously, so the roots are still salt sensitive, while the scion is okay. So far there has been no drawback or noticeable damage, but I'm a bit skeptical.
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starch



Joined: 14 Mar 2015
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are many great avocados that we have as a result of breeding or sometimes just chance seedlings (like the Aravaipa). In fact, I suspect that is how we have discovered most of the cold tolerant avocados: 'Zone Pushers' who live outside of the more common avocado areas who love avocados plant their seeds outside and some small fraction of them turn into viable trees.

For the purposes of this topic, I still think the best approach for us here in the low desert is to plant seeds in our final location, pick the strongest seedling and then obtain scions and graft on to it. I am very interested in these cold hardy avocados (Aravaipa and Joey in particular) and if I had room I would try a couple of these trees. Then you would get the best of all worlds:

- Rootstock grown in final planting location (the benefits listed in the original post)
- Grafted cultivar that is know to take the planting environment in the low desert (heat, salt, etc.)
- cold tolerant
- great flavor (?, I have not tried either the Joey or the Aravaipa put the reviews are good from what I read)

... But my love for the Reed remains unabated. Since I will have room for one avocado, that is the one I am focusing on.
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darkcoolboo



Joined: 17 Nov 2014
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, if your seedling isn't on par with most, then you may graft an 'Aravaipa' onto it. Aravaipa is said to have a nice flavor, but I've never heard of 'Joey' before? At this point, cold tolerance isn't much of an issue, as a wide range of cold tolerances exist. Reed is on the sensitive side though and if it dies back to the graft, graft an Aravaipa instead. What I want to strive for is an entire plant that is resilient; a Arizona roots (Aravaipa) on Californian avocado roots (Hass or cold tolerant seed?) or a California variety (Reed) on Arizona roots (seedling) is a bit iffy. It is not proven that a rootstock 'filters' out the salt that the scion dislikes. A fully seedling (cold tolerant) or a Aravaipa grafted onto seedling roots would be best. If you have connections in the area before Fall or so, you could request some original Aravaipa seeds or other AZ seedlings and bypass the whole 'selecting breeding'. Look around, there are others out there Smile

Starch, I want to remind you that the cold hardiness of Reed is 30F, while we drop down to 26-27F if it isn't a crazy year.
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starch



Joined: 14 Mar 2015
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

darkcoolboo, I hear you, those are all very good points. I don't really disagree.

... but I gotta give a Reed graft on my in-situ seedling stock a shot.

Regarding the cold: For anything that is frost tender (like my bananas) I cover with frost cloth + C9 Christmas lights. I have a USB temp sensor and I have verified that it buys me 8-10 F against ambient. So I can keep stuff above freezing even on a 26 F night like we had this last winter.

I am also planning on keeping any avocado tree I grow to be ~8 ft for easy harvesting, care and freeze protection.

I am more concerned with the salts, but I will just see how that goes.
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starch



Joined: 14 Mar 2015
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also regarding Joey:

Last year I was doing a lot of research into cold hardy avocados. Joey is one of the cold-hardiest there is (supposedly able to take 15 F with no burn). Other cold hardy Texas varieties: Joey, Fantastic, Brazos Belle and Lila. Florida varieties that are cold hardy are: Brogdon and to a lesser extent Monroe.

I love the appeal of a cold-hardy avocado so that I don't have to worry about covering it for those few occasions where it needs it. But if I can get a Reed to do well here and I have to cover it for a few nights in winter, I'll take it.
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darkcoolboo



Joined: 17 Nov 2014
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I admire that Joey has excellent frost tolerance, but Araviapa would do better concerning salt and has just the frost tolerance it needs. I'm looking to make babysteps in the new 'selective breeding' + 'inground roostock ideas and spread avocados for all.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3UwxTzptwQ
Gives a review on Aravaipa, while
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp6xcGLCZVE
offers a possible parent for some seeds of resilient avocado.
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starch



Joined: 14 Mar 2015
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

darkcoolboo wrote:
but Araviapa would do better concerning salt and has just the frost tolerance it needs. I'm looking to make babysteps in the new 'selective breeding' + 'inground roostock ideas and spread avocados for all.


I agree that is a very good goal. In fact this approach will probably yield the best success rate for trying to grow avocados down here.

I have seen both of those videos before. They are great.
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starch



Joined: 14 Mar 2015
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been thinking a lot more about your full-fledged Aravaipa idea - Get an Aravaipa seed, grow it to a roostock size and graft an Aravaipa scion on to it.

The original tree was a chance seedling and the only tree in its vicinity (this needs to be confirmed, but I recall reading this some time ago). Which means that it is self-fertile (some avocados are, such as Reed and Hass to a certain extent, but there are many that won't set fruit unless cross-pollinated). And more importantly, it means that it's offspring will likely have many of the characteristics (such as cold and salt tolerance) as the original Aravaipa since it is the source of the pollen and the ovule.

So here is what I think the advantages of this scenario is:

- Strong taproot and root system because the seed (Aravaipa seedling) grows in the location where the final tree will reside.
- Symbiotic nature with the microbial environment / no transplant shock
- Very likely to have desirable characteristics in the rootstock for cold and salt tolerance
- Grafted tree (Aravaipa) is demonstrably cold and salt tolerant
- Self-fertile
- Good fruit (?, reportedly)

Do you know what season the Aravaipa ripens in? I would definitely like to find out so that we can ask for some fruit to evaluate quality and propose the above scenario.

I really like this idea more and more that I think about it. Like I said above: In fact this approach will probably yield the best success rate for trying to grow avocados down here.

And once we have a good way to reliably grow them here we can share this process with more people in the Valley. This will lead naturally to grafting on of different varieties to see what works (starting with a strong rootstock) and more avocados in an area = more cross-pollination which leads to increased odds of finding favorable offspring for this environment when people start planting seedlings from these trees.

I think this could be a new chapter in the AZ Avocado Revolution Smile AZAR!
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darkcoolboo



Joined: 17 Nov 2014
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure Aravaipa fruits in the fall, but you would have to click around online for sure. I like the idea, but I'm not sure I agree with the name Laughing
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darkcoolboo



Joined: 17 Nov 2014
Posts: 129

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the answer to our problems:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zA7dLD155Q

Aravaipa ON Lula!
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starch



Joined: 14 Mar 2015
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dude, those trees are incredible! Only 5 years old!
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phoenixtropicals
Site Admin


Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 1177
Location: Mesa Arizona

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Don. Are the Aravaipa's that you are selling grafted to Lula?
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