Monday, December 3, 2012

Growing Mexicola Avocados

THE MEXICOLA AVOCADO


 


     Growing avocados can be rewarding and cost effective, especially when you see the price of avocados in the grocery store these days.  You must, however, pay attention to the type of avocado tree you purchase depending on the area of the country in which you live.  The following advice is based on a California Bay Area climate, meaning hot summers and freezing winters without snow.  Avocados are a tropical fruit so if you do not live in a tropical climate, it can be challenging to keep an avocado tree alive through winter.  Enter the Mexicola avocado tree.
             
(right, small Mexicola avocados ready for guacamole)

      All avocado trees need a year or two post-purchase in order to mature into a fruit producing tree.  After a year or so of caring for your young, fruitless tree it will begin to produce flowers.  The following year, a young tree will then produce its first fruit.  Usually, this first fruit will only just begin to grow and then die off.  Don't be discouraged.  This is just your tree's trial run at making fruit.  The following year, your tree will produce plenty of avocados.  Mexicola trees are high-producing with hundreds of small avocados on one mature tree alone.  The Mexicola Grande tree does not produce as much fruit as the Mexicola, but its fruit is much larger so you get more meat per fruit.

(left, Mexicola Grande tree late fall)

     For whatever reason, there is a lack of information on the web regarding the Mexicola, which I hope to correct with this post.  The Mexicola, and its larger variation the Mexicola Grande, is a great option for those of us that live in a climate that is warm in the summer, yet cold in the winter.  Mexicola trees can handle weather down to 17 degrees Fahrenheit.  They produce small, yet delicious fruit and are one of the only variations with edible skin.  The Mexicola's skin is very thin and hard to peel away from the fruit.  The Mexicola also has a large pit so it takes several avocados to get a good amount of guacamole.  When the fruit is ripe the avocado turns a purple/black color and does not like to stay on the tree long after ripening.  Oddly, after picking the avocados they are best when wrinkly, super soft, and almost seem over-ripe.

     Fruit trees are heavy feeders and need proper water and fertilization.  We use Espoma brand citrus and avocado organic fertilizer every October, February, and June (pictured right).  This can be purchased at any Home Depot, Lowe's, or your local nursery.  We also believe that consistent watering is a key to avocado success.  Make sure to water your avocados at least every other day, but do not flood the base of your avocado tree.  This will drown the tree and stunt its growth.  I say this, however, with caution as your avocado tree will need a lot of water.

     In addition, many people tend to get prune-happy and over prune their tree.  Remember, an avocado tree needs its upper and lower leaves to protect the trunk from sunburn in the summer and frostburn in the winter.  Therefore, trimming your Mexicola is an art form.  Make sure to get the tree branches off of the ground while at the same time leaving the trunk protected.  I like to wait to prune a tree until after winter so as not to risk exposing a tree's core to freezing.  This may mean it looks a bit messy during the fall, but it will be worth it come spring. 


     Traditionally, a Mexicola tree is harvested September through November, although we find our trees produce well into November and even December.  Wait until the fruit's skin is entirely purple/black before picking.  During this time, you will find your trees produce a constant stream of avocados.  Even though Mexicolas do not need another tree for pollination, I find more success with two or more trees. 


(Above you can see the difference in size between the Mexicola and Mexicola Grande)

     Pest Control Tip:  If you find that rodents, squirrels, birds, racoons, or any other animals are stealing your fruit there is an easy, organic way to protect your trees.  Take a spray bottle and mix a lot of hot sauce with water.  Spray the mixture onto the growing fruit.  It will not taste good to the hungry creatures in your yard.  It may leave a thin, white film on the fruit that simply wipes right off.  Problem solved.







Above, a Mexicola Grande Avocado



21 comments:

  1. mexicola grande, when will it have flower? is it novermber-december? since it is "type a" flower, do i need a "type b" to have a better chance to have fruit?
    i am in atlanta GA, will it survive the cold down to 15F and occasionally down to single digit outside? should i better plant it in a big flower pot?
    i plan to plant in my backyard that has about 6-8 hours of sunlight but quite a bit of water? however, i have slope that is quite dry in the summer and average wet in the winter. would that be ok?

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    1. It will flower in spring or summer and produce fruit Sept-Nov on average. You only need one tree to produce fruit.

      As to the weather--they are said to survive down to 17F. If it gets chillier than that consider buying a big pot (wine barrel) and bringing it either inside or in a garage during the freezing months when young. Once it gets big enough, you will need to plant it, so you can try to cover it with frost protection fabric.

      The amount of sunlight in your yard seems ideal and it is good that there is a lot of water. Don't plant in the dry area, you will scramble to keep enough water around for the tree.

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  2. I grow this Mexicola Grande Avacado it is about 16 ounces anaa very good fruit Ed Musgrave eamusg@gmail.com In Brandon FL

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  3. I grow Mexicola Grande Avocados They are a very good Fruit I live in Brandon FL

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  4. I am looking to get started growing these up in Sonoma! The only problem is, I can't find any trees! Do you think I could get some pits from you when they are back in season? My email is regardennation@gmail.com

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  5. I sent my comment to your gmail account flgarden Brandon Fl 33510 zone 9b

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  6. I've had a tree in my yard for the last 5-6 years, and I can't figure out how to get it to produce fruit. I see it have a bunch of little buds on it that look like it could potentially be fruit, but it hasn't produced anything since owning it. What am I missing on this??

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    1. we were having the same problem, it did take a few yrs for our tree to produce, but I discovered that I wasn't watering it enough! like he said, every other day for at least 20 min., not flooding it.

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  7. do you know what other kind of avocado tree would go best with the grande? I'd like one that fruited on the off season to the grande. I live in the central valley here in CA. Thank you so much for this post, I've had a hard time finding info on this tree!

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  8. Mexicola Grande doesn't need a pollinator. I have a 20 year old tree (had to special order it from S. CA) that produces a couple hundred pounds of avocados every fall. If its going to be really cold, I wrap the trunk in Christmas tree lights (the real ones). It won't produce until 8-9 years old. I live in zone 8.

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  9. How big does the Mexicola tree get? How tall and wide?

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  10. Thanks for all your info. I appreciate all your wisdom on all of it. Well done and informative!
    I have just purchased a mexicola, am anxious to get it going in the yard.
    3rd time is a charm, tried the Haas variety twice, and they withered and died after daily temps crested over 100 degrees.
    ta ta from Scottsdale, Az. " The West's most western town has gone vertical."

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  11. I also live on Scottsdale and planted my mexicola grande last fall. I was told not to plant before the heat in our climate. I covered it with this garden mesh shade until November when it cooled off. It grew like crazy at first and then stopped over the winter. I was worried it wasn't going to make it but in February it took off! I haven't replaced the shade yet. I did plant it next to a wall so it's in the afternoon shade. I was told that it's that time that the heat can really destroy them. Seems like the leaves stay green as long as in watering it A LOT! I soak it overnight at least once a week and will do more as it heats up. Hope this helps others :)

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  12. Hi, I am from Portugal, but I live in a pretty cold zone (-8ºC minimum in the winter). I would like to try to grow the Mexicola Grande avocado, but I can't find any local source. I would like to ask if, when the season arrives, you can sell me some fruit so that I can grow the tree from seed. I know that they won't be exactly alike, but may be some will retain their frost hardiness and bear good quality fruit.

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  13. How large do the Mexicola avocados grow in comparison to other types? My tree has a lot of fruit this year, however they turn black and fall off. They are only about 2.5 inches or so and not really ripe inside.

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  14. Thank you I bought a Hass and. Mexicola and I was concerned both were type A and they would not pollinate. I assume from this they may pollinate each other?

    - Todd Charske

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  15. I've had a Mexicola tree for about five years (this is in Sacramento, CA). I FINALLY have three fruits! Question-when do I harvest and how long do I have to let it ripen once picked? Gayle, Sactown, CA

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  16. I got some seeds today,will try to grow them in Suriname(Dutch Guyana)

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  17. I got some seeds today,will try to grow them in Suriname(Dutch Guyana)

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  18. I have a Mexicola Grande Avocado tree and bought it from a rare fruit club function probably about 10-12 yrs. ago and it was about 4' tall. After 3-4 years of putting out buds and dropping them I started to get delicious but small fruit. Now they start out small but get quite large (they break gazing balls underneath the tree if they drop on them ... I have since relocated the surviving gazing balls). These do not ripen completely on the tree. Mine fall off once they are about 1/3 to 1/2 "black" and ripen on my kitchen counter in a few days to a week. I put some in the fridge to slow down the ripening process sometimes. My friends are so eager for them to ripen. I live in Sarasota, FL and my tree starts blooming in Feb and by March (esp. this year, 2017, which was a super warm winter) they are FULL of blossoms. The honey bees swarm on this tree and pollinate for me. Some days there are so many you can't hold a conversation near the tree due to their buzzing. They totally ignore you when you are near them fortunately. My fruit start to ripen (smallish size) in May and continue to get larger and continue giving fruit till August. Since I alr. have a one inch fruit in March (very unusual ... warm winter) and so many, many blossoms I think this year will break all previous records for quantity. My friends and neighbors are ecstatic at this news. I have never tried to eat the skin altho' I have seen several articles saying it is edible. I had a pit sprout at the base of my tree but didn't notice it for a year or two (duh) and last year it bloomed and produced very tasty small avocados but it wasn't "true to seed" exactly. These were the same color throughout the growing process but the skin was a tad bumpy rather like a Haas but tasted much like the Mother Tree. I also have had my tree topped out rather dramatically 3 times in the last 6 years and shaped a tad on the sides. It is getting humongous ... but everything grows larger in Florida. My butterfly garden gets a 30 min. shower from an elevated decorative-type sprinkler every morning and the avocado tree gets just a little bit of that on one side. Otherwise I'm not too good about watering or fertilizing but sometimes we get good rain in Sarasota (not this year!). So due to the drought I have watered the opposite side of the tree probably 8 times for 30 minutes during the last 3 months. Many friends have planted pits that I have sprouted in the last 3 years but none have produced fruit yet (some were eaten by deer tho'). Last week I read about Dip 'n Grow and bought some and am trying to clone the Mother Tree so the fruit will be identical. Too soon to tell if they are rooting. But the volunteer tree had mighty tasty fruit, just not identical. I'm not sure why my tree blooms and produces fruit in the Spring while California trees do it in the Fall. I would be interested in hearing from other Florida growers (Brandon is only 1 hr. north of Sarasota) and see when theirs bloom and fruit. BTW, my tree is much taller than what is mentioned as their height. I bet mine is 50' tall right now and I had 20' topped off last year. And ... I have probably only fertilized it twice in all these years. It's just HAPPY and I'm so glad it is!

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