If there is one crop that has suddenly become a craze among farmers across the country, it is the Hass avocado.

From Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Embu to Meru, traditional cash crops are fast being wiped out, with avocado trees taking their space on the farms.

Hass avocado tree’s feeder roots grow in the top 6 inches of soil. The roots grow outward from the tree trunk in all directions, reaching beyond the tree canopy.

Hass Avocado tree roots prefer loose, well-drained soil and can tolerate acid or alkaline conditions. Hass Avocado trees have highly competitive root systems that can choke out nearby plants that vie for water, air and nutrients. The strong, aggressive roots can buckle and break pavement as they grow.

The far-reaching dominant root system means avocado trees should be planted at least 30 feet away from buildings and other trees in landscape environments. Planting too close can lead to poor growth of the hass avocado tree or nearby trees and plants.

Root System Considerations

The shallow nature of the root system makes the hass avocado tree susceptible to damage from flooding and overwatering. If the hass avocado tree roots stay wet, nutrients are lost and growth stunted. In prolonged flooding or saturated soil, the tree dies. Death generally occurs due to fungal pathogens brought on by perpetually wet conditions. Constantly wet soil also can lead to a fungal root or crown infection known as Phytophthora rot, which reduces growth and fruit production. The condition can eventually kill the tree.

Hass Avocado Tree Propagation

Fruit quality and yield vary widely among trees grown from seed and are more consistent from grafted trees. That’s why commercial avocado trees are started by grafting buds of mature trees onto seedlings or rootstock.

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Trees grown from seed normally produce fruit seven to eight years after planting, while grafted trees start bearing fruit in three to five years.

Growing Hass Avocado Trees

Hass Avocado trees produce fruit most abundantly when grown in full sun. While hass avocado trees can’t withstand constantly wet soil, they do require moisture so that the plant’s shallow roots don’t dry out. If you live in an area with abundant rainfall, hass avocado trees may rarely need watering. However, if you live in a dry, arid climate where rainfall can be scarce, such as eastern parts, you will need to water the avocado tree on a regular basis.

Grafted Hass Avocado tree seedlingsΒ  from nurseries should be planted in a hole that is slightly wider than the root ball and covered with loose, loamy soil. Because the root system is sensitive to bumping, breaking and damage, the root ball should be gently lowered into the hole without disturbing the roots.

When planting hass avocado trees, compost mixed into the soil will promote drainage and aeration. Mulch helps the soil stay cool and moist, but the mulch should be kept at least 6 inches away from the trunk.

Hass Avocado trees don’t need much pruning. Prune out dead and crossing branches and otherwise let the tree grow. Overpruning can lead to less fruit production.