According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, avocado trees, which belong to the genus Persea americana, originated in the tropical parts of the Americas and may be grown in the plant hardiness zones 9B to 11 of the United States Department of Agriculture. In order to keep your avocado tree healthy and alive throughout the winter, it is essential to provide it with the attention and protection it needs from the cold.
Avocado Tree Temperature Tolerance
It is not recommended to grow avocado trees in regions that often experience freezing temperatures since these plants cannot tolerate the cold. However, there are varieties of avocado trees that can survive brief exposure to freezing temperatures. There are three races: Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian. The West Indian variety cannot withstand the cold as well as the other types. According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, young trees will be able to survive temperatures between 28 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit, while mature trees will be able to tolerate temperatures as low as 25 degrees.
The Mexican avocado tree variants are the most cold-hardy of all avocado tree species, and mature plants can withstand temperatures ranging from 18 to 26 degrees. Young trees can only withstand temperatures between 24 and 26 degrees. Trees native to Guatemala can withstand mild levels of freezing temperatures. Temperatures between 26 and 28 degrees may be tolerated by young trees, whilst temperatures between 24 and 28 degrees can be tolerated by older trees.
When you plant an avocado tree, choose a spot that gets the most sunlight and is the hottest you can find. Steer clear of any locations that might get inundated. During the winter months, you should monitor the weather closely and take preventative measures to save your tree from the low temperatures.
Avocado Frost Protection
In order to get your tree ready for the upcoming frost, you should keep the ground surrounding it clear of grass and weeds and water it the day before the cold weather is predicted to arrive. The weedy or grassy soil will not be as effective at absorbing or reflecting heat as the naked, damp ground would be. When you have finished doing the fundamental safety measures, there are a number of further preventative measures against frost and freezing that you may take for your tree.
You may shield a young tree from the cold by wrapping the trunk of the tree in a blanket or fabric and covering it with the blanket or cloth. Because mature trees may grow to heights of more than 30 to 40 feet, it is possible that this technique will not work for trees of a greater size. Chemical sprays that are specifically formulated to decrease frost are another method that the government of Western Australia advises. If you choose with this choice, be sure to strictly adhere to all of the directions and precautions that are included on the product packaging. According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, another viable approach is to use an orchard heater; however, this may be a pricey endeavour, and the heaters themselves present a danger of starting a fire.
Installing sprinklers in the canopy above the tree to provide it with a steady stream of moist air is yet another viable option. There is a release of heat as a result of the water turning to ice on the tree. When applied to older trees, this technique yields better results. This strategy might also wind up being rather pricey if you consider the cost of water in your region.
Avocado Tree Care After a Freeze
Because the damage caused by a freeze may not be immediately apparent, it is important to continue caring for avocado trees as usual soon after a freeze. It’s possible for the leaves to curl and become brittle, and the branches might seem as if they’ve been drenched in water. It’s possible that the buds and blossoms may turn brown, and the trunks could break. Injured trees will have a reduced need for water, therefore it is important to monitor the level of moisture in the soil and adjust the amount of irrigation as required.
Examine the extent of the damage in the spring, when new growth starts to emerge. Remove any dead branches and train the tree into the desired form. Be careful to clean your pruning equipment in order to avoid an infection from spreading to your tree, which is already in a vulnerable state. The University of Florida IFAS Gardening Solutions suggests that all you have to do to disinfect your equipment is to soak them for half an hour in a solution that consists of one part bleach and nine parts water.
It will also take a few of weeks for any harm to show up on the fruit. The greying of the pulp and the appearance of black veins are both symptoms of cold damage. After a week or two, the fruit will normally fall from the tree, but before you consume, share, or sell your avocados, be sure to inspect them for any signs of damage.