A reader recently asked me how much fruit they should expect from their avocado tree. While I had an idea, I wanted to provide them with the best answer I could. So, I did some research. Here’s what I found.
Avocado trees produce an average of 150 fruits per year. However, they can produce anywhere from 0 to 300 fruit depending on age, climate, soil, water, sunlight, pollination, stress, and variety. Ideally, provide your avocado tree with fertilizer every 3 months to avoid biennial fruiting and to maximize yields.
So, while avocado trees can produce a large range of fruit, what kind of yields can you expect from your avocado tree, and how can we maximize its yields? Let’s take a closer look.
How Many Avocados Does a Tree Produce Yearly?
According to the California Avocado Commission, Hass avocado trees in California produce an average of 150 avocados per year. However, avocado trees that fruit biennially (every other year) can have fruit sets of 200 to 300.
Trees can fruit biennially if they become stressed or overproduce. Generally, fertilizing your avocado tree every 3 months encourages annual fruiting.
To get an even more specific answer, I asked my uncle how many avocados his trees produce in his backyard in Orlando, Florida. Here’s what he said.
I got my Winter Mexican avocado tree for $100 and it was 1 inch thick and 5 feet high. The first year, it had 1 avocado. Second year was around 20. Third year was 80 avocados, and this year (the fourth year) is about 150. I watered it when needed and fed it every 3 months with chicken manure and azomite. The super Hass is following the same path.
So, the consensus is that avocado trees generally produce around 150 fruits per year, but just how many years does it typically take avocados to get these consistent fruit yields?
How Many Years Does It Take For an Avocado Tree To Produce Fruit?
Avocado trees that are grafted generally take 1-3 years to fruit consistently and 5-7 years to reach maximum fruit yields. On the other hand, avocado trees grown from seed can take anywhere from 5-13 years to begin fruiting. Even then, trees grown from seed sometimes have little to no fruit, or inedible fruit.
The reason why grafted trees fruit faster is that they’re a clone of a mature tree and don’t need to age (other than growing roots and a canopy). Trees grown from a seed have new genetics (just like human children) and need to properly age before fruiting.
For example, my uncle’s avocado tree is grafted and took 4 years to reach 150 avocados per year.
While grafted trees make sense for most growers, there are some potential benefits of trees grown from seed such as longer lives, more vigorous growth, and increased hardiness (source).
Tips To Make Avocado Trees Fruit Faster
The biggest factor in getting avocado trees to fruit faster is to buy trees that are grafted. Other than that, here are some tips to make your avocado tree fruit faster:
- Use compost or quality fertilizer
- Provide 4-12 inches of mulch
- Only water when the top 2-4 inches of soil is dry
- Provide it with 6+ hours of daily sun
- Keep it within 65ºF to 75ºF if possible (source)
Mulching and composting are two of the best practices when it comes to caring for your avocado tree.
Mulch provides extra nutrients, reduces evaporation, and regulates soil temperature, while compost provides quality nutrients, increases water retention, and promotes soil richness. For example, every 1% increase in the soil’s richness (organic matter) leads to 20,000 more gallons of water absorbed per acre (source).
When it comes to climate, maintaining temperatures of 65ºF to 75ºF isn’t entirely possible for most growers. Avoiding temperatures below 45ºF and above 100ºF can still go a long way in preventing excess stress for your avocado tree (and therefore faster fruiting).
However, two ways you can influence your avocado tree’s temperature are by growing the tree in a greenhouse or adjusting its microclimate (for example, using a taller tree’s canopy to provide your avocado tree with partial shade from the hot western sun).
For more information about microclimates, check out this video by Gardener Scott:
Tips To Make Avocado Trees Fruit More
The first factor when looking at maximizing the fruit production of avocados is determining the main type of avocado.
Here are the three main types:
- West Indian
If you’re in the US, then it’s usually best to grow Mexican varieties (such as Hass). However, if you’re in the high-altitude areas of Central America, you may be better off with Guatemalan varieties.
|Avocado Main Types||Fruit Size||Preferred Climate|
|West Indian (Persea americana var americana)||Up to 2 lbs||Humid or high altitude tropics|
|Mexican (Persea americana var dymifolia)||6 to 10 ounces||Mediterranean|
|Guatemalan (Persea nubigena var. guatamalensis)||10 ounces to 2 lbs||Humid or high altitude tropics|
After identifying the main type of avocado to grow, consider the specific varieties you’d like to grow.
For example, some of the highest producing Mexican avocado varieties are:
- Hass (about 95% of California-grown avocados)
To get the most avocados, and year-round production, popular avocado grower Greg Alder recommends growing all three varieties together as the Hass fruits in the spring, Reed in the summer, and Fuerte in the winter (source).
Here are some more tips to boost the fruit production of your avocado trees:
- Reduce stress
- Avoid temperatures below 45ºF
- Avoid temperatures above 100ºF
- Provide 6+ hours of sunlight
- Only water when the top 2-4 inches of soil is dry
- Provide mulch for soil temperature regulation
- Avoid fast-release chemical fertilizers
- Increase pollination
- Companion plants
- Plant both type A and type B flowering varieties
Do You Need 2 Avocado Trees To Get Fruit?
There are two types of avocado flowers—type A and B. Even though avocado trees are self-pollinating, they do best if they have another avocado tree next to them of a different type. For example, Hass avocados (type A) have a hard time self-pollinating but do well if a Fuerte (type B) is planted near them.
Avocado flowering patterns fall into two groups: “A” type and “B” type flowers. A-type flowers open female in the morning and male in the afternoon, B-type are male in the morning and female in the afternoon. It is widely accepted that fruit production can be helped with the presence of another avocado variety, but it isn’t always required.California Avocado Commission
To help show the different types of avocado flowers, here’s a table I put together.
|Type A Avocado Trees||Type B Avocado Trees||Both Type Avocado Trees|
|Hass||Fuerte||Wurtz (Little Cado)|
|Stewart||Wilma (Brazos Belle)|
How Far Apart Should You Plant Avocado Trees?
Commercial avocado growers typically space their avocado trees 26 feet apart in rows 13 feet apart. However, if you’re growing avocado trees in your backyard, you can space avocado trees as little as 5-10 feet apart. As long as the avocado trees have enough space for their canopy and root system, they’ll have enough room to grow.