The Hass Avocado
The Hass avocado is the most popular variety in the world, it originated in La Habra Heights in California in the 1920s and it was patented by Rudolph Hass in 1935, the trees are upright with high vigor which indicates that they will grow tall and require pruning.
The Hass avocado leaves do not produce aniseed smell when crushed; neither do new shoots produce red flecking on wood. The fruits are oval and medium shaped, the flesh recovery stands at 70%. The fruit skin changes color from green to purplish-black when mature and black when ripe, mature fruits weigh between 180 to 350 g. The hass avocado’s maturity is mid-season to late season, it also has one of the longest harvesting seasons and an outstanding shelf-life and good shipping characteristics.
Optimal Ecological Requirement
|Altitude||Altitude range between 1200-2500 meters above the sea|
|Rainfall||Well distributed rainfall range of not less than 1000mm|
|Growing Temperature||Optimum growing temperature range of 20℃ to 25℃|
|Soil||Deep, well drained fertile sandy or alluvial loam soil with pH ranging from 5.5-6.5|
Trees should be planted at the beginning of the seasonal rainfall and as soon as the rain has deeply penetrated the ground. Trees planted at this time of the year have a full growing period ahead to establish themselves before the next dry season.
Site selection and Ploughing
In selecting planting site, a well-drained site is given top priority since avocado is highly affected by water logging and phytophthora root rot disease. Ensure there are no clay layers within a depth of 2ft. Hollowing is avoided where water accumulates even for short period, soil should be ploughed sufficiently to eliminate debris and clods, plough to a fine tilth. Avoid field operations when it is wet to avoid soil compaction and hard pans which affect proper root development. Soil analysis should be done at least 6 months before planting, to allow time for required fertilizers be applied and soil be conditioned ready for planting.
Planting and bringing the tree to bearing
The following aspects need to be considered when planting a new orchard
- Soil type
- Availability of irrigation water
- Management skills
- Cultivar to be planted
Spacing of Hass avocado can vary from 5m by 5m to 9m by 5m. To facilitate movement of orchard equipment between the trees for spraying and harvesting, a rectangular system should be applied.
The tree rows should be planted as close as possible in an east-west direction for maximum sunlight on both sides of the trees. The tree drip area should be kept clean of any growing crop but should be mulched.
Ensure that at the time of planting the soil is clean of weeds in the planting rows, the irrigation has been installed and is in a working condition and enough stakes are available for supporting the trees directly after planting.
Trees are kept upright and out of direct sunlight until they are physically planted. Planting holes can be dug with a hoe and spade and needs to be 2ft by 2ft by 2ft.
Bag is carefully cut open along one side without disturbing the root system. Loose soil is piled into planting hole so that the soil level of the avocado tree will be 1/3 above the ground. The tree is then kept upright and the hole is filled with soil and firmly pressed down, fill to the soil level of the planting bag.
Mulching is done around the tree to prevent drying out of the soil and keep the root system cool and active.
Supporting should be done using 1.8 to 2.0m treated poles/bamboo sticks, planted +/- 50mm away from the main stem of the tree. Fastening the trees against the pole should not be too tightly done rather loosely. Care should be taken to ensure the stake is not placed within the root zone.
Avocados have large soft leaved and evaporate a lot of water in warm weather, so they need regular watering in case of insufficient rainfall especially during flowering and fruit setting. The amount of water required for an avocado plant in a week is about 70 Litres on average.
When to irrigate
When signs of stress from lack of water begin to show, it’s the most efficient way to water. The following signs are indication of water stress;
- Footprints or tire tracks that remain in the grass long after being made.
- Many leaf blades folded in half.
- If a soil sample sought from a profile 1-2 ft. deep is not pliable and shreds into soil droplets upon dropping to the ground.
- Premature fruit drop and /or flaccid fruits on trees.
Rate of evaporation and the soil moisture content can also be used to know when irrigation should be done. In this case, moisture indicators known as irrometers are used to measure the soil moisture content. They should be placed at a distance of 30cm (12 inches) and 60cm (24 inches) from the top soil, since that is the root zone for an avocado plant.
Efficiency of water application
- Efficient watering does not saturate the soil and does not allow water to run off.
- Extremes in watering frequency and amount should be avoided since they lead to water runs off and wastage.
- Light frequency on the other hand, is inefficient and encourages shallow/restricted root systems.
- 2-3 irrigation rounds per week in the peak irrigation periods is typically ideal. In case of rainfall, irrigation should be suspended depending on rainfall amounts.
Timing of irrigation
The best time to irrigate is in the early morning hours and/or late evening to avoid water wastage through evaporation if done during the day.
Avocados require 8000-9000m3 per Ha for the whole year including rain water supply. The moisture requirement varies in amount depending on the prevailing physiological stage. These stages include; flowering, fruit set, fruit drop, fruit sizing and fruit quality.
You got to love this,
This coming rainy season, OxfarmAg Limited is rolling out a hass avocado package plan amounting to Kshs.40,500 where we targeting 99 Farmers for 99 Acres with 99 FREE Beehives.
What is in the package? (40,500/- per Acre)
Our package comes with;
- 150 certified Hass avocado seedlings
- Agronomist support.
- Soil treatment using the organic manure for the 150 seedlings
- Labor (digging holes and planting)
- Free consultation
- Free Beehive per acre
- Market connection
- Transport (20/- per Km to & from any of our nearest branch)
- Agronomist farm pre-visit expense (allowance + transport)
- Soil Test (2,800 per sample)
Kenya is ranked 8th producer of Hass avocado globally with the production and ability to export 30 tonnes to Canada, Europe, UAE and China. With the rising demand Kenyan farmers are looking forward to expand their export market to South Korea, which is highly ranked in regards to the consumption of the fruit. In the export market each fruit retails between Kshs.10-20 but still not possible to satisfy the incoming demand.