Thursday, February 26, 2009

Avocado Tree from Pit

Kitchen Window Nursery


Meet my kitchen window nursery. I don't know why, but I love to grow things and every end of veggi or snippet of plant ends up either in water or dipped in root growth hormone and planted somewhere. Thus the window nursery, where my little projects can be monitored until they are healthy and strong enough to make it into the garden.

I can not remember where I saw the instructions for this to give full credit, but they were easy to follow and, since I have tried this in the past, I decided to make another little Haas avocado tree.

Avocado Pit


The next time you eat an avocado or use one in a recipe, save the pit. Planting your own avocado tree is fun and easy!.

~ Cut into your carefully so as not to injure the pit located in the
fruit's center. Carefully remove the pit and set it aside. Use the
avocado meat to make guacamole or add it to your salad.
~ Wash the avocado pit to remove all avocado flesh
~ Holding the pit "narrow" (pointed) side up, stick four toothpicks into the middle section of the pit at even intervals, to a depth of about 1/8-inch.
~ In a small, slender container (preferably glass), add water until it reaches the very top rim. Your container's opening should be wide enough to easily accommodate the full width of the avocado.
~ Set your avocado pit (with inserted toothpicks) on the top rim of the container. The toothpicks should sit on the rim of the container, while keeping the pit only half-submerged in the water.
~ Set the avocado-topped container in temperate, undisturbed place--near a window or other well-lit area--to begin the rooting and growth process.
~ Change the water every 1-2 days to ensure that contaminants (i.e. mold, bacteria, fermentation, etc.) do not hinder the avocado sprouting process. Ensure that the base of the avocado always remains moist and submerged in water.
~ Remember: Wait patiently. The avocado takes several weeks to begin to root. Over the next 2-3 weeks, the avocado's brown outer layer will begin to dry out and wrinkle, eventually sloughing off. Soon after, the pit should begin to split open at the top and bottom. After 3-4 weeks,a tap root should begin to emerge at the base of the pit.
~ Continue to water the plant accordingly, being careful not to disturb or injure the tap root. Continue to allow the avocado pit time to establish its roots. Soon, the avocado will sprout at the top, releasing an unfolding leaf-bud that will open and begin to grow a shoot bearing leaves.
~ When the stem grows to five or six inches, carefully cut the leaves off. (Don't worry, more will grow back in a few weeks!) Pruning in this manner will encourage your young tree sprout to thicken, sprout more leaves, and develop a more complex root structure. (For a sturdy,strong base stem, you may prune the avocado stem a second time, but only after a full set of leaves has again grown at the top of the
stem.)
~ When the roots are substantial and the stem top has had a chance tore-grow leaves (after at least one pruning), your baby avocado tree is ready to be planted in soil. ~ Remove the sprouted pit from the water container, and gently remove each of the toothpicks.
~ Use an 8"-10" terra cotta pot filled with enriched soil to 1" below the top. (A 50/50 blend of topsoil and peat moss works best.) Smooth and slightly pack the soil, adding more soil as needed. Once the soil is prepared, dig a narrow hole deep enough to accommodate your avocado's roots and pit.
~ Carefully bury the avocado pit in the soil such that the top-half of pit shows above the surface of the soil. Pack the soil lightly around the pit.
~ Water your plant daily or enough to keep the soil moist. Avoid over-watering to the point that the soil becomes muddy. If the leaves turn brown at the tips, the tree needs more water. If the leaves turn yellow, the tree is getting too much water and needs to be permitted to dry out for a day or two.
~ Continue to tend to your avocado plant regularly, and in a few years you will have an attractive and low-maintenance tree.

~ During the winter or in cold climates, it is best to transfer the baby avocado tree into potting soil in a medium flower pot rather than directly into the ground. Keep the plant in a sunny window and keep the soil moist but don't over-water.
~ As with a number of fruit bearing trees, the avocado tree requires two separate avocado trees to allow cross-pollination and begin to bearfruit. As an option to growing two avocado trees from pits, you can purchase a second "real" (fruit-bearing) avocado tree from your local plant & tree nursery. You might also consider grafting a branch from an existing fruit-bearing tree to your home-grown root stock.

In the rooting processes, the greatest dangers to avoid:

~ Letting the pit's bottom tip dry out will most likely prevent the avocado from sprouting properly, if at all.
~ Not changing or adding water insufficiently to the sprouting avocado pit can allow contaminants to form in the water and/or on the roots. Molds, root rot, fungi, and fermenting water can quickly poison the entire plant. Keep the water fresh and at the proper level.
~ Over-pruning (Too much or Too often) can stunt or stop leaf growth. After the first pruning, cut off only the very end leaf-buds on the stem and/or branches. For tree limbs and main stem trunk, pruning promotes both fuller branches and thicker, stronger leaves.
~ Once planted in a pot or planter, over-watering will quickly begin to turn your plant leafs yellow. Water only as much needed to keep the soil moist. Under-watering will shock your tree, and the leaves will begin to curl back and turn black. If either situation is not corrected promptly, your avocado tree may have a slow or unsuccessful recovery.
~ Cold (below 50-55 Degrees F.)can also shock your avocado plant. Keep your plant away from cold breezes, breezy doorways and cold window panes. If your tree is potted, keep it indoors until the temperature rises. For young, ground-planted avocado trees and most potted avocado trees, cover the plants leaves completely with a blanket or heavy plastic during cold weather, at least until warmer weather prevails. Well established avocado trees can often survive mild frosts and temperatures near freezing. The best bet: Always cover your tree when in doubt.
~ Thin or spindly branches and stems make for a weak plant support foundation. Failure to prune often enough, can create long, winding,weak branches and stems. Pruning allows the tree stem to thicken and grow more rigid.
~ Low lighting and/or improper watering can also create week stems and branches, which ultimately will cause the plant to collapse under its own weight.
~ Until the tree is well-established in a pot, do not plant it directly in the ground. A strong plant root system along with well-loosened ground soil make for a good outdoor planting situation.

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