Avocado trees zone 9b

Last year I bought a Gem and Pinkerton in 5g and put them into a tall 15g. Both held flowers all winter. The other day I took off their covers and the Pinkerton lost a bunch of leaves it was very thirsty from being covered. Hopefully will recover.
Here’s the poor little Pinkerton after this winter.

Here’s the Gem which did great.

Now I’m getting ready to put in ground. 1.5 yards of 70/30 very sandy loamy top soil/compost and a half yard of naturalite(5/16 pumice). $180 for the 2 yards delivered.

Will mulch heavy with leaves and chinese elm leaves next fall.
I’ll update progress here good or bad. Any pointers always welcomed.

My only input is make sure to put some white tree paint on all exposed bark, young avocados are super prone to sunburn. But sounds like you’ve got a good plan

1 Like

Thanks. And yes that’s a good one I need to grab some white latex. I coated them last summer with the brand Go Natural it’s a brown color paint but i don’t care for it and it fools you into seeing lignified wood when it’s not. Plus I think the white works better just being more reflective.

1 Like

I used IV organics but a year too late as I didn’t expect the NC sun to damage them, also it was my first experience with avocados and I didn’t expect them to be so fragile. Now I’ve more or less figured them out, drown them and paint them and they are pretty ok. Wind broke a bunch of branches the first year too during a hurricane or tropical storm

1 Like

Based on advice I’ve heard or read of from growers MUCH more experienced than me, I would not let your avo fruit right now. Idk if you need to do anything yet but once it’s in the ground, see how many fruitlets actually remain beyond the penny sized stage and then manually remove those. You can also look at pinching tips of specific branches to encourage branching. I put a Hass into the ground in Sept 2022 and it was about 4 ft tall and not too bushy. It took well (fingers crossed that continues) and then started setting a LOT of flowers and wanted to keep about 10 fruit. I snipped 100% of the fruit off that first year (2023) and let it focus on getting bigger and stronger. It’s WAY more impressive looking right now - about 6-7 ft tall, and about 4-5 ft wide with a good canopy and good branching. I will probably let it set some fruit this year for harvest in 2025.

If you haven’t found this already, check out Greg Alder’s Yard Posts. He is based in Ramona and has EXTENSIVE experience growing Avocados and other fruit and veg in general. Have learned a lot from his blog.

1 Like

If you’re in 9B and actually get 25F you will likely get a lot of damage to both of these.

1 Like

Excellent thanks! Yeah I been watching Greg for a while and love his videos and reviews. And I agree to pull off the fruits. I have a little Fig tree I let fruit and it didn’t grow hardly at all. Will definitely pluck off any fruits for the first couple years at least on these avocados.

1 Like

This year it didn’t get under the 30’s yet but last few years I was caught and lost many peppers and tomato starts. I will try to keep the avocado trees protected in the winter and in summer I shade them if it’s over 95°f. I also mist them on very hot days they seem to like that. I’ll do that for a few years until they get established. I have a neighbor that has a 25’ avo down the road and it does very good with the hot and cold but it only produces a few every other year. He won’t listen to me about grafting some other types on there. Sad because it’s a huge trunk and could be golden. Some other neighbors have them but they struggle because they don’t mulch and planted in heavy clay directly, don’t shade their tender trees either so they scorch.

1 Like

I’m also in zone 9b (in northern California) and start growing avocado recently. Last year I bought 4 young avocado trees in 5-gallon pot and planted them in ground immediately. So far, all of 4 young tree survived their first year. I also follow Greg Alder’s post and youtube to learn from him. :slight_smile: My hass, fuerte, pinkerton tree size almost got doubled last year except my reed avocado tree struggled and didn’t grow much. My lesson is always giving young avocado tree enough water especially in hot summer day. I watered them 2 times each week and put additional watering + water on leave to cool down when temperature in 100+. I think my reed avocado got burnt and struggles because I didn’t water enough that tree in hot temperature. Compared to heat, to me winter cold should not be a serious issue in my 9b zone. My young trees got very minor cold damage this winter. Here is my hass with very minor tip cold damage.

No cold damage for pinkerton tree. Its size is more than doubled in last year


@Plants if you don’t get below 30F again, which is possible with our changing climate, then you’ve moved up to 10a which is a great place to grow avocados!
I’ve been at my place 8 years, the low is usually 32F - this year the low was 38F so far, threatening 37F in a week. Really hard to tell what’s coming next year.


Sandy loam is great, mix in peat moss if the drainage is too fast. Best mulch is coarse wood chips of any type


Hey Qing welcome to the forum. And great advice I will take for the water. Look at my poor Pinkerton from lack of water. Hope she springs back when I place it the raised mound. Was very healthy all summer. Your avocado trees are very beautiful and happy looking. I really want a Reed too and everyone told me I must get one but I’m short on space.

Great advice. And for the new zone they said we stayed 9b but if it doesn’t get below 30 I’m not going to complain for my avocados sake. Heck I’d probably plant some bananas too :blush: I have a large bags of Peat Moss on standby that I’ll mix in each bed.

1 Like

So the beds are done. I used 2x12”(90”x45”)on one and some pretty nice corrugated metal (66”x48”)a friend had handy.

Not sure about the mix I got. I called and asked what kind(size) of sand they add and he said they get it like that. Something I should have known to ask before hand. It’s called 70/30 mix sandy loamy mixed with compost. In 1.5 cubic yards I had them add a half yard of 5/16” pumice.

It seems so sandy and loose but when I wet it it clumps into kind of mud and doesn’t drain super fast but more than a few inches per hour. I have large bags of Peat Moss but I’m reluctant to add them. We’re getting a good rain for a few days so I’ll see how the soil does and how it compacts. It is light and fluffy when it’s dry.

I had a good plan but wasn’t anticipating the Pinkerton to grow such heavy roots so fast. I ended up cutting off the bottoms and sides of each nursery pot. I couldn’t even look at the roots without them falling apart so I had to just plant it high without spreading the roots horizontally like I wanted to. Now I’ll have to make her raised bed even higher but just around the berm.
The Gem is looking a little rough but better than the Pinkerton but they made it through the first winter. I should have fed them and watered better under their covers.

Today I put them in their beds and sprinkled not a lot of bloodmeal, Epsom salt and some organic espoma avocado fertilizer inside each berm and around their trunks since they’re probably starving. I’m hoping they spring back and stay alive.

1 Like

So the weather is 80f today so I got the trees mulched. Shredded very fragrant Cedar to keep the ants at bay. They love this sandy loamy soil.

The Gem is looking good and starting to put new growth which makes me happy.

The Pinkerton isn’t doing much other than being loaded with flowers no new growth so I’m worried. Besides throwing a lot of worms and some bloodmeal on them recently today I broke down and few it a little all purpose expert at 1teaspoon per 3/4gallon water. I really hope the Pinkerton pulls through.



1 Like