Growing avocados in zone 8 Canada

Welcome to the forum, George! That’s a pretty impressive claim. Was that without any protection at all? I’d love to see what the base of the tree looks like, since my plants that survived even much milder temperatures are all regrowing from near ground level or even below, so you can see the dead stalk next to the new growth, like this:

Out of ~30 outside, it seems like I’ve got about 13 survivors, with only 8-9 of those growing vigorously. None of them had their stems survive more than a few inches above ground level. The Hass seedlings died entirely, the Mexican-race seedlings survived at around 50% rate. Only 1 out of 3 Lula (West Indies avocado) seedling rootstocks survived, and those were all about 4 years old. The survivor lost its graft, though.

Would love to get my hands on some Duke scions sometime. Have you read this blog regarding Avocado bloom time in colder climates?

It’s got me convinced that the Reed and Carmen Hass will be the best for our climate for fruit production. However these trees would certainly need frost protection as we do for citrus.

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Carmen and Reed chip buds on the rise.

I’m not sure those would make it up this way (even with significant protection), but I look forward to updates on your attempts! I have seen that post and also a couple of good ones from the Western Australia ministry of agriculture, which have more detail on changes in flowering in cold climates. My takeaway was to disregard the A/B dichotomy entirely and instead focus on the cold hardiness of each cultivar. I’m also only growing var. drymifolia cultivars, or at least hybrids that show drymifolia traits, so that eliminates most of the commercially available trees. I’m not even going to attempt anything like Reed or Carmen Hass unless I have such unexpected success with the drymifolia trees that it seems worthwhile.

I’m not set up for phytosanitary certification, so can’t send to Canada (assuming that’s where you are), but feel free to reach out if you’re ever going to be in the Seattle area and want to pick up some scions in person.

Hi Jane. I’m new to avocado growing in BC but was inspired by videos of your growing on Saltspring. I’ve built a geothermal greenhouse and am looking to grow an avocado tree, but am limited with space (8-10’ tall). Do you know of a dwarf variety supplier that would ship to BC?

1 Like is out in BC and has avocados.

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You don’t need a dwarf variety, you just need to prune aggressively. Avocados like to get bushy if you cut them back, so once your tree is starting to get a little tall, cut it back in early summer so you get good regrowth later in the summer. That bushy new growth will go dormant in fall and should produce fruiting buds the next spring.

And welcome to the forum, @climber!

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole trying to find good guidance on aggressive pruning for avocados, and this excerpt from a 2020 UC-ANR report on high-density avocado groves has some pretty good advice, which is to prune aggressively once per year:

Their “after harvest” advice is for Hass, so it won’t be as applicable for Mexican types, which will usually ripen in fall/winter. I think pruning after fruit set is clear in early summer is better in this case, but I might be wrong.

Here’s the full report, which is otherwise pretty inapplicable to greenhouse growing:

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