Hot dry conditions highlighted the 2020 avocado summer. And they were conditions we probably haven’t seen for some time. It’s bought a sense of reality to that of living in an ideal location and being an orchardist – hot summers, long evenings and great beach locations, but we still need water to grow our fruit.
Now that summer has ended it’s another opportunity to take stock of your orchard. Assess the trees and start planning the winter programme. As I write this I’m still waiting for a significant rain. While I want water I also don’t want to hold up our next programme.
That programme includes a big prune and injecting with a 15 per cent solution of HiPK and Avojects. We have many tree carrying too much crop and with the dry we haven’t grown the flush required to fruit next year. If I don’t take some crop-load off and have a high nutritional programme, I won’t grow fruit and flush.
Research indicates the autumn flush is a poor producer of fruit and flowers, so any flush we grow now will be about protecting the crop from sunburn and damage in the growing fruit. Damage that occurs quite often in the November-December period.
I’m also a believer that you need leaf on the fruiting branches. If you want to grow fruit you should remove overloaded branches to grow leaf and promote vigour.
Don’t be scared to prune to promote vigour. Vigour can be slow in arriving, it comes from the tree being in a great growing condition and is a bit like a head of steam. It builds steadily and lowly and then is full steam ahead.
Vigour in heavy cropping trees is hard to stimulate. This respiratory vigour helps fruit and leaf growth. It is vigour that promotes flowering fruit retention and we believe aids crop-loads.
Therefore, one key job after the rain is to get a soil and leaf test and compare results to previous years. There’s plenty of information available on nutrition levels, however we do need a nutrient budget for our local area. This is presently one of our biggest weakness in the sustainability pathway.
So summers gone, autumn and winter are on their way. All the best with getting those jobs done early.