General Question

Dog's avatar

If you grow an avocado tree from seed why does it have to be grafted to produce fruit?

Asked by Dog (25132points) July 31st, 2010 from iPhone

Are there any kind of avocados that will bear fruit from seed without human intervention?

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12 Answers

syz's avatar

Commercial avocado trees are propagated by grafting of budding scions of desirable cultivars onto seedling or grafted rootstocks. Avocados can be grown from seeds, but fruit quality and yield potential will be quite variable. Grafted or budded avocado trees usually produce fruits when three to five years old, while seedlings often require five to seven years.


Apparently, you can, but the results may not be predictable. (Did you know that apple trees grown from seeds are wildly variable and unpredictable? “The Botany of Desire” is one of my favorite books.)

zenele's avatar

“Ungrafted” trees (like those grown inside from seeds) rarely produce fruit. In order to have an avocado tree that produces fruit, one must graft the seedling. Since the process of grafting involves mixing the tissues of the seedling with those of a producing tree, it is often just easier to simply buy a grafted tree from a reputable nursery.

A good site and source

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@syz I loved the PBS special but I didn’t know there was a book. I’ll have to read it – does it go beyond what was said in the show?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Almost all commercial fruit trees have a seed-grown rootstock selected for strength and hardiness, not quality of fruit. The fruit quality comes from grafting.

marinelife's avatar

Did you know that Hass avocados come from a lucky find?

“Yet, despite speculation to the contrary, nobody knows what variety of seed produced the original Hass Mother Tree.

The tree began life as lucky-find; a simple seed planted by A.R. Rideout of Whittier. Rideout, an innovator and pioneer in avocados, was always searching for new varieties and tended to plant whatever seeds he could find, often along streets or in neighbors’ yards.

In the late 1920s, Mr. Rudolph Hass, a postman, purchased the seedling tree from Rideout, and planted it in his new orchard. He planned to graft another variety on it, but when repeated grafts didn’t take he planned to cut the tree down. Fortunately for avocado lovers everywhere, Hass’s children talked him out of it. They preferred the taste of the tree’s fruit to that of the Fuerte, the predominant variety and industry standard in those days. ”

Hass Avocado Board

syz's avatar

@marinelife There’s a similar story about the Golden Delicious apple. Kinda makes you wonder if fate is truly that fickle, or if people enjoy these stories just a bit too much.

“I was swingin’ away with the scythe when I came across a little apple tree that had grown about 20 inches tall. It was just a new little apple tree that had volunteered there. There wasn’t another apple tree right close by anywhere. “I thought to myself, ‘Now young feller, I’ll just leave you there,’ and that’s what I did.”

Dog's avatar

Awesome responses- I really appreciate them and the details and stories.

So anyone want to tell me when and how to graft? (keeping in mind that we just germinated the seed this week)

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Dog from Univ of California Extension Service seems pretty comprehensive. I have no experience with avocados, but the grafting instructions seem identical to those for apple and pear trees that I’m familiar with. I tried to make this as a link but it refuses to work properly.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land This one worked for me, give it a go and thanks for the link.
You will have to than navigate through to find the handbook.

Dog's avatar

Thanks so much everyone. I really appreciated all the responses.

Strauss's avatar

An arborist told me that the best way to propogate my peach trees, if I wanted to do so, is a process known as “layering”, specifically as shown in figure 5 in this link. He told me that any grafted plant, especially fruit, would revert to root stock if the fruit or seed was planted, and that this is the best way to propagate the graft stock.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@Yetanotheruser That was a great link, thank you I really liked that the diagrams were so clear and leaves nothing to mystery. have a wonderful night.

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