Consultant shares avocado secrets

CATE ROCCHICountryman

A crowd descended on Duncraig-based agricultural consultant Terry Friemond at the end of his Karragullen Expo presentation.

Mr Friemond, of Western Agronomy, spoke to expo visitors about the secrets of growing avocados in WA.

Confessing to having a "love affair" with this particular high-oil fruit, Mr Friemond reminded would-be growers that avocados were originally trees that lived under the canopy of rainforests.

He said their roots naturally spread out near the surface of the soil, just under natural mulch and leaf litter, searching for nutrients.

Mr Friemond said it was important to mulch young saplings well - using pine bark mulch - and water three times a day, especially during the summer, over a six-week, settling-in period.

If the tree was too vertical, Mr Friemond advised to pinch the tip off the top to encourage growth outwards.

He said he also favoured chicken manure dressing and recommended preparing a 1m by 1m hole for saplings.

Mr Friemond said potting mix should not be used, because it spread disease, and instead growers should simply build up the soil they already had.

Bees should be encouraged to help with pollination and the bigger the bag the avocado came in, the less chance roots were compacted.

"Grafts onto rootstock have to be roughly the same size in diameter, " Mr Friemond said.

During his presentation, Mr Friemond shared an anecdote - he once knew of a group of horses that stampeded to get to fruiting avocado trees at the same time each year. Horses love the fruit, he said, and will knock down fences to reach avocados.

Dubbed a superfood, avocados have a high mineral content.

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