Jim Downer, who is based in Ventura County touched base on tree pruning- understanding plant responses to an important management tool. Downer, suggested several tips, such as paying attention to branch biology that structural pruning is crucial, you also want to conserve healthy canopy foliage, and most of all don't thin trees just to thin. By keeping up with pruning from the beginning, you can make less invasive smaller cuts and save money. Smaller cuts can also reduce the amount of surface area that is exposed to the elements that can cause disease.
Ben Faber, advisor based out of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties spoke on specific avocado pruning techniques and challenges growers may face. He reminded the growers, avocado trees can get extremely tall. Taller trees may be hazardous to pickers that are working on ladders, this may also slow down the picking processes, especially along the steep hillsides. The main thought on everyone's mind, how much space does a tree really need to be the most productive? During this discussion, Faber spoke of Emeritus UC Farm Adviser, Gary Bender's higher density planting trial in San Diego. Instead of the standard distance of twenty feet apart, he ran a trial where he planted trees ten feet apart. Then, instead of letting the trees grow tall, which is the standard practice, he pruned them regularly to keep the trees short and fat. The study has been a huge success yielding nearly 13,000 pounds of Hass avocados per acre. Usually farms in the southern California are yield between 6,000 to 7,000 pounds per acre.
Growers had a chance to interact and speak with the lectures, other UC advisors and other members of the Avocado Commission and Society. We hope to see everyone at the next seminar in August, all growers welcome, no RSVP needed, and it's FREE!
Seminar coming up: Current Hot Topics in Avocados-Farm advisors will discuss current hot topics in the avocado industry, specific to the growing regions in each seminar location:
- SanLuisObispo -MaryBianchi, UC County DirectorandHorticultureFarmAdvisorforSanLuisObispo County
- Aug 4, 2015 at 1:00pm - 3:00pm, San Luis Obispo, CA, UC Cooperative Extension Office Auditorium, 2156 Sierra Way
- Ventura - Ben Faber,UCFarmAdvisorforVentura and Santa Barbara Counties
- Aug 5, 2015 at 9:00am - 11:00am UC Cooperative Extension Office Auditorium, 669 County Square Dr. Ventura, CA
- Fallbrook - Sonia Rios, UC Area Subtropical Horticulture Advisor for Riverside and San Diego Counties -Aug 6, 2015 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Fallbrook Public Utility District Board Rm., 990 East Mission Rd., Fallbrook, CA