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Avocado trees only flower once a year. So when they flower and they usually have a lot of flowers, you want them to set fruit. As has been previously discussed they have an unusual method of pollinisation. The flowers are both male and female, but at different times. Type A trees first open as females with a long central stigma standing erect and the male stamens which have the necessary pollen trapped underneath them lying flat. The flower then closes and when it reopens it does so as a male with the stamens now standing up to release their pollen. Unfortunately the stigma is now usually unreceptive to this pollen and has in most cases withered. To effect pollination it seems that some overlap of these happenings must occur, (if on the same tree), or if other type A trees are around. Type B trees, have the same process, but in the reverse order. On top of this, not all avos flower (or overlap flowering) at the same time. European honey bees seem to be the main pollinators. Unfortunately the nectar and pollen produced by Avos are not very attractive to bees. So if there are other sources around they will visit these instead. Another complicating factor is that if the night time temperature is too cold the flowers will not perform as they should. I.E. if night time temps are around 10 degrees this will adversely affect the chances of pollination. So here I am hoping like mad that everything will be good for pollination, but, so far I have not seen 1 honeybee in my garden this pollinating season, not near the avos, not near the nasturtiums, basil, lavender, daises, etc. etc. Are they all dead, or have they deserted me in my hour (read many days), of need? There are also no native bees around. I have always had plenty of both types around, but just not now! I have seen ants and small flies on the avo flowers, but not in any numbers, so I doubt very much whether there will be any fruit forming this year. The cooler night time temps are also conspiring against good pollination, so not a lot is going right just now. I thought that I may be able to hand pollinate, but the literature does not deem this very successful. It seems that a lot of other people have not had huge success with trees setting fruit either, am I right in this?  Or am I just wallowing in self pity? Man up Clark!!

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 26, 2015 at 9:32

Fancy some trial grafting Roger? Not that I've heard of double-grafted Avos but why not? Graft a piece of Sharwill onto each of the type As! I've never grafted, some on BLF have. It's a way to make the most of what you have bought or the theory sounds fine, anyway.

Comment by Roger Clark on October 26, 2015 at 7:34

Well despite there being absolutely no pollinating bees of any type around my trees, I have about 6 developing fruit on my 3 trees. The Pinkerton has none, the Rincon 4, and my little Wurtz also has 2. The Pinkerton is the first to flower, it had around a dozen fruit develop last year, but all fell off due to ? - it being in a very exposed position?, too little water? Whatever! The Rincon is around 4 years old and flowered profusely, but it can only be ants that effected the pollination. The Wurtz is only in it's second year but has fruit. Do I leave the fruit on or sacrifice it for the sake of the trees development? One thing I will do is move the trees to a less sun exposed position which may help to eliminate  one of the possible reasons for last years failure. I have also taken the plunge and bought a grafted Sharwill tree. Sharwill is supposed to flower when my others will, and is a pollinator for these being a type B tree. I will plant this in a container, even though it is not a dwarf variety. I  will plant it in a spare wheelie bin and hope that the depth of soil that this provides will allow it to survive long enough to provide pollination for the other trees. If it does well like this I will then provide it with a permanent spot in the garden which will be built up to provide more soil depth. Annette McFarlane says they need 5 metres of soil, I am hoping that my less than ideal soil may stunt the growth and allow the tree to survive in less than that. I'll keep you posted on whether the fruit now on the trees survive to maturity.

Comment by Susan on October 1, 2015 at 7:21

My little tree is covered in flowers but I have not seen any pollinators around it.  My theory is that every time I go past, I will brush my fingers over some different flowers and see how I go.  Not expecting anything though as my plant has only been in the ground a year.

Comment by Lissa on September 27, 2015 at 8:39

I have plenty of bees on my property Roger but they just don't seem to go near the Avo.

Comment by Roger Clark on September 27, 2015 at 7:49

We will work on this to see what can be done to improve the situation. The problem is that we may have to wait another year to do this. As mine are in pots, I did think that If there is someone around the Brisbane area with a type B pollinator I might be able to move my trees there for pollination purposes. Or I may have to buy a type B that flowers at the same time as mine. It doesn't solve the problem of there being no bees to pollinate though. This is a real worry. 

Comment by Lissa on September 27, 2015 at 6:38


I feel your pain Roger. You can cry like a man if you want to.

Having exactly the same problem here. I have seen ONE bee on the tree. No doubt there have been more when I wasn't around to observe, but I would have noticed if the tree proved irresistible to my native and honey bees. It's just not very attractive to them.

We can but wait and watch now to see if there has been any successful pollination. My first fruit forming will be a good day in my life.

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