The morning started with a trip to the store to purchase Avocado Tree #3.
Avocado tree #1 died about 6 months ago and I finally pulled up the root ball and tossed it last month. Avocado tree #2 was planted about three months ago when I finally started to accept that avocado tree #1 might be a lost cause.
I love avocados, but I hate avocado trees. They are difficult to grow and they need perfect conditions to establish. If they don’t take, they hang on forever and it always looks like there the hope that they can be brought back, but there probably isn’t.
Avocado trees need soil that drains well, clay is the worst possible choice. Clay holds water and creates perfect environments for the buggies that kill avocado trees. My back yard is clay.
At the start of May, Avocado tree #2 seemed to be on its way out. It flowered, but soon lost all its leaves. In a last ditch effort, I built a rock pyramid around the base of the tree to prevent water from running onto the root ball. I had to find the balance between watering enough for the rest of the yard, and not watering the avocado tree too much.
When I came back from Europe I was shocked and ecstatic that there were brand spanking new leaves growing on tree #2.
“The Avocado Tree seems to have recovered nicely”, I said out loud, realizing that I may have just jinxed the recovery. Avocado trees can turn south quickly.
Fairly certain that tree #2 is going to make it, I picked up avocado tree #3 this weekend. From what I have read, avocado trees will self-pollinate, but the fruit may taste funny. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but as this is a multi-year process, I don’t want to wait for tree #2 to bear fruit to find out if I have to plant another tree.
I added gypsum to the clay as well of lots of other soils to help with the drainage strategy. I planted this beautiful little tree with its perfect leaves in the ground and now I wait.
This poor little avocado tree #3 was probably grown in a greenhouse with no smog, soil at the perfect pH and filtered watered. Now it is planted in clay, in LA air with water that has more minerals than is good for it. These perfect leaves will wilt in 3 days. I know this from experience. Then when I will respond by over watering. Some of the bigger leaves will turn brown on the ends start to fall off in about 4 weeks. I will feel like shit when this happens. It’s a helpless feeling to watch something that I’ve has cared for not do well.
Unfortunately, I love avocados. I don’t know if I love them two trees worth, but I know I want them around. Of course, I’ve spent in excess of $100 trying to grow these damn things. Growing fruit trees is a lot like gambling. Gambling is a difficult addition to break because it’s a randomly reinforced high. People who smoke and do drugs, know the high they are going to get. People who gamble, may or may not get the high from the win.
Establishing new trees is the same way. Sometimes, they die. You can put them in the perfect soil, with the perfect water and temperature and the trees may still fail months and years later. But sometimes, just sometimes, you get payouts like my 3-year old peach tree just unloaded last month.