Fresh Fruit TV: Can avocados be trellised like apples?

March 13 , 2017

South Africa-based Allesbeste Nursery has identified myriad productive pitfalls in today’s avocado industry, whether it be in propagation practices and how they affect root health, tall trees that are difficult and expensive to pick, or even pruning methods that tend to favor foliage over flowers.

In tangent, the group is also heavily involved in genetic selection and is expanding globally with a particular cultivar called Maluma. Aside from the fruit’s attributes at the consumer level (click here), the willowy nature of its branches may allow for an entirely new advancement in the avocado industry.

Through trellising, similarly to what is done in some of the world’s highest density apple and citrus farms, the group hopes to improve productivity, post-harvest benefits and fruit quality.

To get the ball rolling with the idea, Allesbeste Farming Company production manager Zander Ernst set up trellising experiments with trees that were already two years old, although ideally they would be grown this way from the get-go.

Even though the experiment began under less than ideal circumstances, results have been positive with a doubling of flowering, a stable volume output, and 20% higher packouts of exportable fruit. For an in-depth, in-the-field look at the trials, we interviewed Zander and his father, Allesbeste Nursery founder Dr. Andre Ernst.

“Going forward there are two things we need to focus on – pollination and also nutrient management after flowering,” said Zander Ernst. 

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