Avocado performs best between 1500-2100m above sea level with 1000 mm of well-distributed rainfall. Climate is single-handedly the most important factor involved in growing avocados. You may have enough water and the best soil, but without suitable weather conditions you will be at a loss.
The soil should be deep and free draining and have a pH of 5.5-6.5. Avocadoes do not like water settling at the base of its stem, so ensure you grow it on raised ground. Do not plant them on waterlogged soil.
You should get your soil tested because this is a long term investment and you do not want issues cropping up 3 years down the line. You will blame yourself for something you could have prevented at the beginning.
The soil test will show all the nutrients available in your soil with recommendations on how to correct the ones with problems. This test will also help you determine which manure and fertilizer to apply.
Avocado Land Preparation
Prepare your land before growing avocadoes. Get a tractor and plow the land to eliminate any weeds or unwanted grass cover that will otherwise eat up your avocado soil nutrients.
Once this has been done, look for guys to dig for you holes where the seedlings will be put.
These holes are not the normal ones you are used to for planting flowers. These are 60cm (wide) x 60cm (deep) holes that will need a bit more pay for digging per hole. Digging costs vary between 40-50 Ksh per hole in Uasin Gishu.
Separate the top and sub-soils. Mix the top soil with 20 kg (debe) of decomposed Farm Yard Manure (FYM) and 120 g of Double Superphosphate (46% P2O5) with the top soil. You can now look for avocado seedlings to plant.Transplanting
The best time to plant avocados is when lengthy, heavy rains begin. Mid-April is the best time to start growing. These days, the weather tends to change quickly, so keep an eye on your meteorological calendar.
Avocado seedlings are commonly packaged in easy-to-handle black plastic bags. Carefully remove the black polythene and place the avocado in the center of the hole.
Irrigate your avocado seedling immediately after transplant. Continue irrigating until the avocado tree is fully established and has started taking in nutrients from its surrounding. A young avocado plant can easily die off if it lacks water during the first one month after transplanting so be careful.
How many hass avocado trees per acre in kenya
The standard spacing for Hass avocadoes in Kenya is 7m x 7m (80 plants per acre). If you have a small piece of land you can do 6m x 6m (120 plants per acre) or 5m x 5m (140 plants per acre). Reducing the plant spacing will give you a lot of pruning work in future. You will also need to fertilize your plants more often due to nutrient competition.
Once on the farm
If you are growing Hass avocadoes, you need at least 10% Fuerte Avocadoes for effective pollination to occur. You will increase your yield if you follow these rules.
Bee hives are also important in orchards. Bees are the main agents of pollination in avocado farms and their presence also increase production. Be careful with pesticide use because these will chase away the bees. You need at least two beehives per acre of avocadoes.
How do you Irrigate Avocado trees?
Irrigation is the best solution for you if you want to get high production curves every year. It will also help your crops grow quickly and have a higher chance of success.
You can buy a drip irrigation system from Makimara Limited and have it installed on your farm at a small fee.
Some of the benefits of drip irrigation on Avocadoes include:
- Uses water efficiently because water goes directly to the avocado’s roots.
- Weeds will not get your hard earned water. This means your plants will the only ones thriving during the dry season.
- Drip irrigation systems are easy to use. Once installed, all you have to do is turn on the drip connectors and your plants will get water immediately. This is a no hassle irrigation system.
The process of growing avocadoes does not end after transplanting. A lot of work still needs to be done. You need to weed and mulch your plants to ensure proper growth as you wait for harvesting.
Mulching – Mulch your soil to conserve moisture and add organic matter to the soil. This will also keep the soil cool and promote avocado growth. Mulch using dry leaves or well dried grass. Do not use saw dust as a mulching agent because it decomposes and ties up nitrogen.
The use of herbicides in growing avocadoes for export is discouraged. Try practicing organic farming.
Avocado farming is considered a waste of farmland by some. They can’t imagine waiting for 3 years to generate income while they could plant something like maize and earn after a year. This is not a problem because you can intercrop avocadoes with crops like Kale, Beans, Peas, and Cabbage as you wait for the avocadoes to mature and earn money.
Harvesting and Yeild
Expect between 3.2 – 4.0 tons of avocado per acre per year. This is 250 – 300 kg per tree per year from the start of the 5th year.
The yield ranges between 10kg-20kg per tree during the early years but this moves up quite fast in subsequent years. Your true income will be achieved and solidified from the 4th year onwards.
Where will I sell my avocado fruits?
Avocado is purchased by export companies such as Sunripe, Bio Farms, Habex Agro among others. You can also sell hass avocado fruits at the local market which fetch a better price compared to the Kienyeji variety.
You can also extract oil yourself and sell or sell avocado oil processing companies in Kenya.
- Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)
- Japan International Cooperation Agency
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