Volume 31 Number 3
JULY 1, 1921
W. A. McIAE
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE
AVOCADO AND MANGO PROPAGA-
TION AND CULTURE
Entered January 31. 1903, at Tallahassee. Florida, as second-class
matter under Act of Congress of June, 1900.
"Acceptance for mailing at special rate of' postage provided for
in Section 1103, Act of October o, 1917, authorized Sept. 11, 1918."
THESf BULLETINS ARE ISSUED fREE TO THOSE REQUESTING THEM
T. J. APPLEYARD, STATS PRINTED
^.5 Ca / i
SOMETIMES CALLED "ALLIGATOR PEAR'
The following paragraphs are from an article entitled
"Avocado Culture in Southeastern Florida," by Mr. Wil-
"The avocado is a fruit of the American tropics, a fruit
in the proper sense of the term, but so different from the
ordinary fruits known to North Americans as to render
this term somewhat misleading when applied to it; the
term 'salad fruit' has been used to convey a better idea
of its character, since it is preeminently adapted for use
as a salad, either alone or in combination with other
fruits and vegetables. In the North, where up to the
present it is looked upon as a delicacy, it is nearly always
served as the salad course of a meal; in the tropics, how-
ever, where ahudant and cheap, it forms an extremely im-
portant article of diet. Because of the high proportion
of vegetable oil which it contains it is of the greatest
value as a staple article of diet, and it is upon this char-
acteristic that the expectations of its great future import-
ance in the United States is based.
"There are avocadoes of widely varying shapes, sizes
and colors. Some are no larger than an egg, with a thin
green or purple skin (the commonest type in northern
Mexico), others are round or pear shaped and two or
three pounds in weight. The best varieties cultivated in
Florida. such as the Trapp, usually weigh about one
pound: they are of an attractive light green color, with
a leathery skin surrounding the creamy yellow pulp of
smooth and firm texture, which strongly suggests tirm
butter as one cuts it with a spoon. The center of the fruit
is occupied by a large seed, frequently the size of an egg,
which is easily removed after cutting the fruit in halves,
leaving a cavity in which vinegar or lemon juice, salt and
pepper may be placed before serving. The oily character
of the fruit (analyses in California have shown the per-
centage of oil to range from approximately ten per cent
to thirty per cent in different varieties), necessitates the
addition of an acid such as vinegar or mayonnaise dress-
ing to bring out the rich nutty flavor, though the fruit is
frequently eaten by those intimately familiar with it just
as it comes from the tree, or with the addition of a little
"The present avocado industry in south Florida can
be said to have been built upon the Trapp variety. This
is one of the latest fruits of the West Indian type, ripen-
ing from September to December, with a few fruits occa-
sionally hanging on until February. It is an avocado of
medium size, averaging about a pound in weight, of a
light green color, and possessing good shipping qualities.
It has been estimated that at least 95 per cent of the
acreage in budded avocadoes throughout south Florida
is devoted to this variety. It has become known in North-
ern markets and is in great demand about the holiday
season. It can not be marketed in any quantity, however,
after early January, hence the desirability of planting
the Guatamalan varieties which will extend the season
from this time until the first of May."
The following is an extract from Volume 2, No. 8,
Bulletin of the Department of Agriculture, 1915:
"THE AVOCADO-The commercial development of the
avocado industry in America dates from the year 1901,
when budded trees first began to be produced in quantity.
Since that time numerous orchards varying in size from
; few acres up to 200 acres have been planted in South
Florida and recently, through the successful fruiting of
the Guatemalan type of avocado, the industry promises
to become even more important than before. The special
value of this type lies in its fruiting season which is in
Florida from January to March, which period coincides
with the tourist season and when markets are open and
free from Northern grown fruits, and high prices are h,-
tainable. In the past Florida has been unable to supply
avocadoes at this season, although a few fruits of the
Trapp variety sometimes hang on until January and are
marketed in that month. The Trapp avocado is at present
the standard commercial variety in Florida and the only
one planted extensively. During the summer months seed-
ling avocadoes are very abundant and the Northern mar-
kets are full of temperate fruits, consequently the demand
for avocadoes is not nearly so keen nor the prices obtained
so satisfactory to' the grower as during the late fall and
winter. In November the Florida grower realizes from
$4.0)0 per dozen f. o. b. shipping point for Trapp fruits.
while in summer ,the best fruits rarely bring more than
2'.00 per dozen. Now with the Guatemalan in Florida,
the grower should be able to market his entire crop when
the highest prices are obtainable rather than be forced
to market the bulk of his crop in the early fall and only
realize the highest prices for those which hang on late in
the season. In addition it will be a decided advantage to
extend the period during which avocaloes will be avail-
able. With the present Florida varieties, ripe truit is
usually obtainable from late in June till December and
January. With the Guatemalan type the season will
be extended to March, leaving but a few months with no
"The Guatemalan type differs from the type of avocado
grown generally in Florida and the West Indies in sev-
eral characteristics. Prominent amongst these and most
important to California is its hardiness, mature trees hav-
ing frequently gone thru frosts of 250 to 26 above zero
without injury; and in some cases temperatures even
much lower than this have done no great damage, al-
though Florida varieties in the same locations were badly
injured. This point is not of great importance, however,
to cultivation in Florida and the West Indies where severe
frosts are not experienced. As has already been men-
tioned, the skin is thick and woody and the seeds rarely
are loose in the seed cavity as is common in West Indian
fruits, being embedded firmly in the flesh. In quality the
fruits of a good Guatemalan type are considered by those
who are competent to judge fully equal to most of the
fruit grown in Florida.
While as yet the mango is not so firmly established as
the avocado, it is one of the most delicious desert fruits
under cultivation and great sucecss is predicted for those
growing the best varieties. There are numerous varieties
of mangoes from the common seedling, or turpentine
mango, to the budded importation from India, chief of
which is the Mulgoba. The culture of the mango having
been developed from a primitive state, commenced about
190I) with seedlings of a very poor type. Today there are
several orchards of budded trees of the improved varieties
and this fruit is receiving more attention as its true
worth is becoming known, and study is being made as
to its culture, diseases and marketing; and those now en-
tering this field are able to profit by. the experience of
those who have preceded them. The growth of the mango
is restricted to the extreme southern part of the state
(that territory from Miami south) on account of its be-
ing very susceptible to frost. This fruit will probably
never have as wide a distribution as the avocado, but
demand is steadily increasing with the class of trade that
can take it at the fancy prices demanded for the superior
The following description of the "Mulgoba" and the
"Haden," the two varieties producing the highest quality
fruit and the only two varieties under successful cultiva-
tion in this country, is taken from a pamphlet on "The
Mango," by Mr. Geo. M..Cellon of Miami:
'MuLGOBA'-From India. Imported by the United
States Department of Agriculture in 1889.
"Size, medium to large; average weight, one pound.
Shape nearly round, obliquely impressed on on side,
marked with very small protrusion at blossom point.
Color, rich golden yellow, washed with rich bright car-
mine on the side exposed to the light, fading to delicate
pink tints, daintily dotted with very small brown dots
over surface, with delicate purple bloom. Skin smooth,
thin. but firm, and of good substance. Flesh, rich, golden
yellow color; smooth, rich, tender, melting, sweet and
delicious, with delicate, spicy, performed aroma. Fibre
short and coarse, extending only from the thin edges of
a medium small and thin seed. Quality, very best. Can
be easily separated in halves and the seed extracted with-
out leaving any fibre in the pulp, which can be eaten from
the fruit with a spoon. Season, July.
'HADEN'-Originated from a seedling planted by the
late Captain J. A. Haden, at Cocoanut Grove, Florida,
whose name it bears, and is apparently of the East Indian
"Size, medium to large. Shape, oblong, nearly round,
only slightly impressed on one side at blossom end, which
ig nearly the same size in circumfeernce as at the stem
end, making it of convenient shape for packing. Color,
rich golden yellow, washed over the greater portion of
surface with rich crimson and scarlet. Skin, smooth,
tough, and of firm substance, medium thin. Flesh, golden
yellow color. Flavor, rich, aromatic and spicy. Seed,
medium small, fibre short and coarse, extending only
from thin edge of the seed. Quality, best. Season, July.
AVOCADO PROPAGATION AND CULTURE
By P. H. ROLFS, Director, Agricultural Experiment
Station, Gainesville, Florida.
Avocados are easily grown from seed. The seed retain
their vitality for several weeks after having been removed
from the fruit. For this reason it has been possible to
distribute avocados to all portions of the tropical world.
While the seedlings usually produce a rapid growvih and
generally make excellent trees, only about one out of
thirty proves as valuable as budded varieties. Tle latter
can usually be obtained from nurserymen.
PLANTING OF SEED.
The seed should be planted soon after it is taken from
the fruit. One of the most satisfactory ways of propa-
gating avocados is to plant the seed in boxes five inches
square and fourteen inches deep. Such a box can be made
-from cypress shingles and a piece of pine board. The soil
used in these boxes should be rich loam. Place the seed in
the soil so that it will be covered about an inch, and
water daily. When about ten inches tall the plants can
be placed in position for budding. Those that are tardy
in developing can be given further attention. In time
nearly 100%o of the seeds will make plants suitable for
The plants may be set out at a season of the year when
suitable moisture conditions occur. Less cost for water-
ing will be necessary if they are set during the rainy
season. Greater losses will occur if they are set during
cool, dry weather.
Sometimes it is desirable to plant the seed directly in
the field where the tree is to stand. Treatment some-
what similar to that given the seed in the box should be
accorded those in the field. To protect the young seed-
ling from sun scalding, it is advisable to place half rotted
mulching about them. With careful attention they will
grow nearly as rapidly in the field as in seed boxes.
Almost any of the several methods of budding may be
employed. Where both stock and scion are in good con-
dition, shield budding, which is usually employed for
citrus, will be found satisfactory. Before the bud is in-
serted, care should be taken tq examine the stock to see
that the bark separates smoothly from the wood. In
other words, the stock must be growing well. Most people
have best success during dry weather.
Bud wood of desirable varieties may be obtained from
most trees in large quantity. Usually the scions from
which the buds are cut should be about the thickness of
an ordinary lead pencil. Choose ripened end branches,
and avoid soft-wood and scions in a flush of growth. Buds
that have shown a tendency to grow will take readily
and be more likely to "spring" than buds which are
dormant or have lost their "eye." Where bud wood is
scarce the terminal bud from ripened wood may be used
and will take as rapidly as the side buds.
CARE OF BUDS. q
In budding avocados, as in budding other nursery stock,
it is advisable to perform the operation as speedily as is
consistent with care. As little time as possible should
elapse between opening the bark and cutting the bud
from the scion.
Immediately after inserting the bud, wrap carefully.
Beginners will find it advisable to use waxed cloth. Wrap
the bud firmly, but leave an opening for the "eye." The
experienced budder will prefer to use wrapping twine.
Wrapping twine should be drawn firmly and yet not tight
enough to injure the bark during the next week or ten
days. The T cut should be as carefully closed as possible.
In a week or two it will be possible to tell whether the
bud has taken or not. If the bud has failed, the wrap-
ping may be removed and another attempt made. If the
bud has taken it will be advisable to remove some of the
wrapping to permit rapid growth of the bud.
As soon as it is definitely known that the bud has
taken, the top of the stock may be cut back. The operator
will have to use considerable judgment as to the form
this cutting back will take. At times it is sufficient to
remove the terminal bud and thus throw growth into the
bud. At other times it is advisable to lop the stock by
cutting it enough to permit the entire top to be bent over
without breaking off. As soon as the bud has made a
growth two or three inches long, more of the top may be
removed, or, in the case of weak stock, all of the top may
be removed. Finally the stock should be cut off close
above the bud and smoothed carefully. In most cases it
is advisable to cover the wound with some antiseptic or
The varieties of avocados known as Mexican withstand
winter conditions as far north as Gainesville. Protected
specimens of the West Indian-Central American types
have fruited as far north as Daytona on the East Coast
and Pinellas County on the West Coast. The most ex-
tensive commercial orchards are being planted in the
Biscayne Bay and Caloosahatchee River regions. Seed-
lings of the favorite kinds are likely to be killed to the
ground by frost. Bearing trees are not likely to be killed
by a temperature of 25 degrees, unless it is of several
The range of soil that may be employed for successful
avocado culture is much wider than that ofr citrus cul-
ture. The avocado,however, takes very kindly to the best
soils that can be obtained. The best citrus soils will be
found to be among the best for avocado. After the site
has been chosen, clearing should be done in the usual
way. All debris should be removed from the field and the
soil well prepared. It is advisable to plant some cover
crop on the portion of the field not occupied by the
DISTANCE OF PLANTING.
The trees may be set in rows 21 feet apart and 21 feet
apart in the row for the weaker growing varieties such
as the Trapp. For the more vigorous varieties it would
be advisable to give greater space. The former distance
will give one hundred trees to the acre. If rows are made
30 feet apart and the trees 21 feet apart in the row for
the larger varieties, seventy trees will be required to the
acre. If it is desirable to plant out a seedling grove, it
will be advisable to make the rooms about 30 feet apart and
plant the seedlings closer in the row. As a large per
cent. of the seedlings will be unprofitable, it will then be
possible, later, to cut out those that are not desirable.
The cultivation of the avocado grove is essentially the
same as that for citrus. Careful cultivation during the
dry portion of the year and a cover crop during the sum-
mter months are necessary. If the cover crop is not needed
as forage, it may be incorporated with the soil and thus
provide humus for the grove. Velvet beans will probably
give a larger amount of humus than any othel' crop, and
at the same time add a large amount of nitrogen to the
soil. Grass crops do not add to the fertility but con-
The avocado tree is especially partial to nitrogen fer-
tilizer from an organic source. It does not seem to make
much difference which of the commercial form is used.
A large amount of potash and phosphoric acid in the
formula is beneficial to the trees. In general the fertilizer
formulas for citrus will prove profitable, excepting that
organic ammonia should be substituted for the inorganic
A large number of varieties are being offered by differ-
ent nurserymen in the State. It is important to select
either the earliest varieties or thosd that ripen late or
very late. The mid-season budded varieties must com-
pete with the large mass of seedlings, and for that reason
the fruit usually sellselow. Baldwin and Early are among
the good early varieties. Trapp is good for late, and the
various Guatemalan varieties for very late. The earliest
fruits in Florida ripen about the first week in July. Then
follows a succession until late in October or November
when'the Trapp begin to mature. The Guatemalan va-
rieties ripen during January and the early spring months.
By JOHN B. BEACH.
lThe avocado, or alligator pear, is one of the fruits that
can be grown in the semi-tropic climate of South Florida,
and holds out inducements for good profits when properly
culivated. The winter-bearing varieties, of which the
most prominent is the "Trapp" yields the best market
prices and last fall, in spite of the prevailing depression,
yielded handsome returns to the growers. particularly
abdcut Christmas time.
One of the main reasons for this is that a taste for the
avocado has the pecularity of growing on one, after a
fondne's for it has been acquired, and while it is a lux-
ury, its devotees feel that they must have it regardless of
price and its patrons are'among those who can afford to
pay for their indulgences.
Another reason is that it is a complete and nourishing
food. readily assimilated by the most delicate stomach.
The following analysis made by the Agriculniral Iepart-
Ient. Bulletin No. 77. shows the relative food value of
this fruit in comparison with milk and eggs. the two com-
mon articles of diet which compare most closely with it
in composition and digestibility.
Water, 72.8 per cent.
Protein, 2.2 per cent.
Fats, 17.3 per cent.
Carbohydrates, 4.4 per cent.
Crude fibre, 1.4 per cent.
Ash, 1.9 per cent.
Water, 87 per cent.
Protein, 3.3 per cent.
Fats, 4 per cent.
Carbohydrates, 5 per cent.
Ash, 7-10 per cent.
Water, 74.7 per cent.
Protein, 13.8 per cent.
Fats, 10.5 per cent.
Ash, 1 per cent.
No DANGER FROM OVERPRODUCTION.
As it becomes better known on the market and more
widely distributed and the price comes down within the
reach of the man of moderate means, it should take its
place as a staple article of diet in sucl manner as ban-
nanas are now used, in consequence there should never
be a glut in markets.
The food value of,this fruit will always make a money
crop and there is little danger of, or loss from, over-
production. Suppose, for example, that transportation
facilities were to collapse and the markets closed to the
grower. His fruit would be worth just so much corn to
feed to his own, hogs and cattle as all animals take to
the avocado and exhibit almost as great a fondness for
it as human beings. It is stated that in the West Indies
that the hogs obtain a great part of their living fr'm this
fruit and will quarrel over one as they do over a bone.
It is the only fruit that I ever knew a cat to eat and
relish, and when the carnivorous animals pronounces in
its favor it is a pretty good indication that it is a strong
food. It has been proved a boon to those afflicted with
dyspepsia as they can assimilate it when everything else
distressed them. It possesses the food value of eggs with-
out their constituting tendencies.
CULTIVATING AND FRUIT KEEPING QUALITIES.
The avocado will thrive on the same class of soil as
citrus trees, with identical culture and treatment and will
bear as soon and as abundantly. After the middle of
November the "Trapp" avocado may be gathered at any
time and marketed and also like the citrus can be held
on the tree for some months without deterioration. A
certain percentage of the fruit will drop from time to
time, due ot hard winds and other causes, but these drops
will be found hard and sound and are available for home
use and local markets.
The fruit will keep from three to four days at ordinary
temperatures before they become mellow and soft enough
to eat and may be kept a week or more in an ordinary
refrigerator. Fruit picked in November has been kept
sound, in cold storage, without losing any of its flavor,
In only two ways does the culture of the avocado differ
from citrus. The former will stand more forcing with
strong animal fertilizers, and when it reaches its pro-
ducing age, requires more fertilizer to supply its needs
and insure regular full crops. The avocado is more sus-
ceptible to cold than any of the citrus, even the lime or
lemon, while young. For this reason it is best to provide
for covering the young trees during cold nights, the first
two winters, which can easily be done by making a cheap
skeleton frame over the trees and sewing some burlaps
or grain sacks to form a cover. Out in California they
have acres of avocados that are protected by oil or char-
coal grove heaters, and if the same care were taken here
with them they could be raised well up towards the upper
part of the Peninsula of Florida.
One particular tree out in California has received wide
notoriety, a photo of it having appeared in several of the
papers Throughout the country. It is such a money-maker
that its owners have had it insured against loss for $3,000.
and a portable shed is placer over it during the winter.
Few in Florida would care to go to such expense, but rea-
sonable care can be used and if done the trees will be
saved, or we can take our chances, for if a severe freeze
comes along and cuts our tree down to tw gromn4I we
have the satisfaction of knowing that, like our guava, our
grafted avocado will sprout out and bear fruit again two
The avocado has fewer enemies than the citrus, and
one good feature is that so far as we know, not an insect
that attacks citrus will touch the avocado and vice versa.
Again the same insecticides that destroy citrus pests will
also destroy the pest of the avocado. The same fertilizer
answers equally well for both, with the exceptions he-
fore noted, and when planted together the roots of each
seemed to agree well together. It is suggested that a good
plan may be to plant every alternate tree in a' citrus
grove an avocado and thus they may mutually protect
each other from pests.
The avocado has a wider range of planting season than
most and we have already a series of varieties that sup-
ply fruit from July to March, and we have good reasons
to hope that it will not be many years before we will
bridge' over that hiatus and have-fruit the year round.