Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 Officers and directors
 The avocado on Miami beach
 Importance of Chapman field in...
 Some present problems in avocado...
 Growing avocados
 Protection of the Florida avocado...
 Avocado budding
 Planting of avocado groves in redland...
 The history and origin of the Collinson...
 Some observations on avocado culture...
 Avocado varieties
 The correct way to prepare avocados...
 Back Cover

Title: Year book of the Florida Avocado Association for ..
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00086637/00001
 Material Information
Title: Year book of the Florida Avocado Association for ..
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida Avocado Association
Publisher: The Association,
The Association
Place of Publication: Miami Fla.?
Publication Date: 1923-1924
Frequency: annual
Subject: Avocado -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
General Note: Description based on: 1923-1924.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00086637
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 40421607

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
    Officers and directors
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    The avocado on Miami beach
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Importance of Chapman field in relation to horticulture
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Some present problems in avocado culture
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Growing avocados
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Protection of the Florida avocado industry by plant quarantine
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Avocado budding
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Planting of avocado groves in redland district
        Page 41
        Page 42
    The history and origin of the Collinson avocado
        Page 43
        Page 44
    Some observations on avocado culture in Florida
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Avocado varieties
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    The correct way to prepare avocados for shipment
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Back Cover
        Page 67
Full Text


Of-7E VRj











r'r : : ~
" ~'~ "

Sabli of (onutrnt

Officers and Directors ---------- 5
By-laws __-- ___---------------- 7
The Avocado on Miami Beach --. -------John S. Collins 9
Importance of Chapman Field in Relation to
Horticulture ------- Dr. David Fairchild 12
Some Present Problems in Avocado Culture ---- W. J. Krome 20
Growing Avocados ------- Harold W. Dorn 28
Protection of the Florida Avocado Industry by
Plant Quarantine ------------- ----- - L. R. Warner 35
Avocado Budding ----- -- C. H. Steffani 39
Planting of Avocado Groves in the Redland
District .. .---. W. K. Walton 41
The History and Origin of the Collinson
Avocado Edward Simmonds 43
Some Observations on Avocado Culture
In Florida- John B. Beach 45
Avocado Varieties -- ---- W. J. Krome 47
The Correct Way to Prepare Avocados for
Shipment.... -- ----- Thos. L. Bowers 52
Biography of John Stiles Collins -- --- -- 55

:... .."

A. C. CASTLE . . . .











Miami Beach



J. S. RAINEY, Miami

NOTICE. The association does not hold itself responsible for
the opinions and statements expressed by the authors of the
various papers published in this report.

. . President



Wflursrl anb 3irurtors

This is reported by Wilson Popenoe, Agricultural Explorer of the U. S. De-
partment of Agriclture, to be the largest avocado tree he has ever seen in five years
travels throughout tropical America. It is safe to say it is one of the largest specimens
in the world.

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 7


The name of this Association shall be the Florida Avocado

The purpose of this Association is the improvement of the
culture and production of the avocado.
The meetings of this Association shall be devoted only to
horticultural topics, from scientific and practical standpoints
and the Presiding Officer shall rule out of order all motions,
resolutions and discussions tending to commit the Association to
political issues or mercantile ventures.

The governing body of this Association shall consist of a
board of nine directors, who shall be avocado growers and mem-
bers of the Association in good standing.

The officers of this Association shall be a president, a vice-
president, a secretary and a treasurer. The offices of secretary
and treasurer may be held by one and the same person.

The board of directors shall have the power to appoint an
executive committee of three members of the board of directors,
said committee to exercise such powers as may be delegated to
it by the board of directors.

The board of directors shall have the general powers of
management of the Association and may make such rules as they
deem necessary to carry out the purposes of the Association,
subject to the ratification of the members thereof.

The powers and duties of the officers herein provided for
shall be those usually pertaining to said offices, subject to the
rules that may be made by the board of directors.

8 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924
The directors shall be elected at the annual meeting of the
members of the Association. Immediately upon their election
the board of directors shall convene and elect the officers herein
provided for. Any vacancy occurring in the board of directors
shall be filled in the usual manner by vote of the members at the
next regular meeting of the Association.

The membership of this Association shall be limited to white
persons who have paid the annual dues.

The annual meeting of the Association shall be held at a
time and place to be designated by vote of the Association.
Special meetings may be called by the executive committee as
occasion may require.

These by-laws may be amended only when such amend-
ment is offered at a regular meeting of the Association and has
been adopted by a majority vote of members present at the next
regular or special meeting, due notice of the intention of such
vote having been given to the members by the secretary.

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 9

The avocado, which in the North is sometimes incorrectly
known as alligator pear is a native of the West India Islands, and
of Central America. In 1908 avocado trees were first brought
to Miami Beach.
The land chosen for the Orchard lay between Biscayne
Bay and Indian Creek, which was considered to be ideally lo-
cated on account of the protection to the trees against frost.
This land was covered with a jungle -growth of palmetto and
cabbage palms. To make the land available for an orchard,
a steam traction engine, weighing 16 tons, was purchased. On
its driving wheels were bolted steel plates ten inches high with
sharp cutting edges. This machine chopped the palmetto plants
and roots into short pieces. Next plows were hooked to the
engine and the short pieces uprooted. These were then gather-
ed and burned, and the cleared ground plowed and harrowed,
ready for planting. Three thousand small trees, mostly of the
Trapp variety, were then planted twenty feet apart. The high
winds blew the sand with such force as to damage the foliage
of the trees and it was found necessary to have a protection
around each tree. This was brought about by the planting of
corn, something that would grow quickly and provide a shel-
ter. However, the strength in the soil was absorbed by the corn,
which was very detrimental to the trees and therefore, it was
necessary to make a different kind of protection, and something
that would be more permanent. Following this thought, each
tree was sheltered with a board protection about six feet high.
This was all right while the trees were small, but when the trees
grew larger, we realized that something higher had to protect
the trees from the salt sprays, and there the Australian pine
became effectual, having been planted every tenth row, forming
a splendid windbreak, and then the wood shelters were taken
away. The young trees were protected against the hot sun by
mulching with palmetto leaves.
An overhead irrigation system was established for watering
the trees, and clean culture was adopted. With years of ex-
perience, it has proven that clean culture will produce the
smoothest and largest fruit, but where there is a cover crop,
the fruit is not so large but will remain on the trees longer.
Fertilization was applied from two to four times a year. From
their fourth year, when they began to bear, they were sprayed
three to five times each year. The spray was a mixture of
bordeaux and nicotine, used to destroy the fungus and leaf
sucking insects.
In 1909, the year following the planting of the first 3000
trees, more ground was cleared and more trees were set out.
This work took place annually until in 1914, when two hundred

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

acres were under cultivation and more than 11,000 trees had
been planted.
Analysis of the avocado shows it to have the nutritive value
of milk and eggs, the foods which rank highest in vitalizing
calories. The delicious flavor of the fruit and the varied ways
it may be served make the demand for the avocado constantly
In 1914-15 long distance shipping was prohibitive because
of the avocados arriving in bad condition. To meet the emer-
gency, the safety crate was patented. This box is six inches
longer than the usual crate and has a central ice chamber,
which is refilled as needed during the journey so that fruit will
carry in good condition as far as the Pacific Coast. When these
safety crates are used, avocados arrive at destination in a con-
dition that demands highest market prices, in some cases reach-
ing the extreme price of $15 a dozen.
Under favorable conditions a tree will produce twenty
boxes of avocados. Now that the demand for the fruit is estab-
lished, the problem in avocado raising is to increase the season
of production and to extend the orchard acreage.
The season for shipping now is about four months long, be-
ginning the fifteenth of July. Throughout these months the avo-
cado must compete with northern fruits which are then at their
height. Effort is now being made with cross-pollenization to
secure seedlings whose fruit will mature earlier and later than
that of the present varieties.
Cross-pollenization is carried on in three ways-by crossing
two established varieties (such as the Trapp which is a mid-
season producer and the Pollock which fruits early) ; by cross-


YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

ing two seedlings; and lastly by crossing a seedling and an es-
tablished variety. In each case the cross-fertilized blossom is
marked and the seed from the fruit produced planted. In this
way the Lulu and the Collinson, two splendid late seedlings, have
recently been secured, as well as others.
While all other parts of the United States, even South
California, are occasionally subject to freezing temperature,
Southern Florida, situated on the edge of the tropics and tem-
pered on both sides by water, is the best place adapted to the
growing of the avocado. Here in the lower central section of
the state are hundreds of thousands of acres available to the
culture of a fruit already in eager demand.
May our Florida people realize and profit by the matchless
opportunity which their state offers to make the avocado the
most profitable and popular fruit in America.


John Stiles Collins, was born at
Moorestown, N. J., December 29th,
1837. His parents were Isaac Col-
lins and Sarah Collins.
Mr. Collins engaged in the fruit
growing and nursery business in
New Jersey as early as 1855. He
has continued in the fruit growing
S and nursery business up to the pre-
sent time. He came to Florida be-
fore the first railroad was complet-
ed to Palm Beach. He walked from
Jupiter to Juno, Florida, at the head
of Lake Worth and then proceeded
by yacht to West Palm Beach and
vicinity, about twenty-eight years
ago. He bought the first property
/ I at Miami Beach in 1907. He built
SCollins Bridge in 1912 and 1913,
and has since been directly interest-
ed in a large way in the develop-
ment of Miami Beach and vicinity.
Probably no man in Miami Beach
-. or Miami has exceeded Mr. Collins
in a correct vision of the future of
S the two places.

12 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

For countless centuries man lived without any way whatever
of dating the events which took place around him, and now that
with each rising sun he gets a paper with a different string of
names and numbers on it, he imagines somehow that he has
marked his flight through the ether, even though he never re-
turns to the same spot in it nor does there halt for an instant the
mad dance of electrons which compose his everchanging body.
I say this is an important event, because I am speaking in
terms of the avocado, that fruit which so short a time ago was
the "alligator pear," an almost unknown thing to the inhabitants
of the continent of North America.
An event in the new way of looking at things may be con-
sidered to be that instant of time (the present) for which all
past ages have been preparing and which for all coming time
marks the beginning of new changes.
I know it is possible to pull down to the dead level of the
unimportant any gathering of human beings,-to say, "yes, we
had a meeting and did a lot of talking and wasted a lot of time
which we might have spent to better advantage," but that is
the wrong way to go through life, and the man or woman who
lives his life that way largely wastes it, for it is a great illusion
to think that you can alter permanently by one iota the impor-
tance of a single moment by conscious action. You may think
you can, but you can never prove that you have. You cannot
see into the future today any more than your ten year old boy
can. All that any of us can do is to grasp at the moments as
they come like balls thrown at us in a ball game-doing our level
best to play the game.
To try and see if I could get some faint idea of the changing
avocado world which surrounds us this evening, I have read
over the diaries of my early visits to Florida, and I confess they
have convinced me that I have no vision,-that I might almost as
well have tossed a penny and let that decide my actions.
In 1912, which is only twelve years ago, I returned to South
Florida, which I had not visited since 1898. I came down in 1898
with Mr. James E. Ingraham, of the Florida East Coast Railway,
and trudged and bicycled around with the late Fred W. Morse,
then about the only real estate man in Miami. I visited a little ho-
tel at Cutler where a man by the name of Richmond showed me
for the first time a seedling avocado tree about four feet high
and I was shown some old seedling avocado trees somewhere
which I have never been able to locate. I spent a beautiful after-
noon on the banks of the Miami River with Mrs. Tuttle, where to-
day stands a fourteen story apartment house. I met a man by the
name of Boggs, who came out of a little house somewhere near

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 13

Cutler, and who showed me some mango trees which he had
planted. There was a trail from Miami to Coconut Grove which
was completely covered overhead by jungle, and I drove down it
in a one horse buggy to a sleepy old place with a store and a few
frame houses. Near the head of this trail, through the ham-
mock, were two new clearings. The one on the bay side was
right on the water's edge. The one on the other side of the
road was white, with blasted holes in the rock preparatory to
planting trees. Dr. H. J. Webber was in charge, and from funds
provided by Henry M. Flagler who had given the site on the bay,
there was going up a little laboratory. On the six acre tract
which Mrs. Mary Brickell had given, there was a little frame
house-the one that stands there now. I say these sites had been
given. They were offered to the Department of Agriculture by
Mrs. Brickell and by Henry M. Flagler, but the federal statutes
as laid down by our forefathers and intrepreted by narrow
legal advisers of that time forbade the government from accept-
ing land. These legal advisers, none of whom had ever been
in the wilderness of South Florida, advised as the only legal
measure the leasing of these lands from the owners, and so in

...cc_- -- -T)
.. .. .. .. .*

"Blocks of young plants of economic importance, in boxes and pots, in process
of preparation for distribution to experimenters throughout the state and tropical
regions generally. These are as free from disease as it is possible, at the present
state of or knowledge, to make them."

1898 there was started on a piece of land leased for ten years
the first Garden and Field Laboratory ever established by the
federal Department of Agriculture outside of the District cf
It was with this picture in my memory, dimmed a good deal
by five years of exploration and travel over the world, and seven

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

years of office work, that I landed, after fourteen years of
absence, on a February morning in 1912, in Miami. I see in my
diary of that date that I have written some statements which
now seem like milestones. Perhaps I may not offend any if I
read a few of them.
"Alladin's lamp couldn't have transformed a town as
Miami has been transformed since I last saw it in 1898. Imagine
traffic so heavy that cab drivers can only cross streets at regular
"Fred Morse says that land is now selling for $60.00 an.
acre at Homestead. Mr. W. J. Krome is going to settle down
there and be a power in horticulture, I believe."
"Agriculture in a region where the individual plant must be
cared for almost as carefully as though it were a potted plant-
fertilized, pruned, sprayed, pollinated, and protected from cold,
cannot fail to develop an intelligent knowledge of plant physiolo-
gy and pathology quicker than the agriculture of a well watered,
extremely fertile region where trees and shrubs grow if left
alone. Where plants die quickly, if not properly cared for,
people are going to learn how to care for them. Miami is like
one big botanic garden, and we had the remarkable experience
of chasing, in automobiles, from one private garden to another
six miles away to see a rare tree or shrub. Under these condi-
tions plant amateurs are sure to develop."
I returned to Miami in 1913, and it was in that year that
Mr. Charles Deering offered the government the tract of twenty-
five acres adjoining his Buena Vista properties, and which the
veteran tropical explorer O. F. Cook came down with me in 1914
to look over. I notice in the diary for that year the following
"The considerations which seemed to Mr. Cook, Mr. Sim-
monds and me as equally important in the choice of a tract of
land are the following: Accessibility . To put a station
five miles from town would mean that the investigator would
have to pay as much money and spend as much time going to and
from the garden as he would in going twenty-five miles and back
on the train."
In this same diary I notice that Mr. G. E. Merrick, who was
then president of a small real estate company started at his
grove called Coral Gables, offered us ten acres which he said
represented $1500 in money, and agreed to reserve us twenty
acres for a period of years at $135 an acre, so that the govern-
ment might buy this land later. The comment on this offer was
that the distance from any hotels where investigators could
stop, the fact that only people in automobiles could get out to
the gardens, the probability of its being colder than any site
nearer the bay, and the fact that only ten acres were offered,
constituted objections to this tract of land.
I notice also that Carl Fisher took Mr. Simmonds and me
over to "what is known as the Peninsula, where he has cut down
all the mangroves and made land by filling in with dredges. He
offered ten acres of this beach land and said that Mr. Collins
would give us ten acres more across the canal over which he

YEAR BOOK 1923-19294

would build a bridge. The situation is wind swept, and much of
it spray swept. The soil is filled with fine lime particles, and al-
together the situation is entirely unsuited to our use. Besides,
the reason for offering the land is to help sell the lots which
he is offering at $1800 apiece."
You all know what has happened to Coral Gables and
Miami Beach, with either of which developments we might have
tied up. The gardens might perhaps have helped these sub-
divisions somewhat, but we considered them as federal gardens,
designed primarily to help the bona fide planters of this and all
other tropical regions to get for their use the plants which they
needed for their experiments.
This same year Professor Sargent, of the Arnold Arboretum,
the great tree lover and outstanding scientific man of the world
on trees, came to see me, and I took him to the Cutler Hammock.
I see that I have recorded his opinion that it was the best site he
had seen for an arboretum, but also that, in our opinion of that
time, to locate down there would be to put our material so far
out of sight and involve us in so heavy an expense for transpor-
tation, that it did not seem worth considering, even though the
East Coast Railway would possibly get us land in the hammock
twelve miles or more from Miami.
I see that at that time I remarked that "it would be peculiar-
ly appropriate that after all these years an arboretum should be
established on the Perrine grant, which was the first grant of any
kind ever made by the United States government in aid of
As Professor Sargent and I drove back toward Miami and
came to the outskirts of Coconut Grove Professor Sargent, who
was then well into his seventies, turned and said to me, "Fair-
child, there will be three hundred thousand people down here
some day. Nothing can stop this development."
I finished yesterday the writing of these statements,-these
might-have-beens-and felt a bit discouraged, but there came to
lunch at my house Mr. Hugh T. Birch, of Chicago, who was an
old friend of Henry M. Flagler, and I appealed to him to know if
the vision which has been attributed to him really was not more
of the nature of a determination to go ahead rather than any con-
viction of what was going to happen here. Then he told me how
Mr. Flagler could not see anything in the Biscayne Bay region,
and declared that his road would not be built below Palm Beach,
how he first developed a site on the Lake Worth side of the Pen-
insula and had to fill in the swamp which separated it from the
ocean front where the Breakers now stands, and of other cases
where he was mistaken in his estimate of how things here would
develop. The present narrow streets of Miami I have heard at-
tributed to his failure to believe that Miami would grow and
become a real city.
After hearing these stories, I felt better, to think that after
all we representatives of the federal Department of Agriculture
have not made any more mistakes than those who were more
familiar with the situation. In other words, let us attribute to
no one the power of prophesy, for no such power exists, and

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

when people claim to have had it, they are claiming something
which they have not the power to prove they have. What some
people have is more eagerness to push on, is all, and in pushing
on they get deeper into the midst of things and see more and get
the habit of being fearless of the future.
So, as I have said before, I feel that this is an important
event, though I cannot prove it, for it seems to me that we have
here a tract of land capable of improvement and upon which can
be grown a large variety of economic and ornamental plants. It
is tied up to a great federal government which has correspon-
dents in all parts of the world and sends out explorers in search
of seeds and living plants and which is studying the diseases of
plants and will watch to see that no pests get in with those
plants which are brought from foreign countries.
Since we were here last year, through the conscientious
efforts of these men here, Messrs. Dorsett, Patten, and Steffani,
we have what I believe to be the most up-to-date slat house and
most modern greenhouse which have been constructed within
sight of the coconut palm; in other words, the most perfect

The slats are all grooved to conduct off the rain drops and prevent drips from
washing small plants, out of their pots. The soil is all sterilized and every facility
has been installed for maintaining perfectly healthy plants of hundreds of species for
distribution to growers in Florida and California and throughout the tropics.
equipment for the production of disease-free seedlings and cut-
tings. We have studied the soil reactions and have made up a
potting soil which is neutral or even slightly acid in character,
instead of being as we have usually had it,-alkaline. The
collection of plants which is gathered here,-a beginning only
of what we shall have here, represents the experience of such
men as Edward Simmonds, who for the past fifteen years has
studied faithfully the behavior of thousands of plant species im-
ported from foreign countries, and whose experience is a most
valuable asset in the building up of such an institution. It repre-
sents further the work of our agricultural explorer Mr. J. F.
Rock, who spent many months in the untracked tropical wilder-
ness of northern Siam, and whose last letter, which arrived today,
reports him fleeing from bandits across the border of Tibet into
western China-fleeing to get away from the Nanke Lama who
was attacking Batang with a thousand Tibetan soldiers. It repre-
sents the experience of Mr. Wilson Popenoe, the explorer, who

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

after two years in the mountains of Central and South America
has settled down in Washington to direct other explorers and
workers in this office of Plant Introduction, and it represents the
accumulations of a quarter of a century of experience in the get-
ting of plants and their distribution to the plant experimenters
of this country, which experience is embodied in seventy-four in-
ventories or over 50,000 different species and varieties of plants.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your institution. It is not
mine. It is for you to use, and it is for you to help build up so that
it will help you build up your own places and this whole region.
Whenever I have told people accustomed to large develop-
ments upon what a modest sum of money we have gone ahead in
the development of this Garden, they have been astonished. The
facts are that there never has been brought to bear upon Con-
gress anything like the pressure which deserves to be brought
to have this garden made into what it can be made a
tremendous factor in the development of South Florida agricul-
ture and tropical agriculture in general.
Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I want to take you into the
government's confidence. I want to lay our cards on the table
and let you see what a group of your public servants have been
doing for you and others like you scattered all over this country,
at a total expense of'about $180,000 a year,-a sum less a great
deal than the income of one single newspaper owner who has his
home here in your own midst.
With this $180,000 we run six separate introduction gardens in
different localities which have climates suited for propagation.
We maintain agricultural explorers in foreign countries, col-
lecting seeds and plants for us. We run an importing office from
which go out every day requests for plants all over the world. We
run an inspection house where every seed and plant is carefully
inspected, fumigated and if necessary held ior a year in quaran-
tine. We publish a description of every variety of seed or plant
imported and distribute to every large library and experiment
station in the country a copy of these printed descriptions. We
maintain a photographic establishment with a trained photo-
grapher, one of the best in America, who takes the best photo-
graphs which can be taken of these new plants as soon as they
show signs of fruiting. There is no other collection of plant
photographs in the world which gives in so complete a way the
history of the growth of any new plant industry into a country.
We have a seed collection in which is kept a sample of every
seed imported. We have a herbarium of the plants brought in.
But we do more, much more than simply grow the plants
in one or other of our-Gardens so that people can see them, for
we send the little plant immigrants out by the hundreds of
thousands to over ten thousand experimenters, selected as best
we can from the hundreds of thousands of applicants for plants
who write to us for experimental plant material.
But we have done more than this. We have investigated
hundreds of specially promising plants to the extent of planting
out trial orchards in which new varieties have been fruited. We
have gone even further. We have studied the methods of cook-

18 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

ing the fruits and vegetables and published the recipes for their
preparation. We have even gone further. We have written
advertisements, extolling the good qualities of such vegetables
and induced dealers to handle them and distribute our carefully
worded circulars regarding them.
All these things we have done on an appropriation which
began with $20,000 in 1898 and which in a quarter of a century
Congress has seen fit to increase to about $180,000 only.
We have done these things and in doing them have helped
the farmers of America to establish plant industries which yield
them every year over $140,000,000. Now, $140,000,000 may not
be much, but consider that it means $140,000,000 which is
spent in the country-not in the city.
What is it we are most concerned about in America? Lest
we starve to death? No. Lest we become too powerful? No.
Is it not lest the standard of our citizenry be lowered? I think
that this is the most serious thing in American life today, and
when I travel through the citrus groves of this region or Cali-
fornia, the walnut groves of the Pacific Coast, the pecan planta-
tion of Texas, and see the thousands of little American children
playing about the farm houses or picking fruits or nuts in their
parents' orchards, I cannot help feeling that this work of plant-
ing new industries in the country is going to have a direct bearing
upon the future welfare of American life.
It is from this standpoint that I feel this new avocado
industry is to be viewed,-the human standpoint the standpoint
of the next generation.
I am not one of those who believes that the next generation
can take care of itself, because in my own lifetime I have seen
plants, beautiful forest trees,-beautiful flowering trees, grow
scarcer and finally become extinct through the carelessness of
man, and because the doing of something which would appear to
have a beneficial effect upon the coming generations yet unborn
seems to me a far more interesting and practical motive of ex-
istence than to do something which brings only transient satis-
faction or something which would assure one a seat among the
In my imagination I think I can see here in South Florida
a hundred thousand acres of avocado groves each with its
home among them, each with families of bare headed children,
each with its school out of which will graduate the coming race
of Americans who will pioneer the tropics,-who because of
their love of warm weather and their knowledge of tropical
plants shall take to the tropics like ducks do to the water.
Don't let us for a moment forget that what we are fighting
for is to sustain and build up here a community of boys and girls
who shall know the tropics and conquer them,-a very different
thing from building up of a county in central Illinois or Iowa,
an increase in the population of the corn belt, or with the better-
ing of living conditions on the East Side of New York City, an in-
crease in the number of clothes makers or traders in city made
and city controlled products. The two problems are entirely
different ones, and any student of genetics would not hesitate

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 19

a moment to throw his influence with the building of country
homes on the edge of the tropics for American boys and girls,
rather than the increase of facilities for the education of city
children in city things. The country needs the country boys
and girls and America is going to need thousands of tropical
pioneers out of which will come the geniuses who will con-
quer its inexhaustible forces with organizations and the dis-
coveries of sciences, without which it is doomed to remain the
fallow wealth of the world.
This Chapman Field Garden needs your help now. It is
time that the people of the state and the people of Dade County
appealed for assistance for it. It can use from now on larger
funds than are available for its use out of the $180,000 which
must be distributed over the whole country. There are now
enough people here to make the appeal a real one. The govern-
ment man cannot appeal for funds; he can ask and be denied is
all. It remains for the people to present their opinions and urge
the desirability of appropriations, Ladies and Gentlemen, this
Chapman Field has full cause for substantial support.

20 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

I remember very well some twenty years ago, when I made
my first avocado planting, how the few cranks who believed
in the commercial possibilities of the fruit, used to discuss
earnestly the merits of this or that variety. At that time there
were a number of seedling trees located in the vicinity of Miami,
which bore fruit of better than average quality and our efforts
in the way of securing varieties were mainly directed towards
obtaining the seeds of these higher-class fruits. Which strain
was to prove the best in a commercial way was the problem
upon which we expended much verbal energy.
A little later Mr. Cellon brought out several varieties of
budded avocados of the West Indian race and his selections were
so well made that two of these, the Trapp and Pollock, are still
classed among our better commercial varieties. But hardly had
we settled down to the planting of Pollocks for summer and
early fall maturing fruit and Trapps for the late fall market,
when the first of the Guatemalan varieties began to come into
bearing and since then our problem has become more complicat-
ed each year, until about the hardest question which the pros-
pective avocado grower can ask now is "What varieties shall I
plant?" During the past ten years, literally hundreds of variet-
ies have been given more or less trial in Florida and California
and each succeeding year is adding to the number. A large
proportion of this multitude has been disposed of by processes of
elimination and many others are still on the doubtful list, but at
the present time the grower has a choice of some ten or twelve
varieties, with seasons of maturity extending from mid-summer
until late spring, any of which may be planted with fair prospects
of commercial success. Better varieties will undoubtedly be devel-
oped but these will be determined only after trial extending
through a period of years, during which many that at first seem
most promising will go into the discard where we have already
sent a fine lot of once-pleasing candidates for favor. My advice
to the prospective planter of a commercial avocado grove is to
make haste slowly when it comes to running after new varieties,
even though these may seem more promising than any of the
older, well-tested kinds. At present, in Dade County alone, quite
a number of expert top-workers could be kept busy throughout
the season correcting the many cases of misplaced enthusiasm
for new varieties.
After the grower has made his decision as to the varieties
which he will plant, the question frequently arises as to the
selection of the land upon which he is to make his planting. It
has often been said that the avocado dislikes 'wet feet,' but this
certainly should not be construed to mean that it is a lover of
drought and heat as is the mango. In many respects these two

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 21



YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

sub-tropical fruit trees are diametrically unlike in their cultural
requirements. The mango grows to best advantage and fruits
with much greater reliability on high, dry, sandy land, apparent-
ly little benefited by mulch or irrigation, while the avocado
wants a heavier soil, water in great plenty and is wonderfully
grateful for a covering of mulch, to protect from the direct
heat of the sun, the area through which its feeding roots are for-
aging. Land which is sour, poorly drained or subject to period-
ical over-flows, even of short duration, is an unsafe location for
an avocado grove, but a tract where the water table is regularly
within three or four feet of the surface is preferable to high land
where the roots have no opportunity to get down to permanent
moisture. Other things being equal, those sections of our state
which have the highest annual rainfall possess a decided advan-
tage for the culture of avocados. Probably the greatest con-
tributing factor to the marked success of avocado growing in the
Redland section of Dade County is the fact that this locality
has the highest annual rainfall of any in the Southern or Central
regions of the state, as far as such data have been determined by
the observation stations of the U. S. Weather Bureau.
The land having been selected and the trees planted, the
avocado grower is at once, and forever, thereafter, confronted
with the twin problems of cultivation and fertilization. Culti-
vation, in the broader meaning of the term, which includes all
forms of tillage and the various processes of soil management,
and fertilization in the sense of the word which embraces the
entire routine of supplying nourishment to a plant.
I think that it may be safely said that along these lines
avocado culture is still strictly in its infancy. As to cultivation
we are possibly a stride or two in advance of our knowledge of
fertilization, but in all that pertains to the growing of the
avocado tree we still have much to learn. Certain it is that much
of the knowledge gleaned from many years' experience in the
culture of citrus trees may be seriously misleading if applied too
literally in handling the avocados.
A few points have been demonstrated until they apparently
may be accepted as proved. First and foremost of these is the
fact that the root-system of the avocado is extremely sensitive
to interference and any form of cultivation which brings about a
disturbance of the tree roots is wrong and bound to lead to
trouble if kept up for any length of time. As the feeding roots
of the avocado usually lie quite close to the surface and extend
for surprising distances, even in the case of young trees, this
means that deep plowing, harrowing or hoeing are very likely to
cause damage. Evidently only shallow tillage should be
practiced and not more often than is necessary to keep too
heavy a sod from forming around the tree. Beyond the limit to
which the feeding roots have extended, clean cultivation may be
kept up and in some respects seems to be the proper thing. As
previously indicated, the avocado tree requires plenty of mois-
ture, and most Florida soils are apt to be quite dry during the
winter and early spring months. During this period cover crops
of any kind are likely to be of doubtful value on account of the

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 23

moisture which they draw from the soil, intensifying a con-
dition that at best is not most favorable for the tree. Where
the deficiency in soil moisture is replaced by irrigation water
there may be good argument for a continuous cover crop of some
kind, but where the condition of the trees indicates a shortage
of water supply it does not seem the part of wisdom to divide
the moisture which may be available between the avocado trees
and other forms of vegetation.
This whole matter of cover crops in the avocado grove is
one which needs careful investigation. Too high temperatures
in the surface soil seem quite certainly to be detrimental to the
tender feeding roots of the avocado, and a shaded condition
over the whole root system is apparently desirable. This con-
dition, however, is difficult of attainment without introducing
other factors which may negative the benefits derived. The
cover crops which will best shade the ground are likely to have
vigorous, wide spreading root systems which are able to compete
successfully with the avocado in securing the major portion
of the available soil moisture. Personally I have tried a num-
ber of legumes around avocado trees and have yet to find one
that meets all of the requirements. Crops of bush-velvet beans
and cow-peas kept fairly well out from the trees and covering the
middles, when planted about the time the summer rains begin
and kept mowed after dry weather sets in during the fall, serve
alright as soil builders but are not of much advantage in the way
of shading the ground in which lie the avocado feeding roots, as
purposely this area is left unplanted. The pigeon pea has
much to recommend it but does not fully answer the purpose.
A double row of pigeon peas planted in an arc of a circle around
the tree, leaving the northwest and north sides exposed, the
second year after planting will completely shade the ground,
provide an effective windbreak and furnish a fine lot of legumin-
ous mulch in the way of dropped leaves. The main disadvantage
to this form of cover is that the pigeon pea makes a rather slow
start and does not afford much shade the first year after planting,
while the second year its growth is very rapid and before the
third year the bushes will attain a size such that it is usually
necessary to remove them in order to prevent crowding the
trees. The heavy growth during the second year will transform
the grove to something very much resembling a jungle, which is
an ideal condition from some viewpoints but interferes con-
siderably with such operations as spraying and fertilizing. By
the end of the second year the stalks of the pigeon pea bushes
will frequently attain a diameter of two inches and a height of
eight to ten feet and when cut, must be either hauled from the
grove or piled out of the way in the middles, where the brush
heap will rot in the course of a year or two and furnish' a nice
lot of humus. Until these piles do rot down however they add
considerably to the fire risk in the grove. Probably an ideal way
in which to handle the pigeon pea would be to plant a new ring
each year just beyond the old, cutting the inner circle when the
bushes have reached the age of two years. The pigeon pea,
like any other cover we have tried, draws on the supply of soil

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

moisture more heavily than is desirable, but on account of the
fewer number of root systems probably does not remove as
great an aggregate quantity of water, in porportion to the
shade afforded, as would a crop of velvet beans or cowpeas. In
some localities it has been reported, that after growing pigeon
peas a few years, nematodes in the soil became so bad that a
satisfactory growth to the bushes was no longer attainable.
A close-lying legume, which will hug the ground and pro-
duce a-maximum of shade with a minimum of vegetative growth,
one which does not require replanting annually, and at the same
time does not produce stalks or vines so heavy as to amount,
to a nuisance, and one which will persist and make its way,
against such grove pests as the shepherd needle and some of our
imported grasses, seems to be the ideal cover which we are seek-
ing in the avocado grove. So far the Sarawack bean, which has
been under test for the past several years at the U. S. Plant In-
troduction Station at Miami, seems to more nearly fill this bill
than any other legume which I have observed.
The advantages gained by mulching are three-fold. First
the protection of the surface soil from the direct rays of the
sun; second, the better retention of water supplied by rainfall or
by irrigation and third the addition of organic matter in the form
of humus. An indirect benefit accrues through the keeping
down of weed growth. The benefits of proper mulching have
been demonstrated with citrus and other fruit trees, as well as
with the avocado, but to the latter it seems almost essential. Yet
mulch improperly handled may be worse than no mulch at all.
The tendency of any moisture retaining covering to the soil
is to draw the feeding roots upward and as the mulch itself is
usually of an organic nature, these roots may enter the mulch
and forage through it as a feeding range. If the mulch is later
removed during the course of cultivation, the feed-roots are
then exposed and are sure to be damaged. Mulching, once
begun, must be kept up, and with a program of this kind in view,
applications of mulch should be fairly frequent and light. My
own method is to apply a light mulch after the fall fertilizing,
leave this on during the dry season and, after the rains have
begun, rake it away from the trees towards the middles where
it may be disked into the soil. Many materials have been used
for mulch the best of which are stable litter or bean vines which
also supply organic plant food. Wild hay, pine straw, rotten
wood and bark or even pine shavings have all been used to
advantage, though some of these materials serve only as a thatch
and in some cases, if applied too heavily will shed the natural
rainfall like a shingle roof and defeat the main purpose which
they are expected to serve.
Just how much we have learned about the food require-
ments of the avocado is doubtful and it is also probable that
quite a bit which we think we have learned is not true. Two
ideas have become quite generally accepted by avocado growers
during the past few years in regard to fertilizers for their trees
but it is not at all certain that either is based on a good founda-
tion of facts. One of these is the theory' that avocados thrive

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

best on plant foods derived wholly from organic sources, the
other is the opinion that nitrate of soda has an actual toxic effect
when applied as a fertilizer around an avocado tree. Personally
I like to use organic ammoniates in fertilizing my avocados, but
I will confess that my preferences in that line are not as well-
founded as I could wish. As a general proposition, however,
I use fertilizers made up largely from organic matter, not only
in fertilizing avocados but on all kinds of citrus as well. My
main reason for so doing is the fact that these organic materials
either supply or lend themselves more readily to the work of
soil bacteria than do mineral fertilizers and in the long run build
up the land to a greater extent. I do not use nitrate of soda
as an avocado fertilizer but this is not on account of any damage
which I have observed from its use. As far is I have been able to
learn anything about the habits of the avocado it seems to be a
slower feeder than any variety of citrus which I have had op-
portunity to watch. Nitrate of soda, while quickly available is
also quickly gone, and for this reason I do not believe that it is
well adapted for the use of the avocado. Anyone who has ex-
amined the feeding rootlets of a vigorous citrus tree knows that
there are great numbers of these fine tendrils all functioning to
take up whatever plant food is within their reach. An ap-
plication of nitrate of soda, quickly dissolved and made
available, coming into the range of the mass of feeders of this
kind, is rapidly taken up, converted into the proper form of food
for the tree and produces an effect in the way of growth in a
very short time. The feed roots of the avocado are quite a'
different proposition. Instead of a great number of fine threads
we have a comparatively few fleshy root ends which must serve
the same purpose. It seems logical to suppose that the ability
of these feeders to take up plant food will not be as greats
as that of the much larger number with which the citrus tree is
Dried blood is a highly nitrogenous material and its avail-
ability is sufficiently rapid to meet my ideas of the requirements
of the avocado. I use it in my avocado mixtures quite liberally
and supplement it with such other organic ammoniates as tank-
age, cottonseed meal, bird guano and fish scrap.
As to the potash content of our avocado fertilizers there
seems to be even less certainty than as to the nitrogen. The gen-
eral tendency has been towards comparatively low percentages
of potash and my own theories have been in agreement with
this line of thought but some tests made during the past year
lead me to believe that there may be very good reasons for a
decidedly higher proportion of potash than has been commonly
used. It is the same with the phosphoric acid. At best we are
very much in the dark. The fertilizer manufactures candidly
state that they know nothing about the matter and are looking
to the avocado growers to lead the way in determining the re-
quirements of their trees. The avocado growers on their part
are mainly guessing. Actual research work is badly needed and
help of a reliable nature must be had in the near future unless
large sums are to be wasted annually in supplying our trees with

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

foods which are not properly adapted to their needs and in some
cases may be actually dangerous.
Happily the avocado tree is a lusty plant which in proper en-
vironment will stand much abuse, and given half a chance will
develop to a point where it may be expected to bear more or less
bountiful crops of fruit. But it cannot protect itself against such
outside agencies as the insect pests and fungous diseases which
have selected it as their host. The grower must do his part in
securing the riddance of such handicaps or must abide the result
of damaged trees and inferior fruit.
The insect pests which infest the avocado have been given
considerable study during the past few years and quite efficaci-
ous control measures have been worked out. The two pests
most likely to do serious damage, the dictyospermum scale and
the avocado red spider, may be held in check by spraying meth-
ods simple enough to leave little excuse for their neglect on the
part of the grower who really makes a business of caring for
his trees.
Our knowledge as to the fungous diseases which affect the
avocado is not as complete as it should be. We know that two
of these diseases which are particularly annoying, avocado
scab and the black-spotting of the fruit, may be controlled by the
use of Bordeaux mixture or other fungicides if these are applied
in the proper strength and at the right times, but just what
spray mixtures to use and just when to use them are rather un-
certain factors which should be definitely determined. Here
again we are in need of outside assistance, which we must have
before long or stand the losses which result from an unneces-
sarily high percentage of low grade fruit.
When his trees have reached a bearing age the avocado
grower faces the same problem that every producer must solve.
That of disposing of his product. The benefits of co-operation
between producers, the sins of the middle man, the advantages
of careful grading and packing and the necessity for well-
planned distribution have all been harped upon until we know
the tune by heart and yet we have always the old problem with
us. Suffice it to say that, in the case of the avocado grower, if
he lets this problem assume serious proportions he has no one
to blame except himself. With a product of undoubted merit,
which builds a demand wherever properly introduced, with
limitations in the way of soil and climate which restrict pro-
duction to comparatively small areas and with a seasonal range
of maturity which will permit an almost perfect adjustment to
the needs of the consumer, the avocado grower has a far simpler
marketing problem than has the grain farmer, the cattle raiser,
the apple grower or the producer of citrus fruits. It would seem
that there is little need for him to travel the rough route that
all these others have been stumbling along for ages, yet that is
the path he will probably choose to follow and it may be con-
fidently expected that before long we will hear the old cries
go up of "Over production," "No demand," "Too great a spread
between producer and consumer" and the various other in-
harmonious noises that are made when one stubs his toe in the

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 27

dark. After that the avocado grower will wake up and go about
his business in a business-like way, as he should have done in
the first place.
One other problem, of rather recent origin, has arisen
which every real grower of avocados should help to solve. That
is a matter which affects the reputation of the industry. Only
a year or two ago, a writer on horticultural topics in a magazine
article dealing with sub-tropical fruits, emphasized the fact that
avocado culture had gone forward in an unusually conservative
manner, without the beating of tom-toms or the shouts of the
bally hoo man. Rather astonishing profits had been made in
some cases from raising the fruit and yet there had been little
undue exploitation or misrepresentation of facts. I think that
you are all aware that the situation at present is not just as it was
then represented. From various quarters one may hear the
echo of distorted facts, the blatant setting forth of claims which
are impossible of realization and all the noisy get-rich-quick
propaganda which usually accompanies the "sucker game." It
matters not whether such misrepresentation is due to ignorance
and inexperience or to wilfull knavery, the results are much the
same. Neither does it concern those interested in the welfare of
the industry that people who will bite on bait of this kind
would never invest in an avocado grove on the basis of actual
facts, but would lose their money in oil wells or wire-tapping
ventures if they were deprived of the opportunity of making
their fortunes over-night in avocado culture. What does con-
cern everyone legitimately connected with the industry is the
fact that games of this sort hurt the whole business of growing
and selling avocados. A little carelessness on the part of some
packer cost the olive growers of California hundreds of
thousands of dollars and while the cases are not exactly parallel
we know that there are poisons which will affect the mind as well
as those which affect the stomach and either may do a vast
amount of injury unless an antidote is found. The antidote in
this case is a fair, square statement of facts to the best of one's
knowledge, whenever opportunity presents and the members of
this Association are particularly responsible for the fair name of
the industry which it represents.
Avocado growing has its problems, some of them pressing,
and it is up to us to see that the proper solutions are found with
the least possible delay. If we are to sit still and wait for these
questions to answer themselves or expect others to work them
out for us, we will have long to wait and an expensive seat to
rest in while we are waiting. I believe that, with proper co-
operation on the part of our growers, our Federal and State
authorities will be found willing to assist us in getting light along
some of the paths where we are now going blindly. Along
others we must feel our own way, but, even so, it is certain that
we will find the road making easier, if through active support of
an Association such as this, we pool our interests, then if each of
us tries to hew out a way for himself.

28 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

Avocado growing in Florida as a commercial proposition has
been known for so few years, in so limited a section, that there
is practically no printed matter on the subject outside of a few
short directions in nurserymen's catalogues and one or two
Government bulletins. There is a great deal that can be written
about avocados, for their culture presents many problems and
points of differences from the culture of say, grapefruit and
orange trees throughout the rest of Florida. Even in the time
that the writer has been interested in, and engaged in avocado
growing, a good many changes have taken place. Fourteen
years ago, when I came to Dade County, the Trapp and Pollock
were the only two budded varieties that were propagated. The
avocado was then considered a very difficult tree to start and
bring to successful production in grove plantings. Even Mr.
Cellon, the pioneer in the avocado nursery business, conceded
that a young grove would usually require replanting to the ex-
tent of a quarter, a third or even a half of the original trees to
obtain a full stand. Since then a considerable advance has been
made among growers, gained year by year by experience and
word of mouth.
In growing avocados the first factor to consider is selection
of stock. In this of course is included the selection of varieties
to be planted. The naming of the best varieties today,
I shall leave to someone else. There is considerable
difference of opinion and there has been a tendency in the past
few years to get away from the older varieties, particularly the
Trapp. Whether the new varieties of later season will prove to
be more profitable in the long run still remains to be seen. What-
ever varieties are planted, a good many years' experience in
shipping has shown that the most profitable avocado should com-
bine, so far as possible, all of the following characteristics:
1. Fruit should be of medium size, running preferably
from three-quarters of a pound to a pound and a quarter, in size
to pack mostly 36 and 46 fruit to the crate.
2. Fruit should be of round or oblong shape without too
long neck.
3. Fruit should be of smooth or fairly smooth skin. The
rough, hard-shelled Guatemalans have not been taken kindly by
the trade so far. It is possible that they will be taken better as
they become better known, but undoubtedly a smooth fruit will
have a continued advantage.
4. A green avocado is more desirable than the red, other
things being equal.
5. If any estimate can be made as to what months in the
year will see the marketing of the principal part of fruit of our
present plantings, new plantings should be selected from varie-

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

ties that will bear in the lighter months. It should be borne in
mind that the main avocado season has always been from July
through the Holidays. So far a great deal of the trade prac-
tically stops handling avocados after January first. Our best
efforts should be used to lengthen the season, but undoubtedly
this condition now exists.
6. Varieties planted should be of strong habit of growth,
capable of supporting a reasonable crop to maturity without un-
due strain on the tree or dying back.
7. Varieties should be good bearers, not necessarily early
bearers, as this may be an indication of weakness in the tree, but
when mature they should be capable of bearing to capacity with
at least fair regularity.
Not only good varieties but well-grown nursery stock is also
an extremely important factor in any successful avocado grow-
ing. Not alone the character and reputation of the nurseryman,
but also the appearance and age of the particular trees in
question is important. Avocado nursery stock may be grown
either in the box from the planting of the seed or may be grown


YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

in the open ground and after the bud is established may be trans-
ferred to boxes. Both methods make good trees, though the
writer leans towards the open field planting. It is important in
selecting nursery stock that the young trees shall have been
grown fairly quickly but not too much so, and that they shall
not have been in the box so long as to have become root-bound.
An old tree or a tree that has suffered any set-back is liable to
be more of an expense in a grove than anything else. A tree
that has grown steadily and has not suffered any set-back, that
is young but not too small, will grow right along in the field
when it is set out. It should be old enough to have hard wood
above the bud.
The next important point in avocado growing is selection
and preparation of land. The avocado does very well in the
rock land of Dade County. In fact trees grow on less fertilizer
and keep up better in a soil which may have been originally a
good part solid rock than they do in any sand. Avocado trees
should not be planted in land subject to overflow. If planted in
a muck or hammock soil the avocado grows extremely fast and
makes a large tree in a few years, but personally I much prefer
trees grown on the poorer high, rocky sand land where their
growth and bearing season can be controlled by applying or
with-holding fertilizer.
With the trees and land selected, land should be prepared
after clearing by staking holes about twenty-five feet apart each
way and making of tree holes. These tree holes in rock soil
should be blasted out to a depth of three feet in center and it is
good policy to make them at least six feet in diameter, though
the rim of this tree hole need not be over a foot deep. A good
many avocado trees have been planted with very little rock
removed, either in center or for lateral roots. To a certain ex-
tent the avocado tree is capable of making its own way, but
there is no doubt that older trees are handicapped if there is not
room for even main crown roots under the ground. Some
growers scarify the entire tract before planting, to a depth of
several inches. Some solid grub where land is suitable, and
both are very good practice where money is available. It is
also possible, however, to make the original tree hole at the
start and enlarge this as the tree grows.
In the planting of trees after the land is prepared, con-
siderable care should be taken. Young trees can be planted
during any month of the year when their latest growth is
hardened up, though there is an advantage in planting in cool-
er weather of winter months. The ball of dirt around the roots
in the box should not be broken and the box should be care-
fully removed. Use plenty of water and make a permanent basin
capable of holding a bucket of water easily. Plant trees high
enough so that they will be several inches above what you judge
the permanent level of the land will be after all the rock work
has been done. I do not believe in the extremely high planting
that is sometimes practiced. Our land is ordinarily well drained
and there is no danger of foot-rot in avocados. Any plant-
ing higher than is necessary means more watering. Young

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 31

trees when planted should be mulched down with pine-needles
or wild grass. Shavings are also used by some. If the young
tree when planted has not sufficient leaves to shade its own trunk
or if the newest growth is tender, trees should be shaded with
sacking stretched on three small sticks to keep off all sun except

-"- -- ..


in early morning or late afternoon. A moderate amount of stable
manure can be mixed with the soil under and around the trees
before planting, but this should not be placed against the roots
of newly planted trees. The fact that the nurseryman has al-
ready placed manure in some form in his potting soil insures the
presence of the nitrifying bacteria which will spread with the
growth of the roots and "tame" the new land as the tree grows.
Careful planting, shading and sufficient water will keep a full
stand of trees growing with very few replacements. After plant-
ing, if weather is dry and soil light, watering should be every
day for a few days, then every other day and later if necessary
once or twice a week. In all such matters constant watching
and common sense realization of what the tree must have for its
wellbeing will give the young plants what they need in time
to keep them going along evenly.
Young avocados take a little time to become established.
With many varieties the first year does not see any great in-
crease in size but puts them in position to grow more rapidly
from then on. Application of fertilizer on small trees should
be fairly often, say once in two months or certainly not longer
than once in three months. This fertilizer should have its am-
monia practically altogether from organic sources and should
have a fair balance of phosphoric acid and some potash, though

32 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

not much of the latter is really needed until trees begin to bear.
I have seen good groves raised to bearing age on straight tankage
or cottonseed meal, the former of which has no potash what-
ever. Some stable manure can be used occasionally, but I believe
best results to be obtained by using mostly organic commercial
fertilizer. Do not use sulphate of ammonia. Use nitrate of
soda sparingly and my personal choice is for some form of bone
as a source of phosphoric acid rather than superphosphate.
At bearing age avocado trees should be receiving liberal
application of high grade fertilizer and the potash in this should
be increased. Many bearing groves do well on three good ap-
plications a year, but some years at least four are better. This
is a matter of judgement, depending on weather conditions,
variety of trees and amount of fruit, amount of fertilizer used
per application and also cultivation required by trees. Some
growers apply fertilizer on the ground and do not make any
cultivation except to mow the weeds. Personally, I believe
hoeing in the fertilizer is best and should be done at least until
trees get to be of considerable age. Some argue that the cul-
tivation cuts back the feeding roots at the surface, but if such
hoeing is done regularly with every application, is thorough
but shallow, such work seems to stimulate rather than retard
the trees. Certainly they show greater growth normally under
this treatment than where such work is omitted. The tractoring
of groves where the drag can only cultivate the top of the soil
is beneficial and usually means a saving over the hoeing of large
trees. Care should be taken that cultivation of any kind should
be shallow. Fertilizer should be spread in a wide circle around
the trees, starting almost from the ends of the branches whatever
age trees may be, till trees have practically grown together.
With bearing trees the time of application of fertilizer
is important. Good crops are the result of getting the trees into
good condition before blooming time, and from this point of
view the fall application is the most important one of the year.
The time of this will depend somewhat on the variety. Varieties
such as the Trapp whose fruit comes off in the fall have to be
handled in such a way as not to stimulate the tree unduly while
the fruit is still hanging. If the fruit is removed early from
Trapp trees, fertilizer should follow immediately after fruit is
off. If crop is not important, if variety is early, like Pollocks,
or very late, a September fertilizing gets the advantage of the
fall rains, puts on a strong fall growth which means plenty of
bearing wood for the spring and gives the tree the vigor which
is bound to show in the next crop. At any rate sometime be-
tween September and November a good application should be put
on, and another anywhere from December to February, depend-
ing on the time of the previous application, and a third ap-
plication in the early summer. For bearing trees, I believe a
fertilizer application approximately five per cent. ammonia,
five to eight per cent. phosphoric acid and seven per cent. potash
should be used in the winter. In summer this same application
can still be used, or one a little lighter in ammonia and heavier
in potash, depending upon the condition and appearance of the

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

trees and amount of fruit. It must be emphasized that the
amount of fertilizer, the balance of ammonia and potash and the
time of application are matters which must be decided upon by
the intelligent grower according to the variety of the tree, its
age and appearance, soil conditions, rainfall, season of fruit
maturity, and amount of fruit.
Most of the older budded groves have consisted mostly of
Trapp avocados. The Trapp is a difficult tree to handle because
it over-bears and because it is hard to keep it in first class shape
and still get a late maturing crop. At the same time, it is very
doubtful whether we shall ever get a much better tree for its
season. If Trapp trees are heavily fertilized and fertilized
early, the fruit tends to gain size and start dropping early in
September when there are still a good many seedling fruit
coming in both from this section and from Cuba. On the other
hand, if fertilizer is made light and high in potash, and applied
late the fruit will mature a little later and hang better during the
fall rains, but it will be at the price of the tree's vitality, and
this procedure must certainly cut the following year's crop.
Some balance has to be struck according to the size of the crop
then on the trees and its probable value, also the age of the
tree. With young trees the gaining of size and bearing capacity
should be the first object. With old trees of good size, the
crop itself is the main thing.
The careful and intelligent fertilizing of avocado trees is
easily the most important item in the care of the grove, once
the trees are established and of good size. Very little pruning
is needed. Far easier than citrus trees, they tend to shape
themselves and except for overbearing, they show very little
There are some avocado diseases however, and so far as
possible these should be prevented by spraying. There are two
principal diseases which now exist in Dade County. One is the
so-called Scab, sometimes called rust, an infection which is
sometimes found in the South end of the County as a small, thick-
ly clustered surface spot of not unpleasant appearance which
causes no damage to eating quality of fruit. Spraying with
bordeaux solution beginning at blooming time with at least
three applications ten days apart, to be followed by several less
frequent applications later, usually prevents the greater part of
this where present. The other disease is a Black Spot, also so
far as known, caused by a fungus, but usually present where
over-ammoniation exists. This develops as a black spot on the
fruit which penetrates into the flesh and causes a widening soft
rot as the fruit ripens. The removal of over-ammoniation and
spraying the tree with bordeaux solution in the same manner as
for scab usually effect a cure.
In addition to the above the avocado is also subject in a small
way to the Avocado Whitefly which is ordinarily easily con-
trolled, also a little scale, both of which yield to any good oil
spray. More important is the red spider. This usually attacks
trees in the fall and winter if the weather becomes very dry, and
especially those trees that have had a heavy crop. It spreads very

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

fast but ordinarily can be controlled rather easily if sprayed
with lime sulphur solution in time. Mr. Krome has had some
interesting experience with red spider during a wet summer
period, but this seems to be an exception from the common rule
of infection. In addition to the red spider we have the thrip, a
small sucking insect which works in the bloom and on the very
small stems and fruit just after the bloom drops. Application of
nicotine at blooming time helps on these, but they are hard to dis-
lodge and there is no doubt in my mind that they account for
a great deal. of the shedding of bloom and the dropping of
young fruit. I believe this is particularly so on the Pollock
variety. The Trapp can also be considerably damaged by their
Trees are occasionally attacked by a disease known as roset-
ting, the cause and cure of which are not yet plain, though prob-
ably physiological. This has some points of resemblance to
frenching on citrus trees, but corresponds more closely to an-
thracnose. The leaves come out small and curled up, the tree
is subject to dieback and the fruit on it may be marked by a:
sunken black spot. Various remedies have been tried
with more or less success, including the application of
some straight organic ammoniate, especially shrimp or
fish scrap, hardwood ashes, bluestone and heavy mulching of
trees. I have seen trees come out of bad cases by using alternate-
ly hardwood ashes and some organic ammoniate such as fish
scrap, at the same time increasing the mulching around the trees.
In conclusion, the growing of avocados is a most interesting
study, but in which all general rules are liable at times to modi-
fication. The avocado tree naturally grows well in this section
and often succeeds under most trying conditions. At the same
time, it will do much better if carefully watched and tended
and there is no tree that cannot be bettered by using intelligence
in its care.

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

Inasmuch as the avocado industry of Florida is in its infancy
and has almost unlimited opportunity for development as has
been shown by the previous speakers on this program it is es-
sential that this baby of Florida horticulture be given every
possible protection against insect pests and diseases which
might be imported from other avocado growing countries. There
are two great agencies devoting much energy to this end, the
Federal Horticultural Board of the United States Department
of Agriculture and the Quarantine Department of the State
Plant Board of Florida.
These two departments were created on account of the
realization of the need for protecting American agriculture
against foreign plant pests. Among the nations of the world, Am-
erica is one of the youngest. Agriculture in the old world had pro-
gressed to a high degree prior to the discovery of America. The
first settlers in this country found a wilderness with few native
agricultural products. It was necessary to bring to this country
various kinds of grains, grasses, vegetables and fruits. During
the first few hundreds of years it was necessary to import as
many kinds of plants as possible. Unfortunately these impor-
tations of plants were the means of bringing in many plant pests.
During the latter part of hte nineteenth century our government
began to realize that as our own horticulture became an in-
dependent and self sustaining industry that it should be properly
protected against the danger of the introduction of many foreign
pests which until that time had not found entry more by the
grace of providence than any other agency. After twenty five
years of effort this protection was gained by the passage of the
Plant Quarantine Act of 1912 and the creation of the Federal
Horticultural Board.
Just as the national act was the result of necessity the
Florida Plant Act of 1915 creating the State Plant Board was the
result of the danger which threatened the citrus industry by the
introduction of citrus canker. These two organizations cooper-
ate fully, all State Plant Board Quarantine Inspectors having
federal authority by reason of appointments as Collaborators
of the Federal Horticultural Board.
Two of the most wide reaching acts of the Federal Horti-
cultural Board were the promulgation of two quarantine orders,
numbers thirty-seven and fifty-six, which will be the principal
topic of this discussion.
Quarantine No. 37, effective June 1, 1919, is aimed at the
regulation of nursery stock importation. Under its provisions no
further importations can be made of nursery stock which the
United States can secure in sufficient quantities at home. New

36 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

and rare varieties may be imported under certain safeguards
in order that the United States may enjoy as varied and bounti-
ful plant products as any nation on earth. You, as avocado
growers, are desirous of raising the very best avocados. A prev-
ious speaker, Dr. David Fairchilds, has told you of the work of
the Plant Introduction Departments. The Guatemalan types of
avocados which are having such favorable influence on the pre-
sent as well as the future success of this industry were imported
by Wilson Popenoe, one of the staff of this branch of the de-
partment of agriculture. Through the operation of Quarantine
thirty-seven the introduction of pests through the medium of
infested or infected nursery stock is lessened although the
farmer is not deprived of new and desirable foreign stocks.
However, many pests may be introduced through importa-
tions of fruit and vegetables, not only through direct infesta-
tion but also from leaves and twigs infested with injurious insects.
or diseases included in such shipments. One of the worst pests
of tropical and sub-tropical fruit trees is the black fly,
"Aleurocanthus woglumi Ashby." Some seventy hosts have been
found infested by the black fly, among them the avocado. In the
last few years this pest has almost girdled the globe. Discovered
in India and the Philippines in 1910 it spread to Jamaica, Cuba,
the Bahamas and the Canal Zone within the next six years, doing
great damage. Within four years after its appearance at Nassau
it had destroyed the citrus industry of New Providence. Properly
packed fruit will not carry this pest which lives only on the foli-
age of trees and plants, but leaves and other material mixed
with the fruit through careless packing could cause its intro-
duction. In recognition of this grave danger to Florida horti-
culture the State Plant Board passed Rule 26 in June, 1916, ex-
cluding from infested countries all parts of plants except prop-
erly packed fruits and vegetables. The pest subsequently be-
came so serious in Cuba, the Bahamas and other countries that
the government conducted investigations with the result that the
Federal Horticulture Board drew up Quarantine No. 49 effective
April 1, 1921.
Probably the worst insect pests of the fruit grower are the
fruit flies. Today North America is the only section of the
world free from infestation of the serious fruit flies. Scale in-
sects and white flies are on the surface of leaves and fruit and
may be controlled by spraying but the fruit fly works on the
inside of the fruit and once established no methods of control
have ever been found effective. Of fruit flies the Mediterranean
Fruit Fly, "Ceratitis capitata," is the worst. In the adult state
it resembles in size and shape the ordinary house fly, but differs
in coloration and habits. The female fly lays eggs under the
skin of fruits. These hatch into whitish maggots which burrow
in all directions through the fruit, until full grown when they
are about 4 to 5 sixteenths of an inch long. They then leave the
fruit and pupate in the soil completing the cycle by emerging as
The nearest known infested countries are Brazil, Argentine
and Bermuda, but with our modern fast ocean steamships equip-

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 37

ped with cold storage, infested fruits could as readily be brought
from Australia, New Zealand or the Hawaiian Islands as from
our near neighbors. Our greatest danger would lie in the
establishment of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly in the West Indies.
Without adequate quarantine laws or proper enforcement of
them it is only a matter of time until this and other serious pests
will gain entrance into Cuba.
In the West Indies as well as in Central America, Mexico,
Brazil, Argentina, Peru and other South American countries is a
fruit fly known as the West Indian Fruit Fly, "Anastrepha
fraterculus Wied.," which only great vigilance has kept out of
Florida. This particular fly is not generally listed as a pest of
citrus fruits, yet in recent years it has been causing more and
more damage to them in Argentina. In an article in the Journal
of Economic Entomology, December, 1918, E. W. Rust reports
that only during the last few years had any damage to citrus
been noticed, but in 1918 growers in some sections had lost fifty
per cent of their orange crop and in some sections seventy-five
per cent of the grapefruit had dropped from injury by this pest.
Although the West Indian Fruit Fly is a native of that country
oranges were grown free from infestation for a hundred years
before the fly adapted itself to them, and Mr. Rust makes the
statement that indications point to heavier infestation in the
The adaptation of pests to new host plants is quite common.
When introduced to a new environment this is more noticeable
as natural enemies are often left behind or perhaps the varieties
in their native habitat have developed a resistance. Often times
in a new environment favorite hosts are lacking. The insect in
order to live will turn to less favored hosts and after several gen-
erations of the insect it thrives on what formerly might have
been considered an immune plant or fruit. On February 15th
last, a boquet of roses was intercepted in Miami from Nassau. On
one of the rose leaves was an egg spiral of the black fly and sev-
eral well developed larvae. Up until that time the rose was not
known to have ever been infested, and only shows how pests not
known to affect the avocado might adapt themselves if intro-
duced, notably the West Indian Fruit Fly or the Mexican Orange
Maggot, "Anastrepha ludens."
The dangers of fruit fly introduction were early recognized
by the State Plant Board of Florida, quarantines against fruit
from fruit fly countries dating back to August, 1915. The Fed-
eral Horticultural Board for years has been gathering together
information on the subject and as result Quarantine 56 was
drawn up and made effective on November 1, 1923. This quar-
antine not only is directed against fruit flies but it replaces
Quarantine 49 by requiring all fruit and vegetable importations
to be free from leaves, twigs and other materials. Pineapples
from Jamacia are also refused entry except through the port
of New York on account of the Black Weevil.
Quarantine 56 is a far reaching regulation. In brief it pro-
hibits the importation into the United States of all fruits except
bananas, plantains, pineapples, lemons, sour limes and grapes of

38 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

the European or Vinifera type. Subsequent to its becoming
effective grapes from the province of Almeria, Spain were found
to be heavily infested with Mediterranean Fruit Fly on arrival at
New York. The quarantine was therefore amended so that
grapes could only be imported from countries known to be free
from the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Other quarantines and re-
stritive orders remain in full effect. Fruits and vegetables from
Canada are not affected. Vegetables may be imported when not
attended by danger of infestation with dangerous insects, includ-
ing fruit flies. Other regulations permit the importation of West
Indian citrus fruits at Baltimore and other northern ports. How-
ever, as far as the Florida grower is concerned, no fruits can be
imported into or through Florida other than those known to be
free from fruit fly infestation.
All importations under this quarantine are made under
permit, and every safeguard is used to prevent crop pest intro-
duction. All fruits and vegetables imported for delivery in
Florida are fumigated at port of arrival. It is an admirable
quarantine measure and fills a long felt need for the protection
of American horticulture.
The quarantine inspectors stationed at the various Florida
ports have on numerous occasions made important intercep-
tions which show that we are constantly menaced and that we
must ever be on the alert. Black Fly has been intercepted 34
times, West Indian Fruit Fly 20 times and the Mexican Fruit
Fly once. In spite of the evident need for strong protective
measures, pressure is always being brought to bear on the Fed-
eral Horticultural Board to revise the quarantines downward.
Large interests, especially brokers, make a great hue and cry
about the necessity for less restricted nursery stock importations.
Their only interest is in the commissions which they receive
from the importers. They have no thought for the protection of
the nation. Therefore on every possible occasion members of
the Florida Avocado Association should extend their support to
the State Plant Board and Federal Horticultural Board, and in
view of the protests being made by selfish interests it would be
highly desirable for the Association to write the Chairman of the
Board at Washington assuring him of the need the Florida
avocado growers feel for the maintenance of both Quarantines
37 and 56 in their present form.

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

To the average person the operation of budding the avocado
is simple. However to insure the best results care and attention
should be given to details.
The failure of most beginners is directly traceable to points
where the usual care and attention that should be given has been
Seed planted in August and September in good soil, with
careful watering so as to be grown quickly without check, should
be ready for budding in November and December, although suc-
cessful avocado budding may be done during any of the winter
or spring months.
Select seedlings for budding that are thrifty and in good
growing condition from the time of germination, be sure to weed
out the runts or those showing poor weak growth, the same as a
cattleman or hog raiser would weed out their poor stock for the
slaughter-house, poor stock for avocados which are the founda-
tion of our groves should go to the dump, in doing this you have
perhaps overcome one of the many causes of failure.
Selection of budwood should be given unusual care, young
wood, from early fall or spring growth with well developed eyes,
furnish the best material for buds, when it is possible to do so, it
is advisable not to cut the leaf stem off close to the eye, but
at the base of the leaf itself, this allows a handle with which to
insert the bud, and supplies some nourishment to the bud itself,
sometimes remaining on as long as three weeks or until the point
of connection is entirely healed over.
Shield budding is the method commonly practiced in bud-
ding the avocado, using a bud somewhat thicker than a citrus
bud, from one to one and one-half inches long, using a budding
knife with razor sharp edge in order to make a clean smooth
straight cut. An inverted "T" incision on the stock is made two
or three inches above the ground, preferably on the East or
South side of the seedling, the stock being in condition that the
bark will lift readily, the incision parallel with the stem being
not any longer than that which the end of your knife blade
would make with one impression. The cross cut is made with
the sharp end of your knife blade tipped up at an angle of
forty-five, the lower end of your bud should also be cut at an
angle of forty-five, and the bud is pushed up just far enough to
meet the forty-five angle on the stock. This insures a good union
between your stock and bud, and will callous quickly.
It is also advisable to round the top end of your bud so as
not to tear the sides of the bark on the way up. Let the bud finish
your parallel cut instead of lifting all the bark with your knife as

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

it insures a tight union.
Excellent results by tying with rafia have been obtained al-
though other wrapping may be used which may be re-
moved after twenty days. If a few days cold weather blow in
however, it is advisable to leave the buds wrapped twenty-five or
thirty days to allow for what checking the plants may have re-
When the wrapping is removed it is advisable to tie back
across the bottom of the bud at the cross cut, for a week or ten
days when it can be safely removed.
At the first unwrapping of the bud, the stock may be cut
off six or eight inches above the bud so as to start the bud into
growth. As the side sprouts start to grow do not hesitate to let
them grow awhile, they serve as a pump to draw up the sap
for your bud to start on. After the bud has started growing
they may all be taken off.
It is these few detailed points together with good soil and
careful watering so as not to wet the buds while they are wrap-
ped together with out dripless lath house, that carries off the best
part of the rain-fall so that the rafia wrapping around the buds
did not get wet, as they do in the ordinary lath houses, and with
the benches above the ground so as to allow the air to circulate
below as well as above, we have obtained an average of 98 per
cent. in avocado budding.

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

The first thing to be considered in the planting of an Avo-
cado Grove is the land on which it is to be planted. We who
live in the Redland district have demonstrated to our entire
satisfaction that our land is admirably suited to Avocado cul-
ture. We would however, caution prospective growers to select
land that is well drained so that water will not stand on the land
for a great length of time even after the heaviest rains.
The first thing to be done in the actual planting of a grove
is the clearing of the land. There are two methods used in
clearing land for a grove. One method is to clear the land of
all stumps and roots. The other method is to merely cut down
the pine trees, dispose of the logs and tops and leave the
stumps. It is my judgement that it is better and cheaper to
thoroughly clear the land in the first place. My reasons are as
follows. If land is well cleared it is possible to get through
the grove with a team or truck to haul fertilizer, to spray or to
haul out fruit. It is also possible to use a mowing machine or
to scarify (meaning plow which will be explained later). If
the land is not well cleared it is difficult or impossible to do these
things. It is more difficult and expensive to remove the stumps
after the trees are planted and it cannot be done without some
damage to the tree roots.
Our land is a porous coralline rock formation and must be
broken up in some way in order to get the trees started. TO
break up this land I use a twenty-one ton steam tractor and a
seven ton scarifier or plow. By going over the land two or
three times this plow will cut the rock from four to six inches
deep. This is sufficient for planting trees. It is my recommen-
dation that all land to be used for grove be thoroughly cleared
and scarified.
After the land has been cleared and scarified the next step
is to stake off the land for the trees. A spacing of 20 x 25 feet
is commonly used in our section, the 20 foot rows running north
and south. This spacing gives 83 trees per acre. I have used
a spacing of 171/2 x 171/2 feet with a 25 foot roadway every
sixth row. This will plant about 127 trees per acre. The dis-
tance to set the trees is only a matter of how many trees you
want per acre but I do think that in planting close you make
more fruit per tree and better fruit. The reason for this opinion
is that in close planting the bloom seems to pollenize better
and the fruit being shaded there is less sun burned fruit.
The next step is to make the tree hole. The tree holes are
made by first blasting out the rock. To do this a hole 18 in. deep
is drilled with an iron drill and a half stick of 20 per cent.
dynamite used for blasting. After breaking up the rock with
the blast, large rocks are broken up with an axe to the size
of a base ball or a little larger. The hole is now made up by,
digging at the edge of the blasted hole pulling the dirt and
rock towards the center. By pulling dirt to the center a mound
is made. This mound should be six or eight inches above the

42 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

general level of the ground and the rock around the hole should
be cut from six to eight inches deep.
After the holes have been prepared trees are distributed and
planting started. One man opens the holes. The next man
takes the bottom off the box and cuts the wire which holds the
T- -


box together. The tree is now set in the hole care being taken
that it does not set lower than its position as grown, i.e. the
crown roots should be kept close to the surface. The box is now
split on two sides so that it can be easily removed. Dirt is
now pulled in half way up the box and the box worked loose
and pulled out of the hole. About a pound of raw bone meal
or some good organic fertilizer material is now mixed with
the soil, care being taken not to get the fertilizer next to th'e
ball of earth containing the root system. The hole is now filled
to the top of the ball of earth. The tree is then thoroughly
watered and a mulch applied. In placing the tree in the hole
place it so that the side of the seedling where the bud is at-
tached is on the South. This is not generally practiced but I
have found that if it is done very few trees will be sunburned.

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 43


I would like to give you a few details of the origin of the
COLLINSON avocado. But first of all I want to take the op-
portunity to congratulate you on the progress you are making
in the planting of your avocado groves.
As many of you know, the avocado industry has had some
ups and downs for many years. One of the downs worthy of
mention was February 2nd, 1917, when the cold blow injured
some of the West Indian type trees. I believe that this cold blow
of 1917 was the great turning point for the better of Florida.
Photographs and records were made at that time of the varieties
that were damaged and types that were not damaged.
The last few years the Department of Agriculture has se-
cured the best hardy varieties from Guatemala, Columbia and
Ecuador, these are now growing in Florida. Already some en-
couraging results have been noted in crossing hardy intro-
ductions with the West Indian types.
I believe that if this breeding work is continued with the
avocado, standard varieties can be obtained suited to Florida
climatic condition.
We must also look into the stock question as the Citrus
growers have done.
I would like to call your attention to the COLLINSON
avocado which is a seedling from a tree introduced from Guate-

44 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

mala, by the Department of Agriculture in 1906 and is now
growing at the Brickell Ave. Garden and was surrounded by
West Indian and Mexican types of avocados.
As early as 1910 it was realized that if nature could pro-
duce the Hayden mango from the Mulgoba seed, she might give
us a good avocado from this Collins tree, so when this tree
produced fruit the seed was saved and planted at the Buena
Vista Garden in 1915. It was soon noted that these seedling had
different types of foliage and that cross pollination had taken
place. So in row 3, tree one, we have the avocado that has been
The mother plant being the Collins, Dr. Fairchild, named it
the COLLINSON, it is listed under S. P. I. 55509. It carries good
foliage and is a rather dwarf and spreading tree.
It had a good crop of fruit in 1920-1921. It did not bloom
in 1922, but 1923-4 season had a good crop which is still on the
tree. Quite a number of varieties are now under observation and
as you know have been planted out. I believe in a few years
you will find some of these will only grade up fair to good.
What you want and what I hope we are going to have are-
avocados that will grade up good to excellent.
The department is going ahead with the breeding and se-
lection and I want to show you the foliage of the back crosses,
which I hope will fruit this year and will give us some knowledge
as to how much Guatemalan and how much West Indian we can
use to make standard varieties. These leaves shown here re-
present three-fourths West Indian and one fourth Guatemalan,
and so far have behaved very well at all seasons and under all
climatic conditions. We must have varieties suited to this
The interest of the Agriculture Department together with
your association is making the future of the Avocado industry
look most promising.

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

The glut in the Citrus market this past season, together
with the fact that we have had six mild Winters has turned
attention to avocados and has greatly encouraged their planting
all over Florida.
There are Mexican Type trees in Alachua County that have
borne regularly for the past twenty-five years. This indicates
the capacity of this type of tree for cold resistance and there
seems to be no good reason why avocados should not be grown
all over Pennisular Florida at least. The problem now seems to
be to discover the varieties best suited for different localities.
We have yet to discover the ideal variety for any locality and
I suppose we never will but I believe we are advancing in that
The Guatemalan varieties brought from the high altitudes
of Guatemala have not proved to be satisfactory in every way
at Sea-level in Florida. There seems to be great hope however
of developing varieties from the Florida grown seedlings of
these varieties that will prove well adapted to our climatic
conditions. We would like to call attention to the Winslowson,
Collinson, and Taylorson which were developed at the Experi-
ment Station from the Winslow, Collins, and Taylor varieties.
They appear to have hybridized with the West Indian, to the
benefit of both, that is, a combination of the good qualities of
both showing in the offspring.
The varieties mentioned above are natural or chance hy-
breds and there seems to be no reason why we should not pro-
duce by this method or by artificial hybridization new varieties
suited to every locality and soil in Florida. Those living in
the colder parts of the state should plant Mexican seeds, seeds
of the Gottfried, and hybridize the Mexican and Guatemalan
and plant the seeds of the fruit thus obtained. When the
trees have fruited those that prove of no special merit need not
be a loss as they will make stock to top work into some of the
improved varieties. For my own part I have been planting
every year some seedlings of Guatemala trees, which have been
exposed to natural hybridization with West Indian varieties
and I shall fruit them out as seedlings. This year I have planted
several hundred such trees.
This is something I should like to have every one interested
in avocado growing undertake, so far as he is able, even if he
only plants one tree each year. The longer I continue in the
avocado business the more I find there is to learn, and the less
confident I am that I know so very much after all. We are
however making progress every year, and the Government

46 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

scientists are doing good work in our interests, all along the
Dr. A. B. Stout, Director of Laboratories, New York Bo-
tanical Garden, who has for many years made a special study
on the subject of sterility and fertility in plants with reference
to crop production, spent parts of 1922-23 at Pomona College,
California, and was assisted by a member of the faculty in per-
suing his researches with regard to the avocado. In his report
published in the last annual report of the California Avocado
Association, he writes, "It is certain that the proper interplant-
ing of present day varieties of the avocado will greatly increase
the chances that fruit will set, and will therefore lead to the
production of more abundant and uniform crops.
"That cross-pollination is very necessary for the best setting
of fruit in avocados will be very evident to anyone who makes
some observations of the behavior of the flowers. First of all,
each flower of all the varieties thus far studied has normally
two separate periods of opening. During the first period the
pistil is ready to be pollinated, but it is only during the second
period of opening that the pollen is shed. The majority of
flowers open and close without any opportunity for proper self-
"Furthermore, the majority of flowers of any variety open
and close for each of two periods in unison, and at different
times. Thus during certain hours of the day, one can find on
a tree of any variety only flowers open for the first time. Later
these flowers are closed, and another set will be open for the
second time. This habit of alternately opening of flowers of one
condition in unison or in rythmic cycles decidedly limits the op-
portunity for pollen to be carried from one flower to another
on the same tree. A single group of trees of one variety may
bloom day after day and be visited continuously by bees and
other insects and yet a very few, or even no flowers may be pol-
linated properly.
"Cross-pollination is possible between certain varieties, but
not between others."
The result of his observations divides the varieties he had
under observation into two classes, A and B. Trees of one class
should be planted alternately with trees of the other class to
produce best results, according to his conclusions. Taft, Spinks,
Blakeman, Challenge, and perhaps Sharpless, are about the only
ones he mentions that are being cultivated at all in Florida and
belong to the same class. To the other class belong Panchoy,
Queen, Linda and Rey. So we should alternate our Taft and
Panchoy trees, and if we plant any of the others see that they
have trees of the other class inter-planted.
This may prove a very valuable suggestion, and is certainly
worth trying.

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

In opening the discussion of this subject I will not attempt
to go into much detail regarding the merits and faults of ex-
isting avocado varieties, trusting that most of these points will
be brought out and covered as we proceed with our program.
I will offer, however, my ideas of a sort of yard-stick which may
be applied to the consideration of any given variety in an effort
to determine its comparative value.
For the purposes in view I would divide my measure of
values into three parts which may be given the following gen-
eral headings:
The Tree
The Fruit
The Seasons of Maturity
Taking first the Tree, we should in turn consider:
Adaptability to Location
Relative Vigor of Growth
Facility of Propogation
Form of Growth
Bearing Qualities
Ability to Carry Crops
In giving consideration to any avocado variety its fitness
for growth in a particular locality must be gone into carefully.
We know that the trees of certain varieties of Mexican and
Guatemalan type avocados will do well in one locality and prove
very unsatisfactory in another. A variety which will make a
fine growth ten miles back from the coast may be so subject to
leaf-scorch when planted where a salt breeze direct from the
ocean strike it, that it will be a total failure. A variety which
will grow well in heavy, moist hammock will sometimes give a
very poor account of itself if set out on high pineland. To jump
at the conclusion that a variety which has proved valuable in
one locality will likewise be adapted for some other is quite
likely to lead to grief. Probably no better instance of this
may be cited than the case of the El Fuerte which has given
very different results in Florida from those obtained in Cali-
The factor of Vigor of Growth is likewise very important.
We all know the futility of nursing a tree which is lacking in
some essential of character that makes for growth. When this
failing is confined to an individual tree, local conditions may be
at fault and a variety should not be condemned on the strength
of the poor showing made by one specimen. But when it has
been clearly proved that the characteristics is general and that
any considerable percentage of the trees of the variety are
weak growers, that variety should be excluded from the list

48 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924
to be recommended for commercial plantings at least. Some-
times on account of bearing particularly fine fruit or maturing
it at an off season, one may be justified in planting a tree of such
a variety for home use.
The hardiness of any given variety must be taken into
account and the relative weight which must be given to this item
depends largely upon the location in which the tree is to be
planted. This matter of hardiness may be thought of as coming
under the same head as Adaptability to Location but it is so
much a distinct factor of itself that I would prefer to so con-
sider it in estimating the value of a variety.
We know that as a general rule avocados of the Mexican
type are more cold resistant than Guatemalans and that Guate-
malans, in turn, will stand lower temperatures without injury
than will the West Indians. But there are also very marked
differences in this kind of hardiness among varieties of each of
the three races. There are Guatemalans which will stand nearly
as much cold as some of the Mexicans and there are likewise
Guatemalans which will show frost damage at the same tem-
peratures as some West Indians. To make a commercial plant-
ing of West Indian avocados in Marion County, would in
my estimation be foolhardy but there are locations where
the grower would show no better judgement if he confined his
selection entirely to Mexicans.
In Dade County we believe that we can grow West Indian
avocados with a fair degree of safety but the Dade County man
who thinks that his trees of this type are never going to be
seriously damaged by cold is living in a "Fool's Paradise" and
has some painful experience before him if he sticks to the game
long enough. Yet, in this section we can grow avocados of the
West Indian type with enough security to make their culture
profitable and for that reason we should grow them to a con-
siderable extent, for there are other large sections of the state
in which the Guatemalan and Mexican avocados can be grown,
and will be grown before long, but in which it is entirely unsafe
to plant West Indians. The West Indian has a fixed place in
avocado culture, a demand has been established for its fruits
and I believe that it will be a long time, if ever, before we find
Guatemalan or hybrid varieties which will justify us in dis-
continuing entirely the planting of West Indians. Furthermore,
it is my opinion that the increased production of the winter and
spring maturing varieties of Guatemalans, which may be ex-
pected from now on, is going to stimulate rather than decrease
the demand for the summer and fall fruits. From all present
indication we are likely to rely very largely on the West Indians
for these earlier maturing varieties and in localities where there
is sufficient immunity from cold to make their culture practic-
able they should not be neglected in favor of the hardier and
later maturing Guatemalans.
The facility with which any avocado variety may be prop-
agated may appeal to the grower as wholly a nurseryman's
problem, but it is certain that, with our present knowledge of
the subject, a variety which does not lend itself readily to prop-

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 49

agation by budding, is going to have a hard road to travel in
becoming established as a commercial variety. Some varieties
there are which may be easily budded and will grow well for
months after the bud has sprung and then through inherent
weakness or inborn cussedness will die without apparent pro-
vocation whatever. Varieties of this kind and those which pro-
duce buds which drop their eyes after having made a union with
the stock, can only be produced by the nurseryman at a great ad-
ditional expense of time and money and cannot be furnished to
the planter at the same price as other varieties which behave in
a reasonable manner. A variety of surpassing merit might make
its way into general favor against obstacles of this kind but as
far as I am aware no such variety has yet appeared. Fortunate-
ly most of our best commercial varieties are relatively easy to
The Form of Growth which a tree may be expected to take
should enter into the plans of the grower in making his plant-
ing layout. Tall upright growing varieties such as the Taylor
are suitable for quite different grove arrangement than compact
spreading trees such as Taft. Depending upon the use which
is to be made of it, there are places in our avocado culture for
both the upright and the spreading tree, but I have yet to find a
good location for the straggly, sprawling, viney type of growth
which characterizes some of the introductions of the past few
years. Yet some of these same varieties when top-worked on
old stocks will give well-formed trees and if otherwise suitable
may be sometimes used to good advantage in this way.
The Bearing Qualities of a fruit tree of any kind are of
course essential factors. I know of only one fruit tree that I
would plant regardless of its bearing qualities. On account of
its symmetry of growth, luxuriance of foliage and truly tropical
appearance, I would want one or two Mulgoba mangos around
any house that I called my own, where nature would permit
my having them, but with this exception when I plant a fruit
tree I expect to get fruit from it in fair quantities and with
reasonable frequency. But personally I am not as hard to sat-
isfy in this respect as are a good many growers. There was a
time when I thought of the bearing qualities of an avocado tree
in terms of the producing abilities of a well-cared-for grape-
fruit or orange tree which might be counted upon for heavy
crops of fruit year after year. But I have put hopes of that
kind aside. The avocado tree "just naturally isn't built that way."
The in-and-out bearing habits of the avocado may be due to its
comparatively recent transition from the jungle or it seems
likely that owing to the character of the fruit, the crop of an avo-
cado tree causes so much heavier drain on the vitality of the
plant than does that of most other trees, that it is impossible
for complete recovery to be made in time for setting of the next
season's bloom. At any rate we know that the avocado tree of the
present day cannot be depended upon for heavy crops each
season. A few individual exceptions to the rule may exist but
they are rare indeed. If the grower can secure a variety which
will give him medium crops annually or a variety which will

50 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

produce heavily on alternate years and in either case secure
a good vegetative growth between crops he is getting about
all that he can expect. But he does want and is entitled to have
that much and should cut from his list of varieties suitable for
commercial planting those which give him a full crop only every
third or fourth year and little or nothing at other times or those
which produce so heavy an overcrop that the tree is left so de-
vitalized as to require several years for full recovery.
And this last factor brings us to that of Ability to Carry
Crops. Unless the tree can carry through to maturity the fruit
which it sets and do so without completely wrecking its health,
it would be a great deal better from the growers standpoint if
it put on much less fruit to begin with. The habitual over crop-
per does one or two things. It either drops practically its entire
burden of fruit before maturity or, if it holds a fair proportion
until ripening, the tree is left in condition such that it requires
one or two seasons to again be in bearing condition. If it man-
ages to recuperate sufficiently to put on another crop, with only
one year's intermission, the chances are that very little increase
in tree growth has been made and with this type of tree pro-
gress towards heavy bearing capacity is too much like that
of the frog jumping out of the well.
In considering the fruit of the avocado the main points to
be given weight are:
Quality of flesh
Size of seed
Carrying quality
General appearance
Avocados may possibly be too large for best marketing
purposes and certainly may be too small. There will in all
probability always be a certain demand for large avocados for
fancy trade and as the fruit comes into more general use I look
for an increasing preference for the small sizes, but at present
and probably for a number of years ahead the avocado weigh-
ing from one pound to a pound and a half seems to meet with
most favor among consumers.
In shape that most nearly approaching the round or obo-
vate, without pronounced neck is to be preferred. Long-necked
fruits are hard to pack and there is a decided objection to them
in some markets on the part of buyers.
Probably more prospective consumers of avocados have
turned away from the fruit after the first attempt at eating it,
on account of unluckily selecting a specimen low in oil content
and of insipid flavor, than for any other reason. A flavorless
avocado may be doctored with seasonings and condiments until
a fairly palatable salad results but for the beginner to eat a
fruit of this character out of the shell with only a light dressing
usually has just one result. It is true that at present avocados
sell largely on their appearance, but the ultimate demand for
the fruit must be built upon the foundation of its quality and
as long as we grow and sell avocados which make no appeal

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

whatever to the palate, we may expect to lose a large percent-
age of our potential consumers. Extreme high oil content, such
as is found in a few of the Guatemalans, is not essential and in
fact the strong flavor which accompanies it is as distasteful to
some people as insipidity is to others. This is particularly so
with those eating the avocado for the first time. The better
grades of West Indians and the Guatemalans of medium oil
content seem to make the best appeal to the average consumer
and it is he, rather than the hardened avocado habitue whom we
must please.
Size of seed has never seemed to me the bugbear that it
has to some growers. I have grown avocados which contained
seeds so wholly out of proportion to the size of the fruit that they
were evidently unfit for propagation, and I have seen many other
seedlings of the same sort but when it comes to discarding so
good a variety as the Pollock on account of a rather large seed,
I believe that undue weight is being given to this factor.
Carrying Quality is of course important. In this respect
the hard-shelled Guatemalans approach most nearly the ideal,
while the extremely thin-skinned Mexican varieties are least
desirable. However if properly packed and iced there are
few avocados which may not be shipped to long distances.
General Appearance of the fruit counts a great deal when
it comes to marketing it and any variety which is more than
ordinarily subject to scab rust or other blemish-producing in-
fections or which takes on an unattractive color as it matures,
is at a serious disadvantage when it has to compete with varie-
ties of more appetizing appearance on the fruit stands.
The Season of Maturity may almost determine the value of
an entire crop of avocados. Under present conditions fruit
maturing during June, July and the early part of August will
command prices that will show a good profit to the grower.
From the middle of August until the middle of October, Cuban
seedlings, Florida seedlings and some of the earlier fruit from
our budded varieties are all thrown onto markets which
are still well supplied with Northern grown produce, and until
we have the avocado better introduced and more systematically
distributed this two months period will be one of little profit to
our growers. Beginning about the middle of October or first of
November avocado prices usually begin to improve and from
then on until the middle or end of March are generally quite
satisfactory. Some time during March shipments may be ex-
pected from Central America and prices drop to a lower level
but still remain high enough to give very fair returns for a
spring-maturing variety. These conditions will undoubtedly
change as production increases but at present the avocado plant-
er will do well to make his selection of varieties such that there
will be least conflict between their maturing fruit and that of
other producing section or the bulk of production in our own

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

Permit the avocado to mature on the tree. When the fruit
is mature it is picked with a patent picker placed on a pole
of the length desired; below the hooked blade is a canvass pock-
et into which the avocado drops. Best results are obtained
where only one avocado is cut at a time, and is taken out byl
hand and placed in the box. A standard field crate with two
compartments is used to put them in, and either excelsior or
some sort of padding placed in the bottom. The fruit is not
piled up, but placed in carefully, and one box is not placed on
top of the other. Then the fruit is taken to the packing house,
and placed in the bins, which are also padded. If the fruit is
wet it should be dried, by wiping with burlap or other soft ma-
terial, which will also give it a gloss. However, if the fruit is
dry and clean, it is not necessary to wipe it.
The next step is the grading, and this is one of the most im-
portant. Number one grade is the smooth clean fruit, and of
even size. Number two is the fruit of odd shapes, but smooth
and clean. Number three is fruit with imperfect surface, and of
odd shapes. Number one grade will carry any distance desired,
and I have known of it being shipped satisfactorily to Europe.
Number two grade, if properly packed, will stand a ten days
haul. Number three should be distributed within a short dis-
tance of the place where it is produced. It is understood, that
numbers one and two are packed in the iced crates, as described
further in this article.
The methods of packing-Place in a bottom layer of good
clean wood wool if possible, if not, then use excelsior. Then
one layer of avocados and then a layer of wood wool and so
on, until the compartment is full, topping it with a layer of
wood wool. The top layer of wood wool should extend from
one-half an inch to an inch above the top of the crate, so when
nailed down, the fruit will be perfectly firm. It might be well
for me to say here that I have packed avocados in the iced ship-
ping crates since 1917, and have found the best results to be ob-
tained by using this kind of crate. It is an iced crate of three
compartments, one at each end for the fruit, and the center, a
ventilated compartment for ice. The Express Company re-ices
these crates en route, which enables the fruit to travel long
distances in perfect condition.
The two end compartments are filled with fruit as above de-
scribed, and the center compartment filled with ice, and billed
with the Express Company as "Iced Crates" and they then re-ice
them as needed.
It is advisable to use a three copy invoice book. The or-
iginal, or white invoice, is mailed to the consignee. The first

YEAR BOOK 1923-1924 53

duplicate, on different colored paper, is placed in the crate of
fruit, and the second copy, of still another colored paper, is left
in the book for future reference. Ihis invoice should have on it
the name of the shipper, the name of the consignee, the number
of avocados in the crate, date and a serial number. A record
is kept of all this, and the consignee is instructed when making
returns, to either send the invoices back, or at least give the
serial number of the crate he is returning for. In this way it is
very easy to keep a correct account of all crates as they are paid

'~~q"~"?''. *a~p ~ K ~ .

- -"^J



54 YEAR BOOK 1923-1924

for, and if necessary to make any claims to the Express Com-
pany, the records are all clear and easy to follow.
In addressing the crates, the name of the shipper and the
consignee should be on both ends of the crate, and be written
in a plain legible hand, although, if possible, a rubber stamp
is much preferred.
The fruit is now ready to be taken to the depot. Care
should be taken in handling the crates throughout, and in staking
them on the vehicle always keep them top up; never turn
them sideways. Also, care should be used in driving, and the
crates should be lifted out onto the platform and never dropped.

Walton Tfbocabo


joomesteab, floriba

We Specialize in Planting and Maintaining


...in the...

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S... ...

We can Supply You with Trees

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C. N. WHITEHEAD, Vice-President M. K. & T. R. R.

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is the BEST

The fruit that is ripened through the natural process,
on the tree, contains more luscious juice and is much better
than the semi-green fruit that has been shipped out of the State

All Sized Crates

There are one-way
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Feed Your Avocado Trees

Trees that are carrying a heavy crop dur-
ing the present season are likely to have a light
bloom next year unless their vitality is main-
tained. A well fed tree will bear good suc-
cessive crops.
From various experiments carried on during
the past few years we have placed on the mar-
ket two formulas, and these brands are pro-
ducing unequalled results:
4 per cent. Amm. 7 per cent. A. P. A. 5 per cent. Potash
5 per cent. Amm. 8 per cent. A. P. A. 6 per cent. Potash
The ammonia in the above formulas being
derived from organic sources they will produce
good budwood and assist the tree in holding its
Increased daily demand for IDEAL IN-
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... Tlie...

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~-;~ ineticide" Growera'

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