Zutano Avocado – Persea americana

Zutano Avocado – Persea americana


ZUTANO AVOCADO – Persea Americana

a)  Record average expected life of tree in years from sprout to death. (looking for approx numbers)

Zutano avocado trees can live for up to 80 years in optimal conditions when cultivated, they have been known to live for over 400 years in the wild.  Most avocados of this age will succumb to root rot caused by the Phytophthora fungus.

b) Years until trees 1st fruit. (ie 8. some trees can be fruiting within a few years others can take decades.)

Avocado trees, when purchased as a graft, may produce fruit in 3-4 years, but when grown from seed, may take 5-13 years to reach maturity and produce fruit.

c) Season of year when productive tree fruits. (ie Summer, Autumn, Winter Spring or combo ie Su/Au)

Zutano avocados will produce pear shaped fruit with thin, glossy green skin and around 15cm in height and weighing around 200 – 400 grams, over a 6 month period, being ready to harvest from mid-autumn to late winter.  Avocados do not ripen on the tree like many other types of fruit, but will ripen after being picked and left in a warm room for 7-10 days.

d) Expected or average number years tree expected to fruit for once it begins. (ie year 8 to 20 = 12 yrs)

Avocado trees will produce fruit for their entire lifespan.

e) Country/area of origin

The ‘Zutano’ avocado tree – Persea Americana – is a hardy variety of avocado of the Lauraceae family, native to Tropical parts of Central/South America from Mexico to Peru.

f) Average annual rainfall in area of origin

Up to 1800mm of rain falls per year in their natural environment.

g) Latin name of tree and family

Persea Americana – of the Lauraceae family

h) Any other products,  benefits, useful or interesting facts about of tree, ie good shade tree or wind break, good cabinet, building or fire wood, fire resistant, flood or drought  tolerant. For example in Australia we have a challenge with termites that do a lot of damage eating wooden structures, there are certain woods that are naturally white ant resistant that allow a more reliable building without utilising white ant poison like is often done.

While the obvious uses for the Zutano avocado are for its highly nutritious and high calorie fruit and pollinating other varieties, they also make a fantastic and attractive ornamental and provide a lightly shaded micro-climate below. Other uses include’

  • The fruit, bark, leaves, oil and seeds are used as food and/or herbal medicine.

The leaves are collected during the growing season and dried for later use in infusions, teas and extracts that treat diarrhoea and gut related ailments as well as coughs, gout.  The tea is also used as a liver cleanser.

  • Avocado seeds have anti-fungal properties and the skin as a treatment for intestinal worms
  • The fruits are picked unripe for export, or mature to be used for its oil.
  • The bark is harvested from young branches after pruning and used in decoction and an oil is extracted from the seeds which is primarily used in cosmetic products.
  • Avocado wood is a great burner, used for cooking and the strong, yet workable wood is useful in a range of bush craft applications.

i) Height, width and shape of tree at maturity (in meters).  Please find measure for both diameter of trunk and also arbour (the tree foliage)   Note the profile shape is important for later design work, some trees have an overhanging canopy with bare trunk that can be walked around, others have foliage from base to top and in all sorts of patterns and densities.

Zutano avocado will grow 10-12 metres in height with a trunk diameter of up to 60cm at maturity, growing upright with a rounded shape and spreading branches.  The tree has oval shaped, dark green leaves with a glossy sheen.  Flowers are a greenish-white, bearing in clusters at the branch tips.

j) challenges or special requirements, such as needing other varieties in order to fruit

Avocado trees require nutritious, well drained soils and will tolerate medium frost and humidity, and high temperatures.  While the Zutano is commonly used as a pollinator for the popular ‘Hass’ variety, its hardiness, attractive glossy leaves and mild flavoured fruit make it an easy-to-grow and great introductory variety for the Mediterranean climate in which I live.

Flowers of all avocado species are classified as being either “A” or “B.” They are distinguished by the time of day the flowers open and male and female reproductive organs become receptive. Zutano is a “B” type. Its new flowers open in the afternoon and only the female flower organs receive the pollen and get fertilized from other trees this first day. This prevents the tree from self-pollinating. These flowers close at dusk and reopen the morning of the second day. This time the flowers shed their pollen to fertilize the female organs on other, type “A” varieties.

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