En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - January 05, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, User Comments, Trees
Title: Non-native avocado trees in Rio Grande Valley from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just read the article in the Austin American Statesman about growing avocados outdoors. Don't know if they grow here, but they certainly don't just grow in south Florida. I used to live in Weslaco, in the Rio Grande Valley and there are avocado trees as high as houses all over town.

ANSWER:

Here is the previous Mr. Smarty Plants question to which you are referring. It was published first in the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants section of our website and then reprinted in the Austin American Statesman, which we very much appreciate.

You are correct, southern Florida is not the only place in North America where an avocado will grow. If it were in our Native Plant Database, which it is not because it is not native, we could go to our webpage on the plant and discover which states it would grow in and, again, follow the link to the USDA Plant Profile Map to see if it grew in Travis County.

The original question was "will it grow outside in Travis County?" From GardenGuides.com., here is an article on Hardy Avocado Trees in Austin. As you said, they point out:

"Traditional cultivation of avocado trees (Persea americana) takes place in the lower Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of Texas around Corpus Christi and Brownsville. Austin is much farther north, and typically gardeners there deal with thin alkaline soil--much more challenging for successful cultivation of the subtropical avocado. Avocado can be grown in containers but inevitably becomes a tree taller than 30 feet. Austin is in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone 8b, although a warm winter may temporarily make it zone 9--cautiously good for avocado culture."

To take this just a step further, Austin, TX is in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, the southern tip of Florida is in Zone 10b, and Weslaco, in Hidalgo, right down in the southern tip of Texas, is in 9b to 10a. If you notice in the quotation above, the thin alkaline soil of Travis County is also difficult for the avocado. We don't pretend to be right about everything (a tough thing for Mr. Smarty Plants to admit), but we just answer the questions, and our answer was basically, we don't know. We told that customer that if the only choices were keep it inside where it had outgrown its space or move it to Travis County, then there was very little to lose in transplanting it outside in Austin, but we did not guarantee that it would survive our soils and winter temperatures.

 

 

More Trees Questions

What's causing holes in trunk of white oak tree in SouthBend IN?
June 10, 2013 - We have a huge White Oak in our backyard that is approx. 130 years old. This evening I became aware that there are several small holes around the trunk that appear to be oozing a dark sappy liquid. ...
view the full question and answer

Time to transplant shade tree seedlings from San Antonio
September 28, 2013 - What month do you transplant shade tree seedlings in San Antonio, TX<
view the full question and answer

Live oaks exhibiting white foam spots from Round Rock, TX
June 08, 2014 - We have several native very large Live Oak in our backyard, and this summer we have noticed white foam spots on the branches. We live in Round Rock next to the Williamson County Park. The spots look...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on Burr Oak from Dripping Springs TX
October 05, 2013 - We have recently planted a 15 gal. burr oak in an correct hole with great soil and plenty of watering in. We have noticed some brown leaves. Should we be worried?
view the full question and answer

Problem with Live Oaks in Mesa AZ
March 26, 2013 - I have two Evergreen Live Oaks in central Arizona. One is flourishing and getting new spring leaves from top to bottom. Its trunk is rough, has large grooves, and the spots where I've pruned look li...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center