Watching the avocados grow

Tony’s Take on avos
with Tony Bradley
Aongatete Avocados Ltd

I feel it’s that time of the year to consider putting my feet and relaxing while the days get shorter into the month.

If we don’t take the time for our own welfare then we may be better off to stop completely and reconsider what we need to do to make sure we enjoy ourselves.

We all have different ways of relaxing.

I was talking with my wife Wendy, the other day on this subject as I’m keen to make some changes to my jobs.

The question I raised was what am I going to do when I put my feet up?

Her reply was just put the time aside and see what happens!

I started considering my mates that have taken a more relaxed approach (retired or otherwise) and then reviewed what my daily work life was like say 10 or 15 years ago.

My recollection is that it wasn’t as busy as it is today.

I’m sure that as you grow older - maybe wiser maybe not - you become in more demand, but you do your work easier and hopefully smarter.

Anyway, after a bit of thought, with my feet up, I recognised a couple of things. What I may do for relaxation maybe different to my mates’ thoughts on relaxation.

Secondly, relaxation is individual - I just need to take time and recognise that time is important.

Thirdly, and really off tangent, is that while relaxing I realised the next job on the orchard is winter pruning.

We at AAL prune every year and every year I expect that we have done all the big cuts, but it seems that every year we find big limbs needing to be cut low.

The pruning regime we use has been in place for over 10 years now. It evolves, there are subtle changes - like those between different pruners.

It changes as the trees change but the message is the same; Over 30 per cent of foliage cut off, at least one cut at waist height i.e. low and keep making cuts for height.

We send instructions to our pruners like; two side cuts, three height cuts. Our pruners at AAL work to those type of instructions and apply them to the tree.

I like our pruners to target 35 per cent minimum foliage/limb cuts.

Pruning is very subjective, growers have their own views, and after 20 years growing avocados, I’m not sensitive about the cuts being made or the limbs being cut but I’m very sensitive that enough is taken off.

Heavy pruning is risky in that it can drop production and as harvesters we like lots of picking.

What we get from our pruning regime is better quality fruit, big fruit earlier, improved spray coverage, better return to crop and a more even yield between the years.

So, while relaxing, plan to get your pruning done by someone else as its hard cutting fruit off but there’s a long game here. Regular annual cropping.

All the best with getting your feet up and find your own way to relax while your avocados are growing, growing, growing.


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