Can you grow Avocados in EverGrow Bags?
Things look promising - but we are still experimenting....
We have some customers trying Avocados in 40 litre EverGrow Bags with some fruiting already.
We have a 3 year old Reed Avocado in our tunnel house in Oamaru with 5 avocados currently growing in a 37L bag (pictured September 2020), so we know they can fruit in EverGrow Bags but we are unsure of long term results.
For people with clay soils, EverGrow Bags can provide great drainage when placed above ground. Above ground EverGrow Bags will need regular care to keep moist. For small backyards there is potential to plant trees in the ground in EverGrow Bags to help keep the trees compact, but again, we do not yet have mature examples to draw conclusions from. From what we know, we think a 40L bag in the ground would be OK provided there is excellent drainage. If there is clay soil then an option could be to have the bag above ground level, or partly above ground surrounded by mounded up free-draining soil or in a raised bed. The roots will come through the sides of the bag into the surrounding soil until they thicken enough to get squeezed by the strong fabric. This should slow down the vigour and encourage the roots to branch out more feeder roots within the bag.
We are not certain about what happens to the tap root inside EverGrow Bags but have heard of some avocado trees recovering from having their tap roots cut to shift them. Also some new rootstock propagation methods produce trees without taproots.
We don't know longer term how trees will progress or how much fruit is possible - it's an experiment so far with no guarantees but if the tree wasn't cropping enough one could always cut a hole in the bottom and/or sides of the bag and plant it in a bigger container or in the ground as normal.
If the bag is to be kept above ground, growers could consider an 80 Litre size EverGrow Bag for a more even moisture level and potentially a bigger crop. Dimensions are 50cm diameter and approximately 45cm tall. The base has the same double thickness of green and grey material as the sidewalls. If customers prefer not to have smaller roots grow through the base adhering it to the soil, there is an option of placing the bag on concrete, or a pallet/cinder blocks – which will aid further in drainage. You may add optional handles to your bag if desired for an extra cost.
With the potential for a bigger, top heavy canopy in a 80 litre there would need to be a stake or supports. There may be the option of espaliering - supporting the branches each way like a grape vine. This would take the weight off the trunk, which in theory would encourage the roots to stay smaller. Notes: a filled 80 Litre Bag would be heavy and require team lifting if it ever needed to be shifted. A moist soil with light and free draining medium for avocados would be essential – garden soil is not recommended. If you are beginning with a small tree it's best not to plant straight away in a big volume of soil in case the roots get too wet and begin to rot. Size up through 2 or 3 pots first (repotting before the roots start circling.)
Contact us for more information, all feedback is very welcome.