A Short History of the Hass Avocado

Hass avocado, ripening

Hass avocado, ripening

Q: We have saved the seeds of some exceptionally good supermarket tangerines recently whose label says “FLORIDA – Sunburst.” If we were to plant the seeds, would we get trees that would bear the same type of fruit?
C. DeNicholas
A: This is a good question that goes to the heart of what commercial plant production is all about.
Fruit trees are clones. If you want to grow a ‘Sunburst’ orange, you must take a shoot or a bud from a ‘Sunburst’ tree and graft it onto a young orange tree seedling. Each seedling grown from seeds, however, is different than the next.
One of the most famous fruit trees in history, planted by mail carrier Rudolph Hass, died last year in La Habra Heights, in Orange County. It was the famous ‘Hass’ avocado tree that grew up, by accident, in 1926. It was meant to be a nurse seedling onto which another variety of avocado was supposed to be grafted. When the grafts performed on this seedling failed, it was left alone and started to produce the pebbly black fruit that became world-famous. Today, 95 percent of California avocados grow on clones derived from that single La Habra Heights seedling.
TIP OF THE WEEK: The proper soil pH for blueberries is 5.5 on the high end and 4.5 on the low end. Plant your blueberries in a mix that is almost entirely sphagnum peat moss, which has a pH of around 4, with a little perlite included to improve drainage and watch them grow.

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