Avocado

Year-Round IPM Program

(Reviewed 6/10, updated 6/10)

These practices are recommended for a monitoring-based IPM program that reduces water quality problems related to pesticide use. Water quality becomes impaired when pesticides move off-site and into water. Each time a pesticide application is considered, review the Pesticide Application Checklist at the bottom of this page.

This program covers the major pests of Avocado. Details on carrying out each practice and information on additional pests can be found in the guidelines. Track your progress through the year with this annual checklist form.

Bloom (pre-bloom, open flower, pollination, and fruit set)

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.
What should you be doing during this period?
Monitor for diseases and conditions that promote disease development.

Record the date and location of problem trees or sites. Manage if needed according to Avocado Pest Management Guidelines.

Begin monitoring for invertebrate pests, including:

Manage if needed according to Avocado Pest Management Guidelines.

Survey weeds, especially weeds near trunks, during spring through fall.
  • Manage vegetation if needed, especially weeds near trunks.
  • Record results (example weed survey form PDF).
Look for vertebrates, especially during spring and summer. Manage if needed.
Provide proper cultural care and good growing conditions to improve fruit yield and control pests.
Promote pollination of flowers:
  • Place honey bee hives in groves during bloom.
  • Manage pesticides to avoid killing bees.
Apply gypsum and mulch to reduce avocado root rot and improve soil.
Manage irrigation:
  • Inspect irrigation systems by late winter.
  • Monitor and adjust scheduling to meet trees’ varying water needs.
  • Test irrigation water quality.

Early fruit development (fruit are less than 2 inches long)

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.
What should you be doing during this period?
Identify and manage the causes of damage to fruit.
Monitor for diseases and conditions that promote disease development:

Record the date and location of problem trees or sites. Manage if needed according to Avocado Pest Management Guidelines.

Monitor invertebrate pests, including:

Record results on a monitoring form. Manage if needed according to Avocado Pest Management Guidelines.

Look for other invertebrate pests. Manage if needed according to Avocado Pest Management Guidelines.
Provide proper cultural care and good growing conditions to improve fruit yield, reduce insect damage, and control pests.
Look for vertebrates especially during spring and summer. Manage if needed.
Survey weeds, especially during spring through fall.
  • Manage vegetation, especially weeds near trunks, as needed.
  • Record results (example weed survey form PDF).
Manage irrigation:
  • Monitor and adjust scheduling to meet trees’ varying water needs.

Late fruit development (fruit are greater than 2 inches long)

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.
What should you be doing during this period?
Monitor for diseases and conditions that promote disease development, including:

Manage if needed according to Avocado Pest Management Guidelines.

Monitor invertebrates:
Look for vertebrates, especially during spring and summer. Manage if needed.
Reduce pest problems and manage tree growth by proper pruning.
Manage nutrition:
  • Test foliar nutrients and fertilize if needed.
Provide proper cultural care and good growing conditions to improve fruit yield and control pests.
Apply frost protection when warranted through March, especially if growing on flat land.
  • Test frost control system by November.
Inspect trees or sample foliage or soil during late summer or fall before winter rains to assess salinity from alkaline soils, poor quality water, and fertilizers.

Harvest (until fruit arrives at the packing house)

Mitigate pesticide usage to minimize air and water contamination.
What should you be doing during this period?
Check preharvest intervals for all products used.
Use pruning and other cultural practices to minimize anthracnose in groves and fruit rots postharvest.
Size pick fruit. Thin clustered fruit and prune to reduce protected sites, thereby culturally controlling greenhouse thrips, leafrollers, loopers, and mealybugs:
  • Thin by selectively harvesting only larger fruit, which increases market price to the grower.
Minimize fruit injury and postharvest disease.
Educate and supervise workers regarding fruit handling Best Management Practices (BMP), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and food safety.
Inspect fruit quality before bins are moved from the picking site to identify grove areas where management practices need improvement.
Take steps to prevent fruit contamination and theft.

Pesticide application checklist

When planning for possible pesticide applications in an IPM program, review and complete this checklist to consider practices that minimize environmental and efficacy problems.
  • Choose a pesticide from the UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines for the target pest considering:
  • Before an application:
    • Choose application procedures that keep pesticides on target. 
    • Identify and take special care to protect sensitive areas (for example, waterways or riparian areas) surrounding your application site.
    • Review and follow label for pesticide handling, storage, and disposal guidelines.
    • Check and follow restricted entry intervals (REI) and preharvest intervals (PHI).
  • After an application:
    • Record application date, product used, rate, and location of application.
    • Follow up to confirm that treatment was effective.
  • Consider water management practices (PDF) that reduce pesticide movement off-site.
    • Limit irrigation to amount required using soil moisture (PDF) and evapotranspiration (ET) monitoring.
    • Install an irrigation recirculation or storage and reuse system.
    • Consider the use of cover crops.
    • Consider vegetative filter strips (PDF) or ditches.
    • Install sediment traps.
    • Use polyacrylamide (PAM) tablets in furrow irrigation or sprinkler irrigation systems to improve soil infiltration and prevent off-site movement of sediments.
    • Redesign inlets and outlets into tailwater ditches (PDF) to reduce erosion.
  • Consider orchard floor management practices (PDF) that improve soil structure and reduce erosion.
  • Consider practices that reduce air quality problems.
    • When possible, choose pesticides that are not in an emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulation, which release volatile organic compounds (VOCs); this is especially important from May to October. VOCs react with sunlight to form ozone, a major air pollutant.

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