The best varieties to plant will depend on the location of your farm.
Hass is the most marketable and reliable producer in most areas. We suggest it makes up the bulk of trees in an orchard except in hot areas where the fruit tends to be too small.
Lamb Hass fruit is similar to Hass but is larger on average. The fruit matures later and the tree grows more upright and compact than Hass. It crops heavily but is prone to biennial bearing (where the tree has large yields one year then produces little or nothing the next). Lamb Hass trees attract a royalty payment at the nursery upon purchase.
We recommend Shepard for warmer areas with mild winter temperatures such as the Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Area and warmer slopes of the Bundaberg and Childers region. It is more sensitive to cooler temperatures during flowering and this negatively affects fruit set.
Reed is a late season variety with an upright growth habit and spherical fruit. It is suitable over a wide range of environments but must be picked late in the season to be acceptable to consumers.
The Wurtz tree tends to be smaller than other varieties but has a dense canopy and it is more prone to attack by insects such as Monolepta and red mite. It is a mid to late season variety.
These tend to be Hass-like in appearance and include Maluma®, Gem® and Carmen®. Advantages may include larger fruit size, higher yields and a more upright growth habit. Disadvantages may include the need for greater post-harvest care, larger seed and more than 1 flowering per year. These 3 varieties are protected by plant breeder’s rights and attract a royalty when purchasing the tree and/or selling the fruit.
In most production areas of eastern Australia, pollination and fruit set are adequate in blocks of a single variety but in colder areas some interplanting of a B type variety can benefit fruit set in some years. In blocks of Shepard some interplanting of an A type has improved fruitset in seasons with cool conditions during flowering.
A type varieties include:
B type varieties include:
The rootstocks that your trees are grafted onto will have a major influence on how they perform. It is important to try and choose the best rootstocks for your variety and region. The highest priority is that they have at least some tolerance to Phytophthora root rot, followed by their suitability to your climate (e.g. more tolerance to a cold environment), soil pH, susceptibility to biennial bearing and the effect they have on the susceptibility of the fruit to anthracnose fruit rot.
The best all-round rootstock for Australian conditions is Velvick but because it is in high demand you may have to wait longer for it. Dusa® are clonal trees and have a higher cost but they also perform well in Australia.