Gardening Filling a raised bed for an Avocado tree

Coll P

Jul 4, 2024
Hi Mark, Great video on growing Avocados on a clay base. I had the same very disappointing experience with my avocado trees a few years ago and had given up hope of having them in my garden until watching your video. I’m going to plant in Birdies raised beds 1200 x 1200 x 740 high. Do if fill these in a similar way to how you fill beds for veggies or should they be filled with mostly good garden soil? Thanks in advance, Coll.
Welcome to the forum Coll. Please feel free to share some picks and updates on the experience your learning from this journey.
I haven't ever done this. But @Grandmother Goose has done trees in raised beds before. I recommend checking out her posts!
Thanks for the suggestion Mandy. Unfortunately I was not able to find anything relevant. I’ll keep searching and googling to see what I can find. Cheers
Welcome to the forum Coll. Please feel free to share some picks and updates on the experience your learning from this journey.
Thanks KI, I’m a long way from having anything to share but I’ll certainly post here when things get started. Cheers.
I think you can fill the bed with whatever you have available, so long as it's similar or better than the soil below. The tree will grow roots down below the bed over time regardless.
An added benfit of using a raised bed for the top part is that you can control the quality. I recommend that you make the soil free draining, so that the tree doesn't become waterlogged and rot. You can also use this to untroduce some good fertilisers to the soil, so the plant may have an added bonus. Just be aware that too much fertiliser (especially near younger plants) can burn the plant and it's roots, killing it.
Another factor to think about is wether your soil is alkaline or acidic. From memory avocado trees prefer acidic soil.
I heard my name whispered.

Trees in raised garden beds, that's a big yes, can be done and the beds can be much smaller than you'd think. The roots of most trees including pretty much all fruit trees are relatively shallow. Young saplings start out with a tap root, but most trees as their root systems mature spread out to form a fibrous mat. The exceptions are trees like pines, elms, firs, walnut and some other edible nut trees that do maintain a significant tap root. Thus, fruit tree roots don't go very deep at all. One of the taller Birdies beds would be more than sufficient for a fussy avocado tree over clay soil, other less fussy fruit trees can do just as well in one of the short Birdies beds. And they don't have to be very wide either. My fruit trees did just fine in the smallest Birdies beds which are around 50cm wide, square. The roots just spread out until they reach the side of the bed, then they go down, and once they're below the bottom of the bed they start to spread sideways again.

Worst case scenario, after 20+ years the tree outgrows the garden bed, the bed has to be removed, but that's easy enough to deal with, just remove the bed and leave the mound of soil there like a little hill.

All my fruit trees (whilst they're dormant) are getting moved into large 50L pots for the sake of portability whilst I make some major changes around my yard. Half my trees have been in 50L pots for the past year already. They won't grow as large in a pot as they would in the ground, but they still grow well and bare plenty of fruit. Avo trees can be grown in pots, so there's no reason they won't do well in a raised garden bed so long as you have decent friable soil in there. Nothing special, just not too much clay not too much sand, the squeeze test Mark does and shows in many of his videos that mention soil quality is a good test.
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