Lauren In Tokyo

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Avocado: Comparing leaves

In the past couple months since I last updated the pictures of the avocados, there has been quite a bit of growth due to the warm summer. We've had plenty of rain and lots of sun, and the avocados seem to be making the most of the weather. They are still potted, and they are somewhat sheltered from direct weather contact, but they are outside and receive a fairly substantial dose of the natural world. The avocados here definitely aren't indoor plants.

So last time I wrote about the avocados, I mentioned that the leaves were different shapes. Since the avocados are grown from seed, they are genetically distinct and will have similar but different phenotypes. One easy to understand phenotype is leaf shape. The older avocado has a rounded end on each leaf. The younger avocado has a distinct pointy leaf shape.

Rounded leaf:

Pointed leaf:

At first I thought it might have just been a malady that was affecting the shape of the leaves of the older avocado. Several other leaves seem to be strangely-shaped due to what appears to be burns. What this is due to, I don't know. However, the basic shape of each leaf seems to be rounded at the tip, so I don't think the lack of a point is due to disease, malnutrition, or sunburn. It is a good idea to keep a close eye on it for changes, though.

Another interesting thing is that the older avocado's seed has completely dissolved. You can't see it well in the pictures, but the seed is almost completely gone. I am attributing this to the age of the tree, but I am a little worried that the tree used up the remaining food within the seed due to lack of nutrients in the soil. Is there a way to determine the nutrient level within the soil?

One last point to mention is that the younger avocado is almost as tall as the older one. This may be due to them being only a few months apart in age, but it may also be a genetic difference, causing them to grow at slightly different rates.

Here are this week's pictures:

Older avocado (white pot):

Younger avocado (black pot):


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Avocado: No updates in a while

It's been a few months since the last time I updated the avocado information. There has been a lot going on, a new job, overseas travel, and the always-constant laziness.

Pictures can explain the situation better than a textual description, but I don't have pictures, so you'll have to make due with your imagination.

The avocado that I have been watching for the past few months has grown to almost a foot and a half. Due to the heat, I am worried that its growth may be stunted a bit. Sun damage is a definite possibility in the summer months. Given that the avocado is growing in a pot and not in an open soil area where its roots can spread out, I am curious if the tree will be stunted and will fail to develop a large canopy to protect itself from the sun.

The leaves have grown large, and there is a clear pointiness of the leaves. The older avocado has rounded leaves. Unfortunately, the latest leaves do not seem to be growing to full size. This may be just a little bit of overcaring on my part, but if the leaves fail to grow out, then there may be a real problem.

The little tomato plant that I temporarily put in the same pot as the avocado has been transplanted and has grown quite a bit. It had flowered, but the strong wind of the other day broke the top of the plant off. However, this is not that bad because the tomato plant itself is not big and mature enough to handle a tomato at the moment. This year may be a bust for the tomato crop. Next year I should probably start a month or two earlier to maximize the number of tomatoes.