One is always tempted to plant Avos, forgetting that the trees grow huge, far to big for the average garden. At long last there are now avocado trees suitable for domestic gardens. Gem is a new type very similar to Hass Avocado in tree shape and quality of fruits but mature trees grow a little smaller than Hass trees, ideal for home owners looking to put a few trees in your back yard. This new avocado is making its way into the marketplace that might give the venerable hass variety a run for its money.
Called GEM — from the initials of Gray E. Martin, a University of California technician who helped develop it — the new variety was patented and released in 2003 but only recently has started to spark the attention of growers. In the 1990s, when Martin was evaluating the GEM, he provided some test material to Westfalia Technological Services in South Africa. Today, Westfalia Fruit, internationally the largest GEM producer, licenses GEM to growers in a wide range of avocado-growing countries, says Stefan Köhne, research and development manager for Europe and the Americas at Westfalia Technological Services.
“The international production footprint of this superior avocado is likely to expand further in the future, in line with the need to meet the growing demand for GEM fruit,” he says. Farmers are pushed to produce more with less, so the trend towards dwarf trees has gained momentum. With rising input costs and increasingly limited resources, many fruit producers are constantly looking for ways to increase yield in their orchards. Dwarf avocado trees offer the benefits of a compact orchard and savings in labour and production costs.