zutano avocado

Zutano Avocado – A Rare Tasty Delight

The Zutano Avocado is not an avocado you would find in the grocery store. One reason is that it is used as a pollinator for the Hass avocado and other more popular avocados and not planted in large numbers in the grove. Another is that it is a “green” avocado. Unlike Hass, green avocados stay green when ripe, and consumers prefer the color change, as with the Hass, to know when the avocado is ripe. Hass type avocados are easier to market than green types, regardless of flavor or quality.

Zutano Avocado – Great Taste and Low Oil Content

The Zutano Avocado is similar to the Fuerte avocado with its pear shape and thin, glossy green-yellowish skin. It remains green even when ripe. It has low oil content but packs a pungent avocado taste (with the addition of a lighter, almost lemony top note) and a lighter, silkier texture than the creamy Hass.

Availability and Seasons

The Zutano avocados are available from mid-fall through late winter.

A Southern California Native

The Zutano avocado was developed in Fallbrook, California, at the hands of R.L. Ruitt in 1926.

Farmers have noticed that Hass avocado trees near a Zutano avocado tree regularly have significantly larger fruit set than those planted farther away. Subsequently, some growers are planting Zutano trees around the edge of their Hass avocado grove and pruning to prevent fruit set but to provide flowers for cross-pollination.

Can take the Cold

The Zutano is a cold-hardy Mexican variety. It is widely planted in the San Joaquin Valley, where it is too cold for the Hass (Guatemalan variety) in the winter.

Tree Growth

Zutano avocado tree will grow 30-40 feet in height with a trunk diameter of up to 2 feet at maturity, growing upright with a rounded shape and spreading branches. The tree has oval-shaped, dark green leaves with a glossy sheen. Flowers are a greenish-white, bearing in clusters at the branch tips.

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About Randy Farrar

Randy Farrar is the CEO and farmer at Harvest2U. He is a seasoned micro-farmer with over 35 years of experience. When he isn't farming and managing Harvest2U, you'll find him writing content for blogs and social media. You can follow him on: ● Facebook ● Instagram ● Linkedin


  1. STEVE HOVLAND on April 9, 2020 at 8:50 am

    I live in Chula Vista south of San Diego 4 miles from the ocean would this be a good choice for my yard?

    • Randy Farrar on April 12, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      Yes Steve, perfect choice, but I would add a Hass Avocado for cross-pollination.

      • douglas gray on January 22, 2021 at 7:08 pm

        If you leave zutanos on the tree until April or May, the watery-ness goes away; they have high fat content and great flavor.

        • Randy Farrar on January 23, 2021 at 12:43 pm

          Great tip Douglas! Thank you!

  2. Edie on April 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    How old do they they start producing avocados?

    • Randy Farrar on May 1, 2020 at 11:14 am

      From seed – 10 to 15 years. From nursery stock – 3 to 5.

      • Hugo on July 20, 2020 at 1:47 pm

        We planted an avocado from seed and the fruit looks like it could be zutano. It’s just under 4 years old and has around 100 avocados on the tree. Last year it only gave us 1. I know this is anomaly for most avocados planted from seed, but it really likes it here. How can you tell a zutano from a bacon from a fuerte?

        • Randy Farrar on July 23, 2020 at 8:52 pm

          Avocados after four years of planting? That is amazing! All Avocados are hybrids. They do not reproduce true to the parent. You have a new variety. Very cool. Now if it’s a great avocado you can propagate it asexually. That is by cuttings or grafting your tree onto another rootstock. Please let us know how they turn out.

          • Hugo on July 25, 2020 at 12:11 am

            Yes, it’s crazy. We actually had it grafted and didn’t protect the shoots very well and the sun baked them. We were so bummed. However, it bounced back! Now we’re just counting our days until we can harvest. How will I know when they’re ripe and/or ready to pull off the tree?

          • Randy Farrar on July 26, 2020 at 5:32 pm

            Grafted? The new tree you grew from seed? By grafting onto your new tree, you lose the unique variety you have. I hope you took slips from the new tree and grated those onto another rootstock. You’ll have to experiment. I’d pick when they are a good size. Let them ripen on the counter. Hass type varieties will get darker, but most are ripe when they are soft. They don’t ripen on the tree. and you can pretty much keep them on as long as you want.

  3. Peter Day on May 7, 2020 at 8:59 am

    Great article! We found some Zutanos at a roadside stand while riding our bikes in Ojai. Looking forward to trying them when they are ripe in a few days.

    • Randy Farrar on May 7, 2020 at 10:34 am

      Thank you. Enjoy!

  4. Hugo on July 27, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    We had it grafted but they didn’t make it. So now we only have the new hybrid, whatever it is. New to growing avocados, but very excited about our little tree

    • Randy Farrar on July 28, 2020 at 8:35 pm

      And you get to name the new variety. Please let us know how it goes with your new tree. Keep us posted. Pictures would be great.

  5. Heather on July 31, 2020 at 9:58 am

    Great article! We just moved to a property in Temecula with 200 avocado trees. A few are Hass and the rest are Zutanos. I notice the Zutano trees are producing much more fruit than the Hass’s. Is that typical for this time of year?

    • Randy Farrar on August 7, 2020 at 4:59 pm

      Yes Zutano is more hardy and productive than Hass, but do not command the same market price.

  6. Mindy Paris on August 28, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    We just planted an avocado tree and it turned out to be a Zutano (we thought we were getting a Haas), Will it self pollinate? We do not have room for a second avocado tree!
    Thanks, Mindy

  7. Expert Hiker on July 21, 2021 at 10:55 am

    Wow, I think our taste buds differ quite a bit. I spit out Zutanos. They are crap avocados. Watery. “Creamy”? my ass. They aren’t delicious.

    Of course I’m quite partial to the Hass. Nothing beats it. Highest oil content of any large cultivar. There are some Hass crosses grown here on the Central Coast that have funny sounding names (I forget them) that claim to have higher oil content, but frankly I’ve tried most of them and don’t notice difference in oil. But they are also fruitier, which personally I don’t like. I like the buttery thick Hass meat. Best guacamole from Hass. The downside is Hass isn’t available year round. During the coldest part of the winter and early to mid spring I resort to Hass from Mexico or Mexicola from Mexico which is a world better than any green skin avocado like the Zutano. I’ve occasionally had a decent Ettinger but they are rarely good. Mostly they get defects and browning areas before they lose their wateriness.

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