How to grow your own avocado tree


Grow an Avocado Tree from Seed

Avocados are one of the wonderful fruits of summer. High in nutrition and flavor, nothing signals the start of summer like a zesty lime guacamole dip with tortilla chips. The next time you’re making guacamole or slicing an avocado for a salad, try saving your pits to grow into avocado trees. It’s surprisingly easy to grow your own avocado tree from seed, and it makes a great educational project for home and classrooms. Check out our handy-dandy guide below, complete with photos, to learn how to grow an avocado tree from seed.

Step 1 – Remove and clean pit

You’ll need to start by removing the pit from the avocado carefully (without cutting it), and then washing it clean of all the avocado fruit (often it helps to soak the pit in some water for a few minutes and then scrub all the remaining fruit off). Be careful not to remove the brown skin on the pit – that is the seed cover.

Step 2 – Locate the ends

Some avocado pits are slightly oblong, whereas others are shaped almost like perfect spheres – but all avocado pits have a ‘bottom’ (from where the roots will grow), and a ‘top’ (from which the sprout will grow). The slightly pointier end is the top, and the flat end is the bottom. In order to get your pit to sprout, you will need to place the bottom root end in water, so it’s very important to figure out which end is the ‘top’ and which is the ‘bottom’ before you go piercing it with toothpicks.

Step 3 – Pierce with four toothpicks

Take four toothpicks and stick them at a slight downward angle into the avocado seed, spaced evenly around the circumference of the avocado. These toothpicks are your avocado scaffolding, which will allow you to rest the bottom half of the avocado in water, so therefore the toothpicks need to be wedged in there firmly. I recommend sticking them in at a slight angle (pointing down), so that more of your avocado base rests in the water when you set this over a glass.

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Step 4 – Place avocado seed half in a glass of water

And set on a quiet windowsill with sunlight. It’s helpful to use a clear glass so you can easily see when roots start to grow, and also when the water needs to be changed. Many guides recommend to change the water every day, but I found, through trial and error, that it is better to change the water every five days to a week or so. You do want to make sure you change the water regularly, to prevent mold, bacteria and fungus growth, which can doom your little avocado sprout.

Step 5 – Wait for avocado seed to sprout

Many online guides I have read say that sprouting can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks, but in my experience, it usually takes at least 8 weeks to get a sprout, so be patient. Here is the process you will witness:

1. The top of the avocado pit will dry out and form a crack, and the outer brown seed skin will slough off.

2. The crack will extend all the way to the bottom of the avocado pit, and through the crack at the bottom, a tiny taproot will begin to emerge.

3. The taproot will grow longer and longer (and may branch), and eventually a small sprout will peek through the top of the avocado pit.

4. Do not allow your taproot to dry out unsubmerged EVER – doing so will be the death of your plant.

Step 6 – Pot in soil

When the stem is 6-7 inches long, cut it back to about 3 inches, this will encourage new growth. When it hits 6-7 inches again, pot it up in a rich humus soil in an 8-10″ diameter pot, leaving the top half of the seed exposed. Place on a sunny windowsill. Avocados love sun – the more sun the better.

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Step 7 – Water and watch it grow

Give it frequent waterings with an occasional deep soak. The soil should always be moist, but not saturated. Yellowing leaves are a sign of over-watering; let the plant dry out for a few days.

Step 8 – Pinch out top leaves

When the stem reaches 12 inches tall, pinch out the top two sets of leaves. This will encourage the plant to grow side shoots and more leaves, making it bushy. Each time the plant grows another 6 inches pinch out the 2 newest sets of leaves on top.

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Step 9 – Troubleshooting bugs

My avocado trees seem to collect aphids – the nasty critters can’t get enough of the delicious avocado leaves. If you get them, here’s how to get rid of them: Wash all of the aphids off the plant by spraying your plant down with a hose outside or in the sink/shower. Once the little pests are off, spray your plant with a mixture of water with a small squirt of dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon of neem oil. This will keep aphids from returning. Check your plant every 4-5 days and re-clean and spray when necessary.

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Step 10 – Wintering

Baby avocado trees can kick it outdoors in summer, but if you live anywhere where it gets cooler than 45 degrees F, you’ll need to bring them back indoors in the fall/winter, before the temperatures fall.

Will my avocado trees ever grow fruit?

Hard to say! Sometimes avocado plants will begin growing fruit after they’re 3 or 4 years old, others take 15+ years to grow fruit, and some never do. It helps to have several avocado trees growing together to aid with pollination. However, don’t expect the fruit to be anything like the avocado that yielded your seed. Commercial avocados are grown from grafted branches to control the outcome of the fruit – a naturally grown avocado may be very different than its parent!

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How to Grow Your Own Avocado Tree

Everything you need to know about how to grow an avocado tree. Really!

Everything you need to know about how to grow an avocado tree. Really! Want your own avocado tree or houseplant? There are a few ways to do it. This comprehensive guide tells you all you need to know, whether you’re starting from a seed or planting a young tree.

  • Planting
  • Soil
  • Watering
  • Mulching/fertilizing
  • Other growing tips


Planting: Houseplant*

You can start with an avocado seed. Wash it. Use three toothpicks to suspend it broad end down over a water-filled glass to cover about an inch of the seed. Put the glass in a warm place out of direct sunlight and replenish water as needed. You should see the roots and stem start to sprout in about two to six weeks. (If you’ve followed this process so far and have not seen roots or a stem sprout in more than six to eight weeks, try another seed.) When the stem is 6 to 7 inches long, cut it back to about 3 inches. When the roots are thick and the stem has leaves again, plant it in a rich humus soil in a 10½-inch-diameter pot, leaving the seed half exposed. Water it frequently, with an occasional deep soak. The soil should be moist but not saturated. And don’t forget: the more sunlight, the better. If the plant turns yellow, you may be over-watering; let it dry out for a few days. If the leaves turn brown and fry at the tips, too much salt has accumulated in the soil. Let water run freely into the pot, and drain it for several minutes. When the stem is 12 inches high, cut it back to 6 inches to encourage the growth of new shoots.

*Please note that the odds that your tree will bear fruit are very small.

Planting: Young tree

Remember that avocado trees do best at moderately warm temperatures (60 F to 85 F) with moderate humidity. They can tolerate temperatures, once established, of around 28 F to 32 F with minimal damage. Avoid freezing temperatures. Plant your tree in March through June. If you plant during the summer, there is always the risk of sun damage, because avocado trees don’t absorb water very well when they’re young. Plant it in a non-lawn area and away from sidewalks and, if you can, plant it in a spot protected from wind and frost. Remember, full sun is best. Dig a hole as deep as the current root ball and just as wide as the width plus a little extra so you can get your hands into the hole to plant it. The avocado is a shallow-rooted tree with most of its feeder roots in the top 6 inches of soil, so give it good aeration. Its root system is very sensitive, and great care should be taken not to disturb it when transplanting. If the tree is root-bound, however, loosen up the soil around the edges and clip the roots that are going in circles.

Soil

Avocado trees like the soil’s pH around 6 to 6.5. If you have a heavy clay soil, elevate the tree in a mound for better drainage. Make the mound 1 to 2 feet high and 3 to 5 feet around. Don’t put gravel or anything else like planting media in the hole. The sooner the roots get into the bulk soil, the better the tree will do.

Watering

Trees typically need to be watered two to three times a week. As the roots reach out into the bulk soil, more water can be applied and the frequency of watering can diminish to about once a week after a year. When watering the tree, soak the soil well, and then allow it to dry out somewhat before watering again. As with most plants, you don’t want the tree to get too dry. The rule of thumb for mature trees is about 20 gallons of water a day during the irrigation season. Seedlings will require quite a bit less water, of course. Check the soil before watering each time to make sure it has dried somewhat. If the soil from around the roots can hold the impression of a hand when squeezed, it has enough water.

Mulching and Fertilizing

Mulch with coarse yard mulch. Redwood bark or cocoa bean husks and shredded tree bark will work. Choose something that is woody and about 2 inches in diameter. Coarse yard mulch is available at some garden-supply centers and through tree-trimming operations. Tree-trimming operations sometimes have material that has been pruned from the tops of trees and doesn’t contain any diseased roots. Use online search engines to find a local tree service. Put 20 pounds of gypsum spread around the tree base, and mulch the area with 6 inches of mulch, keeping the material about 6 to 8 inches away from the tree trunk. Fertilize your young avocado trees with ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per tree per year. You can spread it out over several applications as long as it totals ½ to 1 pound of nitrogen. The other important nutrient for avocado trees is zinc. Ordinary home fertilizer for houseplants will normally work.

Other growing tips

Be patient about seeing fruit. If you have purchased and planted a tree, you can probably expect to see your first fruit three to four years after planting. If you are growing from a seed, it can take anywhere from five to 13 years before the tree is mature enough to set fruit. When the tree does flower, expect a lot of flowers to fall without setting fruit. This is natural.


FAQs and Troubleshooting
Should I plant a “B” type avocado with an “A” type avocado to help with good pollination?

Avocado flowering patterns fall into two groups: “A” type and “B” type flowers. A-type flowers open female in the morning and male in the afternoon, B-type are male in the morning and female in the afternoon.
It is widely accepted that fruit production can be helped with the presence of another avocado variety, but it isn’t always required.

How does temperature influence pollination and fruit set?

Optimum fruit set occurs at temperatures between about 65 – 75 F. Cooler or warmer temperatures are less ideal.
Under some conditions, you may get a fruit from a flower that did not pollinate properly. These small, elongated fruit will often fall from the tree on their own, but if they “hang on” you can pick them and eat them. These fruit are called “cukes” but are sometimes marketed in stores as “Cocktail” or “Finger” avocados.

What can I do about my avocado tree dropping fruit?

This is called fruit drop. An avocado tree typically produces about one million flowers, but only 100-200 pieces of fruit per tree. In other words, 1 fruit in 10,000 will set and mature. Sometimes the tree will set fruit but drop them when they are pea to walnut size. This is typical.
To minimize fruit drop of good “fertilized” fruit, avoid stressing the tree. Don’t under or overwater it. Research suggests that fruit retention is also better when there are other avocado varieties present to provide cross-pollination, and that these crossed fruit have a higher tendency to stay on the tree.
There is also some indication that over-fertilizing with Nitrogen during the early fruit stages can also somewhat influence fruit drop. Check with your master gardener for help with fertilizers for your climate/location.

How can I tell when my avocados are ripe and ready to pick?

Avocados do not “ripen” on the tree, that is, they do not get soft while on the tree. They mature on the tree.
Once you pick an avocado, it can take from 7-21 days for it to soften when left at room temperature. You can speed the process up slightly by placing the avocado in a bag with some other ripe fruit (like an apple or banana) or slow the process down by keeping the fruit in the refrigerator. More on how to ripen avocados.

So, when should I pick my avocados?

Pick a couple of avocados and try to ripen them. If they shrivel up or seem rubbery instead of soft, they are not mature yet. Keep picking fruit every few weeks. Note on the calendar when they soften instead of turning rubbery.

Also, note the taste of the fruit. The oil content of the fruit usually increases through the season, and there will be a certain point when it tastes “just right.” That date will usually vary somewhat due to climate conditions, and some years will be better than others. Some varieties can also reach a point where they have too much oil and some will turn rancid (although many types fall from the tree before reaching that point).

The Hass Avocado in California typically comes to maturity in February and is good through September or October. These dates depend a lot on where you live and climate conditions.

How many fruit will a mature tree produce in one year?

It is possible for an avocado tree to produce 200 to 300 fruit per tree once it is about 5-7 years of age. The avocado tree, however, alternates bearing. This means that the tree may produce a large crop one year, and then produce a small crop the following year. There are lots of variables that influence this.

How many years will a normal avocado tree produce fruit?

Typically, an avocado tree will continue to grow and produce fruit until something kills the tree.

When is the best time to prune avocado trees?

Avocados can be pruned any time of the year, but there tends to be less vigorous regrowth if it is done after cold weather in the winter, sometime around February.

How large will my avocado tree get?

Growth is reflected in rootstock, variety, soil depth and texture, windiness, irrigation and pruning. Reed, Bacon and Hass trees can ultimately grow to 35 feet in 30 years. Pruning can keep the trees to a manageable size, under 15 feet, but it must be done on a regular basis.

What’s the creamy-white foamy looking stuff that grows out of the bark where there are cuts, or small branches have died and dropped off?

It is just sap coming from a wound. It dries into that sugary white, fluffy stuff.

What areas of California are most hospitable to avocados?

Most areas of Southern California are suitable for avocados, except for the mountains and high deserts, where it gets too cold and too dry for fruit set. Outside of Southern California, it depends on the climate. Cold is most often the problem faced in other parts of the state. Still, there are home growers with avocado trees in and around San Francisco. There is also an area along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where avocados are being grown in Fresno and Tulare Counties. Growing areas in Southern California include:

  • San Diego County
  • Orange County
  • Los Angeles County
  • Riverside County
  • Western San Bernardino County
  • Ventura County
  • Santa Barbara County
  • Some parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz Counties


More Resources

Not finding what you are looking for? Contact a master gardener* or see the below resources. All links open a new window:

  1. Tips for the Backyard Avocado Grower (PDF) 
    This sheet, developed by the California Avocado Commission, was designed to provide Do-It-Yourself tips on growing an avocado tree
  2. Ventura County Avocado Handbook* 
    This helpful handbook, hosted by the University of California Cooperative Extension, provides text book-like information on growing an avocado tree including grafting, planting, flowering and more
  3. Growing Avocados (YouTube)*
    YouTube offers a helpful selection of avocado growing tips and videos from avocado enthusiasts all over the world
  4. Avocado Source*
    The free, virtual library of avocado knowledge. Search for documents, research and more
  5. Avocado Variety Information*
    Almost 1,000 varieties of avocados are identified on this page. Also available through this site is general avocado information, resources on flowering, irrigation, phenology and rootstocks

For cultural advice on your avocado tree or plant, please contact a master gardener* or nursery nearest you.

For assistance over the phone from a Master Gardner, try one of the following hotlines:

LOS ANGELES323-260-3238
ORANGE COUNTY714-708-1646
SAN DIEGO858-694-2860
SAN LUIS OBISPO805-781-5939 or 805-781-1429
SANTA BARBARA(805) 781-5940
SANTA CLARA408-299-2636
VENTURA805-645-1455

The California Avocado Commission does not sell, produce or have avocados, seeds or trees available for purchase. For information on where avocado trees are sold, please contact a nursery nearest you.

* Please note: The California Avocado Commission provides this information as a convenience to you; it should not be considered an endorsement by the Commission of a third-party website or the company who owns it. The Commission is not responsible for the quality, safety, completeness, or accuracy or nature of the content of the linked websites.

How to grow an avocado at home: practical tips

Tips

Avocado, with its recognizable taste and buttery texture, rightfully occupies one of the first places in the list of products for a healthy and balanced diet. This superfood is rich in saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, contains a supply of potassium and vitamins E, K and group B, serves as a source of antioxidants and accelerates the absorption of nutrients.

If you have space in your living room or kitchen, try growing this tropical plant in your home and in a few years you will be able to not only enjoy the lush foliage of the tree, but also eat ripe fruits from your garden.

The scientific name of the avocado tree is Persea americana. The plant comes from Mexico. In hot tropical forests, it can reach 18 meters in height, but this does not mean that you cannot grow it at home - just get a suitable planter and cut the plant in time to adjust its growth.

The avocado tree loves warmth and sun, therefore, taking into account the weather conditions, it is better to grow it not in the backyard, but at home, where it will be possible to provide humidity and temperature that are comfortable for the plant.

How to grow an avocado

One of the easiest ways to grow an avocado is to use the pit of a ripe avocado, anything you can buy at your local supermarket will do. The seeds sprout quickly and easily, so you will definitely be able to start a seedling. However, remember that it takes up to 3-6 years for a tree to give its first crop, and at home, an avocado will not always bear fruit.

  1. Select a healthy and ripe avocado of your favorite variety and carefully remove the pit. Be careful, the seed will not germinate if the outer brown shell is damaged.

  2. Turn the narrow part of the bone up, pierce it with three wooden toothpicks at an equal distance at a slight angle.

  3. Fill the container with water and set the stone so that its bottom is submerged in water.

  4. Place the container on the windowsill and change the water every five days.

  5. It usually takes four weeks for a bone to grow. But if this does not happen, do not despair and be patient!

  6. Roots and sprouts appear almost simultaneously. Wait until the future tree is 15 cm tall and then cut it in half. This will cause the avocado to sprout more.

  7. Prepare a pot of fertile soil in a well-lit area.

  8. Dig a hole and plant the avocado in it, leaving only the green part of the plant above the ground.

  9. Water the avocado and continue to care for it. If you want to grow fruit, find out if your variety is self-pollinating or if it needs another plant nearby.

How to care for avocados

Soil

Like all shallow-rooted trees, the avocado tree needs loose, well-drained soil. As for pH, it should be neutral or slightly acidic, as with most other garden plants.

Watering

In the first few years of life, the avocado tree needs a lot of water. Water the plant two to three times a week. After the tree is rooted, watering can be reduced, as the roots will get the necessary moisture from the soil. Understanding when a tree needs additional moisture is quite simple - pay attention to soil moisture, as soon as it dries, water the plant.

Fertilizer

Avocado grows well in fertile soil and requires regular fertilization throughout its life. In the early stages, in order for the tree to grow healthy and strong, use a fertilizer rich in nitrogen once a month. Such top dressing can be replaced with organic compost, which is applied every three months. Continue to fertilize the plant during flowering and throughout the growing season. When the fruits are ripe, fertilizers can be postponed until the next season.

Pruning

Avocado care depends on where you grow it. An outdoor tree will require minimal pruning. Potted plants, on the other hand, require pruning regularly to keep them compact. In addition to the main branches, pay attention to side shoots so that the avocado does not lose shape.

Pests and Diseases

Although the avocado tree has a high content of toxic persin, to which only humans and cats are immune, it does not repel pests. Spider mites, thrips and caterpillars can merge on the plant. Treat your avocado with neem oil to combat them.

Another danger is diseases, the most common of which are root rot and bay wilt. Root rot is caused by overwatering or the accumulation of salts in the soil as a result of excessive fertilization. Laurel wilt is a deadly fungal infection spread by ragweed beetles, so keep them out.

Harvest

It is not always clear from the appearance of the avocado when it is ripe enough. Up to a certain point, they can sing on a tree, but usually ripen after harvest. If the fruits are left on the tree for too long, they can become soft and overripe.

To test the ripeness of an avocado, pick the largest fruit and leave it in a dark place for a few days. Try lightly pressing down on the avocado with your thumb. If it is soft and the flesh has become creamy, the fruit is fully ripe. If the flesh is hard and bitter in taste, then the fruits are not yet ready to serve, give them a little more time.


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How to Grow Your Own Avocado Tree for Avo Obsessed Millennials

We are an avocado-obsessed generation.

From savory avocado toast to fresh summer salads to healthier desserts and even avocado chips, millennials are finding new ways to add these versatile green fruits to their diets.


While Americans in all 50 states are increasingly consuming avocados, California now has the most avocados grown in the US, followed by Hawaii and Florida. These trendy, Instagram-worthy fruits have a growing season from early March to late July in Cali.


Since the US consumer base requires avocados all year round, which is impossible, 80% of our avocados are actually imported from Mexico, Chile and Peru. With an average avocado consumption of 7.1 pounds per capita in the US, it's important that we know where this trendy food comes from.

The History and Production of Avocados

To make a beloved avocado toast, there are many steps that avocado farmers have taken over decades of fruit consumption. The rich history of avocados is not only fascinating, it also makes your stomach growl.


The most common variety of avocado, Hass avocado, accounts for 95% of American avocados. Bred entirely by accident, this variety produces an avocado with a significantly thicker skin and turns purplish-black when ripe - two desirable qualities unlike other avocado varieties.

Today, the Hass avocado tree, which grows in temperate climates, makes millions of avocados every year, spreads around the world Avoid lovers like you and me. Bless.

Instead of growing this spectacular fruit exclusively from seed, farmers have switched to growing avocados. grafting small stems [of the Hass tree] onto a sapling of another type of avocado" to produce more fruit in a shorter time. After 3-5 years and countless flowers, thousands of Hass avocados appear on the tree, ready to be harvested.


End result?

Very happy millennials.

Most of us don't run a large scale avocado farm, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy growing our own bundle of green joy.

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On a small scale, growing your own avocado tree from seed is just as beneficial. All you need is an avocado seed, a few toothpicks, water, earth, and a little patience.

How to Grow Your Own Avocado Tree

Olivia Chadwick

Growing an avocado tree is quite a feat and not for the weak. When you grow your tree, it's likely that it won't produce the avocados you want. If it does eventually bear fruit, it could take years for the avocado to appear.

But growing your own avocado tree is still a fun DIY project, and might even provide you with homegrown (literally!) avocado toast someday.

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1. Clean the avocado seeds thoroughly.

Be careful not to remove the dark skin around the seed - this is the coating of the seed and the source of protection for the young avocado tree.

2. Locate the top and bottom sides of the seed.

The top end will sprout and eventually grow into an avocado tree, while the bottom end will produce roots that absorb water to successfully hydrate the tree.

3. Suspend or plant avocado seeds.

Option 1

This is the most common way to grow an avocado tree. Using 3-4 toothpicks, evenly pierce the pit of the avocado so that it can suspend in the water. Make sure the toothpicks are firmly in the seed.

Make sure the top of the seed is up and the bottom is down. Fill a cup or container with water and place the seeds on top so that they are half submerged in the water. Place in a warm place with plenty of sunlight.

Option #2

Olivia Chadwick

The easy way (you may not get good results, but you can try) is to toss avocado seeds into nutrient rich soil and water regularly to keep the soil moist.

Place the avocado seeds in a 'warm area with plenty of sunlight' and wait for the magic to happen. Avocado trees thrive in temperatures between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit with moderate humidity levels.

Tip: Planting a plant by the window is great!

So you can remember to water it when you cook dinner in the kitchen or do the dishes. This little plant is sure to become your baby. Look how cute it is.... yeah.

4. Wait and wait and ... wait ... wait

The waiting process has officially begun.

It can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks for your bundle of joy to sprout, and sometimes it can take almost 8 weeks. Be patient, my little friend. Your time will come.

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You will notice that roots have appeared in the water, a brown seed is ajar, and a small avocado tree is making its way into the world. #So touching

5. Replant the avocado tree.

Once your avocado tree is about 6 feet tall, it's time to transplant into a larger container. There are many ways to do this, but I prefer using an 8-10 foot pot and nutrient rich soil.

Place a young avocado tree in the middle of the pot and cover lightly with soil that some hobbyists even recommend. leaving the top of the avocado seeds.

Tip: Your avocado tree loves the sun, so make sure you spend enough time in the sun for your green bundle of joy.

6. Don't forget plant maintenance

Olivia Chadwick

Like any living thing, this avocado tree needs to be taken care of. Be sure to water the plant 2-3 times a week. If the leaves appear yellow, this is a sign of overwatering - let the plant dry out for a few days.

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Once the avocado tree is 12 feet tall, pinch off the top few leaves. This will encourage growth on your avocado tree and allow the tree to appear bushier.

If you are lucky enough to see an avocado appear, it's time to celebrate. Usually, avocados are pollinated by bees or through the surrounding avocado trees, less often by human intervention.

Avocado trees produce thousands of small flowers, but most of them fall off. no fruit, which is normal.

Avocado Fact: Avocados do not ripen until the avocado is attached to the tree - the green fruit only ripens when it is picked.

That's it.

Growing an avocado tree is much more than a stupid project. The pleasure of growing your own plant and seeing your hard work pay off is more than enough satisfaction for me.


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