Getting avocado trees to produce fruit?

Twenty plus years ago we tried raising an avocado tree in our yard in Southern California. The first attempted failed due to sun damage to the plant; the second plant never produced fruit.
We'd like to try again, but we'd like to have some expectation of success this time. Since we live in an avocado growing area, I've assumed that we didn't have to worry too much about getting fruit on our trees, but guess that isn't exactly true.
How can we assure success this time out? I'm assuming that you can't just go into a nursery and ask for a male and female avocado tree, right? Do we just have to wait for chance to get the right bee with the right pollen to our trees?
Thanks much for your comments.
Stan San Diego, CA
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I planted a seed from a store-bought avocado, also about 15-20 (?) years ago. Started out as one of those 3-toothpick in a glass fun things; transplanted it; lo & behold, it took off. Bore erratically; some years much, others little. What the squirrels left me, I enjoyed the hell out of.
Where it found its "mate" I haven't a clue. Maybe another tree down the block?
Maybe you could plant several to increase your chances of success. (Would be cute it they ALL took off!).
I realize this isn't scientific input; just wanted to assure you that this gardener "succeeded" quite without planning, and in the same general So Calif beach area as you.
Persephone
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Have you tested your soil? I have been taught that when the soil is low on phosphate, the trees wont set on fruit. This guys remedy was to add some 0 - 42 - 0 fertilizer to the plants/trees that weren't doing what was expected of them. He also used it on roses and other flowers that wouldnt bloom.
Dwayne

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Owlman wrote:

There are two flowering types, referred to as "A" and "B" flower types. "A" varieties open as female on the morning of the first day. The flower closes in late morning or early afternoon. The flower will remain closed until the afternoon of the second day when it opens as male. "B" varieties open as female on the afternoon of the first day, close in late afternoon and re-open in the male phase the following morning.          "A" Varieties include     Hass, Gwen, Lamb Hass, Pinkerton, Reed, GEM, Harvest "B" Varieties include     Bacon, Ettinger, Fuerte, Sharwil
http://ucavo.ucr.edu/avocadowebsite%20folder/avocadowebsite/Flowering/FloweringBasics.html
I put 3 trees in one hole a couple of years ago and am patiently waiting .
Doug
    
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