Monday, June 22nd, 2009...12:00 am

Avocado Tree Problems

bounty by emdot

bounty by emdot

TheGardenLady received this question from Jonathan.

I recently planted a 3-4 year old avocado tree which is now about 8ft tall.  Since planting the leaf tips have been going brown and some leaves are very brittle, despite watering once or twice a day. Am I over watering? When I feel the earth around the tree it can be quite dry.

From reading your question, TheGardenLady cannot tell if you planted the avocado tree in a pot or out in the garden. If you planted the avocado tree in a pot, there may be too much salt gathering in the pot so you have to flush the pot out with lots of water. If it is grown in a pot it is best to give it frequent, light waterings with an occasional deep soak. Generally, the soil should be moist but not saturated. Yellowing leaves are a sign of over-watering; let the plant dry out for a few days. But if, as you described, the leaves turn brown and brown at the tips, too much salt has accumulated in the soil. Let water run freely into the pot and drain for several minutes.

Avocado Trees Damaged by Frost by wlwarner

Avocado Trees Damaged by Frost by wlwarner

But if you planted the tree in the soil without a pot, one of the most common problem of avocados is tip burn and marginal necrosis (death) caused by water stress and salinity, which is most prevalent during hot, dry weather according to this site.  Proper watering is essential.

Even if you have good drainage, one can never tell if the ground is dry or wet just by looking at or feeling the top of the earth.  Recommendations are to make a basin around the tree over the root ball that is kept filled with water.   See here.  Also to have a device in the soil to see if the ground is really moist enough. Where avocados are planted on well-drained soil, it is better to give them water frequently than to try to keep them too dry. Read the link carefully for the recommendations on watering your avocado tree.

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  • sir.
    i am an ex mariner from calcutta, west bengal in india,had brought number of avocado seeds from a spanish ship in 1996 and plannted all of them in the pots but only two survived. both the trees grown upto 14 to 15 feet.only in one tree, flower is blooming for the last 5 years in the month of february but it is not bearing any fruit and after 15 to 20 days all the flower shed this season in bengal when manogo flowers bloom. i shall be ever grateful if you kindly advise me as how to solve this problem. for your information west bengal is in the tropical zone with good monsoon.
    best regards.
    tushar lahiri

  • You should never plant an avocado tree from a seed. You’ll end up with a “seed tree” that probably won’t produce fruit or will produce fruit every few years. And your not going to find that out for years because it takes so long for the seed to become a mature tree. You need to go to the nursery and buy a known producer with great tasting fruit like Hass, Fuerte, etc.


  • Hi there—My avocado tree is now about 9 yrs old….no fruit til about 4yrs ago….so blooms, then lots of fruit….most fruit fell off 1st year. Gradually stayed on to fully grow to large size (last 2 yrs)….but the fruit seems to be unable to “ripen”….we pick after they’ve been on for quite a long time (too long?)….then we let them sit out and ripen. Only one or two have been edible. So frustrating to see my very large tree 14′ to 16′ feet tall, covered in so much fruit we cannot eat. At one point 2 yrs ago..all the tiny to small fruits seemed to disappear…some fell, but not all. Birds? Critters? (thinking they would not taste good yet)……Here’s a note: I have heavy-clay soil. Guessing the lack of drainage is the culprit. Any help you can offer, would be great. Am looking at zillions of blooms and even some teensy tine-sey fruits!
    Thanks, Annette

  • I have a mature avocado tree that has been producing fruit for many years. This year the fruit is falling off before it ripens and the leaves have a yellowing pattern on them that starts in the middle of the leaf and then radiates outward. About half of the leaves on the tree are in this condition. What can I do to help my tree? Is this a disease or a pest?

  • Hi, I have a wonderful hass avocado tree- about 10feet- I have hade it for 3 years. Last year it gave me about 23 avocados which were fantastic. I live in Los Angeles, CA. I was away for a week and it looks like it may have been to hot and dry here- I came back and found a lot of baby avocados turning dark brown? Do you know what the problem is? and are the rest going to go brown too? The tree has a lot of green good size avocados- but I don’t think they are ready to be picked?

  • To Annette Lilly,

    Avocados need to ripen after they have been picked or have fallen to the ground. Put your avocados in a bowl or basket with bananas. I have heard that the bananas give off a chemical that ripens other fruit. It seems to work.

  • I am caring for a Hass tree that is about 25 years old. This year it produced no fruit. The tips of the leaves are dark brown (I think the renters have not watered). The leaves are streaked with brown and yellow colors. There are many tiny holes even in newly formed leaves that are still green. There are tiny buds on the branches, but at this time of year (Southern California) there are usually over a thousand medium-side fruit. I feed the tree every 3-4 months with a dry fertilizer from the nursery. Can you help me bring this tree to a fruiting plant again?

  • hi i live in Australia south of Sydney
    i bought a small (24 inches high) avocado tree about two years ago, it has grown so fast its about 96 inches high now. this year it had a few flowers that just dropped off which i thought would and i do not think it will produce any avocados for maybe a few more years yet, the tree looks so healthy but i have noticed about 15 inches from the tips of most main branches there is dry woody looking patches, some are a inch long and a few are 4 inches long, some are black looking with a dead wood look in the center, these patches are only on the top side of the branch were the sun? has been able to hit, underneath the branch it is fine and all the leaves and small branches above this point look good and healthy. at one point this year i had to snip a few leaves off from browning tips but we had very very hot and windy days around this time (it was only the newest leaves) i do not think it was to much or lack off water?. my thoughts are that these woody spots could have been very young at the time we got the hot windy weather and got burnt or something and in saying this i am very new at gardening and growing fruit trees. can you tell me what this is? is this normal? what coursed it? do i prune the tree? if so how far back do i prune? the tree has grown so fast and i am sure it will continue so i do not mind if i have to prune it but would like to mention that taking it back to under these points will take the tree back by about 20%
    thank you for your time

  • what to do if the well water i have has too much salt and sulfer. my avacado tree 6 months old has tips of leaves dark brown since planting. should i pull the tree ? does it have a chance?

  • my avo trees are very old, but Have no fruit for the last 3 years, please help, thankls

  • my avo trees have not produced any fruit for 3 years, wot can I do, please help, thanks

  • My Hass avocado’s at the top of the tree are turning yellow? 09/20/2014 Why?

  • My tree is 7 years old and is now bearing fruit. There are many advocados that are turning black and are fallig off. Were in California near the coast in arroyo grande. I water my tree twice a week. Most of the fruit looks great, but im concerned abiut the black ones that are dying?

  • I have an avocado tree that is over 15 years old. The leaves keep falling off . This year it produced about 15 small avocados, they keep falling off. I live in Central Florida. What coud be the problem?

  • My my fruit keeps falling off, the tip of vine to the avocados turn black, then the fruit fall off my tree is on a hill and is ten years old . I always get a lot of fruit but not now what can i do

  • My fruit is falling off the vine to the avocado is turning. Black then there goes the fruit my tree is ten years old sits on a hill .I always get alot of fruit . what can i do

  • My hass avacodo tree is dropping alot of the fruit, the tree seemes healthy, why is it dropping fruit? I find new ones each day. the fruit is small and [ about i/2 the size of a full grown avo] they are still growing and i dont want to loose anymore fruit. I water twice a week with a drip system for 7 min.

  • Vilma Patricia Powledge
    June 18th, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    I planted mine from a seed waited 5 years and gave me beautiful avocados.

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