Having problems with your avocado tree?

A list of common avocado tree diseases were listed in a previous post.  If you do not see the problems on this list, here are some suggestions.

If you bought your avocado tree just a few months ago from a nursery, take it back to the nursery. If they are a reliable nursery, they will give you a replacement tree or refund your money. Or perhaps the nursery people will tell you the problem your tree is having and if their avocado trees had suffered from the same problems, they will tell you their solution.

If this avocado tree was a gift from someone, ask that person if they are having similar problems with their trees- you may have planted an unhealthy tree that is not worth saving. If their trees are not having problems, see if they will give you a replacement. Plant this replacement in another location to be sure there are no diseases in the soil that may have been in the tree’s present location. Planting instructions are presented in the video above.

Continue reading “Having problems with your avocado tree?”

Diagnosing an Avocado Tree Problem

TheGardenLady received this question from Ray.

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?

Avocado trees can have a host of problems. Here is a list of problems and diagnosis that might be helpful. I have also written about problems with avocado trees. You can read some of my posts here and here.

However, the first thing this Garden Lady would do to try to find out what is ailing the tree would be to have the soil around your avocado tree tested. You can buy a soil test and do the soil testing yourself or to make it easier, go to your local Master Gardener office and buy a soil test. The Master Gardeners will explain how to take the soil for the test and how to send it to your agricultural extension to get the results.  The results will be sent back to you with information about what is needed to grow your avocado.  And if you need help understanding the information, you can take the results back to the MG office and they will go over the results answering your question. The soil test costs a few dollars but the information you ask the Master Gardeners will be answered for free.  This is always the best first step in trying to diagnose any problem one has when growing plants. This is what good p not need an avocado tree is having some insect problem or some disease that needs to be treated.

Go here to find your local Master Gardener office to get your soil testing kit.

Yellowing Avocado Leaves

Here are some more suggestions for yellowing avocado leaves.

Since avocados are considered a plant that is generally free of diseases, TheGardenLady offers this list of possible problems an avocado tree can have.

Generally avocado trees are tolerant of a lot of water if there is EXCELLENT drainage.  Drainage is very important.  But if you feel that you have over-watered your plant, it cannot hurt to cut back on the water. Test the soil with your finger before watering again and water only if the top of the soil feels dry. The frequency of irrigation depends on the temperature. In hot, dry weather, the avocado tree may require irrigation every day.  As a general rule, a potted plant in a container measuring 6 inches in diameter needs water when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry to the touch. A larger container measuring 8 to 10 inches in diameter is ready for water when the top ½ to 1 inch of soil feels dry. Avocado trees like the soil to drain quickly.

Hopefully, when you transplant the avocado tree, you do it carefully because the trees have weak root systems and sections of the root balls can break off during transplanting.  See here.

Avocado trees prefer full sun but need protection from strong sun until they develop a deep root structure and dense foliage to protect the sensitive bark. So young avocado trees have to be slowly introduced to the sun or their leaves can yellow. See here. Even after transplanting them into their final planting site, if they have not become used to the bright sunlight, you might have to give them some shade at first.

To learn how to grow avocados at home or a container, you should watch this:

If you’re interested in why people fail at growing avocados, you should watch this:

If you’re interested in some helpful tips for the backyard grower, read this:

Continue reading “Yellowing Avocado Leaves”

Avocado Tree Problem

TheGardenLady received this question from Tricia.

About a month ago I transplanted 2 young avocado trees (bought at the local nursery) into large containers (their spots in the orchard aren’t ready yet). I had watered them 2x/wk week in the beginning and then 1x the following week because the soil was staying wet and I was afraid there wasn’t enough drainage. One of the trees’ leaves started yellowing, even though it gave me flower buds already. So I stopped watering it, afraid that’s why it was yellowing (the other one is fine). It now has all the upper leaves completely yellow and some turning brown and curling. The lowest ones are still green. I’m not sure what to do? Water it or not? The soil still appears moist.

Fungus is the most serious disease of avocado trees, which may be the problem of your avocado tree. As you wrote, you over-watered the plant and also the plant might have had poor drainage in the pot you put it in. You should take your plant to your nearest Agriculture Extension
office for an accurate diagnosis. They can offer you, for a fee, lab tests and soil tests to see if your tree has a fungus. (see here)

It is difficult to diagnose the problem from just a brief paragraph. Here is what UCDavis has to say about avocado diseases.


Avocado Tree Problems

TheGardenLady received this question from Larry about his avocado tree:

My tree is 7 years old and is now bearing fruit. There are many avocados that are turning black and are falling off. We’re in California near the coast in Arroyo Grande. I water my tree twice a week. Most of the fruit looks great, but I’m concerned about the black ones that are dying?

Fruit trees in general often have problems that may be beyond a home owner’s ability to manage.  Often fruit trees need to be sprayed and some of the sprays are toxic.  One horticulturist I know does not believe home owners should even waste their time raising fruit trees in the home garden and should leave this job to the professionals. That being said and not seeing your avocado problem, I am guessing that your tree has a fungus. I am not saying this because I know for certain, but “Fungus is the most serious avocado disease in California.” Here is a chart of some of the problems avocados can get.  Since that is my educated guess, it is still a guess so I would not want to diagnose any problem without seeing your tree or its fruit. Read this:

“Fungus thrives in excess soil moisture. Over‐irrigation and poor drainage can by your problem because you are growing the plant in a pot. The fungus may attack trees of any size or age. Your plant may have an absence of feeder roots that prevents moisture uptake so soil under diseased trees stays wet.”

What I suggest is that you go online or call the California Avocado Comm or (949) 341-1955 from the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m to see if they will diagnose the problem and recommend how to treat your tree.

Or take a good sized sample of your avocado fruit to your local Master Gardener office and ask them for their diagnosis and recommended treatment. Each California county has a Master Gardener office.  One such county has this site. Visits to these sites are usually free.

How to Help a Stressed Avocado Tree

TheGardenLady received this question from Yvonne.

I planted a hass avocado tree in my garden about three years ago and it has been doing great until a week ago.  I live in the NE side of Houston TX and have had so much rain in the last 30 days that the leaves are wilting and turning brown.  The tree is about 11 ft tall.  What should I do?

Flooding or too much rain is not good for most plants. It deprives the roots of oxygen. Avocado trees are particularly stressed from getting water-logged. (see here)

With all the rains the news has been reporting that Texas is having, there will be lots of plant problems – not only with your avocado tree. It is sad to say, but you might lose this avocado tree because of the excessive rains.

You can leave it in the ground and hope that it does not die.

Or, to try to save it as you asked, if the tree is not too big for you to handle you can dig it up and re-pot it with new soil. Get rid of as much of the mud as you can, put the tree in a pot large enough to put soil underneath and around the root (it should not be planted deeper in the pot than it was in the ground), prune back the tree from the top of the plant so that the tree is short (this will allow the plant to concentrate its energy to growing the root, not the entire plant) and then bring the newly re-potted plant into the house. Because you gave it the new dry soil, water it a normal amount – do not over water.

Though the video above shows how the transfer is done from pot to pot, you will be putting it in from the ground, but the instructions are the same (see here). Get the soil recommended in this video and give the tree a good start with azomite.  What is azomite? (see here)

Problem with an Avocado Tree

Avocado Tree by usedcarspecialist

TheGardenLady received this question from Doug.

I have an avocado tree that I started from a seed. It is over 3 years old and about 4 feet tall. It is in a pot. Recently the leaves got brown on the tips and then the entire leaf dried up and fell off. Now new leaves have come out and look good, but they too are turning brown and looking dried up. What is the problem and what do I need to do to fix it?

It sounds like you may have had too much salt accumulating in the soil in the pot your avocado is growing in. It is recommended that you freely water the plant and let the water drain for several minutes- don’t let the pot sit in the water. The other option is that you repot your avocado in new humous rich soil. Good luck.  See here.

Continue reading “Problem with an Avocado Tree”

Don’t Expect Delicious Avocados If They Have Been Grown From Seed

Avocados growing from seed by joeesabol

Jonathan from California has an avocado tree growing nicely in a pot on his deck.  He asked if this avocado tree that he has raised for many years from the pit of a delicious avocado he used in a salad will ever bear fruit if he were to plant it in a garden.

Sadly, Jon, the answer is probably not and if it does produce fruit, you might not want to eat it. “Avocados grown from seed rarely produce fruit before 8 – 10 years, and such fruit may be of poor quality. Commercial avocado orchards are planted with budded or grafted trees of named varieties of known fruit quality.”  See here.

So enjoy your avocado tree as a house plant.  If you do get a garden large enough to grow an avocado tree, buy a grafted one that is guaranteed to produce delicious avocados. But you have to have a fairly large garden because avocado trees can grow quite large and have large strong roots.  See here.

Helping an Avocado Tree Grow Branches

Avocado Tree Flowering by TaranRampersad

TheGardenLady received this question from Athena.

I live in Greece and I’ve grown an avocado tree from a seed. It is growing in a pot, it has thorns (I didn’t know they did) and it is growing tall as a signal stem. I read somewhere that if it grows too tall to fast, it will bend and die. What should I do to help it become a tree with branches?

The important thing is to stake the tree with a long enough stake so that it doesn’t bend. Then you may want to prune the avocado tree. Depending on whether you want the tree to be an indoor or outdoor tree will determine your pruning. A few good sites to see photos of staked trees and the pruning of avocado trees are here and here and here.

For pruning avocado trees to be kept indoors, check out this and this.

Caring for Avocado Trees

the avocado tree next door by emdot

TheGardenLady received this question from Greg from Vientiane, Laos.

I am living in Vientiane, in Laos and we have a well established avocado tree in the front yard. This January, it began it’s typical loss of 30% of leaves, but now it is going into massive over-production of fruit. Small fruits are dropping off the tree every day and the leaves seem constantly droopy. It is watered regularly and has been fertilised. Should some of the excess fruit be pruned off the tree?

We are in the dry season in Laos with almost no rain for almost five months. Temperatures are generally in the early to mid 30’s (celsius) but lately they have climbed and a typical day will peak at about 38 – 40 degrees. Please indicate if you need more information. I’ve only been at the house for one year so I don’t know much and the seasons and growing in Laos are very different from New Zealand.

Dear Greg, How exciting to learn that TheGardenLady.org has a reader in Laos.

Avocado trees are not really grown in the part of the states where TheGardenLady lives other than as an indoor decorative plant. So to answer your question, I went to one of the main Avocado growing regions in the US to get some answers for you and to give you some resources for future questions.

I contacted the Master Gardeners of San Diego in California and spoke to someone who had raised avocados. The San Diego area has had drought situations, so in that case there is a similarity with your locale.

Avocado Tree by joeysplanting

Continue reading “Caring for Avocado Trees”