Believe it or not, avocado bark is like our skin and gets sunburned. If left unprotected, a branch that is exposed, especially to the south or west sun, will burn.
The branch in the photo above is on a young Pinkerton avocado tree that grew out a long limb which drooped enough to expose some of its young skin to the overhead afternoon (west) sun. It got scorched during a recent heat wave.
What to do? Put on sunscreen. For avocados, Coppertone will not do. But white latex paint will. It doesn’t need to be full strength: diluting the paint 50/50 with water will make a sufficiently opaque coating.
And then paint it on.
With the white latex sunscreen, the branch is protected and usually won’t get burned further. If left unprotected, the branch would get burned so badly that the bark would turn completely black and begin cracking and eventually die.
The best case scenario is that new leaves and branches grow over this exposed branch and shade it. However, if this doesn’t happen and the branch remains exposed to the hot sun for many months (no leaves grow over it to shade it), then it will eventually still be damaged somewhat even though it is covered with paint.
Here is such a damaged branch on a Reed avocado tree that has been exposed yet painted for a few years now:
Notice that the bark is slightly damaged and cracked on the top but the branch remains alive. More than that, what you can’t see in the photo is that it is also fruitful. In fact, it was the weight of the fruit a couple years ago that bent down the branch and exposed it to sun in the first place.
It always pays to paint any section of a branch on your avocado tree that doesn’t have leaf cover to protect it since this gives it temporary relief until leaves can eventually shade it naturally.
Incidentally, avocado fruit can get sunburned as well. As with branches and leaves, fruit that get sunburned are usually on the south or southwest side of the tree. Sunburned fruit develop yellow spots that turn black if they’re more extremely burned. Don’t cull these fruit though. They’ll usually mature and ripen just fine.
Sunburned leaves on new trees
If you plant an avocado tree in the summer, there’s even the potential that the leaves will be sunburned during the first few weeks in your yard. This can happen if a couple of conditions coincide. One, you live away from the beach where the temperatures get to 90 and up. And two, the tree had been kept in some shade at the garden center or had just come out of a greenhouse at the nursery before being delivered to the garden center. The relatively intense sun of your yard can be too much too fast. I’ve experienced this many times.
To prevent it, I’ve taken to shading any such trees, especially on their south and west sides.
I remove the shade after a couple weeks and during a mild spell of summer weather. This helps the new trees acclimate and avoid sunburn. Always remember that keeping an avocado tree well-watered is important in helping it stand up to heat. (See my post, “How much and how often to water avocado trees in California.”)
Here is another good way that my friend uses to shade a newly planted avocado tree:
Extreme heat waves
And then there are record-setting heat waves like Southern California experienced on July 6 and 7, 2018. The thermometer in the shade on my porch reached 113! Avocados are said to shut down the photosynthesis in their leaves when the temperature reaches the 90s (read more about that here), but then if it gets over 100 leaves may start to burn. Any new (red) leaves at the tips usually burn first, and then if it gets around 110 even old leaves and small branches wilt and burn.
This is if the tree is healthy and well watered going into the extreme heat. If not, then damage will occur at lower temperatures and more extensive damage will occur overall.
There’s nothing you can do to entirely stop heat damage to an avocado tree once the temperature reaches around 110 unless your tree is very small. For a small tree, shade it. Simple as that. Use shade cloth as I described above, use a beach umbrella, a chair, a table, whatever fits over the tree. (Beware of entirely enclosing the tree’s sides and creating an oven, however.)
For a big tree, the only practical thing to do is mitigate the damage by making sure that the tree is well watered just before the heat hits. Also, maintain high soil moisture throughout the hot spell. This might require watering every day for a few days. (For more on this, see my post “Protecting avocado trees from heat.”)
After the heat wave has passed, don’t be in a rush to prune out burned leaves and twigs. Just as with frost-damaged leaves and twigs, they’re ugly but they may provide important shelter to surrounding leaves and branches.
Here are a few of my sunburned avocado trees on July 8, 2018:
The best thing to do is leave them alone until you see new growth sprouting up behind them. At that point, it’s OK to prune out the dead stuff; it’s definitely not necessary though. If you do want to clean out the burned material, you can often just crunch it and break it off with your bare hands at that later time.
(Read about dealing with sunburned avocado trees from a farmer’s perspective in this blog post from University of California Farm Advisor Ben Faber.)
Recovery of severely sunburned or heat damaged avocado trees
Will your avocado tree recover if it has been severely burned? That depends both on how healthy it was before the burning as well as on how carefully you care for the tree afterward.
Look at these toasted young avocado trees:
It so happens that these trees were “toasted” by extreme cold rather than extreme heat. But the principles are all the same.
These young avocado trees were very healthy before the cold damage, and they recovered even though almost every leaf of every tree was lost. Here’s how: all exposed branches were painted, and water was given judiciously. If a tree has no leaves, it uses very little water. If you continue to give it a lot of water, as if it had a full, healthy canopy, then its roots will rot. Therefore, until the tree has grown back a full canopy, you must be cautious about only watering it once the soil has dried somewhat.
On the other hand, if a young tree went into severe heat already in marginal health and got toasted, it’s probably better to save the effort and buy a new, healthy tree to replace it. I’ve tried to coddle sickly young avocado trees many times and found it rarely worth the work.
(You might like to read “Avocado Heat Damage Follow-up” by the California Avocado Commission, an excellent article about caring for trees after the early July 2018 heat wave. At the very least, have a look at it to make yourself feel better knowing that even many professional avocado farmers weren’t able to fully prevent damage to their trees and are dealing with dead limbs and more too.)
You might also like to read my posts:
Do you cut away the burned branches and spouts and leaves?
I have planted avacado tree from seed. It’s been two years but it’s growing very slowly. I have planted it on a TOB. Every winter I keep it inside my house. I live in NJ. Do you think I can plant it outside. I am worried my tree will die if I put it outside specially winter time
I’m pretty sure an avocado tree wouldn’t survive a New Jersey winter. You’ll probably need to keep it in a large pot and bring it indoors during winter.
Which type of paint is good and also do we mix paint with any chemical again if I want any assistance how can I get on avacado planting
Usually, no. If a branch gets lightly sunburned, I paint it as soon as possible and all is well. But if a branch gets badly burned, like maybe it has been exposed and getting burned all summer, then it will blacken and start cracking (or shriveling if it’s a small branch) and may as well be cut out because it won’t recover. For a branch like that, I paint the exposed bark immediately when I see it and then keep an eye on it to see if it declines in health over the next few weeks (watch the health of the leaves on the branch).
Hi, I am also having issue with a 6 year old tree that has been in a pot, it was in direct sun for the past few months and I went on vacation for a week and came back and all the large leaves died off it so I cut them all off and a ton of new ones grew and was doing great. Then we moved it and planted it and fertilized it, now all the leaves have died and the stems are turning black. What do I do?
I’m impressed that you kept an avocado tree alive in a pot for six years. That requires serious attention to watering.
My guesses are that you damaged the roots during transplanting. Avocado roots are brittle and easily broken. Or it’s possible that too much fertilizer was applied. This can damage a tree’s roots, which will then show up as damage in the leaves. Or is it possible that you planted it into a dry hole? Here in late summer you need to water a new planting area heavily at planting time or the surrounding soil will suck the moisture from the tree’s root area. Any of this sound plausible?
Thanks for this post. In my case, a small tree that was producing his first round of fruits got sunburned in 2018. It’s healthy now (no fruits) but hasn’t grown a single inch because the part that got burned and became black is the tip of the main trunk.
Is there anything that I can do to make it grow?
Sorry to hear about your tree. It didn’t grow at all last year (2019)? It isn’t starting to grow now? If not, then it sounds like a fatally damaged tree that needs to be replaced. Just time and proper watering should have been enough to get your tree growing by now. I know of nothing else that will bring it back to life.
If your photo above, would you say that the leaves also were sunburned? We had a recent heatwave and a section of my tree looks like the leaves above. Also have a couple avocados that have dark spots I think are likely sunburn too as that side was not shielded from the sun. Are they safe to eat? What about ones that have divots in them from pests? Thank you!
Yes, those leaves were sunburned too. And thanks for pointing out that the fruit can be sunburned, which causes yellow and black spots. I’ll add a photo of a sunburned fruit to the post so people can see an example.
Both sunburned and animal-damaged avocado fruit are fine for eating. Often the damage is only superficial, but sometimes a small rotten spot develops there as the fruit ripens. The rest of the flesh is perfect though.
Thank you for your prompt response. I think last week’s weather did a real number on the leaves and some of the fruit! This is the first year my Holiday is fruiting so it’s a bit of a learning experience. I picked the sunburned fruit off the tree so it wouldn’t get any worse and hopefully it will ripen quickly inside! Glad to find your site!
We just got two dwarf Hass avocado trees and I think the leaves have gotten burnt. Do I need to remove them? The stems are still green?
There’s no need to remove burned leaves. Although damaged, they are still performing some photosynthesis and so benefiting the tree. Once the tree doesn’t need them it will shed them. In California, this often happens during the “spring flush”, when the tree grows a lot of new leaves around March.
I just recently painted my avocado tree some of the leaves got paint spatter Will this affect my avocado in any way
No big deal. I always end up splattering a little paint on surrounding leaves or branches and it does no real harm. It’s not desirable, but it’s not a big problem.
I have a gem avocado tree had it in a pot 5 gallon grower told me to put in the ground in Jan,leaves are brown and branches are touching the ground,should I prune?just fertilized help very expensive tree
I’m assuming you’re in California. Is that right? If so, here in February is a fine time to put it in the ground. Avocados look their worst this time of year with brown tips on leaves, but soon will grow new leaves and look great by June, provided the irrigation is correct.
I prune young trees only as necessary because I want them to grow as fast as possible so they’ll fruit as soon as possible. Branches touching the ground can be left as they are unless they prevent you from watering the tree well. For example, they might block a sprinkler. Otherwise, they shade the trunk and keep the soil shaded, which can be good if you live in a place with hot summers like inland Southern California.
Hi, I am growing a Hass avocado in a big pot.( Delray Beach Florida) My father started this from a pit of an avocado and it was his pride and joy that he was able to make it to a small tree. He passed away a few months ago and always told me that this tree is a part of him that he is leaving behind for me ???? so I really want to make sure I take good care of it. It is growing a lot of new leaves but the lower leaves are brown and dry. I have given it fertilizer, but not sure what else I should do?
It gets a lot of Sun too and I don’t want to plant it int he ground since if I move I want to take it with me! please advise.
Wow, Toreh! That’s really cool and really challenging.
Avocados are difficult to grow in pots in my experience in California. They might be easier elsewhere, I’m not sure. But from what I know, the keys are to water thoroughly each time you water such that any salts in the water don’t build up in the potting soil, and to water frequently when it’s hot. This is sometimes the cause of browning leaves. Thirst during a heatwave will cause a potted avocado to show wilted leaves and then a few weeks later those leaves will start to brown. It’s not a big deal though since the tree is capable of growing new leaves just as you’ve experienced.
Beware though that your avocado might also get brown leaves from too much fertilizer. I wouldn’t use any fertilizer until the tree shows some yellowing leaves which indicate the need for fertilizer.
And as soon as is practical, plant the tree in the ground so it has a far better chance of surviving and thriving.
From what I understand avocados grown from the seed off the tree don’t produce fruit but can be grafted to produce fruit. Can someone with experience confirm.
This is a strangely common misconception. Avocado trees grown from seed certainly do produce fruit. My mother has a seedling avocado tree in her backyard with around 200 pieces of fruit on it right now. In fact, every avocado variety that has ever existed came from a tree grown from a seed.
What should be acknowledged is that avocado trees grown from seed do not produce fruit exactly like their parent. That is, if you plant a seed from a Hass fruit, it will grow and may eventually produce fruit, but that fruit will be at least somewhat different from Hass fruit. That is the main reason that we graft avocado trees: so we know exactly what kind of fruit the tree will produce.
Ask Henri where he found a Gem avocado tree. I gave up looking for one
Yes, GEM is hard to find. The University of California patented it and only allows certain growers to propagate it under license. In the U.S., the licensed grower is Brokaw Nursery in Ventura County. But Brokaw doesn’t sell to home gardeners like us. They only take large wholesale orders of trees for farmers.
That being said, I know some non-farmers who have GEM trees. The cultivar has escaped, so to speak. Where you can buy one, on the other hand? I have no idea.
You can get GEMs from Adam Tropics in the IE. That’s where I got mine from this spring. It got really messed up from the early July heat wave though. Lost almost all of its leaves and the few fruit that were on there all dropped. In the process of building a sunshade for the south and west exposure. Got the west side up today, but just too hot to do the other side yet unfortunately. And another heatwave starting tomorrow
Thanks for the info about Adam Tropics. I hadn’t heard of them. By chance, did your GEM come with a tag of any kind? If so, I’d love to see a photo of it if you still have it around. (email@example.com)
The west side shade is probably the most important here in early August, so let’s hope it’s enough in the next couple days. I’ve got a couple of vulnerable trees I’m worried about too.
AVOCADO – GEM – 4 FEET TALL
PRODUCT CODE (SKU): FRUIT TREES – 0169
Limit 5 per customer.
4 to 5 feet, 5 Gallons No additional charge
6 to 8 feet, 15 Gallons +$75.00
Sound too good to be true?
When I purchased two of these Gems (June of this year) there were no $64 trees only 15 gal @ $151.00 ea. The cost went up with tax and patent fees. You can order online but you must pick up the trees yourself at the farmers market Saturday morning 7:30 to 11:30 (?) in Temecula.
This has been my year for avocados, a Sir Prize from Clausen, a Kona Sharwil from Atkins, a Carmen Hass from Four Winds, a Holiday, Reed,and Lamb Hass from Armstrong.
I have planted the Kona (B),Sir Prize(B) and Gem(A) side by side and utilizing the pruning methods of Dr Piet Stassen, will endeavor to contain the little monsters to a 12 to 15 feet.
First hand info, the Gem grows like a rocket!
It takes tuff love to nip or pinch the lateral water sprouts but I want these trees to be apical to at least 12 feet.
Good luck finding a Gem, I looked from Saticoy (Brokaw)to Temecula it took me over a year.
PS I sold my second Gem to a very happy guy in Hunting Beach for $200.00 (paid for the gas to Temecula)
I’m thrilled to find this informative site on Avocados. A friend bought and planted a beautiful 2-year old Dwarf Hass Avocado for me in early April and within just a matter of a week it became sunburnt. I live in La Mirada, CA. I placed an 11-foot umbrella over it but high winds knocked the umbrella over on three separate occasions. My back yard faces south and gets full sun throughout the day. The burn has only worsened, all the leaves are completely dead crispy critters and the trunk is now burn to about 5 inches from the base. I think it’s tie to call it quits and start again but I’m fearful of encountering the same thing now that it is mid-may. I read your tips on burning, but should I attempt again and keep an umbrella over it from day one
Sorry to hear about your little Hass. Avocados are always sensitive, but extremely so when they’re young.
If you’re willing to care for and protect a new little tree — and it sounds like you are — then here in mid-May is a fine time to plant one. There are three simple keys to success.
One is frequent watering for the first two months, especially the first two weeks. Newly planted avocado trees are very vulnerable to drying out in a hot yard like yours. Please read my post, “How to water a newly planted avocado tree”: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/how-to-water-a-newly-planted-avocado-tree/
Secondly, provide some shade during the first two weeks if the temperature gets over 85. But it’s best not to keep it shaded all day or at all when temps are cooler since this will prevent the tree from adapting.
Finally, try to buy a tree that is densely foliated so there aren’t any branches that will be exposed to the sun. Still, it’s likely that the lower trunk will be exposed so either paint that or shade it by wrapping it with a cardboard cylinder or something similar.
Hi, grew my avocado from seed and now it’s about 4ft tall but I’m scared to plant bcuz when I take it outside the leaves burn and I’m scared it will die . I currently live in Missouri help I don’t know what to do.
Sounds like the tree might be getting sunburned outside because it’s used to weaker light indoors. If that’s the case, partially shade it for the first couple weeks it’s outside. I like to use a 60% shade cloth for this purpose.
I have a couple young 4-5 foot avocado trees that got sunburned at the top of their trunks/stems. They are not seeing any new growth at the top but do have new leaves sprouting further down the stem. Will the trees eventually start growing taller again?
Yes, the trees can recover and gain their size back.
Two considerations though: Make sure the new growth down low is not rootstock. Try to locate the graft union to determine that. See this post for help with that: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/fruit-tree-grafted/
Also, make sure you know why the top died back and alter your care as necessary so it doesn’t happen again. A shade structure over the trees during a heat wave might be needed, or additional water, for example.
In Venice, I have a 25 year old avocado which had been shaded by a tree on its south side for its entire life. That shading tree will now have to be removed so the trunk of the avocado will be exposed to the sun. Does mature bark on an avocado get sunburned, or only the young new growth?
Is there another color besides white latex paint that will protect the newly exposed parts of my mature tree? White is such a glare-y color in a mature yard. Would a mid-rage to dark sage green work? Right now I have shade cloth draped over the trunk as protection, but the recent winds tend to blow this protection down from its best location. I am constantly adjusting the shade cloth support.
I remember your tree. Yes, mature bark on an avocado can also get sunburned.
White is not the only color, but the color must be light because a dark color will heat up in the sun and cook the living tissue under the bark. A very light beige is used by some people, so I imagine a very light sage could work — very light being key.
Thank you for the great article. I might have missed it but can you talk about what you mean with “heat wave”. We have grown avocado tree in San Francisco. The hottest heat wave for us would be about 85* for 2-3 days a few times a year. Do you feel this would impact in any way the tree if we had to do a pretty drastic prooning? Thank you.
Good question. The heat wave I referred to above was in the upper 90s to low 100s range.
85 degrees is a very comfortable temperature for avocados, but it still has the potential to burn certain trees or certain parts of trees. In your drastic pruning case, you might be exposing bark that has never seen the sun. 85 degrees to that bark could burn it.
So happy to have found your blog! Very informative and helpful. I planted a young dwarf holiday tree in my yard in march and now a few of its stems are begging to blacken where the branches meet the trunk as well as on the tips of the branches . Two have already fallen off. When I first planted the tree it had new growth then quickly lost all its leaves. It slowly grew back but now I am having problems with the branches. Is this a disease or a cause of sunburn? I live in Valley Center so the weather has been quite warm lately. Thank you for your time!
Sorry to hear about your Holiday. Doesn’t sound right. March is a perfect planting time for you in Valley Center, and the tree should be looking great right now.
It may be a watering/drainage issue. Send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org
Serinity; I planted a Holiday a few years ago in the San Fernando Valley. The problem is the limbs of a Holiday seemed to like to “droop” which exposed them to sunburning. It was so bad I finally replaced it with a lemon tree. If you live in an area that gets hot in the summer, I would not recommend Holiday.
Thanks for all of the great information. I just bought a house in Southern California and we have have a 20 foot avocado tree. We’ve had a recent heatwave of over 100 degrees for the past 3 or 4 days and now about half of the leaves on the tree are wilted. The tree’s too big to paint all of the branches and I’ve just been trying to water it as much as possible but I’m worried about over watering it. We’re expecting a few more days of 90+ degrees. What do you think I should do to prevent more damage?
This is a rough spell of heat for avocados in Southern California, unless you live within a couple miles of the beach. I don’t, and mine have had some leaves and small branches burned like yours. With a big tree like you have, the only practical thing you can do is what you’re doing: keep it well watered.
See these posts for guidance on that: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/how-much-and-how-often-to-water-avocado-trees-in-california/
It’s hard for me to say how much or often you should water your tree right now during this heat, but I’ll share for reference that I watered my avocado trees the morning of July 6, again yesterday July 7, but today the soil is still wet so I haven’t watered even though the temperature has reached over 100 again. I’m guessing that I’ll water again tomorrow, but I’ll feel the soil where the roots are before making that decision.
See this post about the reliability of feeling the soil to know if you should water: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/get-your-hands-dirty-discover-the-truth-about-your-irrigation-practices/
Hopefully, our trees will come through this vicious heat with minimal damage to the outside of their canopies and they’ll put on new growth to replace it later this summer.
This Friday’s post (July 13, 2018) will be about the heat wave, including how to deal with the damage it caused. Let me know if you have more questions after Friday’s post.
Thanks again for the great advice. My tree didn’t too that great during the heat wave though. About 50% of the leaves have wilted and burned. Luckily those dead leaves gave a lot of shade to the lower half of the tree and there’s a lot of new growth. It’s been a few months since we’ve had a really hot day but my tree doesn’t seem to have bounced back yet. Much of the top half of the tree still has a lot of dead wilted leaves. Should I try to shake those off? Or should I leave them? I’m not sure what steps to take to try to get my avocado tree to recover.
Thanks for your help.
I planted a hass avocado from seed abiut 3 years ago. Now, it’s about 5 ft but it had lots of brown leaves, so my husband removed some, but now i notice lots of stems and it’s tips being burned. Should I cut these tips and then paint it or leave it alone? Can you respond? Thanks.
Even though it’s ugly, it’s safest to leave any brown or dead leaves and twigs rather than cutting them out. They’ll fall off on their own in due time. Before then, they’ll provide some shade to the new leaves and previously shaded branches below them, which is good because avocado bark is so easily sunburned. But definitely paint the bark of any branches exposed to the sun.
THANKS for this helpful post, Greg. I live in Pasadena, CA. I moved into my house in 2003 and on the north and south sides of it I have one avocado tree on each side. They were mature trees when I moved in. Confession. I have done nothing with them. Squirrels get a tiny bit of fruit from them each year, like one or two or ?
From you article I discern I need to start watering them….ouch, more confession. But seems like your chart suggests over 600 gallons per month during the heat and I like to save water. Wow. My plan would be to run my hose very slowly for several hours and soak the ground. Your counsel?
And finally do you think these old trees will produce fruit if I water them?Any help you provide is much appreciated! THANKS.
You may not need to give those old avocado trees any deliberate water. They may be getting all they need from neighboring plants. Judge that by the appearance of the leaves in the fall and winter. If they only get a little bit of browning on the tips of their leaves then, then your watering is sufficient for them to fruit well. If they get a lot of brown leaves then, you need to water more during the summer.
Have you ever eaten their fruit? Do you like it? They may be seedlings, in which case they are unique and unknown varieties and may not be very productive no matter how much water you give them. Or if the fruit’s not too good, then don’t waste your water on them.
Help ! I live in Southern California Inland Empire. 5 days ago we got the worst heat wave so far. 117 F.
My avocado tree was literally burned toasted. All the leaves are toasted and crumble to the touch. The tree is 3 years old. 8 feet tall and was in excellent shape.
The tree still green color but all of the leaves are dead (except about a dozen that remain green)
I would like to show a picture but I don’t know if I can.
Sorry about your tree. If you’d like to send a picture, email to email@example.com
Also, note that I just added some photos and information to the end of the post above, and you’ll find it relevant to your tree.
I’ve planted a new avocado tree in my back yard that stands roughly around 6ft in height. The shade canopy has proven inadequate since the branches and trunk are turning black. I’m going to tear down the previous shade canopy and rebuild a new one like I’ve seen on other trees throughout the internet. My question is whether this tree will survive and recover? There are no cracks, but as I stated before the branches and truck are black.
Please help ?
ps I also plan to give it a coat of 50/50 latex paint.
We have a lot of sad avocado trees in Southern California due to that terrible heat wave. Some are growing in my own yard!
Are there any green leaves left? Are some or all branches burned?
Definitely paint, but if there is no foliage left and all branches are burned, it’s likely a goner.
Hello Greg, my fiancé Jesse and I planted a younger avocado tree in early May. We bought a slightly bigger grafted hass tree in hopes it would be able to survive the sun this summer. Well we were doing pretty good but that first day on the July 7 heatwave, we came home to a sunburnt tree. We went out and got a shade structure and a white bandage tree wrap in hopes of saving the tree. Most of the tree skin got sunburnt except for the very top. As of today all of the leaves are dead. Should we paint the branches and keep watering? We are hoping to revive this little guy.
See the information and photos that I just added to the end of the post above. I think it answers your questions about your tree. Sorry about that little guy. You did everything you could, it sounds like. From now, make sure not to water too much and see if new growth emerges in the next month or so. I wish you and Jesse luck!
Hello Greg, Well it does seem as though we lost the tree. We tried painting the branches but they are now more brittle and there is no new growth on the upper part of the tree. However there is a lot of growth happening at the base, under the graft. My question for you is, will this just turn into a non producing tree? We would really like to grow a tree that produces edible avocados. My hunch is that we should replant a new grafted tree so it will produce fruit, although I could be incorrect. Curious to know what your advice is. I also emailed you a picture so you can see what i am talking about.
Also if we were to replant, Can we do so now or should we wait until spring?
So sad. You’re right, that’s rootstock growing down there. It will likely produce fruit eventually, but it won’t be Hass fruit and you may not like it much. I’d plant a new grafted tree if I were you.
As to when, at this point in the year (late summer), you want to consider how cold it usually gets in your yard in the winter. Which city are you in? Do you usually get frost on the ground a couple times each winter or are you close enough to the beach?
And secondly, will you be home for the first couple weeks after planting so that you can water the new tree well? This is vital for avocado trees planted in summer.
Thank you for your quick response! We live in northeast Los Angeles near Eagle Rock. We don’t get frost but it does get chilly at night as we move into late October. we were considering planting in late aug or early September as the days usually stay pretty warm through Nov. We did not get any rain until January of this year although you never know with LA. At this point though we are grateful to have your extensive website for our next try, and will plant per your recommendation.
Near Eagle Rock you shouldn’t have to worry about the winter, but do pay attention if there’s a record cold snap forecast in December or January. You might just want to stick an umbrella over the tree or something. I’ll write a post about protecting avocados from cold in November.
Plant any time from now. You can plant in the exact same spot as the dead tree if you want. Leave the shade structure over the new tree until late September.
In case you haven’t seen these posts, they should be helpful:
Greg, So glad to have found your post and this thread. Like a number of others have posted, our 2 year old tree here in the Inland Empire got pretty fried during the July heat wave. I was looking today specifically to see if there was any advice about what to do with the few leaves and small branches that were badly burned. I wasn’t sure if I should trim them off, but looks like best approach is to leave them. We have some fruit drop as well, but I checked the tree today and there are still many green leaves, and most of the trunk is still green with a few burned spots. Thanks for the post. It gave me some reassurance that the tree may come back
Hello. Can you recommend an avocado tree to compliment a Pinkerton tree? Canopy saved this new tree from the 7/6 SoCal Riverside heatwave, but not the second new tree—terribly burnt—even with a canopy; don’t think it will come back. Most appreciative.
To complement a Pinkerton, I’d consider Reed or Lamb (Lamb Hass). Pinkerton fruit is ready to pick from winter through spring, so you’d benefit from having a spring or summer variety. Reed and Lamb both are ready to pick starting at the very end of spring or early summer (in Riverside) and go through summer. They’re also very productive and tasty varieties. See this post for details: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/whats-the-best-kind-of-avocado-to-grow/
Hi Greg, glad to find this post. I live in unincorporated Escondido on an old Fuerte avocado grove, or what’s left of it. I have 5 old Fuerte trees that are easily 50 plus years old and they still produce. They did get hammered on this last heat wave, even though they have water. My husband says they will bounce back and they may since they are that old and established… I just want confirmation. The smaller of the trees was full of baby fuertes but they all dropped in the heat. The big tree had lots of ‘cados way on top and of course, they all dropped too in the heat. There are a lot of sunburned leaves on the trees about half and the other half are still green. Based on what you previously wrote, I will just leave them be until I see some regrowth. They did have nice canopies and I imagine the tree was just trying to save itself during the heat. They have all western facing sunlight all afternoon, unfortunately and the week of 100 plus degrees was oppressive to them and everything else. Thanks in advance.
You’re right. Leave them be until you see regrowth — even though all of that dried foliage looks sad. If you drive around Escondido or nearby Fallbrook or Valley Center, you’ll see that even some commercial Hass groves look pretty burnt (not all, but some). If you paint any exposed bark that you can access, the trees will appreciate that for sure. Otherwise, they should recover and show new growth late this summer or in fall — though they may fruit poorly next year since much of next year’s fruiting wood (on the outside of the canopy) has been burned this year.
Like everyone above, our 6 year old about 7+’ avocado tree burnt with this past heat wave in Los Angeles. We live in the valley and in the hills so it’s got direct heat and no obstructed view. I can’t seem to find answers regarding the little avo buds/almost full grown avos that turned complete black and shriveled. They are dead correct? Is it best to prune so new buds can regrow? It took so long to even sprout, this is our first harvest finally with fruit grown.
Do you know what variety of avocado the tree is?
Any fruit that has shriveled is dead, and will eventually drop. Leaves or buds that have shriveled may still be partially alive.
Leave buds and branches alone and they’ll show you within a month or two where the life remains. Sometimes growth comes from a spot that looks dead. There’s no benefit to any pruning until new growth has started.
I live near the coast in SoCal and on July 6 & 7 I lost most of this years’ crop from 3 mature Hass and 1 Bacon tree. They were loaded, finally, after a few years in our area where avocados were not producing, even on very mature healthy trees. We live in an area where most homeowners grow avocados. There is about 30% of the crop left on 2 of the trees, so now my main concern is to protect the crop that will be forming next Spring. Should I prune and paint? or should I leave the dead limbs and young dead avocados? The damage is much more severe than you show in your video but the healthy parts of the trees seem to be holding the rest of the fruit and limbs OK (for now)?
Hi T Hans,
Sounds like your trees are going to recover well and are capable of retaining the young fruit that remains. The main thing that will ensure that is good watering through the rest of the summer and fall. See my recent post about how much and how often to water avocados if you’re unsure about your irrigation practices.
Young dead avocados will drop on their own. Dead limbs will also eventually fall off at the point where they remain alive. Even though those dead limbs are ugly they’re best left to naturally completely die and fall. But any limbs that are not clearly dead should be painted if their leaves have burned thereby exposing the bark to sun.
Until new shoots begin growing to replace the dead limbs and leaves, do no pruning. It will not help the trees at all, and might expose it to further sunburn.
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We are in Fresno and have just had our 22nd consecutive day of over 103 degree heat. Our 4 year old Lambe-Hass and Stewart might survive our Hass is way gone,branches green but all leaves gone. We have fertilized,watered, talked to,stroked , and pleaded with the trees to hang in there. We have always protected them from the sun and wind but now they look like crispy critters, any suggestions.
Rough! And I thought my yard has been hot.
You might find some useful information in my recent post, “Caring for your garden during a heat wave.” You’ve had a heat month.
My observations on avocado trees in extreme heat: A coarse wood chip mulch of at least four inches thick is helpful. Watering broadly so that the tree’s root system is broad is helpful (as opposed to only a couple drip emitters, for example). Watering sufficiently, in fact, is the key to heat tolerance. If your tree gets caught thirsty in 105 degrees or more, there’s nothing you can do to help except spray the leaves to cool it or give it shade. It’s incapable of taking up water through its roots anymore at that point. The tree has shut down. Approximately 105 degrees is the threshold for leaf damage; over 105 and every variety I’ve grown gets some leaf damage (including Lamb and Stewart). Shade works, and it’s especially useful between about 11 AM and 4 PM, and it’s OK for the tree in a climate like Fresno if you just place something like 60% shade cloth permanently above the tree throughout the entire summer. But on days over 105, I’ve found it better to have more than 60% shade (I just double up the shade cloth).
Hopefully, August will be relatively mild and it will give our trees a break. By the end of fall, we could have a lot of new growth if this happens. Then they’ll enter winter pretty strong again.
I have a Hass avacado tree about 4-5ft. It got severely burned during this past heat wave in Los Angeles, it lost most of the leaves Should I prune the top off the tree is turning black at the top?
Wish I can post a picture for you to see. It is recovering lots of new growth but the top (branch leader is turning black)
Good question. I’m going to update this post this week to talk about when and how to prune such dead wood. In the meantime, if that dead wood isn’t providing shade to any bare branches below it, then you’re fine to cut it off. Cut it back to wherever a live branch is growing beneath it. You may like to see my post “Pruning avocado trees” for more on that.
My Florida avocado tree was planted from seed. At about five years old, it started producing fruit. Nice-sized and delicious with smooth green skin. It’s now around 9 years old, about 30 ft. tall, and this season it grew very small fruit of which many fell off without developing bigger than egg-sized. By many, I mean at least 100 fruit. A friend said the tree is simply “culling” itself and nothing to worry about. My fruit now looks good; however, the ones I have picked and ripened and opened have huge seeds and very little fruit inside. The fruit itself is tough and inedible. I live in Safety Harbor F and my tree has been the source for delicious fruit for my friends. Now I’m at a loss. Can you help?
So the fruit this year are so different than in past years? That’s strange. Has the weather been exceptionally different? Difficult environmental conditions will make an avocado tree shed more young fruit than otherwise, and it can affect the ultimate size and quality of the fruit, but I’ve never heard of such an extreme change. Are you picking these fruit at the same time as in past years? Maybe they need more time on the tree to mature.
I live in Chula Vista and just purchased 32 Hass Avocado trees in 15 gallon pots from Moon Nursery. I plan on transplanting them all into 36 x 36 wood containers with good drainage. We have high clay content in our soil with poor drainage and everyone I have spoken to has failed in growing avocados in the ground in this area. It seems to me that if I maintain a regular watering schedule (automatic timers) and control the soil nutrients I maybe successful. What is your best advice for my pontential avocado farm. Thank you, Tim
Wow, interesting situation. So you’ve already bought the trees? I would prefer to try planting one tree on a mound first to see if you could grow an avocado successfully on your property that way. In the long run, if that works, it would likely be easier to maintain. It may be that your neighbors simply haven’t managed their avocado trees well considering the clay soil.
That being said, I’m sure it’s technically possible to grow trees in such large containers although I don’t know if it’s sustainable for decades. Not sure about that.
You’re right that watering and nutrients are key concerns. Water quality (pH, chloride level, etc.) and water scheduling (definite daily watering during summer heat waves) are the things I’d think about most. All of this would be easiest if you are on the west side of Chula Vista, closer to the ocean with milder temperatures.
I can’t think of anyone who has tried this so I can’t refer to other avocado trees as models. But Moon Valley has tons of experience growing other large trees in containers so they may be your best resource.
Thank you for all the amazing information. I’m on the Central Coast of California and have a struggling Hass that may be 4 years old but the poor thing got a terrible sunburn. At the time it was covered in flowers, the sun killed them and damaged the bark. The bark turned black but now it has white stuff coming out of it. What should I do, prune it or leave it.
That white stuff is basically dried sap. That’s how avocados bleed.
It’s probably best for you to prune those dead branches out at this time of year (fall) and trash them or take them away from the tree in case they are diseased. Make sure to still paint exposed healthy branches in order to prevent sunburn.
I’m so glad we have an expert like you helping us newbies Greg, thank you! I just planted a 5 gal Pinkerton recently following your tips and am looking to buy a Sharwhil soon. But is it better to wait till spring in my area? I live in Torrance, very mild warm weather so far this year. I planted anticipating the rains which don’t like they’re coming soon if at all. Thoughts?
BTW this will be my 2nd attempt at growing avos, 1st was a Reed & I didn’t give it proper care. I feel more prepared this time after finding this site. Thanks.
Thank you for making me feel useful! In Torrance, I’d say plant that Sharwil whenever you get the tree and the time. Even if we don’t get rains soon, the new tree will need less attention this time of year compared to spring or summer as long as you water it in thoroughly at planting time. I planted a few avocado trees in mid-October and then another couple last week, and they’ve been so easy to take care of. I love planting in fall. Again, the key is to water a lot and broadly at planting time since we haven’t had rain for many many months.
There’s the remote possibility that you’ll need to give that young tree protection if an unusually cold spell hits this winter, but it’s so easy to accomplish that. If you haven’t seen this week’s post, it happens to be: Protecting avocado trees from cold. (P.S. The tree at the top of the page on that post with frost on the leaves happens to be a Sharwil.)
Curious what you think might have gone wrong with your Reed?
Hey Greg! Well done article. Your intro picture is exterior paint, which I used too on my trees. However, a noted local SD authority is adament about using only interior paint. Any thoughts on this? Thanks, Robert
My pruners are sooo sharp still, thanks to your help. Thanks again.
I wonder why the recommendation of only interior paint. A quick read on the different additives for exterior versus interior latex paint makes me think that exterior would work better since it’s formulated to withstand higher temperatures and moisture and sunlight. But maybe I’m missing something.
I’ve used that same old can of white latex exterior paint for many years on many avocados and many other types of trees, and it has done the sunscreening jobs perfectly and I’ve seen no deleterious effects.
Our NorCal (San Jose) avocado tree is at least 40 years old. It’s been great producing fruit. Last Fall, we had the tree trimmed down to about 12′. The leaves are now turning brown and the tree looks like a weeping willow….no fruit. We’ve had tons of rain, so I’m thinking this might be the cause. Suggestions on what we should do? We will be using avocado food stakes soon, thinking perhaps it needs it. Thank you.
If the leaves are just brown on the tips and edges a bit, it’s probably no big deal. I wouldn’t worry about the tree’s health much until later in the spring when it should be in a phase of new growth. If in June the tree doesn’t look good (green, happy foliage), then you’ve got a problem.
When you drastically reduce the size of the canopy, you have a large root system but a relatively small group of leaves connected to it. No need to fertilize and no need to water, at this point. That large root system can power the reduced canopy without your help for a while. Likely, fertilizer will be a waste. And likely, watering before the soil dries a bit (feel it to check) will encourage a root rot situation.
Usually after a drastic pruning, it takes a couple years before you’re eating fruit from the tree again. The tree should flower and set fruit this spring (which you’ll eat in about a year, depending on the variety) if you had pruned it Fall 2017. But if you had pruned it Fall 2018, then you probably won’t get much flowering this spring (now); expect flowering in spring 2020.
i am happy to find a site with your excellent input. I am from Kathmandu, Nepal. If you were here probably you know the little cool weather of this place.So possibly we do not have sun burn problem. I have about 4 avocado trees, 4 to 10 years old. It has never been so good that I did not have thrips (small while or yellowish lice like insect) problem. I understand that it sucks the juice from young buds and flowers , thus preventing the fruit coming up. This year I have almost no fruit. I will be happy if you can advice me.
Greetings to you in Kathmandu! My understanding of thrips is that they damage the avocado fruit but never actually kill it. The damage I usually notice looks like brown scarring on the skin. Here is some more in-depth reading: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/r8300311.html
Is the weather very cool during flowering? Are there many flowers on your trees? Are there many flying insects visiting the flowers? To get good fruitset on avocados, it is optimal to have warm weather during both days and nights (an average temperature of the high and low of at least 65 F is good), it is necessary to have many flowers, and it is usually necessary to have many pollinators working the flowers. If just one of these conditions is not being met, then you’ll have low fruitset.
For example, our California spring this year has been cooler than normal and some of my avocados that bloomed early have low fruitset because cool temperatures disrupt the proper opening of female flowers on certain kinds of avocado trees.
Hi Greg Alder,
Greeting from Nepal.
Thank you for your kind reply. This year I did not have even a single fruit, even though the flowering was abundant, of course the thrips population covered the whole tree.I did not use any insecticide for two reason,one to avoid its toxicity to human and another if it was going to prevent pollination. I am planning seriously for next year. As I mentioned I have only four trees.Two of them get East and South sun almost the whole day.I guess this is also a negative factor.Based on your suggestion I may have to use ABAMECTIN next year.
Hi Greg, WE appreciate ALL your great info & support excellent!!
Keep it up & Thank you.
We have a new 2-3ft tall tree seedling and a new Carmen. Can we use white high-gloss or semi-gloss latex paint (diluted 50:50 with water) to cover the branches to protect from sunburn? (We so happen to have lots of extra semi-gloss & high-gloss white paint). We Appreciate your reply
(BTW perhaps in other topic, but we read so much about iron & zinc deficiency at Brokaw is it true and do you know of a good source for such fertilizers?) Thanks again!
Thanks! I can’t say for sure if gloss paint is acceptable to use because I haven’t tried it, but if I were in your shoes I would try it diluted 50/50 with water. My guess is that it won’t harm the tree. That being said, a little pint of regular white latex is cheap and will last for years for painting trees so you could go that certainly-safe route.
I’ve read a lot about iron and especially zinc deficiency in avocados, and I’ve talked to people who grow avocados commercially that deal with it, but I’ve never experienced it in my own trees or any I’ve observed in regular backyard settings. It seems to mostly occur in soils that are either watered too much and/or are fertilized with synthetic fertilizers.
If you suspect your trees of showing such deficiencies, make sure to assess your watering first. Soggy soil can make a tree look like the soil is lacking in a particular nutrient (when that is actually not the case). Assess your fertilizing second. Apparently, an abundance of some nutrients can make others unavailable to plants.
But if there is a pH problem or a true deficiency, smart people have discovered solutions. I can share what I know about those if you’d like.
Can’t thank you enough for your elite enlightenment and wisdom on your advice.
We will go the safe route on the whitewash and will ease down on the zinc/iron deficiency worry. If necessary we will rule out the items you mention. Again Thank You and we really appreciate you!
I have a wrist size branch on my Hass that has cracked bark, maybe 12″ long and 1/2″ deep running lengthwise along the branch. I’m guessing it got sunburned at some point, but is very well shaded by foliage presently. Side branches in that area have died, but this main branch extends a few feet beyond this point and has healthy foliage and nearly ripe fruit on it.
I’m guessing there’s not really much to do now, but was curious to hear if you had any thoughts.
Thanks for this great blog, I find myself coming by often to learn more about avocado tree varieties and such.
Thanks for the comments. I have some sunburned branches like the one on your Hass too. It can be amazing how well they still fruit even though they’re so damaged. I just leave them as you have. They never recover, so to speak, but they keep growing and producing so I let them be.
Thanks for the response Greg. I want to see if I understand the, for lack of a better term, biology that is going on here. The term “sunburn”, when applied to humans, is caused by UV rays affecting the skin cells and giving us, in early stages, a red color, and it later stages, skin damage. It sounds like the resulting phenomenon is similar in avocados, but the cause is not UV itself (although I imagine it contributes), but the temperature of the wood/tissue of the tree. Is that a correct interpretation?
If so, I can see how applying white paint helps, as it will reflect the suns rays, and less heat will be absorbed in the tissue, and reduce the cumulative effect of ambient temperature and solar radiation raising the temperature of the wood/tissue..
That leads into my next question. In general terms, at what temperature of the wood/tissue does the sunburn phenomenon begin? Today in Santa Barbara its sort of cloudy, highs in the low 60s. I’m sure there’s no risk of my young avo (1 week) getting burned today. But if I sat outside all day without protection I would get a sunburn on my face. I’m wondering if there’s a general threshold temperature for a young plant which adding some sort of shade and/or painting would be advised. I realize each situation is different, but in case it helps I live 2.5 miles as the crow flies from the ocean. The weather at our house is in general 5 – 10 F warmer than the beach, as there are ~150′ high bluffs along the beach for several miles in the area where I live. Near 101/154 intersection is my neighborhood.
I think your description is accurate. It is the heating of the branch surface that causes the damage. And it doesn’t have to be very hot out for this damage to occur.
Just as you mentioned that you would get sunburned if you were outside all day on a day in the low 60s, it seems that a lot depends on how exposed the branch is. For example, a branch that is bent horizontal with no canopy above it — in other words, it is exposed to the sun all day every day — will show damage more quickly, worse, and at lower temperatures compared to a branch on the east side of a canopy that is only exposed for a couple hours in the early morning.
I’ve seen young avocados with burned branches right near the train tracks in Carpinteria. What’s that? Less than a mile from the beach? A very mild environment. But the branches were very exposed.
As for a temperature threshold, I don’t know, but I would put it pretty low. With long exposure midday, and with a young tree especially, I think you could get damage over time with days only in the 60s, definitely in the 70s.
This is why I’ve already painted my trees. I try to get the painting done in March, long before the potential for a spell of warm weather during the long days of May or June.
Ben Faber, a UCCE farm advisor up your way, wrote a nice description of how sunburn on avocados works in this blog post: https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=27676
Is it safe to say that UV ray index daily published by weather forecasts, applies to avos the same way as for us?
I’m asking because I see different results on all day long exposed trees getting the same sunrays.
Lamb Hass are the most affected. Then come the Reed. The one year old Hass, Pinkerton and Bacon show little burn. The two years old Fuertes don’t bother at all with the sun.
Different results with the three years old Hass; one get light sunburns on an exposed branch; the other Hass has denser canopy and doesn’t show any burn.
All of the above means little if we whitewash the trees but the bark/skin has certainly an important function.
I like to think of it the same way I deal with the sunscreens; just enough to not get sunburned whilst keeping skin’s natural protection mechanism.
Best would be applying “sunblockers” with different protection factors…
I think you can say that. But it seems that many factors influence a tree’s sunburn and some are not obvious. The density of the canopy, as you mentioned for that one Hass, has a clear influence. Also, the angle of branches matter, as more horizontal branches burn more. Different varieties hold their branches at different angles, especially when holding fruit.
Then there is the water factor. A couple trees can appear the same but one will get more sunburn and later on you’ll realize that that one had not been as hydrated as the other — sometimes because you discover that another plant was stealing some of its water or the roots were damaged by a gopher or it had a disease that inhibited its water uptake.
Thanks for the detailed response and link to the blog. 2018 was interesting for sure, as my Hass did not bloom that year. I don’t know exactly when I planted it (4 years prior?), but I did eat 30 -40 avos off the tree that year from the 2017 bloom. Then the heat blast. That heat killed a couple branches on my tree, but didn’t affect the productivity of fruit which set in 2019. Were just digging in now to the probably 70 or so (maavos on the tree. I’m counting as I pick, so I’ll know when the season is over exactly how many.
Think I’ll be painting my 1 week old baby Fuerte shortly, better safe than sorry.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience, Greg. I wish I’d discovered your site before both my new trees–6-foot tall Reed and Bacon–were sunburned here in San Diego. The Bacon looks weak and the Reed looks almost dead (no foliage except for a few tiny new leaves at the ends of a few branches), but we’ll paint all the exposed branches this week and hope for the best.
Sorry to hear about your trees. If they’re that tall, then they should have big root systems that will help them recover. Avocados around here usually have a round of new leaves growing in July or August (so, soon). If you can keep those branches from cooking until they get new leaves to cover and cool them, then there is hope for renewed trees that ought to really look good next summer. I wish you and the trees great luck and mild summer weather!
I live in Escondido. I planted a 3′ Fuerte avocado tree in January following your guidance. There were 2 days late in January where the temperature dropped to the low 30’s. The top 1/3 of the tree sustained severe damage and died. I cut off the dead main stem and have been nurturing it since then. The tree has grown only about 6″ since then and I am concerned it will never taller. I would appreciate your guidance.
I lost a couple small avocado trees after the cold night of February 5. Maybe that was the same spell that got your Fuerte.
A couple of other small trees were badly damaged and only have around a foot of new growth at the most, similar to yours. Such trees can be kept or replaced, it’s usually unclear which is the better option. They can take a full year or more to regain health and grow vigorously again so it can be wiser to just replace them with new, healthy trees. The only times I coddle such trees is when they are varieties that are not readily available.
For your Fuerte, I’d say that if the foliage is healthy — green and big leaves — then give it some time. But if the leaves are small or pale or brown on the margins right now, pull it and replant.
I was wondering if you could help me with a very particular problem. I have a 14-inch diameter avocado tree. I think it’s a Gwen variety and my estimate is that it’s roughly 70 years old. It was about 25 feet tall before I cut it. I was advised to cut it because it had lots of pests and I couldn’t reach the fruit. I was told that cutting it would rejuvenate it. I cut it at 7 feet off the ground in March 2019. It’s been more than a year and a half and the buds are really small still. It’s taking the tree too long to grow back. I’ve done much research and in most cases avocado trees grow back rapidly after cutting them. I don’t understand what’s happening to my tree. I placed a net on top of it to protect the exposed trunk from sunburn. I didn’t want to paint it because I was worried that the buds would die from the paint. Do you know what I could do to speed up the growth? I was told I should girdle it or hit it hard with a heavy chain. Is there a better way to help it grow without hurting it? Thank you very much, I appreciate your input.
This is an unusual problem in that a healthy avocado tree that is about 25 feet tall would normally grow back extremely fast when cut down to 7 feet. The fact that it hasn’t makes me think it is very unhealthy.
Two possible problems come to mind. One, since you didn’t paint it the tree may have been sunburned. Two, sparse, weak growth is one symptom of a root disease; and trees that are cut down like yours can be susceptible if you had watered too much while the tree had few leaves.
No matter, I can’t see how girdling the tree or hitting it with a chain would help. Such a practice only brings positive results on healthy, vigorous trees in my experience.
I live I Western Washington and we bring our potted avocado in around the first sign of frost. Grew it from a pit and its about 8 years old. It got way underwater and a ton of leaves fell of leaving it very leggy. How far down could I cut it without shocking it?
You can cut healthy avocado trees down to the stump and they’ll grow back well. However, unhealthy avocado trees don’t take to such drastic pruning well, and they sometimes even die from it. (I know from embarrassing personal experience!)
Since yours isn’t in perfect health, I wouldn’t cut it down too low. Also, I wouldn’t do the pruning until the tree is showing some new growth. The trees seem to respond better to pruning at that time than when they’re quiescent in winter or in the middle of summer.
I’m in Auckland, New Zealand and have spent an entire day reading your articles and replies to questions so all of mine have been answered, and more. Your expertise is as relevant in the Southern Hemisphere as your own and your enthusiasm over woodchip mulching is spot on and I’m sure all the other stuff is too.
I stumbled across a seedling Avo, near an older Hass, that is super vigorous and has amazing fruit so have named it Rosebank, after where I found it and have grafted it onto my Hass and some other seedlings and am waiting, waiting, for the results to bear fruit which I am more confident of because of your amazing advice (and work ethic in replying to all those questions) I don’t have any BTW but thanks heaps.
Thank you very much for the feedback. Hope you keep me informed about the Rosebank avocado!
I lost the leader of my 2 year-old avocado in the heat wave of 2018 (I’m in city of LA). The tree was otherwise well cared for and healthy. I didn’t know at the time that this could happen. In any case, after waiting for more than a year it was clear the leader was completely dead. The rest of the tree has thrived since, and there’s growth everywhere — especially on what are the 2 main lower branches. I’ve been trying to train one of the secondary branches to grow more vertically as if I can somehow make the tree taller. Perhaps that’s a ridiculous idea. Is there any reason this tree might not produce fruit after the loss of leader? And should I trim some of the growth on the lower branches to direct more energy to the new “leader”? Thanks.
Any damage will slow or reduce fruiting to a degree and for a time, but it sounds like your tree will fully recover and be as fruitful as before the damage eventually. If you have a stake, then you can train up a new leader although it might take a couple years before the new leader stays in place vertically as you desire. I’ve done this type of thing before. Mostly, it takes patience. Check out this post: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/training-young-avocado-trees/
Hi- this is not an avocado question but I was curious about painting white the trunks of plumeria that is exposed to very direct south/west facing sun.
I don’t know much about plumeria, but I’ve seen many growing well in hot locations in Southern California and their trunks are not protected by paint or anything else. It seems to me that this is not needed for plumeria. But that’s just my observation of other people’s plumeria plants.
Hi… I just bought a small haas tree from a nursery in San Diego…maybe 1 gallon or larger, tree is about 24 inches high and staked and in a soft plastic container I can cut off. I live in Arizona and for now, want to plant it in a large pot until I am able to purchase a home and find the right spot for it. What should I do to successfully grow this tree.. ie, what size pot, what kind of soil, how often do I water… etc.. I have a nice place that has mid to late morning sun and afternoon shade.
Does the painted trunk prevent new branches forming from the trunk? Not only did I paint the trunk and some of the branches to provide sun protection, I also sprayed the leaves with a more diluted mixture. Will this additional spraying also help protect the tree. Will the painted trunk and branches also help protect the tree from some frost?
I would guess that the painted trunk won’t help prevent cold damage. I’ve never noticed it helping with that in my yard.
The paint doesn’t prevent buds from emerging as long as the paint isn’t super thick. I’ve taken photos of buds emerging on painted branches on my trees. However, if the branch gets damaged by sun/heat despite the paint, it may not put out new growth in that area. In that case, it’s the sun/heat damage that has prevented budbreak and not the paint.