Let’s say you just planted an avocado tree from a five-gallon container, the typical size available at nurseries. How should you water this tree?
First, immediately after planting you should water lavishly, making sure that all of the container soil is wet and also making sure that the surrounding native soil is also wet to a couple feet away from the tree and a couple feet deep. One way you can do this is by leaving a basin around the tree that you can fill with water over and over, as seen in the photo above. You’re likely going to need to apply about 10 gallons to do this, or even more if the soil is very dry, as it usually is in Southern California between June and October.
Why water the container soil? Because that’s where the tree’s roots are. Why water the surrounding soil when the tree’s roots are in the container soil? Because if the surrounding native soil is dry, it is capable of sucking water from the container soil, and this will leave the tree’s roots thirsty.
Where to apply the water
After planting day, when you start a routine of watering the new avocado tree, the water you give it must be applied close to the trunk.
So if you use a drip emitter, for example, stake it so it drips water near the trunk, over the original container soil.
I usually also add some water on the surrounding native soil every couple weeks by hand. This helps ensure that the surrounding soil isn’t extracting water from the container soil, and it also provides moist soil for the tree’s roots to eventually explore. Depending on the time of year and the condition of the soil, the tree will root into that surrounding native soil in a few weeks to a few months.
But I must emphasize that the most important thing, by far, is that you’re initially watering the tree where its roots are. And in the first month or two, a newly planted avocado tree still has all of its roots in that original container soil in exactly the same position they were in when you put the tree into its hole. Therefore, for the first month or two you must water the tree right next to the trunk.
How often and how much
And how much should you water each time? I’ll try to be as specific as possible (this is for a five-gallon tree).
For a tree planted in spring or early fall:
- Week 1- water every other day, 2 gallons each time
- Week 2- water every three days, 3 gallons each time
- Weeks 3/4- water every four days, 3 gallons each time
For a tree planted in summer:
- Week 1- water every day, 1 gallon each time
- Week 2- water every other day, 2 gallons each time
- Weeks 3/4- water every three days, 3 gallons each time
For a tree planted in late fall or winter:
- Week 1- water every three days, 2 gallons each time
- Week 2- water every four days, 2 gallons each time
- Weeks 3/4- water every five days, 3 gallons each time
Remember that your baby avocado tree will use more or less water according to the weather conditions. If there’s an extreme heat wave soon after planting, you may have to water every day. Likewise, if there are storms every week during winter, you’ll not need to water at all. But there could also be warm, dry Santa Anas in winter, which could make your new avocado tree want water every few days despite the winter season.
In general, you’ll water frequently at first and then less often as time goes on. This is because the tree will eventually grow its roots into the surrounding native soil and have more stamina because of its larger root system. The watering schedule will change to more closely approximate the schedule it can use for the rest of its life.
What’s the schedule for an established avocado tree? See my post, “How much and how often to water an avocado tree in California.”
Materials and products
It doesn’t much matter what materials or products you use to water the tree, from that first watering through the entire first year. (Which watering method is best in the long run? Probably sprinklers, not drip. See why on page 19 of this avocado-growing handbook.) Watering by hand with a can or a hose is fine, watering by drip emitters can work fine as long as the emitters are close to the trunk and directly on top of the container soil, and a sprinkler works great too.
Personally, I prefer using sprayers, or sprinklers with a sprayer insert, on new avocado trees. I’ve had success using a sprayer made by DIG, and I’ve used a little sprinkler made by Philmac, shown in the photo below.
But if I had to recommend one, I’d go with this micro sprinkler made by DIG:
The reason I’d recommend it is because it’s both widely available and it’s a great product. It’s sold at Home Depot as well as many other stores, both online and physical. It costs around $3.
And why is it a great product? Similar to the Philmac sprinkler, DIG’s micro sprinkler can be the first and last watering device that you buy and install for the life of your avocado tree. This is because it comes with a 90-degree sprayer insert that works perfectly on a newly planted tree, as shown in the photo above, in addition to a spinner insert that will apply water in a wide diameter (up to 25 feet), so it can be used on big, mature trees too.
I use a sprayer on new trees, and then switch to a rotating sprinkler (spinner) once a tree’s canopy is more than about four feet in diameter, which tends to be after a year or two in the ground. The easiest way to do this is to use something like Philmac’s sprinkler or DIG’s micro sprinkler, which can be used in sprayer and sprinkler modes.
One modification I make is that I always insert a little shut-off valve on the tubing so that I can adjust the volume on the sprayer, and later on the sprinkler. (Note the shut-off valve on the Philmac sprinkler tubing in the photo above.)
Here is a video I made showing this sprinkler watering avocado trees in my yard:
You might also like to read:
A few of us here in the NE are growing Avocados from a pit in a glass of water. Two are about a foot tall with a few leaves. These were put in a pot of soil. Unfortunately one has a few brown leaves; one leaf if almost totally brown and curling.
I read in this article that the browning can be caused by Chorine in the water. I don’t know where the water here at the office, comes from. Should we use bottled water from now on to prevent anymore browning???
thanks for any info
I think it’s great that you guys are growing some avocados from seed. It’s possible that the browning of the leaves are due to chloride. Also possible is that there was a little spell where the tree didn’t get watered often enough. This will cause avocado leaves to brown too.
This is an easy mistake to make because avocados do not handle dry soil well and small containers dry out fast compared to big containers or trees in the ground. Most of my avocado seedlings in small containers have some browning on some of their older leaves.
It certainly can’t hurt to use water that you know is more pure, like bottled water. Nurseries that grow avocados sometimes run their water through a reverse osmosis system in order to give the baby trees really clean water.
Each time you do water, especially if you continue using the office water, it’s best to water so much that you see water flushing out of the bottom holes of the container. This will help to leach the soil and keep chloride levels down.
Best of luck. Keep us updated!
Hi. You seem to be an Avocado expert. I live in s suburb of Detroit. Many times I have tried to grow an Avocado tree from store bought fruit with no luck. Not until I got a super-sized fruit from a local grocery store about 4 months ago. I planted it in soil in a pot after it got about a foot tall. Now it is almost 4 feet tall. Super right?
Well about beginning in June I moved it outside for sun light……kept it watered but the leaves started going bad so I brought it back in the house……it start growing well again but newer leaves at the top don’t look well…..curling a bit a drying out. These new leaves grew after I brought it back in.
I would like to send you pics for your opinion but I’m not sure I can this way.
What do you think is wrong?
It might have been too abrupt a transition from indoor light to outdoor sun, which is far more intense. You can keep the tree in a bit of shade outdoors at first so that the transition is slower.
I grew an avocado tree from a pit. It’s a few years old and has been in the container all these years. It is about 6 ft tall and my husband has decided it’s time to put it in the ground. It’s early spring so we figured it’s the best time. Do we need to fertilize and if so with what? We are in Texas (south) and it gets really hot in the summer, so we’ll have keep it well watered then. Any suggestions to keep our tree healthy??
I think it’s safest and smartest to put a tree in the ground and watch it grow before doing any fertilizing. Fertilize as a need is shown — through leaf symptoms or exceptionally slow growth, for example.
My yard gets somewhat hot too, with an August high temperature average of 91. What I do with my trees is keep them well mulched, with a layer of wood chips at least a couple inches thick. This eventually serves as a form of fertilizer, but more importantly, it protects the soil and the shallow roots from the summer heat. This practice is probably your key to getting the tree through hot summers — along with watering appropriately, of course.
All that being said, I don’t know south Texas. So if you can talk to a neighbor with healthy avocado trees, take that advice over mine. And please let us know how things go.
I have a hass and a little Cado. They have been in the ground about 3 months now. The little Cado is doing great. Lots of new growth and looks really healthy. The Hass hasn’t done much at all. It has a lot of buds appearing now but once the leaves start coming out they mostly turn brown and look dead. I can’t figure out what is going on. I water both trees every 4 days. I thought maybe I have been watering the hass to much? It has been a week since I last watered it and the moisture meter says it’s still moist. Not sure how realiable they are. When I do water, I water pretty heavy. I live in central California along the coast. Haven’t had a lot of hot days. Mostly high 60’s low 70’s. My soil is sandy so I added mulch and compost in with it. Did this for both trees. I hope you can give me some ideas on what to do. Thank you!
Hi Sandra, just saw this blog while researching for my own tree. I live in Midtown Ventura, with a large 50-year-old Haas in my back yard. The last couple years have not been easy due to the drought, with last year being close to what you are describing. I needed to water above & beyond the 2 times a week at 5 minutes that my sprinklers were doing. This year, I do have lot of avo babies and on the recommendation of my gardener, who does groves in Somis, I’m doing 2 hours once a week with the garden hose, moving it around the drip line as much as I can, along with some avo/citrus food. Fruit and leaves are looking much better.
My first thought is to poke around with your fingers in the soil beneath your Hass to find the roots. Whenever I’ve seen a tree acting like your Hass I’ve discovered a gopher tunnel. I’ve also NOT discovered many white (healthy, new) roots, presumably because of gopher damage.
Let me know what you find (in terms of roots and gopher tunnels) and we’ll take it from there.
I have tried growing avocado from seeds after watching tube.
I only managed to plant only one in a small pot. It has been growing quite healthy for a few months but recently the leaves also starts to turn brown n curl before dropping off. I m reading up and it could be my water is the problem . My corridor has no direct sun n I m wondering if it could survive. It is only about 9″ tall. When can I repot it?
I am staying in Singapore, my corridor faces west but shield from direct sun. Hope to get more information to keep my little “princess ” healthy.
Leaves turning brown and curling does sound like it might be related to not enough water or poor quality water. You might try putting it into a bigger pot and watering it a little more. You can repot an avocado anytime, especially in a warm climate like Singapore.
Thank you Greg for prompt response.
I will repot n keep you updated on its progress ?
Sounds like you know what your doing regarding avocados!
My question is:
In my backyard I had the grass removed and thick black weed block fabric and compressed rock with 2×2 cement pavers throughout. Area is @ 25×23 feet.
I just planted 2 young Hass & 1 dwarf little cado in the ground.
I dug down & removed the rock and fabric to plant the trees. Size @ 3 feet all around for each tree. I did the proper compost & mulch on top.
Will the avocado trees grow if surrounded nearby weed block and rock/ pavers or do I need to remove more obstacles?
Great soil, sandy & quick draining. Central Coast, Arroyo Grande Ca.
I’m curious / have the same question as I recently cut a 4×6 ft section out of the weed fabric barrier in our backyard (it was laid down before we bought the house) in order to plant a Fuerte and Hass tree in the same mound.
We have hard clay soil in the Bay Area (10b), and much of the backyard is shaded by oak and acacia trees so there was only one optimal spot that seemed to receive enough sun.
Would love to hear how your trees are doing and if you did have to remove the weed barrier in order to allow the avocado tree roots to spread healthily?
Thanks so much (Greg, would love your input here as well if you see this)!
I now have 4-5 avocado trees in the ground. I cut out the fabric like mentioned before. The trees are all doing fine so far with growth as the months go on
You should be ok but that clay soil should be partially removed and replaced with softer dirt, gypsum, sand for better drainage. Gypsum
Is great for clay soil but takes awhile to loosen up the clay soil. I hope this helps…
Recently I received an avocado tree there’s about 5 ft tall and the stem of it is at best the size of a nickel in diameter when I got it the soil is completely dry and all of the leaves off of 3 sprigs were dying they were yellow and Browning since all of the leaves have been trimmed back and now the stem is starting to Brown where it was green like I said when I got it it was it was totally dry I’ve been watering it regularly I’m a baby and taking care of an avocado tree what do you suggest I’ve got it in about a gallon size container the root ball that was left was only really one piece about 5in long in a circular motion and there had been an ant nest inside the previous soil which was nothing but dirt I’ve got it in soil with some lite vermiculite.. help save my avocado tree
A tree that’s five feet tall is too big to do well in a container that’s only one gallon. Such a tree should be in a container approximately five gallons in size, or more. That will help with keeping the rootball moist, and thereby keeping the leaves green and growing.
Hi there. I have a few trees I bought a few months ago from Fallbrook. I got a 18 gallon lamb hass which I planted and mulched. The leaves looks healthy on but are mostly curled lengthwise. Is that a trait of that variety or does it have some problem? It is growing taller with more growth. I have it covered in 30 percent shade cloth on a structure I built to get through the extreme heatwaves in the Los Angeles area. I can probably remove it now as it’s much cooler and we actually had a full night of rain. I water it every other day or even more when it is extremely hot.
Taco leaves are a trait of Lamb, yes. I don’t know of any other variety of avocado that looks just like it, but that’s the way Lamb leaves look.
I also had shade cloth over my new trees this summer. I removed it at the end of September because it started cooling down nicely. Looks like we’re going to get warm this week, so maybe you can leave it on for another week or two if you like. In years past, I’ve kept shade cloth over new avocado trees until late October at the latest. It depends on how early the fall cools down.
Well we planted a 15gal Reed Avo yesterday and had no idea about today’s wind! She had fallen over sometime last night or this morning before I checked. I’ve had to put extra reinforcements and hoping it works. Any suggestions? Also her trunk is crooked to begin with so that could be a good thing in this wind or bad. I’m an optimist! Thanks as always.
Noooo! The wind got you so fast. See my post, “How to plant and stake an avocado tree.”
For a 15-gallon, you’ll likely need a 2×2 wood stake or something metal. I’ve successfully used both on such large trees. Single stakes or double work fine. See the photo of the Nimlioh in the post linked above for an example of double metal stakes.
James here from Valley Center, CA. Your videos are a great watch, and your website is on-point. Recently bought four different varieties of avocados, hass, lamb hass, fuerte, and bacon. Got a reed coming.
Our ground is composed of a good mixture of nutritious native soil, decomposed granite, and a mixture of clay layer, and a thick clay layer 3-6′ down (depending on elevation). Your watering instructions outline:
For a tree planted in spring or early fall:
•Week 1- water every other day, 2 gallons each time
•Week 2- water every three days, 3 gallons each time
•Weeks 3/4- water every four days, 3 gallons each time
However you mention this guide is for a 5-gal pot. Our four trees are approximately 5′-6′ tall with canopies ranging from 2.5′-3.5′ and came in 15 gal containers.
What would you recommend our week 1 – week 4 schedule look like? Bought the dig 90 degree micro sprayers like you recommended. Thanks for your help and keep the videos and posts coming.
Thanks for the kind words. While I’ve only planted a couple of 15-gallon avocados, I’ve found that the same watering frequency is needed. The only thing I altered was the volume. For your trees of about three feet in diameter, I’d just add approximately an extra gallon to each watering.
But don’t hesitate to water more frequently if the trees’ leaves wilt in that first month. If your drainage is good, then it’s almost impossible to water too often in that first month, especially when planting during a warm time of year. The real danger right now is for the freshly transplanted trees to get thirsty.
Hi Greg. I have been reading everything by you about Avocado trees. Today we had a 8-10 year old tree planted in our backyard. We paid a lot of money for it and I’m so scared I will kill it. We live in Southern California in Long Beach. It will definitely get a lot of sun. Is that going to be OK or should I get a covering for it so it has more shade? I did see your chart on how much I should water it. Can I just take a water pitcher and dump water into the soil to soak it? I feel like I have so many questions for you. We did get an older tree and a lot of information I feel is for younger trees. It’s in Hass avocado tree and I guess I’m just looking for a little advice. We have instructions from the nursery to put there home made plant food on it every 3 months and some liquid stuff they make every month. We only have a three month grace period with them and I don’t want to kill this tree so any advice would be amazing. Thank you so much for answering so many questions for people. It’s really good what you do
Congratulations on your avocado tree. It will enjoy full sun in Long Beach; no shade is needed.
Yes, you can use a pitcher to water the tree. Just make sure to put the water within a foot or so of the trunk, as that’s where the roots of a newly planted tree are.
I really dig the site! Thank you for great advice it has provided so far and I look forward to reading more in the future!
Soil moisture question here: why is the soil in the mounds I planted into, more moist than the planting mix the trees came in?
I planted and staked (two stakes style) four 15 gallon avocado trees -Sir Prize, Reed, Gwen, Wurtz- into mounds in the backyard of our home in University City, in a planter that’s about two feet high and of varying widths on 3/20. We have been following your watering advice closely with good results. The native soil below the planter at yard level is pretty densely packed clay and I was a bit concerned with drainage. I dug & tilled the entire planter area prior to planting, and mixed in truck load of nice looking compost from the Miramar Landfill, as well as some free fill dirt back I scooped up locally.
I found lots of free wood chip type mulch, based on your suggestions, and applied it liberally over the entire planter bed, especially deep on the tree mounds, keeping clear of the trunks. The trees are flush with new leaf growth and little flower buds are busy with bees- though the Reed’s many buds have yet to open it seems, Maybe I’m trippin’, but the trees all seem taller too.
I bought a cheap moisture meter just to see what it would tell me. When I stick it in the soil immediately around the trees, into the hard packed planting mix they came with in, it’s always more dry than the mound soil, which has always registered pretty moist. Sticking fingers under the mulch: it’s pleasantly damp & cool.
Is this a case of native soil sucking moisture from the planting mix?
Thanks for these notes. It’s great to hear that your mounded planting is having good results.
I suspect that the soil near the trees’ trunks (the planting mix from the containers) dries out faster because that’s where the most roots are. The primary cause of soil drying is roots pulling the water out.
You’ll probably find that in a year or two this no longer happens to the same degree because the trees will have spread their roots throughout the mounds and well outside of the planting mix that they came in.
what about water requirements for a tree that has just dropped all it’s leaves due to transplant shock 🙁 Good thing is it’s putting on a flush of new growth at the branch tips which hasn’t dropped off so I hope the tree makes it and isn’t dying a long slow death like my last one. I did everything right in the transplant to the raised bed except I accidentally sliced into the roots when I removed the container…
Avocados are so hard to transplant without damaging some roots; the roots are so brittle. I always end up breaking some.
It’s true that the tree will use less water when it has fewer leaves so your best method of watering it properly will be poking your fingers into the soil, finding some roots, and gauging the moisture there. That removes the mystery of guessing if your tree needs water. Only water if it’s not still wet but before it feels dry there.
I know that’s vague language: wet and dry. Please see this post for details: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/get-your-hands-dirty-discover-the-truth-about-your-irrigation-practices/
I can’t remember how long ago you planted this tree, but wasn’t it within the last six months? If so, then the roots are still mostly in the original potting soil area and you’re not in much danger of watering too often.
Hi Greg, good to hear from you again. Yeah I transplanted it mid-March and it’s lost all but 3 leaves and all it’s flowers but I have new growth and about 6 different branching tips. As long as those don’t drop off I may be in the clear. My last lamb hass restarted 3 times before it finally died. The leaves would grow but then show damage at the tips and drop off. So far the new growth is healthy looking. Not too concerned with overwatering, it’s in a raised bed over good drainage so I’m keeping the raised bed area moist but not soaked. Feeding every 2 weeks with compost/worm tea. If it has healthy leaves large enough to help protect during summer I’ll be thankful. How are your mangos doing, set fruit yet?
Oh no, my mangos are far from fruiting. I’m growing only seedlings now, and they’re only months old. So this is more of a ten-year kind of project.
I’ve been trying to grow Ataulfo mangos from seed every time I buy them at costco. Probably germinated about 20 so far and all haven’t lived past the initial first leaves forming. Got about 8 going right now and hoping I’ll get one to survive to where I can try and grow it. I think soil gnats are getting them plus some get mold if you don’t remove the inner membrane. BTW are you being overrun by snails like I am atm?
I wonder if you (we) are keeping the little mango seedlings too wet. I’ve also had a couple lose their first leaves; now they’re beginning to flush additional leaves though. One that hasn’t lost any leaves has been left to be on the dry side. Maybe once they get that tap root down low, we need to back off on the water?
Yes, lots of snails and slugs this year in comparison to other years. It’s been a wet winter followed by a mild and relatively wet spring. Feels like we live on the Central Coast almost. I’m running my chickens throughout the yard to control them.
I don’t think I’ve gotten a seedling close to the stage where it can flush out new growth. I’ve been only able to get them to open its first set of tiny leaves before they die in the pot. You might be right about the water, in fact they brown up and wilt just like the leaves on my avocado. Maybe I am overwatering that as well. I remember reading in a socal forums about a hardy mango variety that grows well in socal and is more cold hardy. Maybe I should try my hand at growing one of those and then topworking exotic varieties onto it instead. I heard Florida rootstocks fare poorly and my fruit punch is really sickly and not doing well.
Just planted a 5 gallon Reed on Tuesday April 30. It’s now 2 days later Thursday May 2. I’m in Riverside, has been cloudy/ sunny, mixed weather. Water meter is reading in the blue wet side. Should I still give it the two gallons of water every 2 days as you recommend or wait til soil has dried up a little? I’m always confused about this. Thanks, your awesome!
I understand how this might be confusing. The watering schedule I made for newly planted trees is meant to work for someone who can’t check the actual moisture in the soil/potting mix and doesn’t want to pay attention to the weather (or doesn’t understand well how the weather affects a plant’s use of water). In other words, you can follow the schedule safely and blindly and your tree will be happy.
All the same, following the schedule will mean you’re using water inefficiently compared to checking the moisture and paying attention to the weather and observing the tree’s leaves for wilt, etc.
So in your case, watering today might waste a little water because it’s premature. It has been pretty cool the last couple days. But as long as your soil has good drainage it won’t be harmful. In general, if your soil has good drainage (drains out of a hole within a couple hours), then it’s almost impossible to harm a newly planted avocado tree by watering it too often in the first month or so.
I’ve learned to just water newly planted avocados. My soil drains fast (disappears from a hole in less than thirty minutes). And I’ve harmed more young avocados by being stingy with my frequency than vice versa. So these days I just water them often and try not to analyze it too much and I have happier newly planted trees.
After a month or two, then you really should take the time to feel the soil and get an idea of what it feels like when it’s wet enough or too dry. But for newly planted trees, just never let the potting mix (where their roots are now) dry out, not a bit.
I planted two 2 ft avocados in large pots (20.5″ diameter 24″ tall) in February of this year. They are Haas and Reed. They both have brown tips now. I’m watering every week (although it’s been overcast and cold here in Manhattan Beach, CA). I’m thinking I’m watering too much? A friend says I’ll never get fruit off of them because they are in containers, but the grower I bought them from says I will. Do you have any thoughts? My yard is too small to plant them in ground, but the whole point was to get fruit!
Are the pots plastic or clay? Do they have holes in the bottom?
You can definitely get fruit on an avocado tree growing in a container. I’ve seen it numerous times and done it myself even. The question is only about how long you can grow an avocado in a container and how much fruit you can get from it. The answers to those questions, I don’t know.
I’m starting to grow a couple avocados in container again this year just to experiment. So maybe in another five years I’ll have more answers!
We’re renting and didn’t want to plant our 3ft Hass avocado in the ground. So it’s in a container. We bought one of those garbage containers with wheels from Home Depot and my fiance drilled holes in the bottom. One season later It grew fruit! So it’s possible! It’s been 2 years since we bought it from OSH.
Greg, wanted to know, how long can you keep an avocado tree in a container?
We put brewed coffee grounds and extra dirt in it every season and fertilizer. I’m afraid the roots will eat up all the soil’s nutrients.
I don’t know how long you can keep an avocado tree growing in a container, but I do know of trees that are still doing well after five years or so. I’ve never seen avocado trees in containers doing well for longer than that although I have to guess that someone somewhere has accomplished it.
I think you’re right that you do need to occasionally fertilize your tree since it has a very limited volume of soil. How much and how often? I don’t know, but I’d try doing it often with only a little each time.
I’ve read your post about using micro sprinklers for avocados. Do you also recommend these for avocado trees in containers?
Micro-sprinklers in the sprayer mode could work well for an avocado in a container, I would guess. But I’ve always hand watered my avocado trees in containers.
I planted an avocado tree 2 years ago and it died back to the roots, but now is growing again from the roots. Will it produce avocados or is it a lost cause? I have a small yard, but I don’t want to give up on it if it will ever fruit. It was a Haas, I think.
It will probably fruit eventually, but if the growth is only from down by the ground then it is likely rootstock and won’t produce Hass fruit.
Planting a new tree will ensure that you get the fruit you want.
We have bought a 30 gallon Haas avocado tree and desperately need help with watering our tree. We planted it in a location that is full sun, however we do get the Santa Ana winds. The leaves look wilted and some are brown on the edges and tips, but the soil is moist about 6 inches down. We want to master this but can’t figure it out. We’ve looked over your schedule on watering but have already lost an avocado tree to over watering.
Watering a newly planted avocado tree is tricky. If you can get the tree through the first couple months, then it becomes more resilient and easier to maintain. Sorry about this, but it’s just the way it is. Don’t give up.
My guess would be that you’re underwatering the tree, based on the symptoms you list.
Have you checked the drainage of your soil? If it drains fast enough (within a handful of hours), then it’s nearly impossible to overwater a newly planted avocado tree. I’ve often watered mine twice a day, every day in the summer and they’re fine with it if the drainage is fast.
I planted a mexican avocado at my house in south that was about 4 ft high and full of green leaves. I have been watering everyday and first some leaves started to yellow and now somewhat brown. I have been doing the overwatering I read about but it doesnt’ seem to be working. I believe it may be two issues. The first is I have a water softner system at my house that is cleaned by salt bags. Could the salt in the water be damaging my tree? I am going to try getting purified water from town maybe about 4 gal a day. The second thing is we have intense heat here almost 100 degrees everyday, could it be burning my tree?
It’s likely that the water you’re using from your water softener is doing harm. Avocados generally don’t like high levels of chloride, and most water softeners I’m aware of use sodium chloride or potassium chloride.
ok thanks for reply. Is there something I can put to help tree like plant food. I hope that doesn’t sound dumb but I am not much of a gardner and I don’t want to lose this tree.
I wouldn’t add any fertilizer now, as it may compound your problems. Just focus on getting the watering right.
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with so many. The descriptions, videos, photos, etc. are easy to understand and so helpful, and your site is very well organized and continues to answer my questions as they come up. I’m a total newbie with a very brown thumb who dreams of avocados in my backyard, and I’ve been devouring your info over the past few weeks. Today I put two trees into the ground – a Lamb Hass and a Wurtz. I’m excited to have a distraction from all that is going on in the world right now and to give these two babies some TLC…fingers crossed that they like me as much as I like them! Thanks!
Awesome, Cat! You can do it! If your soil drains well, then just make sure to water the young trees often enough this spring and summer and fall, and then they will grow a lot and need much less attention from then on.
Thanks for all your help. It’s nice to get help from someone who has been getting his hands dirty and not someone who is just trying to make a sale.
I finally got my Gem (2 1/2’ tall and) and my Kona (4’ tall) into the ground in a box planter with both sandy loam and Gary’s Top Pot soil.
Also just installed the dig micro sprinklers.
My question is, how long would you leave the sprinklers on for best results? The box planter although on a very steep slope, it’s 4’x4’x
3 1/2’. With a French drain 2’ deep backfilled with washed gravel.
Thanks for those comments. There’s no simple answer to your question, unfortunately, because it depends on how wet the soil is when you start running the sprinklers and how high the volume is on the sprinklers. But I’ll tell you that my usual run times for new trees like yours on the DIG micro-sprinklers tend to be around an hour. That usually fully wets the root zone of such a tree. Just give that much time a try and then the next day poke into the soil to see how deep it has wet. Adjust from there.
Thanks for your help and advice.
I will let the ground dry up a little after these rains pass us by and do the 1 hr. Trial then.
IN another post you recommend up to 600 gallons a month for avocado trees. The dig microsprinklers are good for 20 gph or so. if you use the 6x a month (every five days) you need 5 hours of watering or so. I have my one avo getting watered 1 day a week along with my orange, persimmon and pomegranate. They are all on soaker hoses with 25 psi pressure regulators. I’ve never really known if I’ve been giving them enough or not, but it seems to work. The Persimmon and pomegranate are only a few years old each, The avo is 6ish years old, and the drawf navel is more than 25 years old and just cranking out oranges like no tomorrow. Just curious what your watering strategy is, lots of monthly adjustments of your microsprinklers or ? If I could reduce my water bill that would be nice, but I’m not really sure where to find guidance on watering the trees in terms of gal/month other than the avocado.
These are all great questions. Overall, my watering strategy is to use as little as possible in order to get the results I desire. So for example, I don’t water my pomegranates at all. Not one drop. Because every year they still produce more than my family can eat without any irrigation. (I’d suggest you try backing off on pomegranate irrigation to see what you can get away with.) But for my avocados, I water them a lot because that is necessary to get the maximum fruit production out of them. Still, every year I try to give the avocados as little water as necessary, as far as I can tell.
I’d bet you could also water your old orange a lot less than any chart would suggest. I also have an old orange that I give way less than it is supposed to require, and it still cranks out good tasting fruit year after year. Old trees are capable of exploiting rainfall and other water sources far better than we give them credit for.
I adjust my watering all the time, that’s the truth. I usually start the year with a watering schedule planned (I always aim to try something a little bit new each year — last year my trial was watering very frequently in small doses), but then I adjust as the year goes and I see the trees’ reactions. Observing the trees’ leaves and getting your hands dirty to actually feel the soil moisture where the trees’ roots are are the best ways to water most efficiently.
Wow, what a great response Greg. Challenge accepted. I don’t think I’tt stop watering the pomegranate all together, as its only maybe 6 years old. But I will cut back and watch. I watered it a ton in the fall last season and the size of the fruit really responded. It did cost an arm and a leg though.
I think I’ll invest in a meter to measure what I am currently watering, and then also be able to see what I am reducing too. Not sure I’ll be able to effectively measure what I’m delivering with my soaker hoses currently using the bucket method. I’m most interested in what the orange and mature avo are getting presently.
Perhaps I can make a small contribution here, on topic this time, that being watering newly planted avocados. I’m following our guide, and have found using a gallon jug with 3 small holes pricked in the bottom makes a great watering can. One hole in a corner, and one on either side an inch or so away. I get 3 small streams which water the surface of my 5 gallon avo over a fairly spread out area. It takes about 15 – 20 minutes to deliver the gallon. Just set, go back a while later and do it again, the next time on the other side of the tree. Not bad for slowly delivering a known amount this small (2 – 3 gallons per watering for the first month).
I had a new Hass that I planted last year that I suspect needed watering every afternoon when the temperature was above 90 for the cooling effects of spraying water on it more than being thirsty. The group was always moist under the tree but when the temperature went up it wilted anyway. Ten minutes after the spray started it perked up again. It grew well last winter so I’m looking forward to seeing how it tolerates the heat this year.
Great idea about the jug! I do the same thing often! I also drill little holes in five gallon buckets sometimes to use in the same way. It’s so nice to know exactly how much water you’re giving the tree, and as you said, if you make the holes small enough then the water is delivered slowly without any runoff. Glad you mentioned this.
About the pomegranate, I can’t ever recommend that anyone not water their tree at all like I do with mine because all contexts are different and for all I know there is some underground water source that my tree is tapping into. But I do know that there are lots of other pomegranates around my area that don’t get irrigated and still produce big, delicious fruit.
Good morning. I commented back and forth with you a couple weeks ago about getting 2 trees from Clausen’s in Vista for my backyard. I went with the Hass and the Fuerte. Both are great looking trees. So, I dug my holes, and did a water test. They are on a decent slope in the backyard, but the soil is pretty compacted. The water drained out of the hole, slowly, but was still basically gone overnight. I was told as long as it goes away overnight, it should be fine.
To be safe, I put a small layer of the cactus/succulent mix at the bottom to maybe give it a little better drainage. I carefully rolled the pot into the hole, and cut it off in there instead of cutting it off outside and plopping it in, so as not to damage the roots. I backfilled the hole, and gave it a good soaking.
Then…… we got DUMPED on 2 days later. We got 5-6 inches of rain or so in the next 3-4 days. After the sun finally came out a couple days ago, it all looks good. Just yesterday though, I notice about 5-6 leaves laying at the base of each tree. The leaves that dropped are firm, full, look basically healthy. All the remaining leaves on the tree look shiny, full (not curled), and have some flowers on each that are opening/closing as they should.
So my question is, How do I know if I got too much water on them, and I developed a problem. Or, is it possible transplant shock, or maybe just a wind event that forced a few to fall off? At what point do I become worried that they might have become too wet? At Clausen, their avocado’s are done in DG, not that light mulch mix, so should drain well.
And a small side question……. I might try to sneak a third tree into the yard (without telling the wife….lol). Looks like the Hass/Fuerte combo will give me fruit most of the year, except maybe a bit of time in the late summer/early fall. So would a Reed or maybe Sharwil be a good one to cover that Aug-Oct gap, if I even have one at all? Found another nursery that has 15 gallon plants, including Sharwil, Jan-Boyce, Reed, etc., is beautiful shape/. Lots of solid growth, tons of flowers, etc.
Thanks again for your posts. been reading them all lately, very informative.
It sounds like all is fine with your new trees. Don’t worry about leaf fall during spring here. As avocados flower and grow new leaves in spring, they continuously drop many older leaves. It’s just their natural cycle.
If your drainage were not fast enough, your trees would start to get yellow leaves that droop all over the tree from sitting in too much water for too long with those great rains we had. It looks like your drainage is adequate.
Good third varieties to go with Fuerte and Hass are Reed and Lamb, as they can be harvested in summer and early fall, just as you noted. Sharwil would overlap with Fuerte and Hass too much to be a good choice in this situation.
Thanks for asking your questions. It sounds like we bought and plated our trees on the same days! We were devastated with that 5-6 inches of rain! These are our first attempt at growing anything besides a baby and we were pretty nervous about wasting a large amount of time on these
Also, bought from same place…
A couple more new avocado watering questions. I planted my tree April 11, and the first week was fairly mild. Since Tuesday the temperature has ramped up, with temps in the high 80s or low 90s. I’ve been sticking with the schedule mostly, except I gave the tree an extra gallon one day just because it was so warm and it had been a couple days already. I am mulching and the top of the soil was not try, but certainly not damp. I didn’t really want to start digging around since the plant is so young and still getting established. Other than dropping 1 or two leaves and a few flowers since it was planted, it seems to be doing fine. Which probably answers my question, but I’ll ask anyway. Is this heat significant enough for a young tree to water a bit more than your schedule? So far so good, but the next 10 days look fairly similar in terms of the forecast, so at some point I wonder if the weather wins. I do notice the amount I’m providing is more than an established tree of this size.
2nd question, you recommend a 90 degree spray for young avos, then transition to the spinner. I also see its not good to water the trunks of mature avos. Is it not a problem for young avos to have their trunks watered with the sprayer?
I forgot to mention it is a 5 gallon Fuerte
Yes, I did water my newly planted avocado trees every day during that heat wave, including most importantly the day before the heat arrived.
Was it necessary? Probably not for all of them. But the last thing in the world that you want to do is let a newly planted avocado tree get thirsty during a heat wave. It sets the poor thing back a lot. I’m of the opinion that if your drainage is good, then lavish those little trees with water during such heat and they stand up taller and grow fast for you.
Yes, I just let the sprayer hit the trunk on those young trees and it has never had negative consequences. Lots of commercial farmers do this too.
For mature trees, I usually put a little stake to deflect water from the trunk but sometimes I don’t and it doesn’t seem to matter. This may not be the case for everyone though. My drainage is good, and I’m careful not to water too often such that the base of the trunk is always staying wet. If in doubt, put up a stake to deflect the water — that is never a bad thing to do.
Hi Greg, thanks for all of your great info. I live in Santa Cruz so a bit cooler than your climate. I have had no success getting new trees to take off, and I am not sure if it is watering, soil nutrients, hard well water etc. I decided this will be the year to make it happen! I planted a 5 gallon Pinkerton end of April so just over two weeks. There was a little new growth when I planted but since then it looks exactly the same, but maybe slightly less green in the nature leaves . In past years this has been my experience with avos- they look great when I plant them, but they never put on new growth and then eventually die. I think I have followed all advice on watering etc so I guess my question is how long should it take after transplanting for the tree to come to life?
Sorry to hear this. When I’ve seen young trees act as you describe sometimes it’s because the drainage is poor and the roots a few inches deep are rotting because the soil stays soggy for too long. Have you checked this out? See my post about planting an avocado tree. Your trees might benefit from being planted on a mound.
As you experienced, when you plant in spring you usually see new growth immediately, but then the tree calms until it flushes another round of growth sometime in the summer. Depending on the weather, avocados will have two or three flushes of growth each year (a third one occurring in the fall), and they usually put on two or three feet of growth each year. This is just approximate though. Varieties differ, and the micro-climate they’re planted in affects this too.
This particular tree is planted in a raised bed because I did suspect drainage was a problem in the past. I am starting to see some new leaves coming out so I am hoping it is a sign that it is happy. I followed your watering recommendations for the first four weeks of planting, and I saw your watering chart. It seems new trees want much more water to get them established – almost double the rate of a year 1 tree. How long after planting would you recommend transitioning from the “new tree schedule” to the regular watering schedule? That being said we are about to get a nor cal heat wave so I should probably be giving it plenty to drink.
Good to hear you’re seeing growth. Transitioning the tree to a regular watering schedule depends mostly on when the tree was planted. Since you just planted at the end of April, I’d keep the watering frequent (and in relatively small doses) until at least the middle of summer. In the warm soil of spring and summer and fall, these new trees grow new roots out into the surrounding soil within their first couple months. Once they’ve expanded like that they are able to go longer between waterings (so then you can give them more water each time also).
In your Santa Cruz climate I’d imagine you can water less frequently than the chart says anyway. I know a grower in a mild Ventura location whose new trees do fine on weekly waterings.
But do water AHEAD of any heat waves. That’s for sure. If the heat is going to hit tomorrow, you’d better water today.
Hi Simon, I planted a Fuerte in my yard here in Santa Barbara in mid April. If its of comfort, my tree did absolutely nothing for a solid month. I took pictures the day after I planted it, and looked at them a month later and basically nothing had changed. It looked like leaves were about to sprout, but they didn’t. I’m guessing it was because the tree was blooming (yes, probably 6 or so stems with 5-6 blooms each). Once the blooms all died, its now starting to push those leaves out. Sounds like you are right about at that same point too, so keep up the faith and look forward to avocados in a few years.
I’m glad I came across this post as I was sort of thinking of cutting back on the frequency of watering, but based on Greg’s recommendation I think I’ll keep at 3 gallons every 4 days though the end of June. The advice above kept me watering this frequently through the end of May.
I love Santa Cruz, we have a good friend that lives in Aptos, and one of my kids went to UCSC. its a beautiful country.
Thanks to both of you for the reassurance – it looks like I probably do need to water less than you recommend, I dug into your other excellent post on feeling the soil around the root zone and they do indeed still seem to have plenty of moisture even during a relatively hot spell for our area (high 80s).
Me again – still trying to keep this Pinkerton alive. Reminder I planted it as a 5 gallon first of May so it has been in the ground about 6 weeks. I have been watering as per your schedule, I don’t think I have watered too much if anything not enough. I will try to include a link to a photo:
If you can see it – all of the older leaves are looking pretty terrible but I am hoping that is natural old age, a few have dropped and it looks like many more will soon. You can also see new growth starting, it woke up a few weeks ago and seems to be accelerating. If it does lose those leaves it is going to look pretty funny with bald branches and only leaves at the tips. Is this all normal?
Good to see the new growth on your tree. I’d also guess from the look of the tree that you’re not overwatering. If there is a watering issue, it’s more likely underwatering. Any chance there’s a large tree nearby that might have roots under the little Pinkerton? Sometimes you find that there are a bunch of non-avocado roots in the baby avocado’s root zone sucking up the ample water you intend for the baby avocado roots. I’ve found this many times in my own yard and other yards.
Hello. I’m new to growing avocado.. I have a grafted little cado..when I first got the tree it was perky.. and full but once I potted it in a container it started to droop and it’s not as full as before. Any suggestions?
If you water the tree, does its leaves perk up (after about fifteen minutes)?
Aloha from Hawaii. I have a avocado tree I planted from seed about 4 years ago. It was about 4 feet tall at that time and now in 2020 is close to 14 feet with a wide canopy. It bloomed for the first time in Feb. of this year but did not set fruit. My question is this, has anyone tried grafting on to an avocado tree this big say with a reed variety? I am thinking of cutting it back to 3 main shoots and grafting on a reed that is very old.
There are a couple ways of going about this. But the short answer is that, yes, this is possible and has been done for many years and there is a lot of documentation on the different approaches. One of the best sources to check out is: http://www.avocadosource.com/papers/research_articles/whitsellrh1989.pdf
See the section titled “Framework and Miscellaneous Field Grafting” toward the end.
Also, see this paper: http://avocadosource.com/CAS_Yearbooks/CAS_75_1991/CAS_1991_045.pdf
See the section titled “Traditional vs. New vs. Combination of Both.”
An update on the from seed avocado. I started a much heavier watering schedule per your instructions. I live in the Kau district at about 1200 feet. We do not get rain on any regular basis and then only small amounts.(0.05 to 0.25 in. in 24 hours.) On this day that tree is covered with blooms, the bees are working it too. So I am going to wait and see if I get some fruit set and decide if the fruit is worth eating.
One other question….I have a reed that is close yo 40 years old, 35 to 40 feet tall. probably planted when the house was built. In the 5 years we have lived here, we have harvested 8-10 fruit each year. Huge, delicious buttery fruit. Now with your watering schedule, I can see hundreds of pea sized fruit. So much fruit that I am now wondering if I should thin?? I lived in North Central Washington for 40 years, and I always thinned apples, pears, and soft fruit.
Thanks for your great blog, I look everyday for something new!!
That’s great news on the Reed! Reed is one variety that does need some thinning sometimes whereas most other varieties don’t ever need it. Reed fruit gets so heavy that it can break branches, and its branches often grow long and unforked. So yes, if the fruit starts weighing down a branch dangerously, then thin some. If the branch doesn’t break, it might still get sunburned. You might also consider propping branches with two by fours.
Hi Mr Greg
I have planted an avocado tree which is around five feet high since December 2020. Now I have a query about watering my tree, I hope you can advise me.
Is deep root watering harmful to avocado tree as I afraid it may cause over watered to the plant.
It is never harmful to water an avocado tree with a single deep watering. It is only harmful if the tree is watered too much, too often, such that the soil is kept soggy for many days in a row.
Your posts are great. Thanks for helping us all out with such great content.
I live in San Diego, recently bought a fairly mature Hass, and it arrived in a 32inch box. The guys that planted it had to prop it up on a short (1.5ft) cinder block wall to get it through to my yard. When they put the box on the little wall, it crushed the box and the wall cut halfway into the box. They had it in a canvas wrap so it basically made a taco with the root ball…
You’ve mentioned that the roots are brittle… I have to assume this did some significant damage…
Any thoughts on how I can help the tree? It looks kinda sad now but its only been a few days and I think this is expected from being transplanted. I have a 3 month guarantee from the nursery — you think I will know if it’s going to make it by then? Any way to tell if it’s going to limp along and die or make it? How long would you give it to grow back leaves before calling it?
Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
An avocado tree of any size that is planted correctly (and cared for correctly immediately after planting) should show no struggle or “transplant shock” after planting. Zero. The tree shouldn’t skip a beat.
What specifically has changed about the tree’s appearance since planting day?
Thank you for your help!
The tree’s appearance hasn’t changed much since planting day, but it’s been less than a week. It’s been planted in line with your best practices in soil that drains well and I’m watering it based on your recommendations.
The tree has fewer leaves compared to when I picked it out a few weeks ago, and vast majority have dry/brown tips. Pretty much all of the nursery’s Hass trees had leaves that look like this, some worse than others. I picked the best one I could since the sales guy there told me the tree itself is healthy and leaves will fill in. Probably should have questioned that since he’s not an unbiased party… I’m now wondering if I picked an unhealthy tree that incurred significant root damage on the way into the ground.
Based on your post about reading leaves, I’m not too concerned about the dry/brown tips. It’s likely chloride salt burn given the look and time of year.
The overall lack of leaves and potential root damage is what has me concerned. Probably just need to wait and see how it does over the next couple months. Since we’re still early Spring, I’m hoping it will bounce back quickly.
In your experience, how quickly will a Hass bounce back and how vigorously will it grow leaves this time of year if cared for properly?
The nursery provided a liquid nutrient mix that contains Nitrogen, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, and Thiamine mononitrate (labelled 0.2-0-0 guaranteed analysis) with instructions to apply every 3-4 weeks. I want to use it if it will help, but not if it will have any negative nutritional impacts on the fruit that we plan to feed our kids… Would you apply or do you stay away from these sort of things?
Avocado trees grow a lot this time of year (spring) so your tree should have many new leaves within the next month or two.
I don’t use such fertilizers on my own trees although I know people who do and get good results. I use only composts and wood chips as mulch. See: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/fertilizing-avocado-trees/
Thanks so much. I’ll continue to provide the best care I can for the next couple months and see how the tree is doing. I’m taking pictures weekly so I can track progress.
Last question! Since a lot of the trunk and branches are exposed to the sun, would you recommend painting anything exposed?
I can tell when I look from above the tree that the branches have sustained some sunburns but just on the very top facing portions of the smaller branches. The main trunk doesn’t seem to have any significant burns. I can’t tell from your post on sunburns whether it’s only a real concern in high heat or any direct exposure to the sun is a risk. It doesn’t get super hot here in Encinitas, but I have the tree in a spot that gets sun from about 11a almost straight through to sunset.
Lastly, I’d love to contribute somehow. The information you provide is so helpful for us backyard growers. It’s so generous of you to share your experience and field questions from the community. If you have any organizations or charities that you like to support please let me know!
If you want to be totally safe, you would paint those horizontal branches. Even in Encinitas they can burn although you’re right that the sunburn is never going to be nearly as severe as farther inland. The strongest sun is the afternoon sun, which you said your tree gets though.
Sounds like you could get away with not painting the trunk. As it is vertical, it will never be exposed to hot sun to the same degree that the horizontal branches will. But if you’re painting the horizontal branches, you might as well get the trunk too. Can’t hurt.
Thanks for asking about contributing. I’ve been thinking of creating an opportunity like that. I’d like to make it possible for someone to just donate a few bucks to say thanks, but then I’d also like to create a supporters group for people who might want to contribute a few dollars consistently and get some extra stuff in return, extra stuff such as video question and answer sessions. I’m still thinking it through, but thanks a lot for asking.
Hi Greg, thanks for your wisdom. My first question is about pruning. I have a 7 y/o Mexicola that I have pruned into a traditional tree shape over the years by removing lower branches thus creating more pf a canopy. Is this incorrect? I note many trees features on this site are much more bushy with branches all the way to the ground. I get maybe a handful of fruit per year and will be getting a Sir Prize this weekend to improve cross fertility. Thank you
There’s no single good way to prune an avocado tree. I personally like to keep low branches on my trees because I’m in a place that gets hot in summer and the shade that the low branches provide helps keep the root zone cooler. The low branches also help keep the leaf litter from blowing away, and avocado tree roots like to have that mulch over them. But pruning off the lower branches can work fine too.
Thanks for all this great information! I have a 2 year-old Hass growing on a slope in my backyard (I’m in North County). The canopy is approx. 4 ft. wide. Up until now, I was using 5, 2 gal/hour drippers for 15 minutes twice a week in Spring and 3x/week in Summer. The avocado is on the same irrigation zone as a peach tree and a bunch of citrus trees. After reading your post, I am going to switch to watering fewer times per week, but for a longer period of time. And I’m going to switch to the DIG micro sprays as you suggested.
With that being said, I have three questions:
First is do you recommend these same sprayers for the other citrus trees?
Second is how many sprayers do I use per tree? All of these trees are 2 years-old just like the Hass and were 15-gal when planted. They are all planted on a slope and have concrete pavers in a half-circle around them.
Third is how long I should irrigate every 5-7 days? I can control the amount of water using 2 gal/hour drippers, but these sprayers are harder to control precise amount of water being dispensed.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Citrus trees do well on sprayers and on drip.
Using one sprayer per tree is sufficient.
For guidance on how much to water, see these posts:
I’m located in the Inland Empire of SoCal. We planted our avocado tree in January. It was growing in a pot in San Marcos and was about six feet when we placed it in the ground here in the IE. It seemed to be okay for a little bit and now it has lost most of its leaves and all of the leaves that remain have turned brown starting at the tips and are more than the 10% you have stated in one of the articles. My boyfriend purchased a soil checker for the moisture and waters it every three to four days 1-2 gallons each time. We have had a lot of windy days over the last few months and have now had some very hot days over the last month or so. We have put up posts with tarp and chicken wire type fencing to help keep the wind at bay.
Do you think we need to water it more? The damage looks like it could be simply under watering or possibly chloride damage. The leaves are just brown (no yellowing) starting at the tips with a small amount of brown spotting away from the tips.
Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. We don’t want to lose our new tree.
Is the tree also growing new leaves right now? They are usually reddish (but sometimes lime green on certain varieties). If so, then don’t worry much about the old leaves browning. Here in June, in your location, in this year when we haven’t had any rain for months, I would increase the watering on a six-foot-tall tree to more like 5-10 gallons per week.
Yes, it is growing new green leaves all over but some of them are starting to brown while they are still rather small. We are unaware of what type of avocado tree it is. The man we got it from just grows whatever he pleases without even knowing and it grows like magic for him.
We are about to get hit with a heatwave (triple digits for 6 days and a high of 109). Do you recommend even more water than the 5-10 gallons this week?
Also, part of the trunk of the tree has turned black and has a white powder on it. Any thoughts on this?
I would try to get some shade over the tree during this heat. Avocado trees with few leaves are extra vulnerable in heat. See this post: https://gregalder.com/yardposts/protecting-avocado-trees-from-heat/
Now my boyfriend thinks the tree may be affected by root rot. The base of some of the branches look to be drying out and cracking. Some of the branches themselves are also exhibiting the same drying and cracking. The top branches have very little leaves but the lower ones have a lot of pretty looking leaves with some brown crunchy leaves. It could be the tree doesn’t get enough drainage. The ground is very hard and very compacted where we are. I’ve taken some pictures of the tree. Is there anyway I can send them to you? Or do you recommend we contact the nursery’s in the area to have them come check it out?
This is get information, thank you so much for posting it. I’m wondering if these watering amounts can be scaled down for trees in smaller pots, like 1 gal? Would adjusting the above amounts to 1/5 work?
Yes, definitely scale down for a small pot like that. I would test how much water it takes to see it draining out the bottom holes and give it at least that much each time. I happen to have some avocados in one-gallon pots right now and they are getting 0.25 gallons per day. That may or may not be about how much yours need though.
I wanted to follow up about watering. I have been researching avocado tree care extensively and I have read numerous different approaches to watering that I’m not able to reconcile. Some sources like the California Avocado Growers Commission state that CA growers water their trees daily (https://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/sites/default/files/documents/Irrigating-Avocados-Fact-Sheet.pdf). Another source, https://gardenoracle.com/images/persea-americana.html, claims that watering should be monthly when the soil is dry 9″ deep. And of course you have a completely different watering schedule on this site. Are you able to explain or account for all of these various differences? Are all of these correct and it’s dependent on age of tree, soil type and local micro climates? When I tried following your guide, I believe I overwatered my Lamb-Hass. Granted, I’m in the Santa Cruz mountains at 2200 ft, ~10 miles from the ocean so much cooler than where you are. My tree has also had a rough childhood and was defoliated and had pretty bad sunburn. When I realized the tree was not growing with my watering approach, I stopped watering for 7-10 days and then the tree started pushing out new growth. Now it’s been almost a month and the new growth is still appearing, albeit slowly and more on the bottom of the tree. I suspect that the top is still much slower to grow because there is still a lot of water below the 12″ depth. Now I am hesitant to water again for fear that it will be too much and stunt the growth again. There are also older leaves dropping off but I’m not sure if this is the natural leaf death (since it’s not Spring and the leaves are not fully yellow when the drop), or if this is also water related.
Would you advise waiting until the tree starts to droop a little before watering again? Or should I clear the mulch and check the soil with a moisture meter? Photos available here: https://imgur.com/a/hWBAMuC
do you ever use a moister meter? Like the kind you stick in the soil and it says wether it’s dry or moist? I have a couple container avocados and im trying to not over water
I don’t use moisture meters. I never found them to be reliably accurate.
For container plants, I use a combination of lifting to feel the container’s weight (water is heavy); scratching and feeling the moisture in the soil/mix (it’s sticky when wet); appearance of the soil at the surface and the soil I can see through the holes at the bottom (darker is wetter); and keeping track of the weather.
By the way, if you’ve got a fast draining soil/mix in the container and there are plenty of holes at the bottom of the container, then you don’t need to worry a lot about overwatering it.
I planted three 5 gallon avocado trees on the side of my house. They weren’t doing much growing at all for several months. I was following the watering cycle. I just recently bumped them up to water everyday and now at least the hass in the middle is starting to sprout new leaves. On a side note, the other 2 trees were getting seriously munched on by June bugs last month. I was out killing them every night but they sustained a lot of leaf damage. Since it has been very hot and these trees are on a slope, maybe they need more frequent watering? Could the June bug attacks (they seem to be gone now) have stunted the growth of the other two trees (Lambs)?
Avocado trees in Southern California usually have three periods of growth each year. One happens in late winter/early spring, the second happens about now (the “summer flush”), and then the third happens around October. Varieties differ a bit on timing.
It’s sometimes hard to know how much the performance of your tree is the result of your care versus the result of the tree’s own natural cycles.
June bug munching shouldn’t affect the growth of the tree much unless they have severely eaten down the terminal buds on branch tips. You can have a look at your tree to see if that has happened.
Don’t hesitate to add more water or more frequent water if you think your trees need it. My watering table is just to give you a starting point. You need to respond to what your trees are telling you.